The Abscondita Effect

Maggie has a uniform.

It was her only request when she started working with us.  We agreed and had some made, including aprons.

My father in law is a mechanic, so he spends a lot of time on overalls. As Leo has not started school yet, he spends a lot of time with his grandpa tinkering around. We decided to have an overall made for him so we do not have to struggle with grease on his clothes. You should have seen how excited he was when he wore it for the first time, he even wanted to sleep in it.

Now my princess felt left out and asked for a uniform like Maggie’s. Complete with an apron so she can help out in the housework. I was taken aback at first as I thought she would ask for an overall like her brother’s. But no, she was adamant. Uniform with an apron, same design and colour as Maggie’s.

I thought it was a phase and ignored it for some weeks, but the girl was persistent. Turns out she even requested Maggie to take her to the local tailor to have her measurements taken. This Mum still thought it was a joke, until I was asked for some money to pay the fundi yesterday morning.

I came home from work to find my girl brimming with pride over her uniform. I have never been so jazzed up as I was yesterday. The girl is so excited she can now look like Maggie as she helps her.

I am learning a lot out of this; I am a young parent but I am learning to let my kids be. If it does not harm them and will help them, who am I to deter them?

I have learnt to appreciate Maggie more. She is excellent with kids and it is obvious they love and respect her. A LOT. She loves them too, see how she just took them to have measurements taken and even picked the clothes herself. Men the kids do not even talk back at her (unlike me). Yani, I do not know how I can ever repay her for the great job she is doing with my kids.

I have also learnt that written education is not everything. In many of the Moms groups I am in, mothers are looking for young, educated help for their kids and a whole endless list of perfect qualities they must have. Ours was only for Maggie to love and care for our kids and she has done a fabulous job, without even knowing how to read. Yes, you read me right. The first time she told me she was semi –literate I thought she was joking but yes, she cannot read written instructions. And yes, she was able to measure formula well and has never mixed up the kids’ medication.

I have learnt to be patient. Maggie is much older than H and I. We have learnt to take some things in stride and overlook some, because nobody is perfect in this world. And she is much wiser than us, raised more kids than us and lived longer than us, so on some issues, she knows best and me and my degree certificates just take a back seat. She also cooks porridge better than me, according to my angels 🙂

This has also challenged me on the gender stereotypes we have, and I am still working on this. We have exposed both kids to the same environment, they both tinker with their grandpa on the cars he is working on, both help in house chores including the cooking, both help out in the shamba, both play with the same toys (they have full blown tea parties) but Njeri just gravitated towards household chores. I need to dust off my developmental psychology notes as I am lost on this. Have we subconsciously taught them gender roles or is it just Njeri growing into her gender identity? Leo has more blurred lines but you will hear him say some things are not for boys, or for girls.

Raising kids is a whole degree in psychology I tell you.

Election Season +254

A few months ago we had a sermon series in Church about the role of a Christian in the political space. There was a phrase, “When Good People do Nothing, Evil prevails.”
Out of that we were challenged; if you are not happy with the status quo and have the means and conviction to do so, run. Run for office and change things from within. That sermon made an impact on many of us. For Samantha Maina, running for MCA in Kileleshwa Ward, that was a sign. She was frustrated by a couple of potholes outside her home for the longest time, and had tried to engage the current MCA but to no avail. So she decided to run and change things from within. Boniface Mwangi announced his candidature for Starehe constituency after years of activism. You may not agree with him, but he has also taken a necessary step to change things from within.

Many of us do not have the courage to do so, but we can support those who do. Look around you guys. We cannot afford to be apathetic. We all have an active role to play in our country’s decision making process. Refuse to conform, be concerned for ALL, and have the courage to intervene.
We need to make an effort to understand each other’s differences and appreciate our diversity. We have to seek healing and reconciliation and begin to trust one another again.

Our leaders are there to SERVE us. Let that sink in guys, SERVE US. We are the ones who employ them. So look around you, examine all those running for office around you. Look at the MCA candidates, those running for MP, Women’s rep, Senator, Governor and President. Do they have manifestos? They should, every one of them, because that is the only way you as a voter will know what they stand for and what you should hold them accountable to for the next five years. Especially MCA, MP and Governor, The buck stops with them. How will they manage the funds allocated from Central government? How accessible will they be? What are their plans for the county? Etc. Devolution is new to us and the past five years have shown us the loopholes that need to be sealed. Examine the candidates guys. Wachambue kabisa.

We also need to examine ourselves as voters. Hii mambo ya kuuza kura and benefiting from some candidates’ handouts needs to stop!
Dagoretti South constituents, I am looking at you. Eh! Dennis alituacha, wanted to run for Nairobi governor saw he could not make it, ran back to the constituency, lost Jubilee nomination, now splurging funds east, west, north and south so he can retain his seat. Folks, do you seriously think he has our best interests at heart? Think deep and hard about it, in fact go stand outside his recent development something “meadows” hapo Naivasha road and think hard and deep if he has the constituents’ best interests at heart when he says he wants to retain his seat. Ha!
As for our governor , the least said the better, let’s just say the suit doesn’t hide the thuggery. Women’s Rep, what is that again? Senator? No comment. President? None of these so called “two horses” deserve to lead. None. Do you honestly think they have our best interests at heart? Really? Really? Think hard and deep. And there are OTHER candidates by the way.

We cannot afford to be apathetic guys. We have a responsibility and a role to play as the citizens of this country we need to be strong and courageous enough to make a difference. So we have until Monday to read those manifestos and chambua those running for office in our counties. Tulale unono, tuchaguane Tuesday kwa Amani. Vote wisely peeps!

It Takes a Village.

This past Saturday, H and I attended a parenting forum that had been organized by one of our Church departments. They had sent out texts about three weeks earlier and has asked folks to RSVP to confirm attendance.

It was an early meeting, from 8-11am, So we were able to plan that day well in advance to be there on time. Not much information had been given, but since it had been billed as an open and free parenting forum, I assumed many parents would sign up. Wrong. We were exactly 12 people. TWELVE! Out of a church with many members, most of whom are young parents. TWELVE. And these twelve included the facilitators and church staff present. Never mind that the texts had been sent to all church members with kids aged 12 and below. TWELVE. To say I was shocked and disappointed is an understatement. I know some had work and urgent commitments but 12 is such a low number.

Anyway, those who did not come missed out on a lot. The forum was basically an open discussion on how we are raising the children we have now, to be the proper adults of the future.

A lot has changed in the world culturally, socially, technologically, scientifically, education wise, but there are still core issues that need to be ingrained in the children we are raising.

  • What values are we instilling in them, and how will they be able to maintain those values? Exposure is key, but there have to be boundaries set on the same.
  • What determines our children’s self-worth? How will they know who they are? From a young age, they are taught everyone is a winner, till they grow a bit older and realize it does not always work that way. We need to start celebrating the right successes in them and with them.
  • Do our children have a relationship with God? This is taught by the parents, not the Sunday school teachers. They need to know how to pray and that God answers prayers. God does not make mistakes, and He listens, even if He does not answer immediately.

Role modeling.

Are we appropriate role models? Who are your children’s role models? In our parents’ time, our aunties and uncles, even neighbours had a right to call us out when we did wrong. It is not the same these days. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” has changed, or is no longer even valid in some places.

Fact is, as parents we NEED that village. You need fellow parents to encourage you, your child needs village members to learn from as you may not be able to do it all. You could have a grandparent, an auntie, an older cousin and an older friend who know your values, agree with them and are able to impart the same to your children in a way that it does not seem to come from you directly. There was even a great example given to observe how our children treat those younger than them, who look up to them. Observing such interactions speaks volumes on what our children are learning from us. Remember the saying, “Monkey say, monkey do?”

We need to be deliberate and intentional about the people around our children.

Transferable Skills

There are those things we can be able to teach our children to equip them for the world ahead:-

  • Communication skills. Both verbal and non-verbal. When we teach them how to communicate, they are able to express themselves successfully. For younger ones, understand but do not encourage the tantrums.
  • Taking Initiative. Do not decide everything for your child. Allow them to verbalize what they want.
  • Creativity. That is, encourage free flow and expression of the ideas they come up with. Do not schedule their every minute, it is alright to allow them to get bored a bit.
  • Integrity. How do we handle the first “white lie?” Do we lie to them?
  • Attitude. “Talk to the hand” should be nipped in the bud as soon as possible, they need to learn how to have the right attitude.
  • Work Ethic. Always think about the adult your child will become. Let them not think that work tires and is a drudge. Work can be fun, work is rewarding. Encourage them to learn and enjoy work.
  • Team Work. Teach them how to work within a team, how to partner with others. How to interact well with others. Let each have a turn in doing something and celebrate the joint successes.
  • Leadership.How to lead themselves and lead others. Also comes in with patience, honesty, attitude, taking initiative and working well in a team.
  • Time management. We need to teach them how to divide time between different things. Schedule but do not overdo it. Routines are good and teach them there is a time for play, for chores, for others, etc.
  • Listening skills. Reading to them hones their listening skills. Also listen to them as a parent, expect a response from them to know whether they are paying attention or not. Ask them if they understand what you have said. Use age appropriate language and terms so as not to confuse them.
  • Personal Development. Appreciate the milestones. (Do not reward) Make them look forward to each stage of development.
  • Research and Critical thinking. Let them find solutions, do not always give them the right answers.
  • Information Technology. Let them know what it entails just limit the exposure.

There was a lot more and some of these skills were expounded in detail that each would probably need a blog post on its own.

It was a great session, H and I as well as the other parents in session learnt so much and agreed to another forum in future, but most importantly, agreed to share with others what we learnt.

It is never too early to prepare your child for the adult they will become in the future. We are not just raising future scientists, teachers, politicians, engineers, chefs, musicians etc. We are also raising future fathers, mothers, aunties, uncles, workers, and role models.

As I look at our two children right now and how H and I are raising them, we are now conscious that what we may not nip now, will rear its ugly head in a few years, and what we water now, will blossom wonderfully in a few years too.

Have you been to any parenting forum? How was your experience?

Weekend Recap: Nairobi Mamba Village.

Saturday

Was Njeri’s day to have her hair done. Nothing much happened. I visited my former work place and it was nice catching up with former colleagues. We stayed in traffic for a long time though. I do not know why I had the not so bright idea of heading to Mombasa Road on the same day as the Mater Heart Run. Sigh.

Saturday dinner was chicken and lemon, chunky fries and coleslaw. I was happy that I would finally get pictures for the recipe so I could update it on the blog but Kenya Power had brighter ideas. Power was gone the whole afternoon till next morning. The food was delicious though. The only photo I got before my phone went off did not do the meal any justice. LOL

Sunday

Went to Church and decided to head to Mamba Village to treat the kids.

Mamba Village is a crocodile farm located along the Langata – Karen Road, just after Stedmark Gardens. The big sign on the road is no longer there so I had to call for directions. We were shocked when we got there. The place has huge grounds but the landscaping and some of the facilities have been severely neglected.

The restaurant grounds are beautiful though, well-kept and clean. And the washrooms were very clean too. Other positives were the service and the food albeit less positive. Service was fast, food was good, though nyama choma was a bit dry (the beef especially), and not marinated as claimed.

You have the option of a la carte or a platter selection. Their buffet is Kes 1500 per person, which didn’t make sense for us to try cause of the kids. We decided to go for a meat platter with three different accompaniments.  That was more than enough for the four of us and we even had to take away some of the meat.

The highlight of the place however are the Nile Crocodiles they have there. They are divided into three sections. The kids, the teens and the mature crocs. The kids were fascinated and Njeri even held a baby croc! Too cute.

​​

The Mature Crocs basking in the sun

That is a two year old tortoise, isn’t it the cutest?

They also have some tortoises and three female ostriches. Njeri and Leo were bowled over by the tortoises too, especially the baby one that was so small it could fit in her hand. She did not want to let go of it. We had a guide too, Stephanie who took as round, answered all our questions, involved the kids in a little Q and A of what they had seen. Let’s just say we all learnt a lot.

We were also lucky enough to watch the crocs being fed. This is done once a week, every Sunday at 4.30 pm. Messy and stinky affair to be honest but also quite intriguing.

Mamba Village will have to do a lot to reclaim its lost glory, especially now that neighbouring Stedmak Gardens has started a small park too with snakes, ostriches, turtles etc.

Price wise, H and I paid Kes 250 each, Njeri Kes 100 and Leo got in free. Their Facebook page is Mamba village  I found the pricing quite fair and would not mind going there again.

Have a great week ahead and strive to learn something new every day!

Weekend Recap

Friday

A couple of my colleagues decided to check out #nairobiburgerfest to kick off this weekend and why should I not tag along given my love of food?

Venue of choice: Urban Burger at Prestige Plaza, Ngong road .

It is the newest branch of the Urban Gourmet Brand and it has kept up the standard  quite well methinks.

It was quite busy as it was lunch time and burgerfest after all, but the service was on point. I had a cheese burger, my colleagues had the Texan burger, the blue cheese and the fourth was the chilli burger. Unfortunately the chilli burger was not as hot as the waiter made us believe, but delicious nevertheless. We had the burgers with fries, onion rings and coleslaw on the side. We were all stuffed, and had to get doggy bags for the fries. The patties were juicy, the buns fresh, the salsa on point too.  They really do have great burgers and I am delighted that they are now closer to where I work. Yum!

Saturday

Was to take Njeri to dance class then spoil her rotten afterwards. Unfortunately, dance class was canceled and she had a tummy ache so decided to stay home and sleep. I decided to do a bit of shopping for the kids and stock up on groceries. Came across this place; Tracy’s Kids Collection and I am in love. Good quality and beautiful selection of kids wear at really good prices. Her customer care is top notch too and she is located just across the popular Smart Baby at Chaka road. Smart Baby does have good clothes too but awful customer service. I am done with them. Tracy’s  is my new boo!

Rushed home to check on Njeri after grocery shopping. Sigh. Current food prices are a joke! I really do not see how the current government expects us to reelect them.  H was coming home from a work trip, decided to make him some yummy chicken biryani with creamy cucumber salad. I got the biryani recipe here Easy and quick. I did get carried away with the food colour though. LOL.

This was my second time to attempt this dish and I am pretty proud of my effort!

18422530_1464712330269327_2067160197869867458_o
Chicken biriani with creamy cucumber salad

Creamy cucumber salad recipe. (Serves 3-4)

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and deseeded, and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup natural yoghurt, sieved to remain with a smooth curd (takes an hour so to remove the whey)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp mixed herbs
  • I small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp dhania chopped finely

Method

  • Mix the curd with the onions, herbs, dhania and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cucumber, mix well and chill till ready to serve.

PS: Ensure the yoghurt drains well and deseed the cucumber so salad is not too watery and runny.

Sunday

I have said here before I love weekend breakfasts, and as a Mother’s Day treat to myself, I made these yummy pear and nutmeg pancakes. I reduced the sugar though to 2 tbsp as I did not want them too sweet.

The taste is out of this world, OMG!!!! I served with some fruits and downed with my usual ginger tea.

18422559_1465303296876897_1427812203557469366_o
Pear and nutmeg pancakes with an assortment of fruits and jam

This is one recipe I need to try again. Too delicious!!!!

Also check out more recipes on Kaluhi’s blog. They are easy to make, use easily available and affordable ingredients, you cannot fail to have a delicious and filling meal as a result.

After church we stopped over at Wilson airport for the kids to do a bit of plane watching as we caught up with  a good friend. Njeri and Leo loved it! Uncle Alex scored maximum points with them on that one. Headed home as my bestie Vee was around. We caught up on stories of work, food, future dreams etc ; the visit actually ended up being a sleepover as we were still chatting past midnight. LOL.Too bad she has to go back to Uganda tomorrow. It was a great weekend to say the least.

Have a great week ahead!

Going the extra mile.

This was shared in one of the Whatsapp groups I am in:-

“Ezra and Thomas joined a company together a few months after their graduation from university.
After a few years of work, their Manager promoted Ezra to a position of Senior Sales Manager, but Thomas remained in his entry level Junior Sales Officer position.
Thomas developed a sense of jealousy and disgruntlement, but continued working anyway.
One day Thomas felt that he could not work with Ezra anymore.
He wrote his resignation letter, but before he submitted it to the Manager, he complained that Management did not value hard working staff, but only promoted the favoured!
The Manager knew that Ezra worked very hard for the years he had spent at the company; even harder than Thomas and therefore he deserved the promotion.
So in order to help Thomas to realize this, the Manager gave Thomas a task.
“Go and find out if anyone is selling water melons in town?”
Thomas returned and said, “yes there is someone!”
The Manager asked, “how much per kg?”
Thomas drove back to town to ask and then returned to inform the Manager; “they are 13.50 per kg!”
The Manager told Thomas, “I will give Ezra the same task that I gave you. Please pay close attention to his response!”
So the Manager said to Ezra, in the presence of Thomas;“Go and find out if anyone is selling water melons in town?”
Ezra went to find out and on his return he said: “Manager, there is only one person selling water melons in the whole town. The cost is 49.00 each water melon and 32.50 for a half melon. He sells them at 13.50 per kg when sliced. He has in his stock 93 melons, each one weighing about 7kg.
He has a farm and can supply us with melons for the next 4 months at a rate of 102 melons per day at 27.00 per melon; this includes delivery.
The melons appear fresh and red with good quality, and they taste better than the ones we sold last year.
He has his own slicing machine and is willing to slice for us free of charge.
We need to strike a deal with him before 10am tomorrow and we will be sure of beating last year’s profits in melons by 223 000.00.
This will contribute positively to our overall performance as it will add a minimum of 3.78% to our current overall sales target.
I have put this information down in writing and is available on spreadsheet.
Please let me know if you need it as I can send it to you in fifteen minutes.”
Thomas was very impressed and realized the difference between himself and Ezra.
He decided not to resign but to learn from Ezra.”

===================

As we begin this fresh year, let this story help us keep in mind the importance of going an extra mile in all our endeavors.

You won’t be rewarded for doing what you’re meant to do, you only get a salary for that!

You’re only rewarded for going an extra mile; performing beyond expectations.

To be successful in life you must be observant, proactive and willing to do more, think more, have a more holistic perspective and go beyond the call of duty.

Weekend recap

Hello Lovelies, good bye to another work free weekend! If this is not bliss, I do not know what else bliss could be 🙂

Saturday morning was spent with one of my good friends. It did feel nice popping in to someone’s office on a Saturday morning just to say hi. H and I had a few errands to run but the traffic really slowed us down. We ended up at Kiambu again but no pork this time round. We just bought some takeaway and ate while running around.

There is a lot of construction happening in this town it makes me wonder if all of these properties will get occupied. Methinks the bubble is going to bust soon and it will be ugly. It’s already hard enough for commercial properties to get tenants fast enough; cannot imagine the same with residentials. And the cost of these houses is no small change either. The prices are just ridiculous.

Sunday was lunch at a good friend’s place. I am so mad at myself for not taking photos of the spread. And it was quite a spread. Pork ribs with the meat falling clean off the bones, Sadza (southern Africa’s version of ugali), dried greens in peanut butter sauce, rice, chicken curry and these amazing butternut in coconut cream with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. I was in heaven! Njeri demolished that pork like there was no other food on the table she even got some take away. Hahahahaha. My friend Mandy is an amazing cook, I should really get photos of the next meal she cooks for us.

Have a lovely week ahead friends.