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The most practical parenting plan:3 stages of respectful parenting 

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The most practical parenting plan:3 stages of respectful parenting . . "A child is a student when playing with sticks. A child is a student when learning to write between lines. A child is a student every single minute because he/she is already living his/her life; we must refrain from entertaining the thought that we need to train children to begin living their lives as adults" . . Click the link on the bio for the blog post on the The most practical parenting plan:3 stages of respectful parenting . What methods do you lean towards? Do share your thoughts💟 . . https://nuzham.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/the-most-practical-parenting-plan3-stages-of-respectful-parenting/?preview=true #homeschoolingmom #homeschool #muscathomeschoolers #muscatbloggers #muscatblog #muscatblogging #omanmums #omanblog #muscatblogging #muslimama #muscat #unschooling #homeschooling #joyfulmamas #motherhoodrocks #letthembelittle #educationsystems #sunnah #raising #lovelearning #themomtribefollowloop #mamatomama #mamaloop9 #mamacanteach #learningathome #muslimama #islamicparenting #instamom #muslimhomeschool #motherhoodthroughinstagram #cheekygigglesonapumpkintummy

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Today I came across a post on a popular mommy page where a mother was asking for book recommendations to teach her 5 month old baby. Teach. Not read to or show but teach.

The other day, another mom in the same group had posted a message out of panic. Due to being pregnant with her second child, this mother had been unable to teach her child to write and do sums and now she is worried that the child would be a failure and shunned. How old was the child in question? Two.

Two years old. 24 months.

We have fallen prey to the demands of this world. We created those demands and now, are in danger of being crushed by them.

When something as natural as learning starts to stress out the student or the teacher,then there is something unnatural in the mix. Take a break and evaluate your goals and priorities. 

“A child is a student when playing with sticks. 

A child is a student when learning to write between lines. 

A child is a student every single minute because he/she is already living his/her life; we must refrain from entertaining the thought that we need to train children to begin living their lives as adults

Here is a beautifully explained piece on parenting that I try to remember to live by:

“On the subject of raising children, Ali ibn Abi Taalib (RA) said:

“Play with them for the first 7 years of their life, then teach them for the next 7 years; and then finally advise them for the next 7 years afterwards .”
*First 7 Years
In the first 7 years, your goal is to build a strong connection with your child. This is the foundation, the base from which your relationship with them grows. If this rock is solid, the remaining years will be much easier. If this foundation forms poorly, the next years will be more challenging.
If you have young children, this (first 7 years) is the time to roll up your sleeves and invest, heavily, in yours and their future. In fact, you will be rewarded for all the righteous progeny that survives you, not just children, until the Day of Judgement.
*Next 7 Years
Once children reach 7, they are ready to learn. This is the time they are sponges, ready to soak up anything and everything you tell them, teach them, show them, and do in front of them. If you built that solid foundation in ages 0-7, they are now more than willing and happy to learn from you.
This is the time to teach them everything — aqeedah, halaal and haraam, fiqh, all the things they need to know to survive throughout their life. Qur’an and seerah are also very important; as one prominent tabi’een said, “we learned seerah (frequently and in details) from our parents the way we learned Qur’an.”
Teach them sports too, Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Teach your children Swimming, Archery and Horseback riding.” They gain many benefits from it, including physical fitness, learning teamwork, and sportsmanship.

*The Final 7 Years
Once your children hit 14, they are probably already mukallaf (full adults Islamically, and accountable for their actions) — this happens at puberty, or at age 15 at the latest.
At this age, you are mostly out of the picture. Children achieve independence; their personalities manifest; they look more to their peers than their parents and families. During these critical years, befriend them, advise them, and do what you can; understand that they are now full adults, and the choices are theirs to make, right or wrong.
If you worked hard during the last two periods of 7 years, you will already be that trusted confidant, that advisor, that go-to person when they need help or advice. Be part of their lives, and advise them as best you can.

May the almighty aid us in raising our kids!

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Children · Craft · Expat Moms and Kids · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Islamic parenting · Kindergarten · Learning colours · Parenting · Unschooling

Colour the traffic lights:preschool

Another fun way to teach colours and keep little hands occupied for hours(if you read on for the little trick)!

I printed this traffic light template for a quiet book back when I naively assumed I could follow a tutorial. Needless to say, it did not get used.

I came across the sheet when clearing a drawer and was struck with an idea to use it to keep my little guy occupied whenever the big sister needs my complete attention.

He is not a big fan of colouring- I had to get creative!

Stuck a piece of transparent sticky sheet thing on the page, hunted for white-board markers in red,yellow and green colours, and a dry eraser and left him to it.

Surprisingly, he was at it for a while; he liked being able to erase it over and over again.

You can download it off the following site.

http://www.oopseydaisyblog.com/2010/09/quiet-book-templates.html

This activoty made me realise how easy it is to come up with fun ways to teach and helped reinforce our aim of not wasting anything.

I’m sure you would have your own light-bulb moments in your learning journey;would love to hear from you!
Cheeky Giggles and lots of good wishes blown your way!

Baking tips · Expat Moms and Kids · Homemade · Homeschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Kitchen tips · Muscat Moms and Kids · Muslim Mama · Natural alternatives · Recipes · Vegan

THE fudgy vegan brownie

I love potlucks!
Even before discovering my love for food(was quite late, surprisingly), I have always enjoyed a party where everyone brings in a dish to share. For that is what food means to me. Food is about family, friends and memories and what better way to enjoy all of that than by sharing different dishes together? 

It is quite easy to pick a dish when you know the crowd and are sure of preferences. 

It is less easy when you do not know the guests very well; different tastes,dietary needs and allergy issues are all factors.

When we were invited for a not-back-to-school beach bbq by our local homeschooling community, I went through my recipe book(yes, I write down my favourite recipes!) but could not settle on anything. A good friend would be attending with her family and I wanted to make sure that my dish was vegan to share it with them as well.  

When someone else picked salad, I decided to hunt for a brownie recipe because who does not love a good brownie?

I stumbled upon a wonderful blog full of healthy desserts; just reading some of them made me declare my intentions to eat healthy if healthy always looked like that!

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/ Visit her blog for more amazing recipes.

I adapted her vegan brownie recipe to fit whatever I had in my pantry and it turned out really well; did not miss the eggs and butter! 

I used hazelnut milk because it is a long established fact that hazelnut and chocolate has the best marriage, and opted for coconut oil because I hopped on to the coconut oil wagon quite a while ago and do not plan on getting off anytime soon. 

You may choose suitable substitutes. Maybe use wholemeal flour and make it a bit more healthy?

The recipe did not call for black beans or any ingredient that would require a run to the store- definitely my kind of recipe.

Give it a go and let me know if you liked it!

Just a heads up: although it is super fudgy, not too sweet, and just right with a cold glass of milk, it does stick to the roof of the mouth a bit. Nothing a good swig of milk can’t clean. 

Happy baking!

THE fudgy vegan brownie

  • Servings: 20 generous squares
  • Print

Ingredients

1 cup and 2 tbsp of hazelnut milk

1/2 cup and 3tbsp of virgin coconut oil

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour,sifted

1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp (heaped) salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup raw sugar 

2 tbsp corn flour


  • Whisk the milk, oil and vanilla in a bowl and set aside. 
  • Preheat oven to 165°C and prepare the baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all remaining ingredients. The original recipe emphasised on the “thoroughly”,and thoroughly is what I did.
  • Pour the whisked wet ingredients into the dry bowl and stir to combine. Do not be too vigorous or you’ll activate the gluten in the flour.
  • Transfer to baking pan, smooth down and bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • The brownie would look a little underdone but the recipe promised that it will set in the refrigerator.
  • Allow to cool a little, cut into squares and pop into the fridge to cool and set well.
  • You can store this there for 4 days but you would be lucky if you have any remaining!

Nom nom nom

Expat Moms and Kids · Islamic parenting · Kids tips · Kids videos · mommy vlogs · Muscat Moms and Kids · Muslim Mama · Parenting · Tips and Tricks

Watch “A neat trick to put your shoes on!” on YouTube

The other day NBoy asked me if his shoes were on the right feet and I absentmindedly shook my head, to which he indignantly said something about butterflies. Upon asking he told me how he identifies the right foot. He is a smart cookie but I was gobsmacked by the sheer brilliance of this simple tip! The big sis, IzGirl, had apparently taught him this. When I asked her about it, she casually told me about it and said she figured it out one day when her feet felt funny after she mixed the shoes up! SubhanAllah(Glory be to the almighty!), children are far more intuitive than we give them credit for!
Hope you enjoy the video and have fun showing it to your littles too! Do take a moment to leave a message if you wish in the comments or inbox; my littles would love to hear from you!

Expat Moms and Kids · Muscat Moms and Kids · Places we love · Restaurant Reviews · Reviews · Reviews: Kids

D’arcy’s Kitchen, Shatti, Muscat

One feature we bring from our childhood through to our adult years is our habit of sticking to something we like. When we find a place we like to eat at, we frequent their outlets or order in, till they gradually start disappointing us.

D’arcy’s Kitchen is my kids’ favourite place for a meal/snack and everytime they get to pick a restaurant, we know what they’ll yell in unison. Judging from our latest experience, I am pleased to say that they are on our list for taking us on a ride that only goes up and up!

As much as we loved their MSQ branch, Shatti is where we have many beloved memories of “first breakfasts out” with our littles. 

After finally managing to score a parking spot, you are greeted by tastefully arranged garden furniture; their yellow and blue colours stand out cheerfully, beckoning you into their quaint little “cottage” atmosphere.

 I am not sure of historical accuracies but the first time we went there and I was served tea in their pretty cups and pots, I felt it could be a place that Jane Austen frequented with her scrolls and pens and then I noticed the delightful ceramic ornaments of ducks and rabbits and knew for sure that it was indeed Beatrix Potter’s spot. 

My kids love to look for Peter Rabbit and the Puddleducks while they happily scribble away on the colouring sheets and pencils they provide them with. They have a laminated kids menu, which I find is a nice touch since it allows the kids to have something of their own to select from.

The food is always well seasoned and exactly what the menu description promises. Their generous portions combined with consistency in presentation is a winner, not from any regular standard but from the excited squeals from our table. Their French toast(did I mention they serve breakfast all day?!) is what gets the most squeals.

The waiting staff are very pleasant and courteous; they make the effort to include the children in conversations and treat our little ones like the individuals they are whilst respecting their boundaries(not trying to hug them or hold them without asking them). They won me over completely with that because keeping the kids calm and happy is a vital factor in enabling me to fill my tummy.

We can easily spend 2-3 hours on a quiet day and would not even realise that time had slipped by. You are given 3 seating options: outside in the garden, inside the cafe and the mall seating area. They are happy to accomodate any of your needs and I was comfortable enough to tuck in whilst nursing my littlest right there in the cafe. 

You can take a leisurely walk down the beach after your meal, and maybe pop back in for a yummy thirst quencher to go. 

But maybe you should order a cup of tea or coffee because then you get a side of those buttery biscuits. Or you can be sure to score a take-away cup of biscuits if you, like my children, polish the saucer of biscuits that grandpa got for for his coffee and a lovely waitress gets you more to take home too! 

We love D’arcy’s Kitchen as a family and enjoy taking our loved ones there to share the joy whenever possible.

I think I shall sneak a few of those yummy biscuits from their stash to go with my chamomile tea before I turn in for the night. By night, I mean few hours because I am super woman and do not require sleep like mere mortals. Or I have a tiny little nursling. Need I say more?

I hope you enjoy D’arcy’s as much as we do!

You can visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/darcyskitchen/ and read my TripAdvisor review on https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/6962712?m=19905, titled “Our go-to place”.

Please share your feedback; would love to hear your story and learn about other fun places to visit with the kids in Muscat!

Easy Dinner · Expat Moms and Kids · Homemade · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic parenting · Kitchen tips · Muscat Mom and Kids · Muscat, Oman · Mushrooms · Muslim Mama · Parenting · Pasta · Quick Cooking · Quick pasta · Unschooling · vegetarian

Mushroom and Spinach wholemeal linguine

After a long day of wrestling with letter sounds and refereeing fights, I almost always hurt my neck trying to look out for Papa Bear to finally get home to tag him, hand over the kids and run off to cook dinner. When that gets delayed, all hope is not lost although I cannot promise the same for my temper.

One such evening, IzGirl and NBoy were still bouncing off the walls and number 3, NBaby, surprises us with an early nap but my migraine decided to make an appearance, I decided to let them help and leave the delayed individual to attack the mess. Surprisingly, my children are very much unlike me in the kitchen. They cleaned up after themselves and actually made my job much easier.

Moreover, what better way to teach them life skills than in our own kitchen, with extra loads of love?

The following recipe is very special to us because it is the first dish we cooked together(without me nagging or micro managing them!). We hope you enjoy cooking it and sharing it with your family too!

Mushroom and Spinach wholemeal linguine

  • Servings: 2 tiny tummies
  • Difficulty: Need the help of a responsible adult
  • Print

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Look what we cooked! We ate it with roasted (okay, burnt!) cashewnuts. And how pretty are our Eid decorations?!

Ingredients

  • 6 or 7 fresh mushrooms, washed
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Portion of wholemeal linguine (regular spaghetti would do)
  • 2 Tablespoons of garlic butter(regular butter is fine as well)
  • 1/4 cup of cooking cream (you can add or reduce as you wish)
  • Salt and Pepper

Fotor_150531870991467

Directions

  1. Chop the mushrooms into whatever size you like.
  2. Pick the good spinach leaves, wash and drain.
  3. Ask an adult to boil the pasta and drain it.
  4. Heat a pan and add butter.
  5. Add the mushrooms and sauté them with a pinch of salt.
  6. Add the cream and stir well. Once it starts boiling, add the pasta and mix it in, and check salt and pepper.
  7. Leave to cook for a minute or two and then add the spinach and switch off the flame. Stir well.
  8. Enjoy with some yummy toasted bread and help wash up after dinner.

 https://www.instagram.com/p/BZIPramhrRElN8Bs6R2YU1G394MKXkFUhZIxew0/

Expat Moms and Kids · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Islamic parenting · Kindergarten · Mathematics for kids · Muslim Mama · Numbers · Parenting · Preschool · Teaching Numbers · Unschooling

Learning Numbers: Erase the correct one

This was an improvised game when NBoy wanted a turn at cleaning the whiteboard but was not in the mood to draw. Tired of having to scribble whilst trying to listen to the big sister read words, I wrote numbers from 1-10 on the board and gave him the small eraser and proceeded to call out a number randomly for him to erase.

20170906_121833(0)
Learning Numbers can be fun!

He loved the game and was careful about making sure none of the other numbers got erased too!

This game could work even if the child is not completely familiar with numbers.

Hope you have fun getting your whiteboard cleaned!

Expat Moms and Kids · Freedom · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Islamic parenting · Islamic society · Islamic values · Muscat Mom and Kids · Muscat, Oman · Muslim Mama · Parenting · Unschooling · Way of LIfe

To School or Not to School

“What school does she go to?” asks a well-meaning person about my almost 5 year old.

“She doesn’t yet. We are homeschooling at the moment” I reply in weary apprehension, expecting another tirade of shocked expressions and 5 minutes of a lecture on how they know what would be better for my child. You know, because, they have seen her couple of times and have children of their own, they automatically become self-proclaimed experts on my child too…(mini rant over)

To be honest, the above scenario does not happen as often as I claim it to but the after effects of such a confrontation and the willpower it takes for me to not respond in kind, has me agitated for a while, and thus, prone to a lot of dramatics.

Most people are genuinely curious about what homeschooling is all about and their questions are always welcome because they are merely asking without assuming the worst or telling me how “wrong” I am.

What exactly is homeschooling?

It is basically the education of a child at home, primarily by the parents.

Then what in the world is unschooling?

It is a more radical form of homeschooling where conventional school systems and curriculums have no place; the learning is experience based on each child’s preference.

Is it legal?

Yes, depending on the country you live in. Most governments require parents to educate their children but they do not govern what kind of education that would be.

Do you follow a syllabus?

Not at the moment, I pick up on my child’s changing interests and we focus on whatever that maybe.

So, you are unschooling?

No.

Then you are simply being a teacher at home but for one child?

No.

What exactly are you doing?

I am helping my children learn in any way that they want to, without allowing the constraints of a label restrict our learning.

That is what we are doing.

Going against socially expected norms and the “done-thing” is much harder than I thought it would be. The inner turmoil I face at wondering if I am doing right by my children keeps me up most nights. Then I Google. And I panic even more.

It is always scary doing something different, especially when it comes to your children; there is absolutely no way of knowing if you are doing the right thing till it is too late. There have been many days when I have wanted to throw in the towel and do what we are “supposed” to be doing but I always backed out after a frustrated husband finally looked about ready to agree with me.

After many prayers and contemplation, things started coming into better perspective.

Homeschooling was introduced to me accidentally through a video from a lovely site called Rahmah Muslim Homeschool . Intrigued, I started researching on this since providing a wholesome Islamic education was absolutely important for us. After sifting through a whole plethora of information on the net, I was muddled as to what I should be doing. I decided to pick a site, and start off from there. Although I am unable to remember the site, it did have quite an extensive list of homeschooling activities that included teaching sight words. Jumped  right on the sight word train and spent a night cutting and pasting words intended for my then  2+year old little girl to memorise and start reading because a certain list I picked up on another site claimed she should be reading by the time she was 3 years of age.

IMG_20160925_232105
This method may work and she was quick to memorise the words. It took even longer time helping her forget them to help her focus on sounds.

Needless to stay, sticking to a rigid schedule whilst trying to tick off everything in my “list” took its toll on us and I felt it was just too tough because I was not a qualified teacher. After audibly questioning my decision to move into finance instead of education after leaving school, I started looking for online education degrees. Long story short, I came to my senses before paying for a full degree programme that I never would have completed.

Then I began to look into local homeschooling families and to my surprise, there was a whole community in Muscat! I began this journey in trepidation with absolutely no support system but meeting this wonderful group helped by reassuring me that we were doing just fine. One mother in particular fascinated me with her attitude towards learning and living, and she helped me finally figure out how to let go of social expectations and focus on what would be best for my family. You can follow her journey on Raggamuslims.

I have been meaning to chronicle our journey but kept putting it off till I read a well thought out piece in Happiness Is Here and realised how our journey could help another family make their decision to create their own path.

Homeschooling for us is now merely a loose label that we use for sake of ease when having to answer a question about school for our children.

Our learning journey at the moment is about listening to their (now 4+ and 2+ year olds!) interests and learning about them with them. However, I am a firm believer in the power of reading and the vast knowledge accessible to one with the ability to read, which meant that I could not adapt the relaxed method of “letting them learn”. Instead I looked into Jolly Phonics method and took their online course in order to teach reading.  We do not focus on traditional mathematical lessons because it simply does not interest them; they learn that through play. I cannot draw to save my life and so, skipped over teaching them how to draw. Instead, I made sure they have easy access to crayons, colour pencils and paper, and now, I am amazed by their creativity. My 4 year old wants to try out school at one point and we would let her if she is sure that is what she wants but for now, we are enjoying the journey  with a lovely unicorn learning her letter sounds and a curly-hair ball of sunshine with an interest in shapes and a love for gluing things.

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The unicorn is doing a Sound Sheet for letter “f” and her brother is doing a gluing activity with shapes, hastily drawn by yours truly

I have stopped worrying about what education should be and I am focusing on letting them decide their learning experience. Shedding all the preconceived notions of education that I was taught all my life is still a work-in-progress but I am slowly but surely coming out of that state of mind.

Our journey is not about schooling nor is it about not-schooling; it is about learning naturally and developing a lifelong love for learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expat Moms and Kids · Muscat, Oman · Restaurant Reviews · Reviews

Akdeniz, Centara Muscat, Oman

Despite blogging for quite a while, it would seem odd that I have steered clear of reviewing restaurants. For a person prone to having opinions on everything under the sun and struggling to hold in a snarky comment at every possible thing, it does take quite an effort to not write about something. 

Why this hesitancy, one may wonder? The fear of costing someone a job and reputation whilst maintaining integrity by not painting over the truth.

Which is why I was excited but apprehensive about being invited for a food tasting at a new restaurant at a hotel in town.

After much soul searching(what’s life without the dramatics?), I decided to accept the invitation and give this a go. Plus, I was keen to meet fellow bloggers and other social influencers in town too!

Let’s hope I do them justice!

Akdeniz Restaurant, is located on the ground floor of Centara Hotel, Muscat, and can be accessed directly from  the car park as well.  It specialises in Turkish cuisine with an international twist. In line with their theme, the decoration was a blend of tradition and modern undertones. The colourful Turkish lamps emitted soft hues that provided just the right amount of lighting for the tastefully set table. If there was a polite way of saying I could kick myself for not taking more pictures, that would be inserted here.

The lack of placemats meant the cutlery tried escaping the table but the rustic design of the plate made up for it. Detailed menus were placed by each setting and it looked promising despite the lack of a vegetarian main, which would be a disappointment to someone with the particular dietary requirement; they did arrange for a vegetarian meal for a guest when they were informed of this. 

After the initial pleasantries, we were introduced to the Executive Chef who explained that we will be sampling some of their regular dishes along with some new ones for their soon-to-be-opened roof top restaurant. This explained the size of the current seating area that only could be described as cosy. 

It came as a surprise that the chef specialised in Indonesian cuisine (which incidentally meant a promise of a delicious satay) but decided to let the food speak for itself. 

Sipping on Barbican, a malt drink, and wondering about the absence of fresh juice options, we awaited the food.

When the basket of pita bread was placed before us along with the starters (Hummus, Labneh & Honey Pide and Chicken Wing’s N Drum) I was slightly disappointed at not getting the freshly baked bread aroma but it looked good enough for me to pick one up and munch away. The nigella seeds scattered bread was fresh albeit slightly dense and not vey warm. The hummus I scooped up with my second piece of pita would have been just right with a little more seasoning. 

Although the chicken wings could have been more crispy, they were lightly coated with a deliciously smoked bbq sauce. I am not a big fan of bbq sauce but I would have loved to have seen more of this smoky sauce as a dip. What stood out and made the lack of dips and traditional mezze forgivable was the yummy Labneh and Honey Pide (a Turkish flatbread). It was oh-so-soft, cradling a layer of labneh slathered with honey: was a treat to smell and taste too! The only reason the carb-monster in me did not finish it all is to save space for the mains and to not risk the seams of my cloak falling apart at the task of holding in place all that flab. 

The mains  arrived in 3 bowls filled with Chicken Shish Taouk, Lamb Kofta, and Chicken Satay. They delivered exactly what the menu promised but it still was slightly disappointing not having any dips/sauces or sides to go along with the meat. The Shish Taouk was subtly marinated with Turkish spices albeit being slightly overcooked. I was slightly apprehensive about the kofta because I have yet to find one I enjoyed, and although I have still not been converted, this one had more flavour and was not vey dry. Chicken satay had skewers of succulent cubes of chicken dipped in a good blend of spices but missing the promised peanut sauce coating. 

The well presented desserts arrived shortly (Triple Caramel Cream and Mango Rice Pudding) but forgot to click a picture before digging in. I was expecting creamy and comforting rice pudding but alas, it was a different texture but this could very well be because it was a traditional Turkish rice pudding and not having a precedent to judge it upon, my opinion could have been distorted. Although some guests found the caramel cream bitter, I was actually delighted by the same because I like my caramel taken slightly further than usual which gives it that delicious bitterness. I was confused with the” Triple” aspect in the name and assumed it meant 3 forms of caramel but this could be a simple misunderstanding. The desserts had just the right amount of sweetness and with slight changes to the textures, would be a great way to finish up a meal.

The couches and cushions set around the quaint area lent to the comfortable ambience: the perfect setting for good conversations and mingling. 

The hotel is tastefully decorated with a pleasant colour scheme and would be ideal for a get away without having to actually leave the city. The staff at the restaurant were very attentive and ensured our experience was a positive one; looking forward to visiting them again with family and friends to enjoy their complete menu. 

Expat Moms and Kids · Muscat Kids Play Areas · Muscat Mom and Kids · Parenting · Reviews: Kids

Review: Patterpillar, Baushar, Muscat

There are lots of things that bring on the dreaded mommy-guilt and reading lists of expected skills and knowledge a child should master before turning a certain age, never fails to drag me down the bottomless spiral.

Want to know of something that could drag me even lower?

Lists and sublists of activities categorized by age that I should be doing with my children (activities for 4 year olds, 1 year olds, fetuses and etc…).

Those lists cannot be viewed in one screen and the links almost always had links to even more activities. Just about then the dread that had threatened to engulf me at the title, takes over me.

I blacken out at the sight of all the gross and fine motor skills specifically catered for my almost 5 year old that I should have started making her do as soon as she learnt to control her head.

What brings on the heebie-jeebies in double time has always been the messy play activities. It is supposedly very important to allow children to learn through mess and feel different textures; it would also be a good idea for moms to get their hearts checked out in preparation for possible shocks at the aftermath.

I allow the guilt to take over and spend a night getting together supplies to set up a fun messy play session for the kids for the next day and it does start out well. But when I eventually end up cleaning up more than I bargained for (think splattered pantry cupboards!), I tell myself that they have had their quota of required messy play and I could avoid it till the next guilt trip.

An aftermath of a day that began full of learning possibilities; what do they say about mothers and optimism?

Then these purple and green advertisements about a messy play area started popping up on social media. Since they had not mentioned a location but were popping up at events, it fell off my radar.

Figuring out a way to help our little girls spend time together before summer holidays led another mommy and me back to Patterpillar, and we were treated to a messy play session at their unique concept spot, tucked away behind Costa Coffee at Lamar, next to Panorama Mall, Baushar. I say “we” because although the treat was for my IzGirl I am pretty  sure my delight as I entered this outlet trumps her joy at being asked and not forbidden to make a mess!

Allow me to elaborate!

When I saw all the coloured water with little containers to pour and squeeze, the slime like goop, shaving foam and a whole plethora of colourful equipment to move and mush them around, my natural reaction was to call out a list of instructions on how she was not supposed to let the mess move beyond a certain area.

But I stopped myself for a glorious realisation had just settled.

I did not have to clean up the mess.

Another mommy whom I have met couple of times high fived me across the room as I verbalised my glorious realisation. In this relaxed state, I sat back with my hot chocolate that I was too paranoid to drink at the cafe whilst my girl was occupied in a safe space a few metres away, and observed.

Patterpillar Oman at Lamar, Boushar is a unique kids play area that also sells messy play products and sets up activity stations at parties and events. They are the first and only (as far as I am aware) mess based play area in Muscat. They do not just throw some paints and goop at the kids but painstakingly arrange different activities and stations for every single session they host.

On this particular day, there was a water and sand table with several compartments; each one had a different material (goop,coloured water,shaving foam and etc…) with lots of toys to assist. Within a few minutes, the kids managed to mix all the elements and it took great strength to not squirm and allow my inner OCD-like symptoms get the better of me. Despite the newly created concoction, the kids played at this table longer than at any other station.

Behind this area was a row of easy access taps to let them fill their pretty containers or in our kids’ case, wash their sticky or sandy hands before sticking them into other messes (side effects of living with moms who squirm at the thought of slippery bubble liquid bottles in tiny hands).

They had a sand station with sand coloured quicksand or moon sand along with shells and beach toys; this was however not very popular or maybe it was just this session. The kids did enjoy using the long tongs to pick toys from the sand play area and move it to their table of magical liquids.

What I loved the best was the water play area, a winding lazy river like set-up, filled with water and fun toys. Although you are not allowed inside the water, they had enough activities to allow children to make a splash. It also helps settle the guilt at the memory of barking at the child for turning the bathroom into river Nile after every bath.

Through a small doorway in a cottage set up is the painting station where you can paint the walls of the “cottage”. However, the girls did not want to spend long inside because they claimed it stank, which I assume was the smell of paint and poor ventilation.

Tucked away behind all this and shelves of goodies that we could purchase if we were ever struck with the insane idea of setting up a messy play day at home(slime is not actually a bad idea), is a small area with a screen, tables and chairs. A few kids were having their snacks and I assume they use it when hosting birthday parties at the outlet.

Their strategic location made cleaning up the kids so much easier since the washrooms were right next door; you can dress the kids in old comfortable clothes or swimwear. They may wear their own crocs(the surface gets slippery) or borrow a pair available at the outlet.

Whilst the kids run around whisking shaving foam mocktails on padded surfaces their guardians/care takers can pretend to be giants in the land of Lilliput, perched on colourful, tiny but sturdy chairs placed all around the play area.

The assistants are present throughout the session but a care taker is required to remain to supervise or join in the fun.

They charge OMR 5 per session and provide sibling discounts and also have a membership package with unlimited visits per month.

Each session lasts 2 hours (they have 2 sessions per day)and their timing and rates can be double checked through the following links:

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/patterpillar/ or

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/patterpillar_om/

When I mention the price to anyone I was gushing about this to, I was met with mixed responses; it is quite high when comparing with most play areas but well worth it as an occasional treat.

Incidentally, I came across a gift coupon/voucher sticker for a free session at Patterpillar that my Izzybug got at a contest held by Muscat Mom N Kids (https://www.instagram.com/muscatmomnkids/) at the Muscat Grand Mall; hurray!

They regularly update their social media pages with recent additions and are quick to respond to your queries. We are certainly looking forward to trying the new activity stations very soon.

I think I speak for all the messy-play-avoiding guilt wrecked mommies in Muscat when I say, Patterpillar is on to a winning concept. Armed with a solution to the painting area (my kids dearly love to paint but I dearly love my sanity), I can see this becoming a regular play-date option.

 

For more reviews: Reviews: All about the Kids 

Cheeky giggles does not get monetary compensation to review all products.  On occasion, companies will send a sample product for review on the site. I pick and choose what products appear and will never recommend something I would not use on/for myself or my own family. Receiving product samples does not influence the review; I say it as it is. There is no guarantee with my reviews and I will not be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item/experience and you are dissatisfied with it; my product reviews are simply my opinions.