2015 Resolution

I cannot believe how fast 2015 has elapsed and in two days we will welcome 2016. I do not know about you, but as a mom of five I feel I have been carried on a speedy and flashy expedition as we explored the past year together; the twins on their own way of exploring the world, and the boys heading towards pre-teens attitude. Phew! Yes, that was swift!

We had our ups and downs, our mishaps and learning, and our despairing and cheerful moments. Like all parenting methods, there is no one correct way as it is always built on trial and error. That is why, for the year 2016, I decided to apply what I used to do with my students a few years back.

year 2016

The following charts not only help our children set main goals and work on achieving new objectives, but they can also be done by us as parents. Once we teach our children at an early stage to visualize their targets, the more functional and efficient they become as they grow.

The first chart sets five main goals the child would like to achieve during the year. By writing down his/her objective, the child is encouraged to not only picture it, but also work hard on attaining it. Once the first objective is achieved, the child can move on to the second one.

My Objectives for the year 2016

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Another good method of changing a certain behaviour, attitude, or even bad habits is to utilize the More/Less chart. What is interesting about it is that the child has to simply write down what he/she needs to have more of and less from using one word only. For example, the child can write, fruits under ‘More’ and sweets under ‘Less’. For younger children a picture or a drawing can be used instead of words.

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Less

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Like everyone else, I have set new targets for myself where I will be implementing these charts as well. In the hope that you all attain your goals, I wish you my dear readers a very happy new year filled with health and prosperity.  Cheers!

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The Festive Spirit

With the coming festive season, joy spreads its wings around, people feel blissfully cheerful, and mostly children’s dreams and imagination blossom. During this time of the year, I busy myself by decorating the house along with the kids, bake lots of goody treats, and mainly enjoy being able to provide them with such security, gaiety, and merriment.
For this year, we decided to have a chimney next to the Christmas tree. The boys enjoyed transforming some empty water boxes into a chimney.

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We made sure Santa’s chair was comfy and warm as we put a special Christmas pillow just for him.
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This past weekend the festive spirit continued as we had our first Christmas dinner with some special friends. I thought of sharing with you a few ideas that I have done.

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Since I followed the European style of serving, I prepared two sets of plates. The entrée was composed of an endive salad covered by a tasty Roquefort sauce, mini vegetable quiche, and grilled shrimps. The main course was composed of a delicious turkey served with rice and Rib Eye steak cooked with a caramelized creamy butter sauce served with vegetables; a combination of sweet potatoes, baby potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.

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Wrapping the table napkin with a bow and having a candy cane inserted in the middle gave the whole setting a special touch. For the main dish I folded a napkin into a form of a Christmas tree and placed a Ferrero Rocher chocolate on the top of it. I was lucky to find a beautiful table cover from Zara home where I kept the center table as simple as possible.

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Moreover, like every year at this time of the year in Abu Dhabi there are as many Christmas events as you can imagine. This time, we decided to go to Crowne Plaza to have the boys enjoy the traditional ginger bread house decoration. They were delighted as they decorated, licked the icing off their fingers, and ate from the candies provided. There were many fun activities that they had fun doing, singing along Christmas Carols, and of course taking pictures with Santa.

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Those special days are crowned with cheerfulness. May you spend them with your beloved and dear ones. Merry Christmas everyone…

Spicy Ginger Orange Cake

If you are planning on hosting a Christmas dinner sometime soon, here is a dessert that you would not want to miss.
Since I always enjoy baking for my kiddos and have them help around, today I had little Raphy, my 20 months old boy, help prepare our special festive Ginger Man Cake. Of course, it was messy, but he enjoyed it especially when I asked him to pour the ingredients into the bowl.

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Ingredients:
3 eggs
Orange and lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 teaspoon cloves in powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts or toasted almonds (whatever you prefer)

White icing for decoration

Method:

Beat the eggs along with the spices and vanilla until fluffy.
Add the sugar and continue mixing until sugar is well dissolved.
Pour in the oil.
Mix until well blended.
Add the juice.
Fold in the flour and baking powder.
Using a spetula mix in the pecans.
Pour the dough in a greased Wilton gingerbread man pan  and bake for around 40 minutes.

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Once the cake cooled a bit I decorated it by using a ready made white icing tube.
The house smelled of cinnamon and ginger. Just the perfect gleeful odors of the season, and the cake turned out moist enough with a twinge of spice. A perfect combination.

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