Friday, 31 August 2007

Discoyoga? What's that?

I just read an article in a Swedish newspaper about a new type of yoga - discoyoga. It does sound a bit strange to me, like the opposite of what yoga is to me. To me yoga is a way to get rid of the stress and clear your head. Dancing is a way to clear the head, that's true, but how do you combine disco dancing with yoga? I guess that's some sort of yoga-aerobic combined with disco steps. I don't know.... It might be a fun way to keep in shape. According to that article, Reese Witherspoon, Cindy Crafoord and Britney Spears are into discoyoga.... I've been googling for a while now and haven't found any information at all. Do YOU know anything about this?

This is a hilarious video! Finish disco dancing at its' best. Watch the whole thing, you won't regret it. And there you have the answer why disco isn't the thing anymore. Thank God! *rotflao*

I got a pilates/yoga DVD and a pilates ball for my birthday. I can't wait to try it out! It seems like a fun way to get in shape. Of cause, I'll keep on doing my Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga routines a couple of times a week (at least I hope I will *lol*). My goal for this fall is to get in shape and loose some of the belly fat.

One thing I really would like to try is Afro dance. I guess you don't need a class or DVD to do that. Just put on some nice African music, like Angelique Kidjo, and just feel the music:

Air condition *lol*

I'm glad we're doing this in August and not October because this much air conditioning doesn't seem too healthy..... *lol*

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A Social Marketing tool

uVmeis a new company that ties together on line games entertainment, social networking and a new way of network marketing in one single tool. All in all, with a tool like this companies would get in touch with new clients even in places where PC ownership is quite small (like Morocco) thanks to the extended use of Internet cafes. Here in Morocco, playing games at the computers in the Internet cafes is a hobby most people can afford, so I think a tool like that could be a good investment if you’re interested in this market.

Blog Day 2007

Blog Day 2007What is BlogDay 2007?

BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors.

I haven't been blogging for such a long time (about 4 months) so to me most blogs are new. This is my list of 5 blogs I'd like to recommend:

Mamas Coffee Corner: This is my friend Lindas blog. She's Swedish and lives in Brasil with her husband and son. She really is a great person and an inspiration to me.

Military Wife in Okinawa: I came across this blog by accident. I really enjoy reading about her life as a military wife, far away in Japan. This is a very nice blog, don't miss it!

Don't eat my Buchela: This is one of my favorite blogs which I've been reading for several months now. She's Ethiopian, married to an American and they live in China with their adorable son. This is a great blog with interesting texts about life in China and wonderful pictures.

Bright like the Son: This blog is about as old as mine. I found it thanks to the Moms of Grace community. Mama Bright is a great person and I like the way she writes. I guess we're very much alike, in spite of living in different parts of the world.

Eastcoastlife: I came across this blog a few weeks ago, on Wordless Wednesday. She lives in Singapore and works as a teacher, so we have lots of things in common. Every time I visit her blog I end up being very hungry, thanks to all the wonderful photos.

Happy Blogging everyone!

Moroccan craftmanship *lol*

The electrician was here the other day to work on the tubes and cables that will go inside the walls. This is what he did to the kitchen light switch and he left it this way. I'm glad we don't go into the kitchen at night right now, I don't really trust this switch. Would you?

He'll come back next week to finish his job.

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Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Sweet dreams away from home

I have been asked to review this site: Hotel Reservations.

The design is simple and easy to navigate. There's a lot of information on the front page, but without causing a busy impression. The colors are a bit dull, I'd say too much grey. With another background color the site would look more cheerful. Maybe red or green would make a better impression. But grey is okey too, very neutral and professional. Anyway, apart from the colors, I like the design.

Since my first languages are Spanish and Swedish I like the fact that you're able to view the site in Spanish, French, German and Italian as well as in English. I think it is a nice way to treat your international clients, because not everyone abroad feels confident enough to book a hotel room in English. There's also an option to view the page with prices in different currencies (US dollar, euro, Danish kroner, Norvegian kroner, Swedish kronor, Canadian dollar, British pound). That makes booking a lot easier for customers outside of the USA, because then there's no guessing and no disappointment if the trip turns out more expensive than you expected.

They have a wide range of hotels, motels and resorts in many countries, like Italy, Greece, Germany, France, Australia, China, India and Thailand. They also offer special trips, like Bed & Breakfast, condo rentals, beach hotels, family fun, gambling, golf and spa.

Not only do they help you reserve the hotel, they also offer different vacation packages: flight, hotel + car, flight + hotel, hotel + car or flight + car.

There's even a Discount Club membership, which gives you good deals and savings for hotel reservations up to 70% off on many destinations worldwide. All you have to do to join is to sign up for their newsletter, which you can do directly on their website.

The post office, at last

Remember the Doggy days Giveaway, hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer? Well, yesterday I FINALLY got the keyrings to the post office and sent away to Thankful Heart.

This is what she won:

Unfortunately the photo turned out really bad, because it's almost impossible to take a good shot at that slipper, it's too shiny.... At least you get an idea of what they look like.

I'm thinking about hosting another giveaway on September 10, the day my kids get back to school. What do you think? Would you like to win something from Morocco?

Day by day

The men are still working in our kitchen. You can't see much progress from one day to another,but if you compare the state of the kitchen from a few days back to what it looks like now it's easy to spot the differences.

This is the way it looked yesterday:

I hope they will finish in 2 weeks time because after almost 2 weeks I'm getting tired of all the noice, the dust, the dirty house, men coming and going in all day long, sacks of sand everywhere and having to cook on the stove on the floor in the dining room. I can't wait to have a kitchen again!

The men from the window company are coming tomorrow and install the windows in the kitchen and in Gs room. Things are coming together, very slowly, but they are....

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WW - An uncommon guest

I wish upon a star

Summer is coming to an end and ahead of us lie many months of hard work and not much play. I wish I could go away somewhere like mid November or so, when the skies are grey and you're getting tired of the every day ruts. Just a few days off, to go somewhere new and interesting.

New York would be a great place to go! I have never been to the USA so I think "the Big Apple" would be a good place to start. I've heard so much about Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and other areas, each one with its' own "personality".

Dialaflight is a leading independent UK travel company offering flights, hotels & travel ideas worldwide. They offer cheap flights to New York and since they offer hotels too, you really don't have to think of anything but having fun, fun, fun. Unlike many travel companies you don't book your flight on line. They actually have real people answering the phone! And since you're actually talking to a real person you can be sure that you're getting everything you need to prepare your holidays to New York the way you like it.

I think I'd go crazy in New York. Of course, in my dreams money would be no problem, I'd have a plastic card with more money than I could spend. *lol* But in the real world I'd have to be a bit more careful with what I do with my money. Anyway, a big wallet or not, I'd start my first day visiting all the scrapbook stores in the NY area and as far as I've heard there are quite a few. Then the followig days I'd go for coffee in different places (I've never had anything more "special" than a cappuchino so I'm dying to try all the different coffees like frappuchino, mocha and God knows what else you can get), have a taste of the night life in a different club each night, visit all the famous buildings and places. Now, all I need is to get the money and I'm on my way.

Monday, 27 August 2007

An opportunity for bloggers

As you know, I try to earn some money for my studies writing for different blogging companies. One of them is Bloggerwave, a Danish company I found just recently. So far I don't have much experience with this company but I have great hopes of getting lots of opportunities, maybe from the Scandinavian area. That could be fun, considering I was born in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, and still have lots of relatives over there.

If you're looking for a future as a pro blogger, why don't you check these guys out? Bloggerwave is looking for bloggers from all over the planet, so maybe that could be the opportunity you've been looking for.

The river

We live very close to a river. Nowadays there isn't much water and the water is quite muddy and dirty but in the 13th century this area was home to pirates. Our own Pirates of the Carribean. The only difference is that our pirates traveled the Mediterranean. *lol*

These are some pictures I took the other day while walking along the river.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

One week has gone by

And we're still alive.... Going through a total home make over is really, really tough! We just survived the first week and the worst is still to come. They haven't even started on the doors yet. I guess that will fill our home and lungs with more dust than we ever dreamed about so I hope we can spend as little time as possible at home.

Today we've had the day off. My husband and the boys went to the beach and then to one of the many hamams (public showers) while I stayed at home to clean the house. It was soooooo dirty! I'm glad I cleaned it but I think it's still dirty, in spite of cleaning the whole apartment twice.

These are the photos I took of the state of the house this morning:

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Saturday, 25 August 2007

Healthy snacks

My kids have lunch at their school because they spend many, many hours at school - between 8 A.M. and 4.15 P.M. At 10 A.M. they have half an hour break to eat their snacks. Usually my kids take a sandwich or some fruit, but this year I want to be more organized and give them healthier snacks and not give them the same things all the time.

I've been thinking about giving them tortilla (the Mexican tortilla *lol*, not the Spanish one) and I found several recipes here. Granola bars is something my kids are not used to having, but I love them and since they are not sold here I'll have to learn how to make them myself. I also found a recipe for Caramel Bars. They sound really yummy but are not to be served on a regular basis, at least not in this home. But every now and then we all need a special treat. *lol* I also found a healthier recipe, using zucchini - I'm definitely going to try that one on my kids because zucchini is a veggie they seldom want to eat and I love it! Picnic bars with shredded coconut and walnuts or caramel apple bars with apples and caramel? There is so much to chose from on the Internet. I think I'm going to have so much fun this fall trying out new recipes, when I finally get my kitchen back. I think I'll post photos and reviews when I try something new. I can't wait to have a kitchen again!

And the days go by...

I've been really busy these past days: we've bought the sink and the tiles. The kitchen is slowly beginning to look like a kitchen again but is still a mess. Just have a look at these photos.

This is the kitchen 2 days ago. A true mess!

This is the kitchen yesterday:

And this is the kitchen today:

Now we've got most of the stuff we need. I really could use a new fridge, freezer and a washing machine, but we've already spent much more than we had planned for so that will have to wait for a while. I also want a microwave oven and a toaster and a blender and.... Oh well, I'll keep on dreaming... *lol*

Today we bough the tiles and they are beautiful! I guess I'll have to wait at least another week before they get to that part. There's still a lot of work to be done.

We haven't even talked to the carpenter yet, so I don't think my kitchen will be completely done before Christmas but at least we're on our way. Babysteps.... That's the way things work here in Morocco.

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Friday, 24 August 2007

Planning an event

Are you planning on hosting an event and don't know how to manage everything? Putting up posters around town and keeping track of payments in a note book is ok as long as your event is small, but what if you're planning something bigger? The answer is a web site with all the information in one place. Thanks to Internet you can get in touch with lots of people in a short period of time and you can even accept on line payment. And the best part is that you don't even have to know how to make a web page!

I've found a website, Reg Online, that creates a website for your event and help you with everything thanks to their conference payment software. Creating an account is free and you only pay when people register for the event. I've watched the information video and honestly, if I had to host an event I would not think twice. Since the company is Internet based you don't have to download anything. Creating the event is done in a logical and easy way, step by step, and there are lots of options, to fit your event perfectly. The final result will be as good as you ever wanted.

Summer is almost over

Today it's easy to see that fall is on it's way. It's been raining all day. This is the first rain for over 3 months so I guess it was about time. There will still be nice, warm days before the cold season begins but the first rain always marks the end of the lazy summer days. School is getting closer, only 3 weeks left before our life returns to it's normal pace and we're back at our routines. As much as I love summer I really long to get back to my "normal" life. Life is somehow easier when you have routines.

Every year, about this time, I sit down and I work on my FLY Lady Control Journal. And for the most part I do what I plan. My life would be such a mess without FLY Lady! She truly is a hero to me!

Every year I add a few routines. I still haven't decided which will be my new routines this year. One thing I do know, I will schedule some pampering time for me each week. I think that will be my own personal challenge. And I will also add some scrap time for me each week, as well as a yoga session a day.

I really need to plan my weeks from now on. I still don't know how I'm going to combine my house, my kids, their homework, my own studies and homework, teaching at my job and doing private tutoring, blogging and writing articles - and on tp of that, having time to play. Wow! I really need to get back on track!

This year I'm trying the Google calendar to keep track of all my appointments, exams and dinner menus. I have only used it for a few days but what I've seen so far it seems great. you can actually have different calendars for different things, like one for menus (oh boy, I really do need that one! If it only came with the ideas as well, then it would be PERFECT! *lol*), one for the kids' activities, one for my own studies....

As school comes closer and I begin to work on my Control Journal I'll share it with you. I think getting feedback is a great way to plan your time better and find better solutions to everyday problems.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Credit cards

Here in Morocco August and September are really tough months money wise. With the kids going back to school the expenses get blown out of proportion. Text book, pens and other material for school, new clothes, new shoes.... There seem to be no end to it.

I could need a interest free credit card. Mint offer a low interest credit card with a competitive introductory offer and a host of benefits. Sounds great, doesn't it? I don't even own a credit card but i know they make your life easier - and safer. One thing I really hate this time of year is walking around with lots of money in my wallet, but that's the only way to pay unless you have a card. Hopefully I'll have one next year, so I don't have to worry so much.

Good news for scrappers

Tasra Dawson (a professional scrapper) is joining 5 Minutes for Moms! She'll write a column twice a month, starting on Friday September 7. I can't wait! There's an interview with Tasra where you can read more about her new book "Real Woman Scrap".

I really want to get back to scrapping! I haven't scrapped much for the past 2½ years but I'm definitely going to take my time to get back to it this fall. Scrapping has been a part of my life for so long and it still is, although I don't make any pages right now. I guess I'm just gathering impressions and inspiration. *lol*

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

2 days in pictures

I've been really busy these past days, trying to spend time with my family as well as thinking and rethinking the way we want our kitchen. So I never really got around to posting the photo of the state of the kitchen yesterday.

This is what the kitchen looked like yesterday:

And the kitchen tonight, after the plumber did his part of the job so far:

And this is the balcony, which is going to be a part of the kitchen in a few days time. The washing machine goes on the other end of the balcony and the first window is going to be the new door to the kitchen.

After 3 days of work you can actually begin to see the new kitchen emerge from all the broken tiles and concrete on the floor.

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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Lunch

Day 3 - And the show goes on

I didn't post the pix of the kitchen last night. I was sooo tired!

Yesterday we went shopping. We wanted to get the tiles for the walls and fllor and the countertops but all the shops were closed. Today is the birthday of the King, so most shops were closed yesterday and will be today as well. At least we managed to buy the oven, the stove and the extractor and got them delivered today.

Due to the King's birthday and because he was in the neighborhood the roads were closed and we ended up in a traffic jam. When we came home my parents had already left for the restaurant with the kids so I had to cross the town, running among hundreds of thousands of people who were out for n evening stroll. My husband had to go and see a friend about the windows so he didn't have dinner with us. We came back home around midnight. The kids were half asleep! And then some friends turned up at home, so I put the kids to bed and then we sat down talking to our friends until 2 AM.

Today B is sick. He has a high temperature and slept for several hours this morning (and guess who fell asleep beside him? *embarrassed*). My husband is also sick. So right now things aren't too bright here in Morocco....

This is what the kitchen looked like last night:

Hopefully I'll post todays pictures later tonight. Who knows, we might even have a place to put the oven.

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Monday, 20 August 2007

New windows

A friend of my husband's is in the window business and he just came over to have a look at our windows. We are probably going to order 3 new windows through him and a "wall" (we're closing our kitchen balcony and it's almost 4 meter long and 3 meter tall, so it's more like a wall than a window. *lol* Look at the photo on the left.). I hope he'll give us a good price because windows are expensive. But we really do need new windows. Actually it's a pity because our windows are beautiful, but the wood is damaged and getting them fixed would be even more expensive than getting new ones.

Our apartment is the one with the blue windows. The window on the left is going to be our new kitchen door. We're not gaining much by closing the kitchen door and opening up a new door but we're gaining a tiny laundry room and a hallway. And I get rid of all the nasty birds that leave their "marks" all over the balcony. I just HATE those birds!

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Contest - Win a $25 Mastercard Gift Card

Over at the Christian stay at Home Moms Blog you can enter a contest and win a $25 Mastercard Gift Card. I really could use one of those, so I've just entered the contest. If you're like me you'll want it too.*lol* So why don't you have a go and enter the contest as well? But hurry up, the contest ends on August 24.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Day 2 - The kitchen is empty

This morning I went on working my way around the kitchen. This is the shelf on top of the bathroom. Old Moroccan houses have a smart way to gain space. They lowered the inner roof in the bathroom and built a shelf on top of it, accessible from the kitchen. Our apartment is considered quite old, it's about 40 years old and built in the old style. So I have a huge shelf where I can put lots and lots of stuff. Unfortunately I haven't used it much but once I get the kitchen fixed I just might use it more. Anyway, this morning the shelf was still full of empty bottles and stuff I hardly ever use.

This is what the kitchen looked like at 9 PM - empty!

Part of the stuff is out on the balcony, in the cupboards from the kitchen. We just put one on top of the other and I got a nice place to leave a lot of stuff. The rest of the apartment also has got it's share of extra stuff- the fridge is in Gs room now and the food in Bs room. Woohoo, this is going to be a rough time! But I guess it's going to be worth it in the end.

More pictures tomorrow, after the first day of "destroying" my kitchen.

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How to start your own business?

For years I've been thinking about starting my own business. I've even studied bookkeeping, economics and how to get started. But so far I haven't decided yet what my business should be about. Maybe some sort of ecommerce, selling stuff? And then there's the next question - selling what? Things from Morocco maybe? Or my own hand made cards? Or something completely different? I guess I'm just not ready yet, so I'll keep on thinking and dreaming. Maybe one day I'll be able to make up my mind...

Anyway, in order to start your own business you need to have an idea of what to do with your business - sell things, teach something, offer some sort of service? If your idea is to sell something, then you need to decide if you're going to sell it in a shop or on line. If you decide to sell on line you need a homepage/blog on your own domain and probably some sort of ecommerce software that will run your shopping cart. Of course you can sell things without a shopping cart software but it would be more complicated in the long run. Having your clients contact you by email does work, if you don't plan to sell much. But if you are serious about having your own business it's best to have proper stuff to help you get started and stay in business. AShop offers a complete solution for both small and bigger businesses and at a reasonable price. You can download a free trial for 10 days and watch a demo of the site.I think that's neat.

When it comes to running your own business, the difficult part is not getting started, it's staying in business.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Day 1 - kitchen make over

This morning I started with the kitchen make over. Well, actually it much bigger than that, because actually half the apartment is going to get a face lift.

I like Before and After pictures so this is what my kitchen looked like this morning before I even began to put things away.

This is what my dining room looked like this morning:

Both rooms look a lot different now, as you will see tomorrow. The rest of the apartment also look a bit different because all the kitchen stuff has to go somewhere else, so right now I have boxes EVERYWHERE and things are going to get a lot worse before they start to get better. Oh well, that's what a make over is all about, isn't it?

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On Monday...

Monday is going to be a very important day. First of all, I'll get my temporary residence permit for 5 years. Woohooo, normally you have to go trough the permit procedure one a year so I'm happy I finally managed to get the papers for 5 years. I'll get the new ID-card around Christmas but until then I can travel around as I wish with the temporary permit.

And Monday is also the day when we FINALLY start the kitchen total make over. Today I'm putting everything in the kitchen and dining room in boxes - it's such a boring job but it has to be done so I try to be positive about it. The rest of the apartment is going to be crowded for the next 3 or 4 weeks until the kitchen is done, but that's the way it is.

I have my camera prepared to take lots of pix of the make over, so stay tuned and you'll be able to see the progress of my kitchen. Later on today I'll post the photos from today and then once a day I'll post the photos of the day. So don't forget to come back to see my new kitchen emerge from the dust, like a Phoenix. *lol*

Next >>

Friday, 17 August 2007

I reached my goal!

In June I joined the Summer 2007 Exercise Challenge. My goal was to walk for 2000 minutes between June 8 and September 3. Well, today I reached my goal and I even passed it with 50 minutes. *happy*

So, what do I do now? Give myself a hug and lay down and rest for the rest of the summer? Nooo, that's not the way I like to live my life. Instead I'll add another 500 minutes to see if I can walk 450 minutes in 16 days.... I think that will be a tough one, but I'll give it a try. *lol*

Now that there's so little time left before the challenge ends I'd like to know how the other girls are doing. I think I'll pay them a visit tomorrow to see how close they are to their goals. Keep up the good work girls!

Another year...

So now I'm one year older. Yes, today is my birthday. I'm not going to tell you how old I am because, frankly, I definitely don't feel my age! Actually, 10 years ago I felt a lot older than I do right now. I think this is my best age so far - I feel young, healthy, full of energy, beautiful (well, at least some days), I take care of myself and I'm happy with my life. Isn't that more important than a number in your passport?

Today is also my youngest son's birthday, he turned 8. We've been celebrating all day and had a lot of fun. We had both lunch and dinner at restaurants and we had a lovely orange cake with coffee on the roof top this evening. We got lots of presents both of us. My parents gave me scrap things (I got the most beautiful card stock you can ever imagine!) and my husband gave me a pilates ball and a pilates/yoga DVD. I can't wait until I'll be able to try my new DVD, because I've heard so much about pilates and how great it is. I've always been a yoga kind of girl, but I'm willing to give pilates a try. *lol* Unfortunately I won't be able to try it until the end of September because of the kitchen make over, but I might be able to watch the DVD at least. I guess I'd better do a search on the net to see what information I can come up with about pilates. I'll let you know what I think about it once I try.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

School so far

My kids have one month left before school starts again. B will be in 4th grade and G in 3rd grade. This is going to be their third year in a Spanish school and so far I'm very happy with their school. They go to a semiprivate semipublic school. Does that make sense to you? I guess not, so I'd better explain. It's semiprivate because it's a Spanish school on Moroccan territory, so once you enter the school you're actually on Spanish ground, which gives it a special status according to Moroccan law. But according to the Spanish school system it's a public school, not a private one and therefor it's semiprivate and semipublic. *lol*

B did 2 years in a Swedish school before we moved here and G did one year. It was a Montessori school and at first I was thrilled with that school. They did SO MUCH to help B and he actually mastered lots of his difficulties at that school. He was diagnosed with "a behavior close to Autism", so he was never really Autistic, only very much alike someone with mild Autism. When he was 4 years old his social skills were like those of a one year old. He never learned how to play with other kids, he preferred to stay close to grown ups instead because other kids scared him. When he started school the teachers got together to help him learn how to be around other kids and after about 6 months he actually started talking to a few of them. After a year he would participate in their games every now and then, but he still preferred to stay close to his teacher. He has GONE A LONG WAY since then! Now he's a very talkative boy, with lots of friends who enjoys playing with other kids. But he still has some difficulties handling crowds and other situations where he doesn't feel safe.

B has always been a very clever boy. He taught himself how to read when he was 5 and he loves to read. He is actually too clever, because he is way ahead of his peers and he gets bored in no time. He needs to be challenged all the time, feel that he's not wasting his time with stupid things. I hope his teachers will be able to keep up with him because if he gets bored at school he's probably going to hate it and refuse to study. I really should look for information on kids with a high IQ, because as a mom I feel it's my duty to make sure he still enjoys going to school.

G started school in Sweden one year early so he wouldn't have problems adjusting to the Spanish school system but oh boy, he was so BORED at school in Sweden! In Sweden kids aren't allowed to learn how to read and write at school before they are 7 and he was only 5 when he started school and he really wanted to learn to read. Instead, he spent the days playing and that's not what he wanted. He wanted to LEARN to master the letters, have homework and feel like a "big boy". I guess he thought going to school was just a big waste of time. He was thrilled to start school here and in less than 4 months he learned to read and write. He was so PROUD about himself and he loves to read whenever he finds a book he likes.

I'm happy both my boys enjoy reading. I think that's a very important quality because a person who loves to read will always find ways to learn new things and will have an open mind. The truth isn't always black or white, it can have different shades.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Money makes more money

I like to make money without too much of an effort. Investing on the stock market can be a way to make easy money, if you're lucky. But if you on top of luck actually understand the market the odds are much bigger and you can actually make quite a nice profit. In order to do that you need to read lots of financial newspapers and try to see where things are going. I don't have the patience to try to understand the market and I get bored when I read financial newspapers. But I still like to invest some of my money. So, what's the solution?

Of course, the solution is to find a blog about the stock market. *lol* Wizetrade has a software for stock market analysis, which will come in handy when you need to know when to buy and when to sell. The blog is easy to read and includes lots of interesting posts. I just found one I'm definitely is going to read thoroughly - How to create a Trading Plan. Great information!

So if you're like me, into earning money but not into studying the market for yourself, check this blog out. Who knows, you might earn some money without even leaving your house. *lol*

Put an end to abuse - be a part of blogging history

On September 27th, join 1,000s of bloggers around the world in BlogCatalog's Blogging for a Great Cause Challenge. I'm definitely taking part in this Challenge, because I believe that if we bloggers unite we can really make a difference.

There are so many different types of abuse and I still haven't thought about my post, but I'll be thinking about it and I'll try to come up with an interesting post. Any suggestions? What would you like me to write about? Maybe about the exploited children in Morocco? Abandoned children? Children at work? Children left to their own devices in the western world? Any suggestions are welcome. And please do spread the world, so this Challenge can be a huge one and we can open up a few eyes in order to prevent more people getting abused in the future.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Preparing for class

In less than one month my boys will be back in school. So far I haven't done much of the planning and shopping so I'd better get going soon. Books have to be bought, I need to buy all the material they'll need, buy new clothes... And most of all - get organized!

Text books are very expensive. Every book costs like 20 Euros (about 30 USD) or more and they need like 7 or 8 books each. Last year I spent like 300 Euros (more than 400 USD) on books alone. This year G will be using some of Bs books from last year and B will be using a friend's old books. Thank God! Because the text books are killing me! Having to pay so much money at the end of summer is tough.

FLY Lady has some really great tips on how to get ready for school. Look here, here, here and here and how to stay on track. There's even a Control Journal for Students. My kids won't be able to use it just yet, because they don't speak English but I will translate some bits and pieces to Spanish and help them make their own Control Journals.

This year I plan to make them healthy snacks for school instead of giving them cookies. They have to take something with them every day for their morning snack - fruit, a sandwich, cookies, candy (way too many Moroccan kids take candy to school EVERY DAY! That's the negative aspects of progress)... I want to make them things which will help them grow and take away the hunger so I'm going to follow some of the lunch box- ideas from FLY Lady.

I don't celebrate New Year's much, because the only thing that really changes is the year and I don't think that's such a big deal. But I do celebrate the start of school. We usually do something special on the first day of school and we plan it well, because it's supposed to be a great and happy day. I don't know what we'll do this year. I'll let you know when the day comes.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Comments are appreciated ;-)

One thing I really like about blogging is getting comments on my posts. That's what makes me keep on writing, because I know that someone out there actually reads what I write. So don't be such a stranger. Come on, write a comment, tell me about yourself, how long you've been reading here, if you're a blogger, how you found my blog or whatever! I feel a bit lonely here, talking to myself. *lol* Come on, talk to me. I won't bite you, I promise. *lol*

Sunday Seven 4

Time to summon up the week, its Sunday Seven. It has been a very stressful week so I'm glad it's coming to an end. Hopefully next week will be easier, with my husband and parents here.

Praise God, this is my list:

  1. I've been blogging for 3 months now and I LOVE it! It is truly an addiction but a healthy one. I'm getting lots of new friends all over the planet and that makes me realize how small our world actually is.
  2. My husband is coming tonight. We haven't met since January so we have lots of family life to catch up on.
  3. My parents finally decided to come back and see us here. They don't approve of us living here and they certainly don't think this is a good place to raise the boys, but hopefully they'll change their minds this time.Please, pray for us!
  4. I have GREAT IRL and on line friends and I'm so grateful for having them in my life. They really know how to pick me up when I'm sad and rejoice with me when I'm happy. Love ya all! Os quiero! Älskar er! You know who you are.
  5. I'm grateful for internet which allows me to keep in touch with people I love, no matter how far away they are.
  6. I'm on vacation - no more class preparation for 2 months. But at the same time I miss teaching and my students.
  7. We have great health and I'm so full of energy right now. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!

Christmas is around the corner!

I know, I know.... It's hot, you dream of going to the beach because you're boiling hot and Christmas and cold weather couldn't be farther away from your mind. But wait, Christmas is actually only 4 months away and it's about time to start planning for a great holiday so you don't have to suffer from last-minute-stress. I'm not kidding! And for all of you in the English speaking world, you have other big holidays coming up before that. Remember Halloween and Thanksgiving? *lol*

Every year I say I'll start planning Christmas early this year and every year I run around like a chicken with its' head cut off getting everything ready the night before Christmas Eve. Actually I run less for every year, thanks to FLY Lady and her Christmas planning, but I do run none the less.

At you can get coupons for lots of things and get your shopping done in no time. Thanks to the coupons you can afford to give gifts you might not be able to buy otherwise and the gifts won't dig such a big hole in your purse. What about getting a Nickelodeon store coupon so you can get something for the kids? Or a magazine subscription coupon to your best friend? I personally wouldn't mind getting a subscription for a scrap mag. *hint hint*

Happy Holidays and don't forget to actually ENJOY them!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Looking for musicians?

When you need musicians for a party, wedding or engagement there are several places to go. This is the sign for one of those shops in the Medina (old town). Most signs are hand written and include lots of drawings, because there are still lots of people who don't read or write. Only about 20 % of the Moroccan women read and write and about 50% of the men.

This particular shop is one of the most important ones in Tetuán and their musicians are famous for being great performers. You can also hire the little box where the bride rides to her husbands house/party after the wedding.

In Tetuán the heritage from AlAndalus is still very strong so a wedding without Andalusí music is not considered a wedding. *lol* And then there's the gnawa music, which is a mix of Berber and Black music (mainly from the Mali region). I really do like gnawa, it has a great beat.

Wedding gnawas, who differ a bit from the original gnawas. This is in my opinion the best part of the weddings.

This is The Box, where the bride has to go so she can go to meet her husband. Moroccan weddings are divided in two - the bride has her party and the groom has his and at the end of the party the bride goes into the box, is carried to her husbands party/house and on her way to her husband she is taken to the mosque in order to get lots of luck for a happy marriage. I've been to a wedding in the mountains where the bride was too big for the box and had to go to her husband's on a donkey. I'm glad I didn't have to go into the box, it would give me claustrophobia!

One day left

My husband and parents are coming tomorrow night. My husband has not been here for a little over a year now so he's really excited to see what we've done with our home since his last visit. The kids are counting the hours because they've missed their dad so much. I'm happy too, but right now I'm way too busy getting it all company ready so I don't have the time to feel anything at all.

I woke up early this morning and did some yoga and then I started washing....And washing.... And washing.... I have lost the count on the loads I've done so far today and I still have a couple of loads to do before I'm done. I have finally started washing all the blankets, bed covers and pillows, because we don't really need them until October or November and they only take up space in the rooms so I wash them before I put them away in the wardrobe. I guess I'm doing some sort of spring cleaning but several months late. Oh well, at least I'm getting it done and hopefully my home will look a little bit less cluttered. And my husband will be happy to come home to a clean and semi decluttered home.

Next week we'll prepare everything for this years GREAT HOME MAKEOVER. We're getting a new kitchen. We'll buy a new fridge/freezer, oven, stove, microwave (I don't have one now) and get it all redone (flooor, walls, doors, cupboards) so it's going to be a huge job. My kitchen is really, really small and not at all well planned, so I've been wanting to do this ever since we bought this apartment. And next week it's finally time to get started. WOOOHOOO! I'm really, really thrilled about that. I'll keep you posted on the progress of my new kitchen.

This is a photo of the state of my kitchen last year. I've had lots of problems with the tubes and the kitchen has been flooded several times. When I took this photo the plumber was moving the washing machine so I took everything out of the kitchen. I took this photo so you can see how Moroccan kitchens looks like - there isn't much furniture, except for a place to put the stove and a few cupboards. I want a European kitchen, with a place to have a cup of tea or a quick snack and enough cupboards and shelves to put everything in its' place. Please say a prayer so the makeover will be quick and well done!

Anyway, I'll share this experience with you so stay tuned for the MAKEOVER of the year. *lol*

I finally did it!

What...? What did I do this morning? I did yoga..... *lol* For the first time in I don't know how long. I really love doing yoga and it helps me center on the things I need to do. Half an hour of yoga and I'm like new. Then I can really concentrate and get things done.

I used to do a 90-minutes routine every other day last year, until I went to Sweden on Christmas holiday, because I didn't take my mat with me and life was really stressful at that time = no time for yoga in 3 weeks. When I came back home to Morocco I wanted to get back to my routine but somehow there was always something to do or I was hungry or whatever and I found hundreds of excuses for not doing yoga. And of cause, I was back at being stressed out. Somehow I found the Sun Salutations really hard to do so that was a "good" reason not to do yoga. Well, the other day i found a much easier way to do the Sun salutation and now I've run out of excuses!

This morning I just couldn't stand that feeling of stress in my stomach any more and I decided I would do a very, very simple routine. Just a few Sun Salutations, Supported Shoulderstand, Plow Pose and Corpse Pose. It only took me like 15 minutes and here I am, just like new again! Why didn't I find this easy Sun Salutation- routine before? That would have saved me from lots of stress this summer. Oh well, at least I found it and it's going to be part of my morning routine from now on. And when i feel the stress levels rise - I'll have a date with my yoga mat and the sun.*lol*

I belong to a yoga group over at Café Mom. It's called Namaste. If you're into yoga, go and check it out!

Thursday, 9 August 2007

I just signed up for PPP

And I love it! My friend Linda told me about PPP several months ago and how great it was, but back then I didn't have a blog in English and I didn't think I would either. But then one day I finally decided it was time to spread my wings and try something new. My blog was born! Since then I've wanted to join PPP and today I was finally accepted. And I'm thrilled!

Payperpost is more than just a business that pays you to write reviews, it's a whole community with bloggers from all over the world, sharing opinions and experiences, not only about blogging but also about life in general and many other topics. I hope I'll be able to spend more time hanging out with the other bloggers, once the kids are back in school, because they seem to be really nice and friendly.

I hope joining PPP will help me reach my goal - paying for my studies! I have finally found out what I want to be "when I grow up" and that is a Spanish teacher. I've had so much fun this summer teaching Spanish and now that I'm on "vacation" I really do miss teaching. But going back to school means I have 5 years of studies ahead of me. 5 years of studying day and night, doing exams and reading endless books on grammar, linguistics and Latin verbs, as well as being a happy SAHM and taking care of my kids and our home. I know that's going to be tough but I'm going to make it! With a little help from my friends of cause. *lol*

My Church - on the inside

I LOVE my church! I think it's so beautiful, in spite of being such a small congregation. We're only about 20 regular churchgoers, including the brothers and sisters who live here. There are only 2 remaining Catholic churches in my province, which after all is quite ok considering the small number of churchgoers.

The brothers and sisters who live here are not allowed to any kind of missionary work, because that's against the law. Instead, they work for the poor and needed, like children with disabilities, teaching women to read and write, teach women how to sew so they can make a living and many other things in benefit for the society. I really, really do admire them, because they do a great job. At one time in my life I wanted to bea nun, but then things took a different turn. *lol*

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

WW - Smart solution

Blog for money

Yesterday I signed up for a new company, Smorty, since a friend of mine recommended it. So far I really like what I've seen because the user interface is very easy to use and it includes a lot of information on your progress. They basically help different companies advertise on blogs, just like mine.

I really like the idea of getting paid for blogging, because a) I LOVE to blog and I blog almost everyday anyway and b) I need the money so I can pay the university fee. Since it was a friend of mine who told me about this company I trust it to be okey and I'm looking forward to try it out for myself.

It's funny really, only 4 months ago I had no idea you could actually blog for money and now here I am, already writing reviews and earning some money. *lol* I think this is a great way to earn a little extramoney, from your own home, whenever suits you the best. This is a great opportunity for SAHMs, WAHMs and students. I'm really happy I decided to give it a try, because blogging is so much fun, and getting paid to write about different things adds another dimension to blogging, don't you think?

Happy ending

This is favorite song right now, I listen to it about 100 times a day:

The lyrics:

This is the way you left me.
I'm not pretending.
No hope, no love, no glory,
No happy ending.
This is the way that we love,
Like its forever.
Then live the rest of our life,
But not together.

Wake up in the morning,
Stumble on my life.
Can't get no love without sacrifice.
If anything should happen,
I guess I wish you well.
Mm A little bit of heaven,
With a little bit of hell.

This is the hardest story that I've ever told. (ooooo)
No hope, no love, no glory.
A happy ending gone forever more.
I feel as if I'm wasted,
And I'm wasted everyday.

This is the way you left me.
I'm not pretending.
No hope, no love, no glory,
No happy ending.
This is the way that we love,
Like its forever.
Then live the rest of our life,
But not together.

Two o'clock in the morning,
Something's on my mind.
Can't get no rest,
Keep walking around.
If I pretend that nothing ever went wrong
I can get to my sleep
I can think that we just carried on.

This is the hardest story that I've ever told. (ooooo)
No hope, no love, no glory.
A happy ending gone forever more.
I fell as if I'm wasted,
And I'm wasted everyday.

This is the way you left me, (Oh I fell as if I'm wasted)
I'm not pretending.
No hope, no love, no glory,
No happy ending.
This is the way that we love, (And I'm wasted everyday)
Like its forever.
Then live the rest of our life,
But not together.

Little bit of love


Monday, 6 August 2007

A new blog

I'm about to start a new blog! Oh yes, I'm back at my living room table doing cards. Hooray! I haven't done any cards in AGES but lately I feel really inspired again and I've decided to taka advantage of that mood and try to get over my cardmaking block. Yesterday I made 8 cards. So, in order to keep my different roles apart a bit I will have this blog for my every day life and the new blog just for card making. I'm not ready to go "live" with that blog yet, but in the next couple of days I guess I will and I'll introduce it to you. So stay tuned if you're into cards and you'll be able to see what I've been up to. *lol*

Time to log out from the computer and get my scrap boxes out and just go wild! I LOVE feeling creative and right now I really do.

See you later - in case I'm not making cards all night. *lol*

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Sunday Seven 3

I missed last week because I was too busy at work,but this week I'm back at being grateful for the week gone by.

Well, this week has been rather busy and I've been so tired due to all the work I've done these past weeks. So I've just tried to work as much as I could and get some rest, so I'll be fit for fight again next week.

This is my list this week:

  1. We have excellent health.
  2. I finished my Spanish class and my students were all very satisfied with my teaching. That was a boost for my self esteem.
  3. We went to mass today, in spite of all 3 of us being very tired.
  4. I've got several assignments for blogging ads this week,which takes me one step closer to going back to school. I need the money so I can pay the fee and buy the books.
  5. It rained a little today. Not enough to really get us wet, but at least the ground got a few drops of water and the air is not as full of sand as it usually is this time of year.
  6. I got a great book from Trish - "God's Garden of Grace" by Elizabeth George. I will start reading it next week.
  7. I feel alive and able to feel all kinds of feelings: hapiness, sorrow, love, longing, joy...
Life is such a gift!

Young readers

I just came across a great site - International Children's Digital Library which is a place where children can read children's books on line for free. They have books in several languages, like English, Spanish, Chinese and many, many more.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

My blog rating

Mingle2 - Vancouver Singles

OK,my blog is appropriate. Well, I'm not surprised. *lol* But I'm rather surprised that such a nice blog as My Masala is rated Inappropriate for children under 13.

Have you checked yours?