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Happy Friday Everyone.

Its been a long and tiresome week in this household. We have had sickness, grief, confusion, trials and a little bit more. But our family of four youngins and Mr. A and me, I believe are a resilient bunch. We don’t scare easy. We might have had a bad week, but we pick up the pieces and we march on. We try hard not to let the shadows of the past make the present or the future look bleak. God is always in our hearts and we believe he will never burden us with more than we are able to bear.

Here is us marching on. Have a great weekend everyone.

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The Roo

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The Roo has been in a very very strange mood today. Its probably because he is no longer sick and needs to spend all the pent up energy. He has had what feels like about 50 temper tantrums since this morning and its only noon. Most of them has been because we wouldn’t let her bite his big sister. His shrill cries are still echoing in my ears.

Whatever has been bothering Roo has now affected the twins. They have been up all night running fevers and it has not been pretty. The doctor is now on my speed-dial till further notice.

The weather is not getting warmer. We have loads happening this week. Hope its all going to fun and possible. Tigger is a toy soldier in their school adaptation of Pinocchio whose first show is tomorrow. I don’t think he is going to sleep tonight with excitement.

Here is wishing you all happy weather’s like me.

Have you seen this ad by Ariel India.

It says so much about gender stereotypes. We are taught from such a young age about gender roles and being confined and constrained in them. I used to struggle against them with friends ( part of studying in an all girls school) without knowing why. I appreciate today being married to someone who shares my load. My mother, though within her gender role ran the house like a CEO would. She was organized, meticulous, and detailed. She knew where everything was and what everyone was doing. She never stopped voicing her opinion and my father never stopped listening. They raised three daughter who eventually went on to start their own companies and be bosses of their own worlds. #sharetheload

For this I am thankful. Thankful to my parents for believing in me. Thankful to my husband’s parents for raising a son who believes in sharing the load. Thankful to my sisters who teach me every day that the women of today ARE empowered.

May we all be blessed with companions that share our load.

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This week has been huge for the troop and me. The twins have finally, FINALLY, stopped crying at their nursery after 9 months. Yes i could have grown a whole baby in the ENTIRE time they took turns crying and holding onto my pants every day I left them. I felt like a horrible mother, for about 30 seconds before I ran out of there remember the 200 things on my to-do list that day.

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We had one emergency hospital visit two days ago when Roo’s fever spiked to 40C and I panicked. All is well now with a pretty strong dose of antibiotics. The weather has been going a little crazy in UAE this week which does not help a mom of four.

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There is just something about living in the UAE that makes you want to use ingredients you grew up with in the recipes that you would make everyday. My fondest memories of Laban ( which is essentially buttermilk) is taking a cold refreshing sip straight from the mini packets with our traditional lunch of rice and curry after a hot day at school. It was not too long after I started cooking that I discovered that chocolate cakes made with laban added a silkiness to the cake that did not exist otherwise.

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Mr. A is not a chocoholic, and tigger would prefer vanilla over chocolate any day. Pebbles is a huge strawberry fan ( think it’s just the pink) and Roo is too young to choose. My only inspiration at the moment lies with Bambam who could stuff chocolate in his mouth all day. I have hope, finally. Until he learns to appreciate the chocolate in the cakes, all and any chocolate desserts I create goes to my brother-in-law who could eats these by the kilo. Thank god for family right?

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Here is my recipe for an amazing chocolate cake that uses laban and qahwa.

To make qahwa follow the packet instructions. I usually boil 3 tbs of the powder with 2 cups of boiling water, wait for a few min for it to seep before use.

This is my FIRST recipe post so Let me know what you think in the comments below, or just say hai, or remark on my insanity.

Wishing good weather and non-sick days to all….

Chocolate Laban & Qahwa Bundt Cake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
This is the most intensely rich and dense chocolate cake recipe i have ever found. The Laban and the qahwa add an extra kick to the cake as well.
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Tbs Corn Starch
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ Cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup Laban( buttermilk) (unsalted)
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 Eggs ( large )
  • 1 cap full of vanilla extract ( 1 cap is equivalent to a tsp)
  • 1 cup of Hot Qahwa (arabic coffee or regular coffee if you dont have some kahwa on hand) (optional).
  • Ganache
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 tsp butter ( unsalted)
  • 1 tbs cold qahwa (optional)
  • 1 and a half cups of 70% coco chocolate
Instructions
  1. Preheat the Oven to 175.
  2. Brush the bundt pan with melted butter.. or Brush some good homemade pan release. (see notes)
  3. Sift the flour with the corn starch at-least twice.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, laban, butter and vanilla extract together until combined at low speed in a stand mixer.
  5. Combine in a separate bowl the flour-cornstarch mixture, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  6. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture at the lowest speed in 3 parts at least making sure the dry ingredients have completely combined before adding the next part.
  7. You can add in the cup of Qahwa or coffee at this stage as it really enhances the flavour of the chocolate.
  8. Pour the batter into the mould after you have made sure there are no dry ingredients settled at the bottom of the bowl and its all well combined.
  9. Bake in the oven for 45-60 min till a skewer comes out clean when poked in the middle.
  10. After the cake is taken out place on a wire rack and cooled for 10 min, pour some really hot water on a kitchen towel and drape the bundt pan from the top. This ensures that the cake gets unstuck from the pan just incase you haven't greased the pan enough. ( which i don't too often)
  11. After the pan has fully cooled, invert the bundt onto a cake plate and wait for the cake to cool fully before pouring the ganache.
  12. For The Ganache
  13. In a saucepan, heat the cream, butter and qahwa till the bubbles start forming all over ( just starting to really boil)
  14. pour over the chocolate and wait for 30 seconds before whisking slowly from the middle till it all becomes a beautiful shiny ganache
  15. Pour over the cooled cake slowly.
  16. I always make extra ganache which i pour on to the cake slices as I serve them.
Notes
Jamie does a great pan release on her blog Love bakes Good Cakes. Find the link Here http://www.lovebakesgoodcakes.com/2015/02/miracle-pan-release.html

 

All pictures in this post has been taken by photographer and blogger extraordinaire – Sayana Rahman who blogs over at My Mouth Is Full

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I don’t think I ever want to be a mom that says ‘no’ too much.
My 6 year old told me last week that it was the one thing i tell him the most. ( i was hoping it was ‘i love you’ , but apparently not)

The world we live in, unfortunately, is extreamely judgemental, and as much as I would like to shield my kids from the monster that it is, they will eventually have to face it, an in all probability, on their own. I try to teach them the importance of not judging, the importance of not looking into your neighbour’s plate to see if you have more than them, but to make sure that they have enough. The importance of accepting that we as a family maybe different from others in his class, but that does make us better or less important than them.

Though ofcourse i cannot tell them that others will not judge; and, as much as i’d like to, stop them from judging me and my own. What I Can do, and will continue to is to teach the troop to be kind. As much as it is important for us to be kind to others, it is also important to face judgement and criticism with kindness. To not shout or rant, or complain or be upset, but to understand that their opinions are their own and it is not important or necessary to impose ours on them or to adopt theirs into our lives. Ofcourse it is a long hard difficult continuous struggle for a 6 year old boy today, as much as it is for his mom, but it is a lesson I need to remind him and myself every day.

In the Spirit of free expression and trying different things without fear of judgement or repraoch, I let tigger go out and choose his haircut! With the national day of UAE coming up the salon had a special where they applied temporary coloured hair spray in the flag colors. Think i might have given Mr. A a heart attack when i send him that picture of tigger with his new ‘do’.
I thought it was amazing that Tigger wanted to try new things. Ofcourse he wasnt so fond of the oil i had to rub vigorously in his hair to get the said color out, but thats a story for another day.

Until that story today.

I am sitting here on my computer as i watch Bambam being silly just so that he can make Little Roo laugh. I love that my babies have each other, to laugh with, to play with, to annoy, to wrestle and most importantly to love. With three out of four kids out of the house for a few hours a day, i am thankful. I am thankful for time moving forward, for the times we have seen and the beautiful times i Know we are going to see. I am thankful that little Roo is walking like a pro and that he isn’t too upset being the only little one in the house. It amazes me everyday how quickly he is growing and learning and being his own little individual completely different from his brothers.
I know right now that he is going to know exactly what he wants, and he is going to be persistent is getting it. I know that he loves to laugh and have fun, and wrestle with his big brothers. I know that he loves to chatter and cant wait for the day when we can actually understand it.
I love how his favourate place to be is on top of his grandfather’s shoulders, or his father’s arms.
God bless you my littlest one.

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Most days, I love my life, and I love being me. Yes I said ‘most days’.

I account my love to the fact that most times there is this monologue going on in my head reads off like a script.

Of course the script is that of the fabulous, fun loving but of course flawed ‘me’. This monologue starts as soon as I am awake, going to work, interacting with the kids and well into the night. The only time it takes a break is while reading a good book. Actually even then it says “and she sits down comfortably to read a book”.

Something that will make me sound even more hatter-like is that I am often found talking TO my monologue. It goes something like this “And she asks herself, ‘Are you ok? Are you handling this? Are you feeling alright?’ “. The loopiness aside, what I was coming to was, being the protagonist of my own amazing script, it is not very often that I feel that I need in my life something that someone else does. But of course there have been moments. Such as, these days I would give a leg and an arm to drop down a few sizes in clothes.

Coming back from my tangent again, there was this particular individual, lets call her a celebrity of sorts, whom I was admittedly remotely jealous of. And last week I saw this video of her YouTube conversing about something silly and it startled me. It startled me because it was the moment I realized I had been jealous of this image, this person I had built up in my head, who had NOTHING to do with the actual person she was. I of course try my best not to judge, but it was sort of obvious that she was not the sort my life would have anything to do with.

I think what I am trying to say is, life is hard enough, and filled with obstacles and judgments without us wanting to be someone doing something else. Happiness is not out there in the world waiting for us to find it; it is within, in the everyday, staring at us at every turn, we JUST have to GRAB it.

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Being in a hospital is hard, for both a patient and one who waits on them. It is hardest when in the hospital waiting room, awaiting news, or unable to see the patient.

Hospital Waiting Room Etiquettes

1) Always call ahead. If the immediate family could be too emotional to converse, then call someone who is also there, or has already been there, such as extended family or friends, to check if it is an appropriate time to go.

2) Once you are there, use common sense to asses the mood of the people there already. Avoid asking the immediate family the condition of the patient unless you know they are getting better. If you really want to know, check with someone from the extended family or friends.

3) If using the phone while in the waiting room,whisper and end the conversation quickly. If not, move out of earshot of the people in the room.

4) Do not work in the waiting room, in the laptop or on the phone. If the work is too important, it is better not to stay in the hospital at all.

5) DO NOT (and this is the biggest one) have idle conversations with others in the waiting room about your kids, weddings, cats or other insignificant and irrelevant topics. It is disrespectful. If someone else initiates one with you, reply curtly and pointedly that lets him or her know you are not interested in talking while there. If you are religious, pray, or read the holy book. If not, respectful-silence is a great option.

6)If you are hungry and have been there a while,excuse yourself, eat and comeback. Anything more that a cup of tea/coffee and a biscuit is just too much in the waiting room.

7)Give the immediate family ‘space’. Space to grieve, to hope, to think, to get a handle on their emotions. If you do not know them personally, or think you could say or do something that would help,keep a respectful distance and stay as quite as possible.

8 )Unless you feel you being there could offer emotional support to the members of the immediate family, try to keep the visit brief. Let them know they are in your thoughts/prayers and leave quietly.

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A month ago, Tigger said he wanted a Minecraft themed 6th birthday party. He then changed his mind to Ben 10, and then changed his mind again to superhero and then again to Minecraft. At this point I quickly locked down on it and went online to get an invitation.

Party Steps :
1. Make a guest list first :I quickly made a guest list which came to 20 kids.
2. Pick Venue : Royal Stables in Abu Dhabi is my favourite party destination in cooler weathers in Abu Dhabi.It is where we had my little sister’s baby shower also.
3. Date : Yes, pick the venue before the date to see if the venue is free, if it can pick kids etc. The party was going to be the day after his birthday as it just was more convenient for everybody.

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The invitations turned out beautifully, and Tigger was super excited to hand them out. He gave them to his classmates, his teacher, his swimming coach, and so on. Suffice to say we had over 20 people at the party.

I will be posting more details of the party.

Follow the series.

Vendors:
Invite design from Chakra19Shop on Etsy .
The print was done by a company called Advertec locally.

We wanted to play games that were fun and funny. We had people who were my sister’s school friends, cousins and other friends.

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We started the games with the classic, guess how big the tummy is.

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We then had, guess the chocolate bar in the diaper game which was, i’ll admit, slightly disgusting but seriously hilarious.

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We also had a game of who can finish the baby bottle the quickest which was filled apple juice.

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Dress up thebaby relay with a lot of mommies and to-be mommies.

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The memory game.

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And ended with,pin the baby on the tummy.

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We cannot thank the people who came to the event enough for making it the wonderful event it was. But to show out gratitude we had a basket of favours filled with Body Shop gifts which were beautifully wrapped by favors.

Follow the series
Red Riding Carriage Themed Baby Shower – Invite
Red Riding Carriage Themed Baby Shower – Decor
Red Riding Carriage Themed Baby Shower – Food
Red Riding Carriage Themed Baby Shower – Kids Activities

Vendors:
The games and arrangements were hosted by the amazing Luminous events who did a brilliant job
The Favors were bought from Body Shop.
The Favors were wrapped by Favors