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!

Making Spirits Bright

makingspirits-bright

 

Dear Rehma Family,

This Christmas, we invite you to honour your loved ones and make a donation on their behalf! If you are looking for a meaningful gift that will make an impact in the lives of many, please consider making a donation to The Rehma Project in these specific ways:

 

Sponsor a player for $15

The annual Rehma Tournament for 2017 is already in the planning stages. This tournament brings over 500 youth and hundreds more spectators from the area in a two month intense tournament. This tournament is keeping youth busy in sports and out of destructive habits, keeping them in the care of amazing mentors who are pouring into their lives daily at the pitch, and promoting unity and peace in the community. For $15, you can ensure a spot in the tournament for a bright youth!

New mom and baby package for $50

Want to send a special gift to a support, encourage, and equip a new mom and baby? We have a new program aimed at loving women and babies. We will be handing out a new born kit equipped with the essentials (and some treats for moms) to the new babies on the block. $50 helps get a bright mom and baby get started on the right track!

School Scholarships for $150

Every year we hand a number of school scholarships to young men and women who have shown great character in the community. For $150 you can ensure a bright future for a youth in Kongowea!

Along with a donation, you will receive a card in the mail that you can gift to that special someone describing the gift you gave in their honour.

To donate, please email us at info@rehmaproject.org and we will get you started!

Thank you for making spirits bright this Christmas!

 

Eid is bringing back the memories

Eid Mubarak friends!

It’s Eid al Adha, the Muslim holiday which celebrates Abraham’s courage, faith, and obedience to God when he took his son Ishmael to be a sacrifice. Yes, his son Ishmael, not Isaac, like we Christians believe.

For me, this holiday brings me back to when I first moved to Mombasa. We had only been in the city for about 3 weeks and were having a really hard time adjusting. I woke up one morning only to find the eerie prayer calls going for hours and hours. Totally confused, I started getting text messages from Muslim friends wishing me a ‘Eid Mubarak’. I was so baffled as to what was happening. It was all so new and surreal to me.

I was able to find an email I sent out to friends about the day. Here is a short passage that I wrote:


Lately I’ve been able to sleep through the loud and eerie prayer calls from the local mosques in the morning so when I woke up this morning at 4:30 I knew that they would be coming soon and that I wouldn’t be able to sleep through them. Well they started around 5 am and they played and they played and they played and they played some more. It wasn’t until about 7am that I decided to get out of bed and figure why they have playing for hours. I discovered that today is one of the biggest celebrations for muslims called Eid al-Adha.

I had to look up what the significance of this day is and this is what my book said, “This celebration commemorates the willingness of Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Abraham showed his readiness and Al’ah was very pleased. A ram was sacrificed instead of Ishmael on Al’ah’s command.” Does that sound familiar? Muslims believe that it wasn’t Isaac Abraham offered to sacrifice but Ishmael. I also believe that this day celebrates the end of Hajj which is the 10 day period where the pilgrimage to Mecca is made. If muslims do their pilgrimage to Mecca during these 10 days, it is more significant than if they go at any other time of the year.

 Today, they will go to the mosque in the morning to do their prayers, fast all day, then slaughter a goat and feast on it tonight. I was walking around town today and there was definitely a different feel to the city. I ran into a friend of mine from the library who was trying to explain to me her excitement that she gets to go shopping They are supposed to buy new and fancy outfits to wear for the feast tonight. I had another friend who text messaged me first thing this morning to wish me a happy Eid day. I can see their excitement. This is a day where they get new clothes, get a wonderful meal, and get to spend time with their families.

Outside our house we usually find this large herd of goats. There must be about 25-30 of them that wander around out neighborhood. Lately, we haven’t been seeing them and I now understand why. Every mus.lim family in the world is supposed to slaughter a goat today if they have the means to. Now, that’s a lot of goats. My guess is that those goats were especially bred and kept for this day. As we walked through the streets yesterday, we could see goats tied up outside of everyone’s houses. And they all have green spots on them! I am not sure the reason for it but the entire city is filled with green goats! We will never see our little neighborhood goats again…

I have learned to love Eid. The beauty of living in a city that embraces two religions is that you get two sets of public holidays! We are not working today since most of our youth are muslims and are busy with Eid celebrations. Kongowea kind of shuts down. Even the Christians celebrate it.

I am not really sure if people really understand what they are celebrating. I think some just know that its Eid so they must celebrate.

For most people, celebrating means food! It’s the one day they save up for to make biryani. And its YUM!

In fact, as I was in the middle of writing this post, we had a friend deliver a big pot of biryani to our front door! Guess what we are having for supper!?

Our prayer this morning was that our Muslim friends would seek God with all their hearts.

Because God promises that if you seek Him, you will find Him, the true God.