Best of 2017 and January 2018 Goals

Those of you who are subscribed to my newsletter have already received a letter from me sharing Best of 2017 Posts and some of my January 2018 Goals. Today I want to share more with you and hear back from you, too!

Last year was quite challenging, yet exciting. I started a new job, I opened a new company. I am slowly moving towards my life’s dreams becoming true, to becoming self-employed.

I also received two trainings to add to my skills: Pediatrics for Breastfeeding Counselors, and Post-Partum Doula Certificate. This has broadened my area of expertise, allowing me to consult moms and dads on many different things related to childbirth, breastfeeding, post-partum care, and more.

This month I have very simple goals for my blog:

  • As you have noticed, I have improved newsletter sign up options. So I hope to grow my audience this year.
  • I am working on adjusting some things related to my blog’s design. I love the theme I use, but I am hoping to improve it all.
  • I have designed my first Freebie for newsletter subscribers. So this goal for January 2018 has been reached!
  • I revived Virtues Series, and hope to revive/introduce more regular posts to my blog.

As for my life’s goals for January 2018:

  • Start homeschooling our oldest. Yes, we have finally decided to give a try for 6 months. There are many reasons why we want to do it. But we won’t know how it goes till later. Note: we are not against schooling. We believe there are so many ways to get education, and everyone chooses the one most suitable for their family.
  • Finish setting up my consultancy. This is a big task and probably will stretch into February and March.
  • Work on my patience. Yes, I admit that it is one virtue that keeps fluctuating!

And now, what you have been waiting for – Best post of 2017!

In my newsletter I listed 5 posts of all times that have performed the best in 2017. But here I would like to share on post written in 2017 that performed the best in the same year.

Here it is…

Wait a moment…

Almost there…


Expat’s Emergency Checklist

Please check this post from Teach Me Mommy to see what her Best of 2017 was!

Thank you again for reading my blog and for your support!


While you are at it, stop by Mama Smiles and 3 Dinosaurs to see what goals they have set this month! There are some awesome goals to look forward to!

How Having Penpals Helped Me Blog


When I was little, I used to love reading and writing. One more thing I loved – Bollywood movies.

I remember we would go to the cinema nearly every day while each movie is was running. I used to catch Bollywood movies on TV and try to sing and dance along. All of it later turned into me learning and performing Contemporary Indian Dance. But that’s not what I am writing about the today.

We used to have kids magazines and newspapers where there was a special section with children all over Soviet Union at that time, and later – CIS countries, looking for penpals. They offered exchange of hobbies, pictures and biographies of Indian actors, per se. And so, I was moved to start writing to these children.

Very soon, I had around 100 penpals. We sold to each other various items, exchanged pictures, trinkets. We told each other about our lives.

Among them were some children who were my friends in my grandma’s town, or whom I met in summer camps. I literally had letters coming in every day! I still sometimes see myself receiving these letters in my dreams.

So, writing to so many people on so many different subjects, moved me to write a diary. And then – short stories. My love for writing only increased with getting a computer and being able to type.

Fast-forward, many years later I became a teacher. And then – a mother. I started my first  blog some time between 2001 and 2003. It is still there.

And I moved onto LittleArtists in 2010, which evolved into Creative World of Varya.

Having all these experiences of writing and creating in my childhood, in my youth, and in my adulthood, I believe helped me not only be eloquent in my own  language; but later, when I was learning foreign languages, it helped me learn to express myself better in foreign languages.

I don’t have any connection with my childhood pen pals anymore. And I have honestly forgotten most of their names. But I will forever cherish that memory of having pen pals, of the experiences that help form who I am now.

Did you have penpals? Do you still keep in touch?

Exploring the Pacific Islands

Heritage blog1

This year to honour Asian-Pacific Heritage month I have made a simple printable that will help you and your children/ students with exploring the Pacific Islands!

Just click on the image below to open a file in another window!

pdf image pacific islands

As I mentioned in two of my previous posts, I have no direct relationship with the actual Heritage month since it is mainly honoured in the USA. However, I can absolutely relate to it granted our family’s diverse cultural background, and the fact, that part of our family lives in the United States and Guyana.

I think such heritage months should already become international since the United States itself has a very complex diverse population, that includes so many ethnic background from around the world!

Please do scroll down to see what other bloggers have shared! And hop over to our landing page to enter an amazing Giveaway!



Welcome to our third annual Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series and Giveaway!

Do visit my posta from last year and 2014.

May 2
Pint Size Gourmets on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Mixed Ethnicity – The Children to Asian Pacific Islanders

May 3
The Art Curator for Kids: Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple

May 5
Crafty Moms Share: Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook

May 6
Creative World of Varya

May 9
Crafty Moms Share: Malaysian and Singapore Children’s Favourite Stories

May 12
All Done Monkey: Coconut Curd Recipe

May 13
Colours of Us: 30 Asian and Asian-American Children’s Books

May 16
Bicultural Mama: 11 Chinese Foods that Are Not Really Chinese

May 17
Wise Owl Factory: Vocabulary and Word Search Printable and Classic Stories

May 23
Miss Panda Chinese: Interview with My Son on Learning His Heritage Language

May 27
Pack-n-Go Girls on Multicultural Kid Blogs

May 30
Crafty Moms Share

10 Favorite Outdoor Ball Games


Spring this year hasn’t been quite outdoor friendly in many places around the world. Here we had to get creative with the activities and outdoor games.

Playing with the ball is probably one of the easiest activities and there are just so many ways to play with it. It is fun. It is suitable and safe for any age group (well, except those teeny tiny balls!).

So I am happy to introduce you my 10 Favorite Outdoor Ball Games, some of which I play with my children, and some of which we played with my students in the past.

1. Football. Alright, I should probably call it “ball kicking”  instead, especially when it comes to playing it with toddlers. But once the kids learn to run forward and backwards with the ball, and run with it in circles, you can introduce them to the simple rules of football.

2. Volleyball. That’s another one I could call “throw and  bounce” as this is what pretty much volleyball is. I remember we used to play something in Russia called “pioneer ball” which was an easy variation of the volleyball and could be played in a circle, as opposed to bouncing the ball over the net.

3. Ping-pong or table tennis. It is such a fun game and it could be done with or without a table.

4. Tennis. Or a variation of it where you can just draw a line on the ground.

5. Grass hockey variation. You don’t need horses for that. All you need is a few sticks and a ball!

6. Lapta or its variations. This is a game we play in Russia. It is similar to cricket and baseball. While it is a team game, it can still be played just with 2-3 people.

7. Water ball games. Throwing and catching the balls in the swimming pool, racing for it in water – this could be so much fun! And if you manage to put a net – you can play water volleyball!

8. Ball treasure hunt. Just like the egg hunt but for colorful plastic balls!

9. Mini-golf. It is very easy to set up in your backyard or on a grassy area. You can simplify it to just hitting the markers, not the holes.

10. “Get the ball“. This is THE most fun game for toddlers. All you have to do is throw the ball and ask them to get it. Couldn’t be simpler but tons of giggles, and it helps with language development, too!

What are you favorite outdoor ball games?



Please join us in this A to Z Spring Outdoor Activities Blog Hop hosted by Something 2 Offer!

Alligator Action Rhyme from Preschool Powol Packets
10 Favorite Outdoor Ball Games from Creative World of Varya
Chalkboard Pretend Play from Our Whimsical Days
Dandelion STEM Activities from My Bright Firefly
Froggy Fun Outdoors from Mrs. LeBlanc’s Learners
Growing Tuff Spot from Tuff Spot Play
Hiking Activities with Young Kids from Royal Baloo
Ice Play from Kori at Home
Jungle Gym Fun  from Something 2 Offer
Let’s Go Fly a Kite from Something 2 Offer
Mud Kitchen Tuff Spot from Clare’s Little Tots
Nature Art Project for Young Children from Uno Zwei Tutu
Obstacle Course from Play & Learn Every Day
Exploring Life at the Pond from Natural Beach Living
Rock Painting for Kids from Something 2 Offer
Ways to Play with Sidewalk Chalk from Crafty Mama in ME
Tactile Nature Letters with Free Printable Letter Templates {Montessori Monday} from Living Montessori Now
Underground Scavenger Hunt from Preschool Powol Packets
Water Play from My Bored Toddler
Xylophone Jars from CraftCreateCalm
Y is for Yellow Photography from Preschool Powol Packets
Our Zoo Atlanta Visit and Review from Crafty Mama in ME

U is for Umbrella

Umbrella (1)

It has been raining heavily in Zhuhai and we have been unable to go out much as it doesn’t just pour – the wind is strong, too.

And it is just timely that today I am again posting for A-Z of Busy Bags hosted by Teach Me Mommy. My letter is letter U: U is for Umbrella. And I am going to share with you how to make DIY Umbrellas for dolls!

We have been working on decluttering and detoying the house, so we have kept several dolls and soft toys that all three kids like to play with. However, we often run out of accessories and we try to come up with DIY dresses and such for them.

What could be better than making simple umbrellas to “protect” your dollies from the sun and the rain?

Umbrella (2)

What you will need:

Double-sided tape

Straws with bendable tips (we had to cut ours a little)

Cupcake liners

Umbrella (3)

How to make the umbrellas:

1. Start by tearing a small piece of double sided tape and sticking it to the top of the straw. Tear the protective layer off.

2. Flatten your cupcake liner

3. Now, make 3 folds that will allow your liner resemble a con.

4. Stick it on top of the straw – voila, you have your umbrella!

Now, you can play with your dollies and soft toys by giving them umbrellas!

a-z busy bags

Please stop by Teach Me Mommy A-Z Busy bags landing page to see what other fun ideas have been already posted and will be posted in the next 4 days!

Chinese Tea Sensory Dough


Welcome to 12 Months of Sensory Dough hosted by Lemon Lime Adventures!

This month we are all about Natural Dough. And so I thought about making it with a twist – Chinese Tea Sensory Dough.

For the base I took a simple recipe of salt Dough but here is how I made some changes:


First, I brewed some Chinese Tea.

Then, the girls mixed cooled off to warm tea and dissolve salt in it.


Next, they added the flour and mixed their dough. It became VERY soft and smooth!


So, I let them divide the dough into two parts:

Part one was mixed with dry tea leaves.

Part two was mixed with tea leaves that were drained off excess tea.


Then, the girls insisted for both parts to be mixed and they made lots of figurines using the cookie cutters.

While the dough didn’t get any color, it actually looked whiter than a regular salt Dough.

Girls got to experience three textures from very smooth to very rough using dry and wet tea leaves.



Natural Play Dough with Natural Dye | Lemon Lime Adventures
No Cook Lemon Scented Natural Play Dough | Natural Beach Living
Natural Chamomile Playdough Recipe | Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
Paprika Natural Play Dough Recipe | Sugar Aunts
Mud Dough with Flowers | Powerful Mothering
Natural Calming Play Dough | Sugar, Spice & Glitter
Chinese Tea Play Dough | Creative World of Varya
Herbal Tea Dough | Peakle Pie

Please follow Lemon Lime Adventure’s Sensory Dough Pinterest Board for more ideas!

Follow Dayna | Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Sensory | Dough Recipes on Pinterest.

Concentrating on Growing Closer in March


I am a little late with my Monthly Blogging Goals post this month. Holidays, colds, repeat pneumonia in Mini Man and some more things that have kept me from posting regularly and fulfilling my goals.

This month I am going to work on our family growing closer. Getting closer to my children, especially miss T, who needs my attention now as ever.

Blogging also will help me concentrate on closeness as besides doing regular activities, it was always always fun for me and the kids to create special ones for sharing on the blog.

Here are some highlights of what I plan to do this month:

1. I am now working along with a friend on opening a bilingual play group for children under 3. It will be another source for sharing wondeful ideas and experiences. Mini Man will be coming along and spending time with other 9-10 kids in his age category. I don’t know whether it will work out in a long run, but we are trying and hoping for the best!

2. I will be in charge of picking miss T from school. This will result in me fulfilling my daily walking goals, plus, spending extra time bonding with her.

3. I will be leading a regular weekly moral/spiritual education class for miss T’s age group and she will be coming along. That will be another way to bond and yet another resource which will help me revive my Virtues Series.

4. I will be looking into spending more time with miss A. As a middle child, she is often gets dismissed this way or another. So more time is what we need with her one-on-one.

5. Spending time with my husband in the evenings is a great way to bond. We have been fortunate that our children fell into a routine of going to bed quite early (before 8-9pm) which gives us an opportunity to catch up with things and each other’s days.

These are my goals for March. What are yours?


    An InLinkz Link-up


Keeping Busy in February

February Goals

I am sitting down, looking at my clock, and realizing that a whole month just rushed by! We are in February already here in China! Where did the time go????

Wasn’t it just yesterday I published my goals for January? Is it time already to plan for February?

I have been busy indeed reviving my blog, working on bonding with my children, creating a small eBooklet, caring for a very sick child (Mini Man decided it was fun to get a bad cold first and then a pneumonia!), dealing with own injury (an epic fall during a Sports Day resulted in me injuring my knee)… So much has happened.

And yet, despite all the unpleasant things, January was a GOOD month. I have achieved so much: I am cooperating with 2 places on creating English curriculum for children under 6 years old; I have managed to handle a card exchange; we crafted with my kids and I introduced a new type of play dough in my classes (the post will come later – perhaps not in February, but in the months ahead when it is relevant!).

So, for February, I am setting the following goals:

  1. Continue being kind. I must admit that I need to be more kind. And I am working on it.
  2. Try not to get my blogging dates overbooks. Though, it is always fun to juggle the time differences in order to publish 3 posts in 2 days!
  3. Get back to composing music and record few songs with my husband. Yes, I am musical, too!
  4. Continue working on improving my blog’s content and revisit 2 or 3 old posts in order to improve photos and correct whatever spelling mistakes and typos there are.
  5. Initiate a regular moral and spiritual education class for my daughter with her friend. As Baha’is we believe that children should learn virtues and spiritual concepts from early on. It is a good practice as in between these practices help them concentrate, contemplate and self-discipline. So my goal is to start one class a week and hold it regularly.

I guess, that’s about it!


Please join us in setting Monthly Goals and read what my other fellow bloggers have planned for the month of February!


The Year of the Monkey Door Decoration Printable

Monkey Printable title image 1
As I mentioned so many times before, Chinese New Year in China is a huge deal. It is also a big deal for many countries where Chinese population is rapidly growing.
This year Kid Blogger Network bloggers have joined up again to bring you some fun ideas with our Chinese New Year Blog Hop!
Today I am sharing with you beautiful printable door decoration for the Year of the Monkey which you can print out and hang outside your door, or anywhere in your house. You can also choose to print it out in black and white and decoration with your children.
Please click on the image below to open a .pdf file and download your printable!
PDF snapshot
I would also like to take a moment and summer up all the post I have so far shared with you for this wonderful Festival! Living in China and avoiding Chinese New Year is pretty much impossible. But even then – besides the crazy fireworks – who wants to avoid it??? It is so beautiful and brings people together!
So, here are my all-time posts on Chinese New Year!
I wish you a happy Chinese New Year / Spring Festival / Lunar New Year!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Hong Bao La Lai!

cny blog hop 2016 vertical
Please join us in this blog hop hosted by Peakle Pie and link your favorite blog posts dedicated to Chinese New Year!
Below is the list of all the blogs that participated!
the gingerbread house shared a cute Chinese New Year paper plate monkey
KiddyCharts shared these wonderful Dragon colouring pages
Kelly’s Classroom shared a brilliant Year of the Monkey Coloring Sheet
Peakle Pie shared a striking Red Monkey Mask
Witty Hoots shared these colourful Chinese New Year Lucky Fish
Kidz Activities shared this awesome Monkey Paper Bag Puppet
Creative World of Varya shared this adorable Year of the Monkey Door Hanger
Mama Smiles shared some favourite Monkey Picture Books
In The Playroom a musical Chinese New Year Shaker Craft
Play & Learn Everyday shared these festive Chinese New Year Mini Lanterns
Simple Fun for Kids shared a great game with Chinese New Year I Spy Game

Winnie the Pooh Characters Puppets and Play


It is A.A. Milne’s birthday on January 18th and some of the bloggers of Kid Blogger network are celebrating thisThank author and his absolutely amazing classic – Winnie the Pooh – by a themed blog hop!

I grew up with Winnie the Pooh and we even have an adapted cartoon version of Winnie and his friends as you can view below.

My children, however, have a vague idea about Winnie the Pooh stories, though they have watched the more modern version of the cartoons and the Disney edition of Winnie the Pooh series.

To introduce them a bit more to the characters of my childhood book, I decided to make very simple, very fun puppets and read aloud stories using them, turning whole experience into play.


You will need:

Printouts or drawings of Winnie the Pooh Characters
Toilet paper rolls
Colors (optional)


1. Cut out the characters.

2. Paste them with glue to the toilet paper rolls. My toddler helped me with those!


3. Read one of the Pooh stories and use the puppets to role play. Girls really enjoyed playing with the puppets!

You can also cut out Eeyore’s tail which he always loses. And carrots for Rabbit, honey pot for Pooh. You can make these adorable paper roll trees to tell a story about Piglet being lost in the forest or Pooh traveling.

Enjoy your play time with Winnie the Pooh characters!


This blog hop is hosted by one of my favorite blogs –  Pickle Pie. Join us in this celebration by linking up your Winnie the Pooh themed posts below!