Anyone who knows me will know how much I love dogs, especially my little mutts. We’re a house fill of strong personalites and obviously there is a lot of dog hair to clean up, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. All pet owners know how wonderful it is coming home to this adorable creature who is absolutely thrilled to see you. I will literally leave the property for 10 minutes and come back and get the same enthusiam as I would being away for the whole morning. It’s great!
Keith and I are both super passionate about dogs and we love our little babas. They’re our furry babies right? We have 5 little nuggets who I shall introduce today. We also have 2 regular visits from our neighbors who I shall also introduce.
But first… a little history.
I know what you’re thinking, History? Come on! I’m here to see cute furry creatures. Hang in there, we’ll get there soon. Now I will never pretend that I know everything about dog care. I am constantly learning new things with the ultimate goal being, wanting the best for my little mutts. One of the biggest topics I educated myself on was about puppy mills. Call it naive or well hidden but when you were looking at getting a sweet little puppy, we just assume it’s coming from a loving home where the mother and father were well taken care of. This is most certainly not the case. Rather the opposite. Many breeders keep the poor dogs in cages their entire lives and are constantly forced to mate. Their babies are taken away from them and the cycle continues. Once I learnt this information, adoption was the ONLY way forward. As smart as humans are, we can be so cruel too.
So much has changed since social media arrived. You have all this information at your fingertips and animal welfare education has developed because of this. Another strong reason for adopting, especially when living in Asia is because of the overwhelming amount of strays. The are plenty of street dogs around. When I first moved to Cambodia it was heart breaking to see all these dogs in dire need of care. 7 years later and the street dogs are generally in a lot better condition and that’s due to several reasons but mainly due to organisations getting involved and helping these animals and working with and educating the locals.
After losing my precious Mogwai (little French bulldog) we decided if we were going to get any future doggies, they would be adopted and that’s exactly how Bear and Shia came into our lives. I can’t believe that my little Burrito and Shiaed are 7 already?! Time sure does fly.
So without further adieu, let’s get to know these glorious, hairy creatures.
Mr. Bear is our only male dog. He’s surrounded by the ladies and doesn’t seem to mind. He is a vocal fella but spends a lot of his day sleeping on his throne. We tease him for not really knowing how to play with his pals, he has his own rules and the others sort of get them. Bear loves going for walks and riding on the moto. We take him solo (Bear and Shia on a walk together is a no no). Bear doesn’t like to snuggle but he will follow you to every room. However, that being said, when it’s bedtime this little diva needs to nest in Keith’s legs. 🙂 Like I said, DIVA! Bear enjoys food, mainly meat but has a strong liking for pumpkin and sweet potato.
Shia is Bear’s sister. When we adopted Bear, Shia was following him everywhere and we couldn’t leave her behind. The two of them have their own language and games. Shia LOVES to sleep. She likes to sleep in, sleep on the couch, sleep in the sun, take a nap with you, sleep wherever you are working and also sleep while dishing her food up. That being said, she is our Snake alerter. Shia will let us know there is a snake in the property before any of the others do. She has a very distinct snake bark and we love her even more for it. Shia doesn’t get to go for walks as often as her brother as she has become a pro at escaping her harness. This has happened several times before even getting her on the moto. We’ve realised she prefers to go galavanting on her own than walking with her rentals. Shia will eat EVERYTHING except yogurt. Everytime I have tried giving her, she bolts. Weird but entertaining.
Luna is our fluffiest and smallest dog. This doesn’t affect her personality at all. She loves wrestling Mia and Elon. They all play catches and she is super Mom obsessed (I am not complaining). Luna will follow me into every single room, it doesn’t matter how many times I leave. She adores Bear and Shia, constantly showering them with kisses. She is also the most relaxed one during bath time and vet trips. Luna loves sharing our pillow at night time and will let you know when she wants some attention. She is remarkably photogeneic, I mean look at that face! She has a whale size personality compacted into that tiny fluff ball.
Mia is our adult puppy but is fueled with an energy unlike most animals. This dog doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, just pure happiness. She always naps with her head under the couch and her body sticking out. She loves food and still eats from a muffin tray, which has helped slow her eating down. Mia enjoys yogurt and peanut butter. She also enjoys catches and is super fast. Mia likes going for walks, she doesn’t mind the moto but can be very scared of the traffic and noise.
Elon is our slaughter house rescue. I immediately felt connected to this little lady after hearing her voice in the video posted by Paw Patrol after they had been rescued. Elon is insanely vocal and has a SUPER STRONG personality. She is very much a ‘tom boy’ but doesn’t shy away from cuddles. She’ll happily flop on your lap to get some love. She is OBSESSED with anything edible. She also thinks that all food in the house belongs to her. She dominates as much bed space as physically possible and we think it’s from her being stuck in a cage before.
We also have very regular visits from our neighbors who we have known since they were pups. These 2 are super chilled and have no problem getting on with our dogs. We also help with their monthly medication to ensure everyone is safe around each other.
Coca is this massive labrador looking dog with lion eyes. He is so gentle inside our property and will often come over and pass out for the day, which is kind of weird considering he still has the goods (the huge swinging balls). He could easily devour all our dogs in one gulp but has never shown that type of aggression. We love little Cooks 🙂
Pepsi (something tells me their family like soda) is a shy but friendly little girl. Unfortunately she hasn’t been spayed yet so we constantly try to keep a watchful eye over her. Coca has never shown any interest in her like that, instead he is very protective of her as a big brother would be. She has a stunning ridge, which we don’t often see here. She is also known for kissing way too much but we know it’s just her showing how happy she is.
Now I couldn’t possibly write a blog without including my dearest Moggles and Bouncy. They hold a very special place in my heart and I miss them so much. We lost Mogwai very early and my sweet Bounce was with us for 2 years. We found him at my school and he stole my heart from day 1. Here are some pics of these cutie pies.
Now that’s my crew. They keep us entertained and are such a blessing. I adore all the cuddles, the talking and the pure joy of having their energy around. I’d love to see your furry babies. Feel free to share 🙂
Take care 🙂
Bonkerbots on YouTube. Wow! We never thought we would end up having a Youtube channel. Granted we’re still bran new and have a teeny tiny following but that was never the reason for us creating one. As you know, Keith has this pretty awesome gift of being a rather talented artist. I’ll request an image and minutes later he has created one that’s way better than what I had originally described. I love his gift and wish that I could even begin to draw a tiny bit like him. Yes, yes we all have our talents and mine lie else where, which is how we landed up creating our channel.
I mentioned “You should start doing some tutorials” and TA DA! It has been absolutely wonderful creating these videos. As a teacher, I have always enjoyed doing directed drawings with my students and not just for Kindergarten but for all ages. One thing can be said for all of them and it’s that they LOVE IT! It cannot be said enough but Art is insanely important. From my experience teaching in Thailand and Cambodia, the Arts aren’t seen as important. There is a ton of focus on your core subjects and that’s totally fine. Whether I’m planning my own lessons or subbing, I’ll always throw in some Art. It’s quite funny though because I’ve created a little bit of a reputation by walking in a sub class and the kids will go, “Yay, we’re doing Art today! 🙂 ) so naturally, I cannot disappoint their sweet faces.
Some Scarecrows drawn by my Grade 6 students.
Our channel is designed to help young students better develop their drawing, creativity and line work accuracy. The videos can be done by young students or even adults. I have followed all of the tutorials and have really enjoyed doing them. There’s a sense of pride that happens once completing your drawing. You’re looking at it in the beginning thinking , “There’s no way I can draw that!’ or “That’s too hard!” My students have certainly said that. However, once you’ve finished drawing, you’re like Hey, I did that. 🙂 I actually find them rather relaxing too.
I love how my students personalized their Ogres.
There are plenty of tutorials online and so for ours, we chose to not have us speaking but rather just the text. You can play the video and pause if you need more time. It’s entirely up to you. The videos work for individuals, homeschooling or for a class fill of students. I’ve played them off a T.V and a projector, which all works perfectly.
These were drawn by Keith’s students. They look amazing!
So if you’re in the mood for drawing, please check out our YouTube channel. Give our drawings a go and tag us in them, wherever you are in the world. We would LOVE to see yours. 🙂 🙂
As Kinder teachers, we understand the importance of helping our students develop their fine motor skills. We’re constantly searching for new and exciting ideas to use in our classrooms. Pinterest certainly aids this and can become rather addictive. It can also become overwhelming at times, seeing all the amazing ideas that other teachers and parents are doing with their kids. Some are extremely clever, reusing materials that can be found around the house and others can end up being quite pricey. Regardless, they all help in developing motor skills.
Today I’m sharing the activities we used during our stations this week. These were all budget friendly as it consists of goodies that we already had and what we didn’t have was easy and affordable to get.
Let’s dive straight in.
I was super chuffed to find these wooden pegs for next to nothing. They are normally quite pricey in Cambodia, or they certainly used to be, so that was quite a score. I bought a mixture of pegs, which the little ones all handled with ease.
Pegs can be used in so many ways, but for today I just wanted them to practice clipping them onto the happy faces and I included the counting cards because why not? Unfortunately I cannot find the link to the site I downloaded the pics from but it is easy to make your own.
They were so excited to present their happy faces. Kids are great aren’t they? 🙂
Nuts and bolts
Now this may be because I recently made the chess set but this is something I have wanted to do with the kids for a long time but just never got round to it. Finally I popped on over to the hardware store AGAIN and purchased some nuts, bolts and washers. I sprayed some green and pink to add some variety and that was all the prep needed.
They all thoroughly enjoyed this activity, girls and boys had a whirl of a time.
Beads, sticks and sponges?
This is another easy activity to put together and super affordable. The sponges cost less than 50c, which I cut in half. The sticks were also 50c for a pack of 100 and I used straws and small beads to make it more challenging for early finishers, and that’s it.
I simply placed two pieces of sponge on top of each other, pushed four sticks through, arranged some straws and beads in little containers, and the station was ready for action. This was a real hit as they were completely zoned throughout. For those speedier than others, I added another stick or two and that kept them busy. What a hoot!
This station sounds funny but again, another simple activity to put together. All you need are some single-hole punches and leaves. I grabbed leaves from our mango trees, which was great as they’re big and found some smaller leaves off of our durian tree. That’s it. My students really enjoyed this, it’s a random activity but great for experimenting with different textures.
Fishing for elastics
This is exactly what the header entails. I used small containers to house the water (these were about a $1) added small, colorful elastic bands and gave the kiddies a stick (same sticks used earlier). They needed to fish for the elastics and place them into a small container. This was the favorite for the day, must be because of the water but they all absolutely LOVED it!
Well I hope that inspires you. I really love doing creative stations with my kids. They work for all ages and the kids benefit greatly from them.
Just like that. Christmas has come and gone. Crazy right? Well, I guess we can say that about this entire year. Keith and I normally don’t normally exchange gifts at Christmas but this year, we decided we should but…we should make each other something. We laid down some rules such as, we were not allowed to spend more than $20 and it had to be something we could use. Oh and Keith was banned from drawing anything, that would be a big disadvantage for me. 😉 Let the brainstorming begin.
Keith has quite a few passions. I racked my brain for a bit but then the idea came to me. It was obvious. The man is obsessed with chess. Why not make him a chess set? SOLD. Next step was researching some ideas. That’s when I came across the nut and bolt idea. Now, it seemed like a relatively easy thing to do. Pop past a hardware store and pick up all the pieces. EASY PEASY… NOT. It turned out to be a mission to find all the pieces, especially the ones that I originally wanted to get. I think I visited majority of the hardware stores in my little town. Believe me, there are plenty here! None had the pieces I wanted and so I had to improvise. The hardest piece to find, which I’m super chuffed to have eventually found was the crown (castle being its official name). Funnily enough, I contacted my one of my Grade 3 students as her family owns a hardware store and they were the only ones to stock these valuable little pieces. SCORE!
These are just some of the pieces needed
So what next? I initially soaked the nuts and bolts in vinegar to remove the rust on some of the pieces but once cleaned up and dried, I wasn’t happy with how that turned out. It seemed to make the pieces worse. Sooo… off I went to the hardware store again. I found one that I went back to several times to grab an extra nut and bolt here and there. They must have thought I was nuts (haha). Some days asking for 16 bolts and then returning the next day for bigger ones, haha. But I finally got all my pieces, cleaned them up and then it was time to spray…
All ready to be sprayed
I decided on gold and silver. Thought that would make a great combo. Spray paint is super affordable and it dries so quickly so I was able to spray more than once in a day. Once the pieces were evenly covered, I then sprayed with clear just to seal it all in. I really like how they turned out.
This gold is so pretty.
Next up was setting up the board. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use but then I realized it needed to be budget friendly and I figured a wooden chopping board would be light and the perfect size. Off to the stores again. I think the size I chose was perfect as the pieces look great all set up and it’s still small enough to travel if needs be.
First thing to getting this started was using masking tape to cover the entire board. I was paranoid and used 2 layers, just in case. 🙂
I taped horizontally and vertically.
Then it was time to measure and draw the lines. This takes a bit of time but is totally worth it. It’s also quite relaxing, being completely zoned into something.
Once that is complete, you can then begin slicing the blocks out. I used a Stanley blade for this and surprisingly, it didn’t take too long to do.
Now it’s time to spray the board. I think I may have sprayed too much on mine (I blame my excitement at wanting to see it all finished) as it did leak through the tape a bit, however, I actually like the effect it gave. It certainly made it a little grungy. Quite apt.
Remember don’t over spray. I may have been a bit over eager and sprayed too much at once, hence my paint lurking in parts it shouldn’t have been.
Let the paint dry and possibly add a 2nd coat. I certainly did. When you’re sure it’s dry, you can start to peel off the remaining tape. It was quite fun doing this although as I mentioned before, I was a tad disappointed at first with how the paint had crept in. Honestly, I did sand it down a bit, especially on areas, which really needed it. However, I am very happy with the final result. It’s great that it’s not 100% perfect because firstly, it is homemade and secondly, I don’t spray paint and the imperfections make it real. 🙂 AWESOME!
Now I wasn’t planning on making a storage box for the pieces as I had intended it to be something that is always ready to play in our house. However, Keith does love playing chess and might want to take it somewhere so how could he transport all these pieces. Brainstorm alert…
Keith had designed a chess logo ages ago. It’s a great looking logo and I suddenly remembered he had that, which I thought would be the perfect cover for his storage box. So off I went to Sakura, one of the coolest stores in town selling second hand goodies from Japan. I have found gold in this store over the years. I searched through their massive collection of boxes and eventually found the ideal one. I may have looked like a weirdo sizing the box with my bolts, but I’m ok with that.
I’d also decided on sewing a cushion to house the pieces, safely tucked in with elastic. I was looking for fabric that may have a chess pattern. It wasn’t until the shop owner suggested I use a Kroma, which is the traditional Khmer scarf, when I realised that was the obvious choice. How perfect?
Then I removed the leaves from the top of the box, sprayed it black and started sewing my cushions. Now I think my Mom would be rather proud because sewing is not my strong suit. Or rather I haven’t had a desire to perfect those skills. My Gran on the other hand is incredible with sewing anything and everything. Don’t get me started on her knitting. She always took care of my missing buttons and then Keith took over. He is excellent when it comes to fixing holes in clothes. So yeah, it was rather surprising that I decided to sew. I am rather proud of results. Not too shabby for a beginner. The elastic serves its purpose and we had an original housing for all the pieces.
The chess set was nearly complete. The last stage was sizing the logo and then placing it on. I used my DIY modge podge to attach the logo and am absolutely thrilled with the final results.
Sizing the logo. This is Keith’s original logo. It’s so unique.
I worked on his gift for about 2 weeks, which wasn’t too bad considering I had to be very sneaky and do it in between work. I am really happy with the end result and it was totally worth all the effort when I got to see Keith’s reaction. It was priceless.
Happy little chappy
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas wherever you were and that you have a fantastic New Year.
Good bye 2020 🙂
Happy New Year!
I don’t know about you but I absolutely love hitting a thrift store. Searching through heaps of clothes to find something special is exciting. You have to be willing to search though, I know it’s not everyone’s deal but for me, I thoroughly enjoy it.
How cute is this strawberry shirt? You obviously have to have matchy earrings 😉
Personally, growing up there was a stigma to shopping for 2nd hand clothes. As a teenager, it was all about having brand name clothing and if you didn’t, you weren’t considered ‘cool’. However, a lot has changed since then. Many people are leaning towards thrift stores, it’s proven by how many have popped up. They’re affordable, you tend to find very unique items and they’re generally much better quality (they’ve lasted long enough to still end up in a store).
The sleeves on this top are AMAZING!
You have many thrift store options in Cambodia and all very budget friendly. You could stop over at the markets and spend 1000 riel on a top (25c) or going to a store and spend anything from $3 – $5 on items. These stores sell everything from shirts, dresses, skirts, shoes, winter coats (in Cambodia) and so much more. I’ve also found most of my accessories from these stores, their handbags are fantastic quality and don’t break the bank.
This whole look cost less than $10 🙂
Thrift shopping is not only budget friendly but it’s also a much greener lifestyle. Those clothes already exist and it’s not supporting the fast fashion industry. It’s scary to know how much water is used when just making a pair of jeans (about 1800 gallons).
This whole look was thrifted.
Thrift shopping doesn’t only consist of clothing. I have purchased some amazing goodies from these stores over the years. Pillows and stuffed toys that are in my School’s Reading Room, mugs, bowls and plates (oh my goodness, it is SO fun browsing through the racks).
This is just one aisle of the bags.
Look at all the crockery. You could be here for ages searching through it all.
This particular store gets all it goodies from Japan.
Most of our books in the Reading Room are not new and they’re in amazing condition.
You don’t only have to hit a thrift store to find gold. Cambodia is home to many expats. As expats do, they come and go and often sell their belongings. Our Reading Room is home to couches and bean bags bought from expats.
How adorable is this pallet couch?
All of these were bought 2nd hand.
Now I’m not saying that buying new is wrong. I am certainly not going thrift shopping for my undies. It works for me and it may be something you have not possibly considered. It is something that we should talk about though as we are living in a time where us humans, have taken advantage of our gorgeous home, planet Earth. 🙂 It just means making smarter purchases. 🙂
Happy shopping everyone.
Wow! December 2020, can you believe it? What a whirlwind of a year. I know we can all name plenty ways in which our lives have changed because of the pandemic from not seeing family and friends, losing loved ones, likely receiving a much lower salary or not receiving one at all. Medical professionals around the world have been working non stop and of course, schools closing.
The closing of schools obviously affected millions of students around the world. We all understand why it had to happen but try explaining that to a 3 year old who loves putting his little uniform on in the morning. Kids are experiencing something that I couldn’t have even imagined as a youngster. My biggest worry in Primary school was making sure my homework was complete and remembering to bring my lunch box home .(stressful times 😉 )
It’s a pretty looking school, don’t you think?
I must say, compared to how intense some of the lock downs have been around the world, including my country, South Africa. Cambodia got off lightly. Family and friends constantly informed us of all the rules and restrictions. South Africa even stopped selling alcohol and cigarettes during their lock down. You had to have a specific permit to travel to a family member in need. Intense. Here in Cambodia, we have had a tiny amount of cases compared to the rest of the world. Majority being incoming cases. All schools closed in March and we went online shortly after.
All our grades went online, from Kindergarten – High school.
Now, I must say that I was very impressed and proud of our Schools and my team. We all worked together in researching the best and easiest ways for our students to join lessons online. We experimented with various online platforms and decided on the simplest one. As teachers around the world can relate, it was definitely not easy setting it up, especially when facing so many obstacles. Some teachers not being tech savvy, students not having access to a phone / tablet, students don’t have WiFi or data, no parental supervision and so on.
A Ben 10 desk. Perfect set up for his lessons. 🙂
However, after many video tutorials and countless phone calls, we got our schools online. Students were suddenly exposed to all this exciting technology. We had our Grade 1’s chatting away with their classmates and some of them signing in on their own. Never doubt kids, they absorb new information so quickly. We stayed online for the rest of our academic year and even during our Summer School. Then some wonderful news…
SCHOOLS WERE GOING TO REOPEN IN OCTOBER.
Our lovely ladies ready for our first day back.
We were thrilled. Students were excited and parents were beyond excited. There was very strict guidelines but we were all eager to adapt to our new ‘norm’. Our Schools set up the disinfect machine, everyone wore masks and visors, the classrooms had been arranged to adhere to social distancing and we shut down our canteen etc. One of the most challenging things was our Kindergarten. These teeny tiny kids wore their masks and then it became a toy or a tissue or something to whack their friend with. (You know you can relate…) Another difficultly was not allowing our students to play outdoors, not having their P.E or I.T lessons. But… kids were happy to be back. We all got into the swing of things for October and most of November but then some more bad news came. Cambodia had some community cases.
The entire school was prepped and ready to reopen.
All students must have temperature checked upon arrival.
I must say Cambodia really did handle the whole situation really well. We were informed to close our schools on the Sunday night and we were back online by Wednesday. It’s amazing how much we have all learnt during that time. I think our eyes have all taken a beating but at least our kids have still been able to maintain some sort of routine. We forget how much they love school, loving seeing their friends and their teachers.
So to all the teachers, parents and students out there. A very big WELL DONE! You are all superstars. Teachers have developed themselves by learning new programs, exploring google and creating some exciting resources. Parents have a new found respect for teachers but many have been super helpful during this time and to students, who have been forced into distance learning but handling it like champions. GREAT JOB!
Snapshot of Keith during his lesson.
Chin up everyone,
Things are starting to look up. Keep taking good care of yourself. We’ve got this. 🙂