THIS LIFE THE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR PEOPLE WITH CHILDREN
All for Kids
Feeding time at the zoo!
A festival of Lights
Unique Resorces for your Family
Editor s Note
All for Kids
Out & About
Time for Lunch
Learning Tree Cooperative School
10. Things that make you go BOO!
12. Crosscultural Adjustment in Switzerland 14. Thanksgiving Turkey 15. Let them eat cake
16. Diwali 17. Morocco - Jewel of the North 18. Hannuka
20. Holidays are Coming 22. Little Readers 23. This Little Life
24. Party Time at the WAC 25. Readers gone Wacky 26. ClassiďŹ eds 27. Coffee Break
THIS LIFE Editor’s note Welcome to the Autumn edition of This Life Magazine! WOW! What a lot we have waiting for you in this issue! Over the next few months there is an array of festive traditions and celebrations and we have tried our best to include as many as we can for your to share and enjoy with us. Learn about the origins of Diwali, make some spooky accessories for Halloween, Hannukah fun, Thanksgiving crafts and not forgetting, how to get ready for CHRISTMAS! We have some great guest posts from various bloggers in Switzerland we hope you will enjoy and of course our regular columns like Anonymum, where she will be looking into the joys of feeding her toddler! We will be hearing from our big readers at Readers gone Wacky and our Little Readers on their favourite books (maybe they can help you chose a book or two put away for Christmas). What ever you are celebrating over the next few months, we hope you and your family have a fabulous holiday season and hope you enjoy this issue and feel inspired to try some new things! If you’d like to get in touch with us with an article, recipe or craft idea, maybe you are a blogger looking for ways to share your work by having a feature in the magazine, or if you just want to let us know what you think, we’d love to hear from you at email@example.com Have a great Autumn! Love life Love This Life Louise & Tamsin
Inspiring people with children If you want to get in touch with us at This Life please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org This Life Magazine is an independently owned magazine and run in cooperation with The WAC and Learning Tree Cooperative School in Uster. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted we require prior permission to be obtainined in writing. This Life Magazine is currently a FREE publication distributed throughout Switzerland. It is available in selected libraries, schools, community centres, spas, hair and nail salons, doctors and dentist offices and numerous other high traffic locations. If you would like a copy for your business place please contact us directly at the email address above. We do not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the articles, nor are we responsible for the products and services listed. We welcome your ideas articles and feedback, LIKE This Life Magazine and The WAC & Learning Tree Cooperative School on facebook to stay up to date on special offers, local events and much more! https://www.facebook.com/ thislifemagazine/ https://www.facebook.com/WAC-on-TRACK For more information about the WAC please go to www.wac.ch
Hello, Welcome to the next edition of THIS LIFE, sponsored by The WAC & Learning Tree School in Uster. My name is Tosyn and together with my co-chair Gillian, we organise all the events, fun and games at the WAC! We have a JAM PACKED couple of months coming up at the WAC and we would love YOU to be part of it!
October brings our annual HALLOWEEN PARTY Date: 30th October 2016 Time: 2-5pm Tickets: 10chf members and 15chf non members We will have loads of activities, games, competitions and of course, lots and lots of fun! Feel free to come dressed in your spookiest costume - there may be a prize for the best dressed! Keep an eye out on our website and Facebook page for information on our colouring competition!
In November we will be celebrating FOOD DIVERSITY Date: 12th November 2016 Time: 2-5pm Tickets: 10chf per family Get to know people, cultures and stories behind some amazing international cuisines. Come with your loved ones and bring along your favourite national dish to share with all. It will be an afternoon of fun, laughter, music and of course food! Feel free to wear clothing typical of your culture. This is a charitable event, and the WAC will donate all proceeds from the tickets sales to charity in support of the Syrian crisis.
December welcomes our annual CHRISTMAS PARTY! Date: 11th December 2016, Time: 2-5pm TicketS: 10chf members and 15chf non members The WAC will be bringing the man himself from the North pole to join in our Christmas Party Celebrations! There will be loads of activities for the whole family to take part and have fun, including singing some traditional Christmas carols. Please keep tuned for more information on how to enter our Christmas competions and how you can get your letters in to Santa for all your present requests! For more information on any of the events we have above or how you can get more involved in all of the WAC’s activities and our membership options, please contact Carol, our office manager on email@example.com or head to our website www.wac.ch. I look forward to seeing you over the next few months!
The Evolution of All For Kids - a Unique Resource for Families When my kids were little, I wanted to give them stories and toys that I remembered as a child in Boston. However, 20 years ago, it was impossible to find things in English here without having to bring them back in a suitcase or spend a fortune on shipping. I quickly discovered other moms who wanted the same, so I started All For Kids. Since then my children have grown up, and so has my business. It started as a mail order catalog, then grew to a network of sales reps including a little store at the WAC when it was still in Volketswil. Now you can find virtually anything online and buying habits have shifted dramatically. All For Kids continues to evolve in response to the changing needs of expats with children. The core business is still a shop - now online of course. I only stock toys, games, crafts etc. that inspire learning and challenge kids to use their imagination. I strive to find things that aren’t readily available in Swiss stores and quality is essential so most items have won awards. I believe that we, as parents, should let our kids be kids in an age when it’s far too easy to hand them a phone instead of a book, craft, game or science kit. Here in Switzerland, English speaking families have gone from having very few choices to having too many - and my goal is to help parents sift through the vast resources available to them. In addition to my online shop, I publish a monthly blog with ideas for maintaining cultural traditions, and finding activities that help nurture your child’s natural curiosity. My Pinterest boards are a fantastic resource with loads of parenting tips, travel info, learning games and art projects, many of which are free, and my Facebook page is a great way to stay informed about new products, deals, and events such as craft days at my Showroom in Ticino. I love the fact that All For Kids has become much more than a retail shop. Offering great customer service and having contact with families keeps me motivated. I often exhibit at expos or fairs throughout CH so parents can see my products first hand and share their ideas. I enjoy networking with Expats about their business ideas, and encourage collaboration whenever I can. So - I hope you’ll visit All For Kids and tell me what you think. Better yet, come see me at the WAC on Wednesday, October 26th. I’ll be there from 11:00-17:30 with products for sale. If there are specific things from my site you’d like to see - just contact me beforehand. I look forward to meeting you then! About All For Kids: www.allforkids.ch www.facebook.com/allforkidscatalog www.pinterest.com/allforkids0262/ The online shop is extremely easy to navigate, offering various search and payment options as well as coupon codes for best selling items. Even your friends and family outside CH can shop with ease - they select and pay online, then their gifts are sent to you with a personal card. About Robin: Robin has lived in Ticino for 26 years, is the mother of 2 grown children, and married to a Swiss Italian. In addition to her work with All For Kids, she founded AWOT (American Women of Ticino) which celebrated it’s 25th anniversary this year.
Out & About Milandia high rope course (Hochseilpark) Last week, it was my friend J’s birthday. He is now 6. He has lost two teeth already! To celebrate we all went to a very nice place called Milandia (in Volketswil). There was me, my little sister, my mom, my friend J, his little brother and his mom. From Uster we took a train and then a bus. I like to ride on the bus with my friends and my sister. In Milandia, some nice people who had no shoes (I don’t know why they were barefoot, maybe they just like it), put straps around each of us children, and also bandanas and helmets, except for J’s brother because he doesn’t like climbing. Mom rubbed sunscreen onto us because it was very hot and sunny, and off we went. The man attached our straps using a special key. This way we were safe, in case we fell. If we did fall we would just swing on our rope until mom helped us back on the course. The track goes in a circle and the last thing to do is to swing all the way down, while hanging only on our ropes. That was scary the first time but the next ten times I wasn’t scared at all. It was so much fun. My sister cried a lot the first time she had to do it. She always does anyway. She stopped completely and blocked our way so all the other kids behind her couldn’t move on. But the nice man with no shoes and who put our straps on came and told her he will give her (a free) ice cream. So she swung immediately and took an ice cream break. She later came back to the track and wasn’t scared anymore. We also all had ice cream later (but we had to pay for ours). By C., age 5 (and her mom)
More information about the Hochseilpark: The kids high rope course consists of several elements where kids have to balance, swing or walk through a net. It is suitable for kids aged 4 to 8, though younger kids who are confident to do it are also allowed. The “Hochseilpark” is open only on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and only until the end of October. It opens again end of March. It costs 13 CHF per child. Once the park has closed for the winter, the indoor Kletterzentrum (climbing hall) remains opens. http://www.milandia.ch/sport-und-erlebnispark/sport-freizeit/hochseilpark/
m u m y n o n A
The Good, The Bad and The Frazzled..
Feeding time at the zoo I cook up a delicious, nutritious and balanced meal, containing every food group in the recommended proportions, and no salt. I portion out daddy and mummy sized plates, followed by a wee toddler bowl of palatable dinnertime goodness, and take them to the table, where my husband and daughter sit in grateful anticipation. She is uncomplainingly wearing her bib, strapped into her pristine ikea highchair, and can hardly wait for us to give thanks before diving in with colour coordinated fork and spoon. She gobbles it down, pausing for a hearty 'mmmmm!!' between bites. She clears the plate in record time, before begging for more, and then enjoys a piece of fruit for pudding. In my dreams. Sadly, the reality is a little less serene. Granted, some days she will eat everything that isn't nailed down - and even some things that are - but those days are few and far between. Mostly, mealtimes are a battle. I am a lot less invested in these battles than my poor husband, who feels food-issues deeply. He basically spent his early childhood banging on the highchair tray with his little spoon, demanding third helpings. He does Not understand a less-than ecstatic approach to eating. I tend to give up a lot quicker - if she ain't opening, I ain't peddling. I'm no mug. (Or maybe I'm just a lazy mother).
So, reality check... I cook up a delicious, nutritious and balanced meal... At the table, my daughter is already looking wary. She cautiously opens her mouth for a taste test. 2 more spoons make it in, and then the head is turned firmly and resolutely away. No amount of cajoling will return it to neutral. Husband and I, united front, we shall conquer: This is Your Dinner. There is No More Food. If you don't eat this, you won't have Anything else. No snacks. 5 minutes later, weeping husband (I'm already running her bath in resignation): What Do you want then? Banana? Fruit pot? Yoghurt? Biscuits? Chocolate? - ok, maybe not chocolate. But basically, half his kingdom if she will Just Eat Something! This is not every mealtime, most days are anywhere in-between the 2 extremes. You'll have heard the age-old health visitor cry, 'they'll eat when they're hungry!' which, let's face it, isn't that soothing when you're on the 3rd day and your child has only consumed 7 raisins, a satsuma and half a yoghurt. You're tempted to think 'what if my child is just Never hungry?! What if there's something wrong in their brain and I just let them starve to death? Isn't it better to force feed than face a life in prison for neglect?' In actual fact - take a look at your child. If they are a skeleton, go see your family doctor. If they look like a normal, energetic, healthy and happy (sometimes) little person - chill out. Somehow they manage to eat enough on the good days to carry them through the bad. Always speak to your doctor if you're genuinely worried, but on the whole, the eating habits of toddlers are totally random. Just go with it, and don't let the stress of mealtimes cause you internal damage from supersonic cortisol levels. It's just not worth it for one extra spoon! (Which will likely end up on the floor anyway if your child is a spitter, armflinger or vomitter...which is a whole different article).
Green Eggs & Ham Ingredients • • • •
6 eggs 1 tablespoon milk, 1 cup spinach leaves Salt & pepper to taste You could eat it in a box You could eat it with a fox You may not like them, so you say.. Try them, just try them and I think you may!
Whizz it all up, in a blending machine, And watch your eggs turn the most fabulous green! Get your mother or other to cook in a pan And serve it all up, with a siding of ham. It’s really quite simple this marvelous dish So make it your next lunchtime foody wish! Do you like green eggs and ham? I do. I like them, Sam-I-Am!
Sponsored by The WAC Lunch Club Need some more time? Struggling with picking up, dropping off and staying home with your kids over lunch time? The Lunch Club might be your answer! is a fully supervised 2 hour break for you and your kids. Club Lunch The Parents bring their child’s own packed lunch (food can be warmed in our microwave). Times : Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11.45 to 13.45 Cost : 15chf per day
The Learning Tree Cooperative School Welcome to the ESL (English as a Second Language) classes here at the LTCS! The LTCS offers your child the opportunity to learn English from the age of 2 and onwards. Our Preschool children learn through immersion in our daily classes. Once they are in Kindergarten, they have the chance to continue n our ESL (English as a Second Languange) Program. Our school offers 7 levels of ESL classes for children in Kindergarten and higher. These classes are here to offer your children a strong foundation and further strengthening and development of the language. Our classes are not only taught in an english environment but also in a fun and creative environment. here is a glimpse of what we offer in our first four levels. Children, unlike adults, learn foreign languages quite easily; they tend to “absorb” a new language - most especially when it’s fun! We like to encourage our children to interact and use hands on activities. ESL 1 and 2 is a combined class geared for children who are new to learning English and those who have a fair understanding of the English language. We here at the Learning Tree School believe in providing our young learners with the best tools and resources available. The children learn English through various modalities such as interactive games, role play, theme related songs, puppetry, along with colorful visual materials which make learning lots of fun. Our overall goal is for the children to gain confidence in their abilities, to understand and express themselves in a cheerful and stimulating atmosphere. Our theme now is ‘All about Me’ where the children learn the vocabulary to be able to say a little something about themselves. One of the main ways they learn is through play. With this in mind, we incorporate games and role play in our ESL 3 and 4 classes. These activities are related to the various topics we are studying. Games such as “Bingo” and “Memory” together with flashcards, increase vocabulary and encourage proper sentence structure.Children also like to move, so we have scavenger hunts, and play games such as; “Simon Says”. We choose topics that are not only useful in daily language, but are interesting to the children; “Sports” is always a favorite. When there is time, we like to offer art and /or cooking. Through these we can expand on the five senses and the concept cause and effect. They really enjoy this. So far we have worked on “Back to School” theme and describing themselves. Next the children will further learn how to describe their feelings; learning adjectives and their opposites, “tired”, “awake”, “happy”, “sad”. Hearing the language, giving them the opportunity to express themselves, and understand the new vocabulary is really key for their success. Our higher ESL continue with expanding the vocabulary and the speaking & comprehension skills of your child. Our classes grow with the abilities of the children. We will continue to go further and learn more. Our goal is to make your child not only able to understand but confident enough to speak English fluently. The Learning Tree Cooperative School (LTCS) is designed to meet the pre and after school needs of your children. The LTCS programs are designed to complement both the Swiss public school system as well as the international schools in our area. The Learning Tree Cooperative School is set up to support your family. You can find a description of each of our classes, plus online enrollment forms and information to download on the individual class pages on our website. www.wac.ch
Things that make you go BOO! by Tamara Gerber Halloween and St. Patrick's Day are my favourite holidays, and I go to great lengths to organize a fun party for our friends. While in the past 10-15 years retailers in Switzerland have caught up in oﬀering Halloween supplies, you may still have a lot in your mind that you can't buy here. Let me share a couple of DIY ideas. Most are not my own ideas; the Internet, Pinterest especially, are full of tutorials, so this is just a collection of tried and tested projects that I loved: Ghost Lights, my favourite. The original craft I found on the internet a couple of years ago asked for milk jugs, you know, a gallon? Fat chance... What you can do instead (gotta start early in the year though OR grab them from your local recycling center...) collect empty laundry detergent and distilled water containers. Using alcohol or nail polish remover, take oﬀ the label, google your template and use it to trace the shape with a black marker, then get to work and fill your shape! As a light I use all sorts of things, depending on the width of the spout: glow sticks, electric tea lights or little flashlights.
Bowling Pins (or just use them as decoration) Using some sturdy cardboard tablecloth roll that I had cut, I wrapped them with adhesive orange foil and drew on my Jack'O'Lantern faces. You could also make smaller ones using TP rolls.
If you're patient enough for paper cutting, why don't you try and make your own Haunted House? Purchase the largest thick black craft paper you can find and cut your house and lots of door and window silhouettes, leaving the doors and windows attached so you can open and close them as you please, like an advent calendar. Use the paper leftovers to cut out your objects like cats, ghosts and spiders that you'll glue on the tissue paper that comes to the back of your craft. I pinned my houses to the wall - bonus points for you if you manage to arrange them around a source of light! Mummy, Frankenstein, Ghost, Witch? Head over to my blogger friend Michèle’s detailed tutorial on how to make those cute Halloween Characters out of simple wood sticks.
http://followmehome.shellybean.com/2014/10/blog-with-friends-boo-crewin-effect.html Now I don't know about you guys, but I don't exist on love and crafts alone, so let's move on to the food, shall we?
Do you prepare snack boxes for your Kindergarten or Elementary School kids? Upgrade them with some Halloween themed Lunchbox Printables. Google finds tons of them. My favourite is "what is an old hag at the beach? A Sandwitch!"
For our party, why don't we start with something really healthy because we all know there will be enough candy later. Shredded carrots, served in transparent plastic cups on which you go crazy with a sharpie. A piece of broccoli on top, and you're done! Jack'O'Lantern Salad! ( I added the dressing after taking my picture).
Here's another simple one: Upgrade your regular pumpkin soup by cutting out a ghost of your sliced cheese, if you have a black food color pencil, draw a face -Boo! Ghost soup!
Jack'O'Lantern Sandwich If you're into baking your own bread, add some orange food colouring to your dough, use your pumpkin cookie cutter for those cute shapes. I put some ham and cheese in the middle and toasted them, of course they are tasty as is, too. The green stalks are made from cucumber pieces.
If that was all "too vegetarian" for you, here are some Mummy Dogs! Google is full of recipes and tutorials should you need one. You can buy chicken or pork wienerli and ready rolled puﬀ pastry at most supermarkets here.
With all those easy to make dishes there had to be a catch, right? Well, only if you insist on making those Gingerbread Skeletons. I found a great video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEd9EE60yMc If you go for candy, that's totally OK! I know I won't repeat this project because I was not happy with my royal icing piping skills. Well, I tried!
The next year I made an orange and black (well, brown) Marble Cake and decorated it with candy melt characters. Much simpler! For a good Marble Cake recipe have a look on Google again, there you will find plenty of great instructions on how you can make your own. To make the orange part of the cake, just buy some food dye at your local supermarket, you could even try green to make your cake look greatly ghoulish!
I hope I was able to inspire you, and you can't wait to prepare for your big night! If you are trying any of those things, please let me know how they turned out!
Tamara has been blogging as Part-Time Working Mom since summer 2012. When she isn’t working, parenting or writing, she likes to bake and craft. She also has a reputation for taking on one too many projects. You can find her posts here: http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch
Cross-cultural Adjustment in Switzerland “Are you going to stay in Switzerland or is it temporary?” One of the most asked questions in our intercultural surrounding. Whichever it is for you, you’ve certainly been confronted with some of the phases described below. But at the beginning we’re usually too busy and too full with anticipation to think of the subliminal challenges we have to face when moving to another country. It’s all about the move, housing, school for the kids… all time-consuming planning and excitement. So let’s have a look how it usually goes on.
The five-stage cycle HONEYMOON STAGE
INITIAL CULTURE SHOCK 1. Honeymoon Stage
TRUE CULTURE SHOCK
After arriving, everything in the new place is at first fascinating and exciting. A whole new world is waiting to be explored, a great adventure. This is why the first stage is mostly much easier for people who have left their original country than for their family and friends who stay behind. Differences are brushed off as “interesting” and “charming”. You feel like an observing tourist. “Interesting how they deal with things here. This phase can last a couple of days to a couple of weeks. But sooner or later, assumptions of how great things will be get reality-tested.
2. Initial Culture Shock This phase is often initiated by a relatively minor conflict or problem, e.g. a sickness in your family, difficulties with the kids in school, a plumbing problem. Back home it would have been no big deal but in a new and unfamiliar context you are more easily shaken. It is during this period that everyday differences become frustrating and annoying. Daily struggles and difficulty in communicating especially with the Swiss German produce deep dissatisfaction and feelings of incompetence. Some people start to physically feel that something is not right. Quite some start complaining about every-day issues. Don’t get me wrong: This is indeed a very helpful strategy for this phase and we all have lived through it while sitting together in playgroup with our young ones. Just don’t remain in it. After some time of trashing to find relief of daily stress better gather real information on how things are done here to conquer your uncertainty. Find people who have lived here for longer, read books or visit a seminar to share your frustration and fears in a constructive way. Check out one of my next articles about “Culture Shock”.
3. Superficial Adaptation You have begun to figure out the rules of the new culture and are therefore feeling again more comfortable and in control. On the surface it all looks okay. For a few this happens late enough so they are at the end of their stay in Switzerland. They spend this phase living in a bubble surrounded by their expat and foreign friends and keep the social involvement with locals to a minimum. After that, they either move back home or on to another country without th facing the 4 stage of cultural adjustment and thus achieving a more satisfactory level of integration.
Most of the time two years are long enough to be confronted with the challenges of stage 4, especially with children in the local school system growing up in the Swiss mentality…
4. True Culture Shock After the basics have left you a bit more confident in your life in phase 3, the true culture shock often comes as a surprise. But sooner or later you begin to realise this is all about a deeper level of values, priorities and ideas. You might feel that everything around you is so heavily opposed to what you’re used to that you maybe even think it was the wrong decision to come here. In addition: important family events in your home country take place without you and friends back home move on. You might even wonder “Are they forgetting about me?” All this can lead to an even stronger loss of confidence on the personal and cultural level. Quite often I see people losing their motivation to be in touch with the host culture. Some are reluctant to continue learning German during this phase. “It doesn’t help with all the Swiss German anyway.” Phase 4 is difficult to navigate and it takes a huge effort on the individual’s part. Like a lady once told me: “A crossing over of all our normal fears, a pushing ourselves way further than we may have thought possible. And it can take years”. This period is really worth to be managed effectively in order to achieve a successful outcome for your time in Switzerland, whether only temporary or permanent. In order to fight mental isolation it certainly helps to talk to people in a similar situation. But at times this rather keeps you stuck in the same perpetual behaviour pattern. Additional gossiping-strategy might cover the real topics, throwing you back into phase 2. If this is the case, professional support, like a trained coach has turned out to be more efficient. Did you know that the number one expatriate problem is the inability of the spouse to adjust?!... What I’ve learnt during my years as a professional coach is definitely: Don’t wait. Better approach the situation early. Make sure the path leads you into the positive adaption/integration phase 5 and not into apathy or resignation.
5. Adaptation and Intergration At this point you have integrated into the Swiss culture and you’re able to function without much effort, perhaps even adopting a dual cultural identity. At best you have realised you neither have to change the Swiss nor become like them. You’ve succeeded in making local friends and feel more like home. This is the period of highest satisfaction I’m convinced you can only experience after having lived and worked through phase 4. It is not a safe stage and throwbacks are normal.
The cycle is very individual This model has proved to be a very helpful basis for discussion. While predictable, it is always experienced in a unique way by each individual though. Some people go through the stages in a different order, at different times, or perhaps not at all…It depends on feelings, expectations about the move, the extent of difference between the two cultures, the amount of social support and of course personality. The model integrates a number of theories including change management and loss. The element of loss may sound surprising, but it refers to loss of country, family, friends, values, language, culture, etc.
Reverse cultural shock In case you move back to your home country you might experience an additional stage to this classical model, the one of reverse cultural shock, also known as the ‘re-entry’ stage. If you don’t prepare for this carefully, you may be irritated that you don’t find your world back home the way you’d left it. This stage is typical for 'perpetual' expats in particular. But as a matter of fact, when looking at it in a more differentiated way, we often see that basically the same five phases of the cycle of crosscultural adjustment can show again either if you return to your home country or if you move on to another country. Mirjam is a trained coach for English speaking people living in Switzerland. She’s a native Swiss and a teacher in the Swiss school system and can therefore answer the questions “How is this usually done here?” or “Is it normal that…?” Bringing somebody in who can read between the lines is often a big advantage. For more on Mirjam and her professional solution-based coaching: www.coaching-lounge.ch or pick a flyer in the WAC-clubroom. Mirjam also runs the popular HOW THE SWISS WORK seminars at the WAC in Uster covering the Swiss school system, unwritten rules of daily life and many more topics. For more information and to keep informed on upcoming dates contact our club office manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanksgiving Turkey What do you need to make your Turkey? Brown paper White A4 sheet A selection of dried (and pressed) leaves Glue Scissors Crayons Note: You might want to lay down some newspaper or protective surface for avoid sticking to your table!
Instructions 1. Cut out a 6-8cm circle for the body and glue onto your A4 sheet 2. Cut out a smaller 3-4cm circle for the head and glue in the middle of the bigger circle. Draw on eyes and cut out a small beak and waddle from your leaf selection. Glue onto the face to create a realistic 'turkey look'. 3. Choose leaves to add as the feathers of the turkey. Slide them behind the big brown body, whilst arranging them in a fan shape and glue them down. 4. Draw on legs and any other 'turkey' details.
Jazz up your turkey by sprinkling glitter on the body or tail feathers. You could also use coloured feathers instead of leaves. Use googly eyes instead of drawing them on if preferred. The Rockinâ€™ Rascals & Zoom Zoom Zoom toddler groups run at the WAC club every Tuesday and Thursday morning 9.30-11.30. Crafts, snack time, singing and lots of fun to be had in our English speaking group for children ages 0-4 years. New members are always welcome to join us at The WAC, Winterthurerstrasse 18, Uster
LET THEM EAT CAKE! Pumpkin Bread with Caramel Glaze
As pumpkin season is in full swing, this recipe is a favourite at home and has been kid approved! Not only is it gluten free and processed sugar free, it is also suitable for vegans. (recipe from http://www.primallyinspired.com/) Ingredients:
4 eggs 1 cup of roasted pumpkin (puree) ⅓ cup maple syrup or honey ¼ cup coconut oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup coconut flour (or regular gluten free flour) 1 heaping tablespoon Cinnamon ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds For the Caramel Glaze: 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup 2 tablespoons butter (for dairy free use coconut oil) 2 tablespoons coconut milk or any other milk of choice ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon cinnamon pinch of sea salt Preheat oven to 180C. In a mixing bowl, combine all liquid pumpkin bread ingredients.Stir in your dry ingredients, except the pumpkin seeds. Spread into a lightly greased standard-sized bread loaf pan (use butter or coconut oil for greasing). Top the pumpkin batter with the pumpkin seeds. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center is cooked through. Let cool for a few minutes. Pour the caramel glaze all over the bread. Enjoy!
For the Caramel Glaze: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Stir together the coconut milk in with the butter. Add vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt. Stir until it starts to simmer and gets a little bit thicker. Remove from heat and stir in the honey until well mixed (by removing the pot from the heat, it preserves the enzymes of the raw honey). Let the glaze cool for 10-15 minutes before pouring over the pumpkin bread. The WAC café is open every Tuesday from 2-4pm. Aside from freshly baked cakes we also offer tea and coffee at a great low cost, as well as lots of room for children to play and have fun. Children of all ages welcome!
A Festival of Lights by Renu Yash Simek Deepawali or Diwali is certainly the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It's the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights). This year Diwali falls on the 30th October. Deepawali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil; and it is with each Deepawali and the lights that illuminate our homes and hearts, that this simple truth finds new reason and hope. From darkness unto light â€” the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, that which brings us closer to divinity. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of firecrackers, joy, togetherness and hope. One of the most significant festivals in Indian culture, Diwali, the festival of lights, sees millions attend firework displays, prayers and celebratory events across the world every autumn. The festival is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains for a variety of reasons, although the main theme which runs throughout is the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. In Deepawali hindu religions pray Godess Lakshmi (symbol of wealth) is worhsipped along the elephant headed god Ganesha (symbol of prosperity). To celebrate, houses are decorated with candles and colourful lights and huge firework displays are held while families feast and share gifts. One of the most popular stories told is the legend of Lord Rama and his wife Sita returning to their kingdom in northern India from exile after defeating the demon king Ravanna in the 15th century BC. What is eaten during Diwali? The food most closely associated with the festival is Indian sweets, which come in a range of colours and flavours. The celebration however features various rich savoury and sweet dishes, and while eating out is popular, families will mostly prepare food at home. Unlike the traditional roast turkey at Christmas, each family celebrating Diwali will more than likely have its own favourite meal for the festival, and the food will most often play a central theme to the celebrations.
Morocco Jewel of the North Still thinking about where to go this autumn school range. There was nothing to do but enjoy nature’s beauty. holidays? How about stepping back in time and embarking The minimum age for kids to be in the hot air balloon is 3 on an adventure in Morocco? years old. After the ride, we had lunch in a small desert We traveled with our 2 boys, now 8 and 4 years old, to village and went for a camel ride as part of the tour too. Marrakesh in October last year. We thought the kids are ready for something a bit more exotic and rustic basically, a place where finding the first-world staple of pommes frites and pasta for a meal would be a mean feat. What an amazing hidden jewel Marrakesh proved to be. What to see: The Medina – which is the largest traditional market square in Morocco, was a real eye-opener for our kids who have never seen a donkey plying the same busy roads as cars and trucks. On weekends, locals would travel far and wide from their villages in the mountains or desert here to catch up with friends, treat themselves to a hearty meal, or simply soak in the thrilling energy of the big city.
We made a day trip to the Ourika Valley in the Atlas mountain region, a 70 km drive from Marrakech. It is inhabited by the Berber people who still embrace a traditional way of life. We did a wonderful trek up the mountain to see a waterfall, climbing over slippery and Our senses were treated to the constant buzz of animal sharp rock surfaces. Do bring your usual Swiss hiking hooves click-clacking on narrow cobbled stone streets and attire and shoes. I hiked in a dress that wasn’t too the friendly banter between stall owners selling their wares convenient for climbing over rocks but at least I wore and potential customers negotiating prices; the fragrant sensible shoes! This was apparently where they filmed the scent of spices, aromatic oils and soaps, the whiff of piping movie ‘The Mummy’ as well. hot sesame buns and flattened breads sold by women with their young children in tow; the fine warm dust caressing Where to stay: our sandaled feet and the hypnotic pipe tunes of the snake There are many family resorts and all-inclusive hotels but charmers. we chose to stay in a lovely riad run by a wonderful French The main market square can be likened to the heart of the couple, called Riad Dar Alfarah. It is only 5 minutes walk city, but the fun begins when we start meandering through from the Medina – the grand traditional market square. Our the narrow veins to the many souks that sell unique artisan hosts gave us good tips on how to travel safely and wares. One street is flanked by stalls selling leather goods arranged for a driver and tour guide to show us around. On like footwear that looked like elves’ shoes with their pointy our last night, we were treated to a lovely Moroccan meal tips; another souk sparkled and glowed with starburst with a merry band of musicians and a belly dancing streams of light coming from pendant lamps made of performance. pewter and silver. One street sold only olives! The intoxicating combination of lamb stew, constant flow Adventures with kids: of wine and spiced teas, the heady scent of shisha smoke and the nimble belly dancer flitting from one table to You can’t leave Morocco without seeing it in all its golden another definitely left an indelible mark in my mind. glory in a hot air balloon. We woke up at 4.30am and a tour guide drove us from our hotel to the desert in a muscly Amy loves checking out new places to eat in Zurich four-wheel drive. We had breakfast in a rustic tent before and taking long road trips with the family. She is a selfseeing a whole entourage of workers set up the balloon for taught painter, specializing in landscapes. She captures our ride. images of the myriad places she has visited with bright vibrant colors on her canvas. She loves dancing at home Even seeing the set up was an adventure in itself. The kids with her two boys were really happy that the balloon we were going up in You can find her travel posts on : was a bright red and yellow color. The desert soon glittered http://kayatoastnswisscheese.wordpress.com below us as the sun began to rise over the Atlas mountain
By Rachel Blate
In our house we celebrate a mix of holidays. We are a two-faith marriage and therefore celebrate and honor holidays on both sides! In December is Hanukkah, which changes date every year, and we celebrate in our way that’s become our own little kind of tradition! Hanukkah is not the most important of the Jewish holidays, but any holiday with family, food and presents is always fun to celebrate! This year Hanukkah starts the same night as Christmas Eve. Each of the 8 nights of Hanukkah we light candles on the Menorah, one for each night. At our house we usually have our special Hanukkah dinner the first night, which includes brisket, latkes, applesauce and either fried apples or donuts. You’re supposed to eat foods fried in oil during Hanukkah because of the oil that stayed lit for the 8 nights when it was only enough for one night. Generally, children also receive small gifts each night of Hanukkah. Another Hanukkah tradition is playing the dreidal game. Dreidel is a game using coins (gelt) or anything else (candy pieces, raisins, pretzels, whatever) to bet. For kids you can use chocolate coins, of course! Each side of the dreidel has a different letter from the Hebrew and depending on which side you land you do different things. For “nun” you do nothing, “gimmel” means take everything in the pot, land on “Hey” and you get half the pot and if you land on “Shin” you have to put another coin (or whatever you’re using) in the pot! Even if you aren't Jewish, you can teach your kids about Hanukkah by playing Dreidel, making Hanukkah crafts or cooking special Hanukkah foods! It's fun to learn about different cultures in these ways!
Menorah Craft: For this craft you will need to collect 9 toilet paper rolls*, or you can use paper towel rolls and cut them in half. You will also need: paint, stickers or other decorations for the rolls, glue, a flat piece of cardboard and red and yellow tissue paper. The toilet paper rolls are the “candles” for your menorah. Let your kid paint and decorate each roll to their hearts desire! After the paint has dried, glue the "candles" to the cardboard base. A Menorah is a special After the glue is dry your menorah is nine-branched ready! Cut up the tissue paper into strips candelabrum, also and fold in half. Stick strips of tissue known in Hebrew as a paper into each roll to make the flame Hanukiah. for the candles. Each night of Hanukkah Each night of have your kids pull up the tissue paper Hanukkah, an additional candle is one candle at a time. placed in the Menorah *If you're wondering why you need 9 from right to left, and rolls instead of 8 it's because Hanukkah then lit from left to menorahs have 9 spots for candles. right. On the last night, The 9th candle is called the shamash all the candles are lit. and is used to light the other candles.
Hanukkah Gelt Cookies: Gelt is the real money or chocolate coins that children receive on Hanukkah, which can also be used to play the dreidel game! These cookies are delicious and oh-so-easy to make! The secret is using store bought plain cookies so all that there is for the kids to do is decorate. What you need: 1 package of circle shaped cookies, store bought or homemade 1 cup of powdered sugar about 3 tablespoons milk gold sprinkles Optional: gold or yellow food coloring for the icing What to do: 1. Place the cookies out on a sheet of parchment paper, wax paper or similar. 2. Mix the icing- 1 cup of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk. Add another 1/2 tablespoon+ if you think the icing is too thick. Optional: add the food coloring, just 1-2 drops is enough! 3. Put the icing in a piping bag, plastic baggy (cut off the corner to make a tip) or squeeze bottle. I prefer the squeeze bottle because itâ€™s so easy for my son to use. 4. Ice the cookies and then sprinkle with the gold sprinkles. Serve and enjoy! Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container.Â Rachel is a blogger at My Mini Adventurer (http:// myminiadventurer.com) where she writes about travel, expat life,recipes and kids activities. Every Monday she shares a new kid friendly recipe with the series "Mini Chef Mondays." She is a mom of one son and an expat living in Zurich. You can also follow her and her mini adventurer on instagram (@myminiadventurer) and facebook (http://fb.com/myminiadventurer)
Holidays are coming….. I appreciate when it comes to Christmas, I personally, get a little over excited! Growing up, my mother was always keen to get the Christmas tree out as early as possible and I have to say, now I am an adult with children of my own, I am guilty of doing just the same! Christmas in my household starts on November 6th! Yes, I can hear your thoughts on how I must be mad, it’s bad luck, why that date? The reason I chose that date, is being English we celebrate Bonfire night on the 5th November so once that is out of the way, I should be good to go as I have no other ‘holiday’ celebrations to look forward to appart from Christmas. And I must say, that over the years many friends have judged, ended up coming over and seeing my house all lit up with fairy lights and found themselves going home and pulling out a few twinkling lights themselves. Winter can be a dark and miserable time, the evenings are longer and colder and there is nothing nicer to come home and switch on the lights and enjoy their warm, festive glow. And just incase you are wondering, I do not stop at fairy lights… I tend to have the whole house totally decorated in festive cheer! I can’t help it! I love everything associated with Christmas, and love the way it brings families together. Making cards, gifts and decorations are all things I personally enjoy getting stuck into as soon as the winter draws nearer. One year I decided that instead of buying fancy gifts for all my family members, I would buy little hampers and we would make everything inside ourselves. We had biscuits, chocolate, bath salts, oils, soaps, jams, lavender bags, keychains, cuddly friends and much, much more and everyone appreciated how much effort had gone into their gift, and most importantly, how useful some of it was! So, I want to share with you my tips you can try over Christmas, by yourself or with the kids. Hopefully you find some inspiration and will have fun trying to make a few home made gifts yourself! To all the humbugs reading this, thinking IT IS NOT DECEMBER YOU CRAZY FOOL, please feel free to come back and read this nearer the time!
MAKE YOUR OWN ADVENT CALENDER Here is a craft you can start in November without feeling you are rushing into Christmas! So many of the shop bought calenders are expensive or filled with rubbish. By creating your own you can chose the theme, the fillings and how you want it to look! I have in the past chosen to buy either some brown paper bags or some of those clear cookie bags you can by in Migros/Coop as the biscuit season rolls in! Depot sells some very cute designs for advent bags if you are just wanting something to fill up quickly and not fuss about with. The plain paper bag option is fun as you can set your children the task of decorating the bags with Christmas themed stickers or drawings so it gives them a chance to feel they have added to the Christmas cheer in the house. Try and keep the fillings a suprise by doing them yourself. Here is a great example of one I found on www.OnePerfectDayBlog.net where they have chosen to use festive stamps to decorate each bag and printed out a number to label the days. Buy some festive looking ribbon to display your advent bags and some plain pegs to attach the sacks to the ribbon. I have seen some crafters using a large stick to hang up and tying each of the bags to it with a piece of string. I found a great example of this on www.the-thud.com. To fill your bags simply chose whether you want to add in sweets or chocolate or whether you wish to mix it up a little and add in Lego, Playmobile, hair bobbles, nail polish. Whatever you think would fit your family age group. I persanally think its kind of fun to have a little piece of chocolate per day and maybe another small gift like some stickers or a mini nail polish.
GET STARTED ON THE CHRISTMAS CARDS Hand made cards are super special! Whether you want to craft them all individually or whether you take a family picture to share, it’s always nice to make your cards that little bit more personal. My biggest tip, is don’t get stressed about personalised cards for EVERYONE, your closest friends and family is enough, for all other friends they are normally happy to recieve a regular holiday greeting! PAINT A FESTIVE PICTURE The Grandparents were super pleased with my children’s festive paintings. There are lots of tutorials online available or you could maybe have a look out for any painting classes in Zurich. They are a great way of adding Christmas cheer to a house and if done on Canvas, they are great to keep and put up year after year. Just remember to label who made it and of course, when they created their masterpiece! We made a snowman picture so it was suitable to stay up a little after Christmas if the Grandparents so wished. MAKE YOUR OWN BAUBLES There are three ways I would suggest this could be done, but my favourite would have to be the time I got my children to blow their own glass baubles at Glasi Hergiswil. Each child blew a giant bauble with the help of a trained professional at the musuem/factory just passed Lucerne. It is definately worth a visit near Christmas when they have all their pretty decorations out! www.glasi.ch The other two suggestions of mine would be to pop in to Coop Bau & Hobby and find the clear ‘filable’ plastic baubles they sell in various sizes. These are great for filling with sweets, chocolate, socks, tissue paper wrapped suprises etc. And lastly, if you dont have a problem with a little ‘messy play’ then the polystyrene balls they sell in Bau & Hobby are fabulous for smothering in craft glue and covering with a generous helping of glitter! BAKE COOKIES Cookies are great for a number of Christmas gifts and decorations! Make a festive gingerbread house, make thank you gifts for the teachers, hang them on the Christmas tree with some fancy ribbon, make them into ‘wands’ (star shaped cookies on the end of a popsicle stick with plenty of icing and sparkly sprinkles), cookies provide lots of Christmas magic, and make the house smell fabulous! Most grocery stores will sell ready to use batches of cookie mix, leaving only the cutting and the baking but if you are looking for a good recipe I suggest having a quick ‘Google’ to find the highest rated recipes OR, least complicated! FIND YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE I once had the debate with a friend on whether it was more environmentaly friendly to have a real or fake Christmas tree. In my house a real Christmas tree would not work and by the time December came around I would be having to get a new one and redecorate! I appreciate the real ones smell nice, but with a house full of kids and a dog I dont fancy the extra hoovering! I have had my main tree for 7 years now, which I think is pretty good going, and I totally support people doing their own thing and having their own traditions. We tend to have 6-8 trees up in my house dependant on how over excited I get! Each tree has it’s own theme, there is the MUM TREE, touch this tree and you face the death penalty (joke) - it’s full of years and years of my specially collected ornaments and the majority of the tree is covered in glass! We have the toy tree (full of soft and/or tin decorations), the food tree (covered in dried oranges, biscuits, popcorn string and such) and the craft tree (the kids make decorations to place on this as we build up for Christmas, whether felt, paper, lego or whatever they fancy having a go at). The other trees are pretty standard, but everyone has a Christmas tree in their room, as I think it looks pretty and only builds on the excitement on my favourite time of year!
Don’t forget, have fun, let your hair down, enjoy the longer evenings with the smell of mulled wine on the stove and the fire crackling in front of you. You can find so many ideas on Pinterest and Google. Eat, Drink & be Merry and have a fabulous CHRISTMAS!
Little Readers Book review by Ellie, aged 8 “The Twits” by Roald Dahl I found this book hilarious! I have read other books by Roald Dahl and find him very funny. My favourite character in this book is the Roly Poly Bird, but I don’t really know why! My favourite part of the book was the ending and how the monkeys played a big trick on the Twits, who end up getting in a very sticky mess! I think anyone would enjoy this book at any age!
Book review by George, aged 6 “Poo in the Zoo” by Steve Smallman I find poo very funny and I like how the Iguana escapes and gets very fat. I especially like the Iguana’s glowing poo!
Book review by Joseph, aged 6 “The Snail and The Whale” by Julia Donaldson This book is about a snail that wants to go on an adventure so he gets a ride from a whale around the world. He sees a bear, a volcano and lots of other things. At the end the snail saves the whale. My favourite bit is when people throw water on the whale at the beach. My mummy likes to read this book to me and my brothers because it rhymes but I like it the most.
Book review by Molly, aged 14 “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas I personally chose this book because I think it’s very descriptive. The story changes perspective and I can really feel what Celaena Sardothien, the main character, is going through and how the scenery looks. But, I would only recommend it for those that have a strong stomach. It’s an action/thriller book.
Sponsored by the WAC Library. Open: Mon 9.00-10.00 Tue 15.30-16.30 Wed 13.30-17-00 Fri 9.00-11.15 & 15.45-16.25 If you would like to write a book review for the next issue of This Life please send your reviews to email@example.com or pop them into the WAC Library. Ths best four will be chosen each issue and the writer will recieve a free DVD rental of their choice from the library!
This Little Life My name is Bethany. I am 12 years old and I play ice hockey. I went to watch my first hockey game when I was nine days old. When I was four years old my family and I moved to Vienna where I started iceskating. When I was five I started playing ice hockey. I went to a trial where we had to do skating and stick skills. At the end they picked the top three. I was quite happy with myself because I came fifth, but a few days later we got a message that I had actually come third and had won a brand new set of equipment. I was amazed. When we moved to Switzerland in August 2011, I started in hockey school on Saturday mornings. I spent three years learning the basic skills. In 2014 I decided to start playing for my local team, GCK Lions. At my first game we played against ZSC Lions. At the end of the three periods it was 3 – 3. My trainer made me take one of the penalties. I definitely didn’t want to do it because all the boys would hate me if I missed. I lined up to the puck and goal, the referee blew his whistle and I started skating towards the goal with the puck. I shot straight between the goalies legs and into the back of the net. Goal!! I did it! In my second year, I was allowed to pick my own shirt number. I chose number 34 because we know a player who used to play ice hockey for our local team in England and he had the same number, even though he was a goalie. His name was Jody and he now lives in Canada. He has three children who all play ice hockey – they are all girls. At the beginning the boys were always mean to me but as I got more confident they started to accept me. In February 2016 I tried out for the Swiss Women’s Under 14 squad and a few weeks later I found out I had been selected. I had my first training session in August. It is so cool wearing the Swiss cross on your chest. It makes me feel proud. It’s amazing how far you can get with a simple hobby like ice hockey.
Hi there! Do you know that you can rent space at the WAC? Our kitchen area and adjacent playroom offer a great space for a child’s birthday party, with plenty of tables and seats for both kids and adults. Use of the toys and kitchen equipment is included, so all you need to bring are food, drinks and decorations – plus a party spirit! Less disruptive than a house party and with plenty of on-site parking, this may just be the solution to your birthday party dilemma…. Rental for WAC members costs just CHF30 for a 4-hour time slot or CHF60 for non-WAC members. And it’s not only ideal for children’s parties – it’s also a great place for meetings, parties and dinners for adults too. It’s also worth knowing that we offer special arrangements for those looking for premises to run a course or one-off commercial event – our small upstairs conference room is available at very competitive prices. So if you’re trying to get a small business started – then maybe we can help. Get in touch with me and I can explain all the ins and outs and check if your preferred date is available. I’m also here to help with our ongoing courses which include Pilates and German for adults, and Ballet for children. There are limited spaces available in the current semester, and if you want to try before you sign up then we can arrange a free trial class for you. Happy Autumn! Carol – Club Office Manager Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Three Plays: Absurd Person Singular / Absent Friends / Bedroom Farce By Alan Ayckbourn A book club doesn’t always have to follow the same format and lookingto try something different from our usual novel, our book club ended upreading a collection of plays by the English playwright Alan Ayckbourn. The English excel at the comedy of manners, where the action is driven not by sweeping, epic concerns, but rather small conflicts of our daily lives. The plays are all set at social gatherings in the home where attempts at polite conversation and keeping up appearances eventually wear thin to reveal cracks in marriages and friendships. We initially felt out of touch with the plays but as we warmed up, it turned out we had a lot to talk about. Our appliances may be more modern, but we could spot our neighbors or family in the characters (of course it didn’t apply to any of us personally). In many of the reviews I read, Ayckbourn is described as being quite scathing, but I think he actually quite likes his characters and is sympathetic to their eccentricities and insecurities. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we will visit the local playhouse in November instead of taking on a novel. The Zürich Comedy Club will stage White Out by J. R. Vikse
Sir Alan Ayckbourn, CBE (born 12 April 1939) is an Olivier and Tony Award winning playwright who has written 80 plays, more than half of which have been produced in London's West End as well as around the world. Some of his plays have been translated into over 35 languages and are performed on stage and television throughout the world
Readers Gone WACky is a small friendly book club held once a month at the WAC. Members take turns suggesting books and leading the discussions. We read a variety of books covering a wide range of subject matter by authors from al over the world. Meetings are usually on Wednesday evenings at 8pm and new members are always welcome. To join one of our next meetings feel free to come along to the WAC or email the office at email@example.com for more information.
Classifieds Hairdresser at the WAC
Saturday 5th November
Ballet at the WAC
10am - 3pm
Mondays 7.00 - 8.30pm
Fridays 4.15-5.15pm & Saturdays 10.00-11.00am
Sign up for an appointment on the
Tuesdays 7.00 - 8.30pm
for more details, www.wac.ch
The WAC Annual Halloween Party Sunday 30th October 2-5pm Tickets 10chf
(15chf for non-members) Come and join the fun!
To arrange your free trial at the WAC contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information www.wac.ch
Pilates Every Wednesday at the WAC
A1 - Fridays 2.00 4.00pm A2 - Thursdays 1.00 3.00pm For information contact
Zumba at the WAC Wednesdays 10 - 11am An excellent way to keep fit! For more information, contact email@example.com Or sign up on the wac notice board
Bollywood Dancing for Adults Fridays 09:30-10:30
Sign up for our new class for the Autumn and come and join the fun!
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Advanced English Lessons Level B2/C1 Tuesdays 7.00 - 8.00pm For information contact email@example.com
All for Kids, the online shop for creative kids who love to learn, is coming to the WAC!
Wednesday 26th October 11.00 - 17.30
C o f f e e B r e a k
Join the dots