Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell

Waiting for our pancakes at Sugar Moon Farm
Most of the weekend was spent with the girls focused on homework (I'm starting to notice a pattern...) but we set aside some time on Saturday for our annual trek to Sugar Moon farm: a working maple farm, a sugar shack. It couldn't be put off any longer, we had run out of maple syrup.



We got up early, drove nearly two hours and beat the crowds and lineups, enjoying all you can eat pancakes by 10:00 am. We stocked up on syrup (6 liters of it - yup, we have to save up for this "necessity") then relished in our absolute favorite part: syrup on snow. Delicious, sticky, sweet, frozen maple taffy rolled around a popsicle stick, savored for as long as we can stretch it. Then we the girls just keep sucking on the stick to make sure every last bit of flavor has been tasted. One or more of us always ends up with sticky hair, gloves, sleeves. Sated, we walk off those heavy pancakes with a short hike up the hill to the old (now defunct) sugar shack, while enjoying the deep snow. Or in Pea's case, refusing to admit she should have listened to her mother and worn boots :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Scenes of West Africa - Baby Carriers

Dogon woman with baby swathed in cloth, grinding flour. Mopti, Mali
Photo Credit: Erwin Bolwidt
Forget fancy strollers and baby carriers, all that is needed is a piece of fabric to carry young children when working, running errands, or doing chores. Across Africa women can be seen carrying their babies the traditional way: swathed in cloth. It is considered convenient, leaving hands free, and an act of love and nurture, offering the warmth of a mother's body.  

Young children in their carriers, in the streets of Kumasi, Ghana
Photo Credit: Petr Kosina
If you're curious as to how it's done, watch the following video:


Friday, March 28, 2014

Akan Naming Practice - Soul Names

The Akan people are the largest ethnic group in both Ghana and Ivory Coast with a population of approximately 20 million among their various subgroups. Many Akan people believe the day they are born determine's their soul, therefore they often name their children with their 'soul names' - names based on the day of the week they are born. 

For example, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (of Akan descent, born in Ghana) was born on a Friday - Kofi being the soul name for males born on Fridays. Ghana's first president as an independent state, Kwame Nkrumah, was born on a Saturday - Kwame being the soul name for males born on Saturdays. If siblings are born on the same day, a soul name may not be used, or they are "numbered". If two sisters were born on a Friday, the eldest would be 'Afua', and the younger would be 'Afua Manu' ("the second" Afua).

You can read more about Akan naming ceremonies here.


To determine what day of the week you were born, use the tool found here You can read the characteristics ascribed to each soul day here.

From left to right, our Akan names are:
Amma, Kwadwo, Akua Manu, & Akua
Do you like your Soul Name?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Around the World with Pancakes: Ponnukokur | Icelandic Cream Pancakes


We're trying out pancakes from around the world, looking beyond fluffy pancakes and beyond breakfast food

In Iceland, ponnukokur are thin, crepe like pancakes that are enjoyed rolled with a sprinkling of sugar for breakfast or with tea. They are also enjoyed decadently with jam and whipped cream during festive occasions, such as Christmas. 


Our stack of not so thin or evenly sized ponnukokur

Another festive occasion for enjoying ponnukokur in Iceland is when welcoming the sun. Solarkaffi - Sun Coffee - is celebrated in various towns throughout Iceland when the sun makes it's first brief appearance after months of darkness. Whether at home or in community gathering halls, ponnukokur and coffee are served during this much anticipated glimpse of sunlight.


Jam, whipped cream and fresh fruit to be served with our ponnukokur

A special pan is used in Iceland to make these pancakes: it is round with a thick bottom to cook the batter quickly at fairly high temperatures. Good pans are often passed down from generation to generation, and new ones can be bought with a recipe for ponnukokur printed on the bottom.

Ponnukokur are meant to be very thin crepes. Legend has it that one can read the newspaper through the best, perfectly thin pancakes. (Ours did not meet that criteria) The key is a thin layer of batter, and rotating your pan immediately upon pouring the batter.


Ponnukokur pan (Source)
As a celebration of spring, last weekend we had festive ponnukokur, with whipped cream and jam. In Iceland, you are more likely to have blueberry jam on hand, but we used the girls' favorite raspberry jam. As a breakfast, they were rather decadent, especially when we used lots of whipped cream :)


Icelandic Cream Pancakes

Recipe adapted from Icelandic Review

  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
1. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cardamon in a large bow.

2. Whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Stir the milk into the flour, stirring until you have no lumps (ok, we still had a few lumps, and all was fine). Then add the melted butter. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

3. While the batter is resting, whip the cream.

While the batter rested, Elle whipped the cream and Pea cut up some fresh fruit.
The girls put it all together on a nice tray to be enjoyed with breakfast. 
4. Oil your pan then heat it on medium high. We poured 1/4 cup of batter on the hot pan - we tried with less hoping for thinner pancakes, but we just couldn't pull it off. Don't be surprised if your first pancake is a dud - it will still taste good :) When the pancake has little bubbles across and seems nearly cooked, flip and cook for about another 30 seconds. These cook fast, so keep an eye on them, and stack up them up until you've finished the batter.

We used our cast iron crepe pan (right) and a regular frying pan (left) to see if it made a difference. The crepe pan did cook them more evenly with better edges, but they all tasted good.
5. To assemble the cream pancakes, spread jam and then whipping cream over the crepes. Be careful not to add too much whipped cream or it could get messy! Then fold the crepe in half, and then in half again. 


Enjoy!


Find more multicultural recipes with Around the World in 12 Dishes, a group of bloggers that explore a set of countries, one per month, through food and activities. 
Find their roundup of Icelandic dishes and activities here. 

Find more pancake recipes on our page:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

West African Game: How to make and play the mancala game Oware


I always thought Mancala was a game - as it turns out, mancala is a family of games found throughout the world that are considered "pit and pebble" or "counting and capturing" games. These sowing games are believed to have originated in Africa seven thousand years ago, and continue to be played throughout Africa today. 

Oware/Mancala game board
Photo Credit: Adam Cohn

The variants of mancala games (over 300 in all) are known by many names: in Ethiopia it is Tegre; in Kenya it is Bao; in Ivory Coast it is Awale; in Ghana it is generally known as Oware (though has many other names depending on the language and dialect). The name Oware literally means "he/she marries" which is based on an Asante legend about a man and woman who were so taken by playing the game that they married in order to continue playing endlessly. 

Mancala game board carved in a castle
Photo Credit: Colleen Morgan

Monday, March 24, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell

Elle told me I looked funny, and seeing this picture, I can't help but concur.
I am putting my vanity aside for the sake of posterity
Three weeks ago, we made a commitment to go for a walk, somewhere surrounded by nature, at least once a week. So far so good :) Hubby's brother and kids joined us and we headed back for a walk around the frog pond. The kids had fun climbing boulders, investigating hollow trees and playing with ice. Of course, I forgot my camera - thankfully my brother in law had his phone, and captured the four of us mid walk. I don't know how the girls managed with such flimsy clothing - my face was numb from the cold by the time we were done. We walked this trail three weeks ago, and it was incredible how many differences we already noticed. We just might make a point of coming back to this trail regularly in order to take in seasonal changes. Camera in tow.

Elle joined her school's soccer team last week, so we took some time to get in a little practice. It was the blind leading the blind. And getting their feet covered in mud.
A good part of the weekend was devoted to working on school projects. Sunday night was a treat - the girls and I went to a dance recital put on by Dalhousie university's dance students. There was modern, jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, salsa, even a short performance of Ukrainian folk dance - the three of us were in awe throughout and thoroughly loved it. We couldn't help but dance around a little when we got home - our moves were "modern" indeed!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Scenes of West Africa - Can you guess what these mounds are?

Niger
Photo Credit: ACEI Cheung
These incredible mounds can be seen dotting the landscape in many areas of West Africa, indeed throughout many areas of Africa.

Niger
Photo Credit: Mathieu Dessus
These mounds are ant hills. Made by mound building termites. Some have been found to have a diameter of 30 meters! The mounds outlive the colony that built it - which is why the man above seems perfectly comfortable putting his hand on it. When the tunnels are exposed, it usually means the colony that built it is dead. 


Togo
Photo Credit: Jeff Ataway
And we thought we had ant problems in our backyard!


Termite mound, The Gambia
Photo Credit: Leonora Enking

Thursday, March 20, 2014

West African Staple Food - Yams {With Recipe for Nigerian Porridge}


Remember when I thought yams were the same as sweet potatoes? I picked up a piece of a yam at a West African grocery while visiting in Toronto to bring home and taste: in size, texture and taste, they are nothing like sweet potatoes. The piece of yam was approximately 7 inches long, and only a fraction of a whole that would have been too big to fit in my suitcase. Being a staple food of West Africa, and featuring in various recipes, I was lucky to find more pieces of yam for sale at a local independent grocery market. 

You can watch a video that shows and describes the differences between sweet potatoes and yam here.

Yams for sale at market, Nigeria
West Africa produces 94% of the world's yams, which are eaten in South America, the Caribbean, Asia, and of course Africa. It is a major staple food in West Africa, an important source of income to farmers, and plays a cultural role in some fertility and marriage ceremonies. Capable of being stored for up to six months without refrigeration, they are often important for survival. Yams are so important that there is an annual festival with festivities throughout West Africa to celebrate its harvest.  

Wholesale yam market, Ghana
These root vegetables are rich in vitamin C and are the main source of carbohydrates in most of West Africa. They can be boiled, roasted, baked, fried, or even dried and milled into flour. They are most often used for fufu, an accompaniment that is served with many West African dishes. Yam fufu, also known as pounded yam, is made with yams that are boiled and pounded with large mortar and pestle. 

Though we will be trying our hands at making traditional fufu, I thought our first yam dish would be a stew, one of many soup/stew recipes eaten throughout West Africa.




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why I Blog {Blog Hop}

I've recently been asked to answer a few questions regarding Why Write a Blog, as part of a blog meme. I was tagged by Claire, of Angelic Scalliwags, a heartfelt homeschooling blog with inspired ideas that I love to read. Since I enjoyed reading her answers, and it led me to reading various others, I decided to bite the bullet and write this post. Plus, she did ask so nicely :)




What am I working on?

Other than the family business my husband and I help run, this blog is what I consider myself to be working on. Part of that means I'm working on including the cultures we explored prior to beginning this blog - though this has proved more time consuming than I initially thought it would be. I have been toying with the idea of putting together an activity/informational book (something similar to Klutz books) that focuses on cultural exploration, but frankly, I have no idea how I would go about it!


How does my blog differ from other blogs in its genre?

I believe this blog differs in its focus. Though various blogs include posts about discovering world cultures, this blog almost exclusively posts about multicultural exploration. Which is because this blog is an effort to chronicle our immersion into one culture/country each year - though we do dip our toes into other cultures. I work better, am more motivated and more organized when working within a theme, and this blog reflects that. I have also found it challenging to find hands on multicultural activities online geared towards older kids, which I hope to bring to this blog as well. 

Why do I write what I do?

This blog is a chronicle of our family's year long immersion in a country/culture. This virtual exploration began many years ago, when I was a single mom to a darling girl who at the age of 6 wanted to travel. At the time, there was little money to pay for gas just to get to the beach nearby so travel wasn't (and still isn't) in the cards. I believed it was important to nurture her desire to learn about the ever shrinking world around her. Learning about various cultures encourages respect and empathy for others, appreciation for diversity, recognition of universal human emotions and needs, while (if done properly) dispelling stereotypes. Ironically (for this blog) our first country was China. As Pea grew up, our learning became more in depth. When our family became a foursome with Elle and Hubby, we took them along for the ride. Together we've "been" to Mexico, India, Scotland (Pea's heritage), France (Elle's heritage), Greece, and China (since the girls were older, and Elle didn't share in our first experience and had been asking for years). One of the reasons we explore for an entire year is to allow for the time to get a better sense of each culture, to learn and enjoy while getting past generalizations. Kids also tend to view their year in terms of holidays, often looking forward to the next celebration - I wanted them to experience cultures in this sense, getting to know and celebrating their festivals and holidays. Logistically, the girls aren't homeschooled, spending their days in school with all of its demands, and as a blended family spending time with their other parents- a year still seems to give us just enough time to scratch a little below the surface. 

This blog is written partly to look back on of some of the activities we do, and partly as a resource for others. I also enjoy the challenges it presents - the greatest being my reluctance and discomfort in writing and expressing myself and my ideas (This post is a challenge). I am also regularly learning (or struggling with) something new in relation to the technological aspects of keeping a blog, and the opportunities it offers for creativity.

For all of Pea's 15 years, I've been taking pictures of most everything we do as a family, yet those pictures rarely leave the memory card. I am not nearly as organized as I'd like, and at the moment it would be difficult to find and look back on the activities we did when exploring various countries prior to this blog. In relaying our activities, I am creating a scrapbook of sorts to look back on. Especially since there are many empty scrapbooks laying around waiting to be filled :) Our Weekend posts are as much for us to look back on, as to share with our family and friends we live far from and don't get to spend time with as much as we'd like.

I also really enjoy the research involved in learning about a new culture, but there is much research to be done. It seemed time to put together this research, in a way I can look back on, and as a resource for others. I like the idea that this blog can be a resource or inspiration for other families to explore a new culture. My friends have started their own families over the last couple of years, and they have often said that when their kids are older, they would like to learn about cultures like we have, but wouldn't likely have the time to pull it all together. With this blog, I hope to make it easier for anyone interested. 

An added, unexpected benefit of writing this blog is the blogging community I have found myself in. I've made connections to like minded parents whose blogs, insights and support I truly appreciate and look forward to every day. 


How does my writing process work?

I do lots and lots of research, and sometimes I manage to pull it all together in a cohesive way :) I am a gatherer of information, and while I gather I pull out relevant bits the girls might be interested in and add them to drafts. I basically take notes with titled draft posts. When I feel I've gathered enough information to properly learn about a subject, I go over it with the girls, either through conversation during our day to day, while trying out an activity, after reading a relevant book, or sometimes in a structured way showing them images and/or videos gathered online. Then I pull our experience of it together into a blog post. On occasion, the opposite is true - especially if there isn't an activity related to the subject - I turn my draft notes into a (hopefully) properly informative post, add photos found online (usually through flicker creative commons), then go over the post with the girls. I write with the hope and intent that a parent could read the posts and share with their kids, as well as for kids to read themselves (should they ever be inclined). 

Well, there you have it! As a blog hop, I am passing these questions along to three other bloggers whom I've had the pleasure to "meet" through blogging. 

Becky at Kid World Citizen is a mother and educator who blogs about various ways to explore our world.

Frances at Discovering the World Through My Sons Eyes, a mother who blogs about her multicultural family, heritage and bilingualism.

Phyllis at All Things Beautiful, a mother and homeschooler who blogs about her beautiful family's homeschool and ways in which to learn about science, history, culture and geography.

Our March Break in a Nutshell


We have all grudgingly gone back to work and school, after enjoying our week long break - well Hubby and I had to work, but we took most afternoons off. It's so nice getting to enjoy quality time with the girls, whether just relaxing, playing together or braving the weather and heading outdoors. 

March break is very different with a tween and teen than it used to be, though I did try my best at getting them to let go of their inhibitions, and just have fun. I didn't always succeed :) but our living room "dance" party was a start. We all took turns choosing the music: Elle obsessed with Frozen always turned to those songs, Pea pulled out hip hop, Hubby had a throwback to the 80s, and I mixed it up with oldies and African music. "Dancing" may not be exactly the perfect description of what we were doing, and though I may have had the oddest, wildest moves, the girls joined in with equal exuberance and we had a great time. Sometimes you just need to get silly and move. We also went to a 50s diner, and though there was some eye rolling at my excitement, by the end of dinner (after many returns from the jukebox) the girls were having fun sharing a milkshake, all three of us at once, in a restaurant crowded with people. I have pictures to prove it :)


We went for more slippery, icy walks; learned how to play mancala; made monkey bread for the first time - assembly line style; read books; went wall climbing; had an early St. Patrick's day potluck and games night with friends; and while Elle was at her mom's, Pea nearly watched an entire season of a favorite tv show. We may not have been able to get away, but we all had fun together. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Scenes of West Africa - The Pinasse

Pinasses on shore, Mali
Photo Credit: Martha de Jong-Lantink
Pinasses, a type of canoe, are the traditional form of transportation along the River Niger. You can watch a short video clip of sailing on a pinasse, and the views it offers, here.

Commercial pinasse, Mali
Photo Credit: Alexandre Baron


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Around the World with Pancakes: Jamaican Banana Fritters

Banana plant in Jamaica
Photo Credit: PJ Mixer
We're trying out pancakes from around the world, looking beyond fluffy pancakes and beyond breakfast food

Bananas are a popular staple food and important part of the diet in Jamaica, so it's no wonder banana fritters are a breakfast favorite.



There are many recipes for these pancakes, with the main variables being how much flour to add, and how much oil to fry them in. We used a recipe with small amounts for each - less flour would pronounce the banana flavor, and less oil make them healthier. With little flour, the insides were mushy soft, which we liked but some might prefer to add more flour. These can also be cooked on an oil free griddle, if you want to completely avoid frying, though they would be less authentic. We really enjoyed the fresh fruit flavor of these, especially as we topped them with a sprinkle of lemon juice and cinnamon sugar. I would also recommend doubling this recipe if you enjoy a big breakfast - we were still hungry after inhaling these :)


Jamaican Banana Fritters

Recipe adapted from Jamaica No Problem

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or powdered)
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • vegetable or coconut oil
  • lemon juice for topping
  • cinnamon sugar for topping (1/4 cup sugar & 1 tbsp cinnamon)
1. Mash the bananas with a fork. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, nutmeg, brown sugar and egg. Mix well to combine.

This seemed like the perfect time to use our fresh nutmeg

2. Whisk together flour and baking powder. Stir into banana mixture. Add milk and stir to combine into batter.

3. Heat a pan on medium high, and cover generously in oil. Make the fritters by dropping tablespoons of batter in the hot oil. Cook so they are golden on both sides, a couple of minutes on each side.

4. Enjoy with a sprinkle of lemon juice and cinnamon sugar.




Find more pancake recipes on our page:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Our Weekend in A Nutshell

This weekend heralded the beginning of spring break, though I can't say we did anything too exciting. We did make a point of getting out of the house though, it being about time to come out of hibernation :)


We found some African produce at Pete's Frootique, a gourmet grocery market. Elle is holding a cassava (can you imagine digging that root out of the ground?)
The QEII Lifestyles lottery started up again - a bi-annual lottery with all proceeds going to our city's hospital and health center. Our family is slightly obsessed with these lotteries - the grand prize is a new home, and we are always rather excited to check it out on the first day it opens for viewing. Though some (yes, I) may question the "necessity" of such a large house for our small family (think of those extended families living in 2 room apartments; think of the environmental footprint; think of the cleaning!), I have moments, such as standing in front of the granite top kitchen island, when my ambivalence dissipates. It's for a good cause, right? And for the first time, the girls did not bicker on which room would be theirs. They took it upon themselves to use the turkey wishbone, saved for such an important occasion as this, with the understanding that they were making the same wish.


The highlight of the weekend for me was a walk around a new (to me) trail. Though covered in ice, Hubby, Elle and I had a great time slipping up and down the trail. It's always a great feeling getting out in the woods, and getting some much needed exercise :)

Elle's highlight: convincing us to join her in a Frozen sing-a-long via youtube.
Pea's highlight: trying on dresses for her junior prom with her friend.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Our attempts at Carrying a Load on our Heads

Woman carrying loaded container on her head
Photo Credit: G-Lish Foundation
How do you carry load? We use back packs, carry things in our arms, or in a bag over our shoulders. In most areas of West Africa, loads are carried on people's heads, a way of life that generally starts at the age of 12. 


You can watch a very short clip of a woman walking while carrying a load here.


According to some researchers in biomechanics, African women can carry loads of up to 20% of their body weight with no increase in their metabolism, which means they don't burn any more energy than if they were carrying nothing. With the use of energy, some women carry up to 70% of their body weight! Apparently, this method evenly spreads weight, while the spine carries this weight rather than the muscles. Other research though has noted that sore necks are a common problem, and that carrying on one's head is not the most optimal way of transporting loads, and is no better than a back pack. 

Zou, Benin
Photo Credit: Willem Heerbaart
We decided to "give this a try". First, I had them hold a 10 lb bag of potatoes, noting that its weight is only half of 20% of Elle's body weight, hoping they could imagine carrying the equivalent of two bags of potatoes on their heads. Then, before I could hand over a kleenex box to see how tricky balancing would be even with something quite light, Elle had a bag of potatoes on her head. And of course we all followed suite!



We tried with a plastic bin, a package of toilet paper, kleenex boxes, and of course bags of potatoes. 


After some practice we could walk a few lengths with the potato bags balanced on our heads. The potatoes moved around to accommodate the shapes of  our heads. The other items, though much lighter, mostly slipped off. 


Hubby was so comfortable, turning on a dime with his potato sac, you'd think he'd been doing it for years! 

Though there is no real comparison to the loads carried on a daily basis in West Africa, it was an interesting exercise, not to mention fun!

Scenes of West Africa

People buying and selling at a market in Nigeria
Photo Credit: IITA Image Library

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ghana's Independence Day {Getting to know the Ghanaian flag and anthem}

Today, March 6th, is Ghana's Independence day, marking 57 years of independence from colonial rule. 


The people of the colony known as the Gold Coast were ruled by the British since 1874. On March 6, 1957, under the new name of Ghana, the territory became the first sub-Saharan country to gain its independence. Their lives and resources would no longer be ruled by the British, they would be free to decide how to manage their territory, economy, and resources.

The word Ghana means "warrior king".

Most importantly, by gaining its independence, Ghana forged the way for many other colonial ruled territories - within five years of Ghana's independence, 25 other African nations gained independence as well.

"Ghana's independence is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of Africa" 
- from Kwame Nkrumah's independence speech (first president of Ghana). 
You can read the entire speech here.

Ghana's independence movement began shortly after WWII, after Ghanaians had served and fought for Britain's freedom. Led by Kwame Nkrumah and inspired by India's independence movement, resistance started with civil disobedience and peaceful protests. As their peaceful protests were met by violence from the colonizers, violent conflict ensued. By 1951, Britain allowed for free elections during which Kwame Nkrumah (who was imprisoned at the time) and his party won by a landslide. This began the process of towards full independence.

Jubilee for Ghana's 50th Anniversary of Independence in 2007
Photo Credit: Oluniyi Ajao & Sweggs
Following Ghana's independence, Nkrumah made changes to the constitution ensuring a stronghold of power for himself and a government ruled only by his followers. Unfortunately his presidency became a dictatorship and through extravagant overspending, he put Ghana into deep debt. Though overthrown in 1966, for years Ghana was beset with conflict, corruption, military rule, and economic hardship. There has been greater stability since the late 1990s, and Ghana has secured the status of a stable democracy in 2004 because leadership had been transferred legitimately by election since 2001, over the course of two elections. Furthermore over the past 20 years, there has been record poverty reduction, and steadily increasing economic growth.

Ghana Flag
Photo Credit: David Whillans
Ghana's national flag has three horizontal stripes of red, gold and green, with a black star in the center. The red represents the blood of those who died fighting for independence, the gold represents Ghana's mineral wealth, the green represents the country's forests, and the black star stands for African freedom. 

You can find a printable Ghanaian flag at Crayola

Below is the first stanza of the Ghanaian national anthem, as found on Vocal National Anthems:


You can read the lyrics to the anthem here.

Map used was sourced from: The World Factbook 2013-14. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2013 .
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Monday, March 3, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell


This past Saturday was "L- Day", Elle's half birthday, the one day of the year she gets to choose everything we do and eat, and doesn't have to clean up after herself. She took full advantage of the latter! It's interesting to see the differences of what the girls choose on "their day" as they get older. For example, where it used to be an outing of sorts, Elle's choice of how to spend her morning this year was unlimited time on her tablet (rather than her regular 30min limit). She also wanted to see Frozen for a second time, so we treated ourselves to a Saturday afternoon at the movies (we even threw frugality out the window and bought popcorn), and then she got an at home pedicure in the evening. 

Sunday, we headed over to my sister's to celebrate Grandma's birthday. The past year has brought many positive changes in my mother's life, and we are so happy for her! It was great having everyone together to celebrate this wonderful woman, who continues to give of herself each and every day to her family. We love you Grandma! Happy Birthday!
 
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