Tag Archives: Life in Canada

The Nature of Things: Appreciate Grass On Your Side Of The Fence

By Khaula Mazhar

he Nature of Things: Appreciating Grass On Your Side Of The Fence

Being a nature geek I often find it hard to fathom the general population’s complaints about the weather, their distrust of large animals, and extreme opinions regarding naturally occurring edibles for example, vegetables. Allow me to elucidate this for you.

Let it snow

Hello, we live in Canada. What were you expecting? Snow is great, yes I admit I don’t shovel the driveway and I don’t have to commute for over sixty minutes to get to work in the cold and dark. I stumble to the table with a hot cup of tea and flick on my laptop. Honestly, I do sympathize with the people who face a certain amount of turmoil when Mother Nature decides to dump three feet of snow on us, but snow is awesome. Next time it snows, bundle up the kids and go sledding. It is so much fun! Besides it is a great way to get some exercise and work off those extra calories that have started showing very visibly around the waistline. Look at it this way, what if you lived in Nagano, Japan?

Nagano, Japan

Aren’t you glad this isn’t your street?

Who let the dogs out?

Most desi people are not big fans of dogs and that is fine. Except when they jump off the sidewalk and into traffic to avoid a canine walking by. People get a hold of yourselves! No matter what you believe, that dog is not out to get you, dogs just have HAS (hyperactive affection syndrome).  They are naturally overly affectionate creatures who believe that it is their duty to shower love on everyone they pass on the street. If you don’t want to receive this affection, rather than leap to certain death on a busy lane, I suggest you don’t make eye contact with the dog. Ignore them completely, most dogs will be dejected and that puts a damper on their mood, subduing them considerably.  Unless of course you live in a neighborhood with dogs like this….

giant dog

…in which case I suggest you move without further ado because it’ll be kind of hard to ignore something that gargantuan.

BIG bugs, why Mother Nature, why?

Butterflies? Beautiful! Moths? Like little fairies in the night. Ladybugs? Adorable. Bees? Ummm honey.  Ants…well ok, as long as they stay outside. Spiders? Get my shot gun.

Nature lover or not, even I draw the line here. Dang Girl could you not have created something less ….leggy? Go forth all of you with dusters and vacuums and rid your house of these critters! Keep them from coming back by spraying with this handy and (mostly) natural repellent:

DIY Natural Bug Repellent

  • 5 drops of citrus, citronella, tea tree or lavender oil
  • 5 drops of dishwashing liquid (the lemon scented one is supposed to work best)
  • 1 quart water

Mix it all up and keep it in a spray bottle.

Spray in corners etc once a week or as needed.

That being said we should still look on the positive side. This is not Brazil, home of the Brazilian wandering spider…


Oh I’m sorry, did I just insure you will never be able to sleep again?

Produce of the land

Greasy, meaty ethnic food are all great. If, however, you want to live past 45 you really need to start integrating green stuff into your diet. Here the guilty party is comprised mainly of the male species who think that coriander or some other fresh ‘green’ herb used as a garnish, sufficiently covers the vegetable department. Well gentlemen, it doesn’t.

This section of nature is highly under appreciated. Vegetables are so versatile, so light and fresh, so delicious.  The fact that loki ki bujia doesn’t exactly bring joy to anyone’s heart can be overlooked as Canada has such a wide variety of veggies.  Salad is the best thing that can happen to your dining table. So is steamed broccoli with melted butter. Or corn on the cob. Or creamed spinach. I could go on forever, don’t even get me started on celery! Besides that you can still find all your traditional favorites at the local store.

stir fry

So really you have the best of both worlds. You just have to open your eyes to see that the grass is pretty green on your side of the fence.

About the author:

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

Images: 123RFShinshusnow.comBBC.Co.UKDeviant Art

7 Fun Things To Do At A Maple Syrup Festival

By Sadaf Afshan

Family friendly activities at Maple Syrup Festivals

Maple Syrup Festivals are a much loved Canadian spring time tradition. A visit to a sugar shack is a great way for the entire family to enjoy the freshness of spring after being cooped up indoors during winter.

Here are some fun-filled activities that you can enjoy with kids at a Maple Syrup Festival:

Learn how maple syrup is made

A visit to a sugar shack will walk you through the process of maple extraction with tours of the sugar bush to see how maple sap is tapped from trees. You will see demonstrations of early Canadian settlers’ techniques for the production of maple syrup – through the use of cauldron when preparing the sweet syrup, right up to modern methods. At some sugar shacks you can also see how the natives made maple syrup with the help of logs and hot rocks. Many will feature costumed interpreters and provide hands-on and interactive activities along the way.

Pioneer way of making maple syrup

Learn fun facts about maple syrup

Did you know that it takes about 40 litres of sap to produce one litre of maple syrup? Or the fact that North America is the only place that has both the sugar maple tree and the proper weather required to produce maple syrup? These are just some of the facts that you can learn during a visit to a Maple Syrup Festival.

Fun facts about maple syrup

Learn about pioneer life

At many sugar shacks visitors can visit heritage homes or museums where they can learn about pioneer life. Costumed interpreters offer guided tours and hands-on demonstrations of how life was for Canadians a couple of centuries ago.

Victorian Farmhouse at Maple Syrup Festival

Enjoy a wagon ride

Many maple syrup festivals offer horse drawn wagon rides whereas others offer tractor drawn wagon rides. Either ways it’s a fun way to enjoy nature.

Horse wagon rides at Maple Syrup Festival

Buy treats from the Gift Shop

Maple Syrup, maple candies, maple cookies, maple butter, old-fashioned maple taffy – you can purchase a wide variety of farm fresh fine foods from the Gift Shop.

Maple treats at Maple Syrup Festival

Watch Cooking Demos

At many Maple Syrup festivals visitors can watch live cooking demonstrations and learn how to make maple treats like candies, taffy etc.

Cooking demonstration at Maple Syrup

Enjoy pancakes with fresh maple syrup

After a fun-filled day enjoy some hot pancakes with fresh maple syrup under a pavilion nestled in the woods.

Pancakes with maple syrup

There are many more activities families can enjoy such as children’s entertainment, crackling fires, pony rides, romps in the hay bale, play area and farm animals. Before going do check the specific festival’s website to know about the activities offered. Dress up warmly and wear proper footwear since most of the activities are outdoors.

So make sure to take your kids to a sugar shack near you this spring. They will surely love the experience.

About the Author:

Sadaf Afshan is an editor at MuslimMoms.ca She also writes a food blog My Culinary Adventures and owns an Islamic Clothing business Chosen Path Abayas.


Have you ever been to a Maple Syrup Festival? Which is your favorite place for enjoying Maple Syrup Festivals? Which activities do you enjoy most there? Please share your experience with other Moms in the comments section.


We Shall Not Forget, Remembrance Day 2014

We have seen many Canadian proudly sport a poppy on their clothing in the past two weeks. These bright red flowers commemorate Remembrance Day, a day when many countries around the globe honour their fallen heroes, brave soldiers, men and women who have served or are still serving in the armed forces. It is a day to honour, and cherish the sacrifices these men and women make to maintain peace in their lands.

This Remembrance Day in Canada is especially significant in wake of the Ottawa shootings. If anything, the aftermath of that tragic day reinforced that Canadians are a strong nation, who love peace and will not let the actions of a disturbed man reflect poorly on an entire people.

On this Remembrance Day, we remember all the fallen soldiers, and each and every person in the forces who is working to secure a better, peaceful future for our children.

From the team at MuslimMoms.ca, We Shall Not Forget…

Every year on November 11, Canadians pause for a moment of silence to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace. We remember more than 1,500,000 Canadians who have served throughout our nation’s history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice. We wear poppies over our hearts on Remembrance Day lest we forget the need and importance of peace, harmony and reconciliation in the society. Remembering all those veterans and their sacrifices make me understand that it is my responsibility as a citizen to make all efforts to maintain feelings of love, friendship and mutual respect for my fellow citizens because united we stand, and divided we fall. ~ Somaira Arshad.

On Remembrance Day we remind ourselves of the brave soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. We wear poppies as a symbol of the battles that took place during World War I on Flanders Fields. In school we will be having a special assembly and a moment of silence as well. It is important to honor those people that fought for our freedom whether it is in Canada or worldwide. ~ Imaan Jawad 

To me Remembrance Day signifies the beginning of peace. On the 11th day of the 11th hour of the 11th month, the First World War officially came to an end. Today, this day reminds me that there are still many brave souls out there fighting for peace and there are still countries that are torn by war and strife.

Remembrance Day is a day for reflection on our times and it is a day for honouring the sacrifices of all the brave people who fought for their countries and lost their lives. It is a day for thanking those who fought and those who are still fighting to bring about peace in their home land. ~ Muneezah Jawad Butt

To me Remembrance Day means a day to remember and repent on the lives that are lost in numerous wars. It is an opportunity to think as a nation, group and mankind as a whole as how to formulate a peaceful and promising future for our children and generations to come. ~ Mariam Mazhar