Cooking Class

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Join Thehelicoptermommy and Hacker Kitchens and be part of an active cooking demonstration ‘Healthy and Delicious Meals for Children and Adults’ with chef Thilan Samarakkody from Basiligo!
Date: Saturday June 4, 2016
Time: 10:45 am till 1:00 pm
Where: Hacker Kitchens – Google Map
Who: Healthy Mommies
For free registration:
Log on to http://www.eventbrite.com Cooking Healthy Meals
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Flyer design @karenbaz

Back To Work

The quandary of whether being a Working Mom or a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) is better for her and her children has been highly debatable. Many moms have written about the struggles they go through as a working mom while others compared the pros and cons of a SAHM. Some even went beyond this and gave credit to one group and meanly criticized the other. I will be doing none of this as I will only be sharing with you a brief yet significant personal experience I have recently passed through.

Last week I had to replace a teacher in the same school where I used to teach two years ago. Trust me the minute I entered the class, it seemed as if I have just left yesterday, and into my world of teaching I found myself.
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From that week I understood and lived certain experiences which I would like to share with you;

Feelings:

Contradictory feelings engulfed me during these short working hours. Even though I had my little ones in the safe hands of a dear friend, I felt sadness engulfing me when I left them, especially my little boy who made a scene when I did. Asking myself questions like “Is it worth it?” “How will this affect them?” “What might they be doing now?” “Do they miss me?” made me feel even worse. However, when I used to come back, they would be smiling with emotions flowing out from their beautiful eyes. I could see how much they missed me, and I them. In effect they were just fine! Maybe it is a matter of habit especially when the parents compensate properly for their absence.
Once in school and in class, a feeling of contentment, enjoyment, and satisfaction engulfed me. In fact, every time I stop work for a few years and go back again, I know I have chosen the right career for myself.
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Productivity:

Being engaged again in a dedicated practice, made me feel productive and internally fulfilled. It made me realise the importance of working on my career life especially because I love it. Moreover, studies do show that children with balanced working moms do look up to them in admiration and seek their success. Being industrious makes a mom feel that she can be present with her family, and also grow internally to reach higher achievements.

Fatigue:

As much as I enjoyed being physically active and involved with the students, by the end of the day I felt drained. By 9:00 pm I could not even feel my legs, and had to sleep early.
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Of course it is not easy to be standing up all morning explaining, guiding, supporting, and aiding around eighty students. Then going home, continuing with the same enthusiasm, supporting my own children, helping with homework, showing them love, and enjoying them. Well yes, aren’t mothers simply super?

Organization:

Although I consider myself an organized functional mom, being at home for a long period of time, develops certain lazy habits which a SAHM struggles with on a daily basis. Here comes the importance of being committed to a fixed schedule where there is a time limit for everything. So instead of releasing myself to social media addiction, long phone conversations, or even laying on the couch staring into empty space while the twins napped, I focused on my interests like writing, reading and baking. Here is how I maintained a sane mind and I was productive while being at home. With an employment, however, this organization is accomplished on its own which makes the struggle a bit easier.

Appreciation:

Having worked again for a week, I felt a deep appreciation to my fellow moms, those who have the privilege of having an official job title and to those who work as moms at home. Both statuses drain a mom out. Once she is outside, the guilt, the responsibility, and the career achieving dream engulf her. At the same time, once she is at home, her wishful thinking of having a break, a pause, or a day away from her monotonous rhythm reminds her of the great sacrifice she has avowed upon herself. So whether we are employed or not, we have duties which we will never ignore. There will always be a way to reach out for our children at the proper time, in the precise situation, and at the right moment.

I am thankful to have had this opportunity which gave me an insight of how the coming year will be. I understand that I need to manage my family, our house, my employment, and of course my dear blog! As a matter of fact, the blog made me not only enjoy my time at home, but I also learned a lot through it and met amazing people. I know it will not be easy to manage it all, but I won’t let go.

I would love to know more about your experiences as moms who might prefer work to home or vice versa. By sharing our experiences we know we are there for each other, support one another, and guide each other through this journey of motherhood.

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Al Ain Safari Trip

Planning family outings with our five children during their short breaks from school is very enjoyable since we look forward to spending time together and making new and lasting memories! For this short break we decided to go on an adventure and learn more about the grand new opening of the first man made safari in Al Ain Zoo. I was dumbfounded by our children’s resilience to the heat, but I think it was their eagerness to learn more that made them move forward. As for the little ones they simply loved seeing the different animals and were perfectly fine exploring.

Due to the high temperature on that day, we made a quick tour around the zoo; saw a few monkeys, cheetahs, rhinos, tortoises, different kinds of reptiles, and birds. Then off to the safari we went.

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After receiving a phone call to know where our location was, our guide came and took us in a mini cart to the safari section. The tour was well organized and our guide was well informed. Very friendly and welcoming we were greeted by another guide who made sure the four by four jeep was ready with cold water bottles, and cool enough to have us escape the hotness outside. Since it has been recently launched, our guide told us that the African safari area needs more time to be able to reflect the actual real life one. The future plans to be carried out are impressively amazing like constructing an Asian safari along with a resort for people to stay there.

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Even though the variety of the animals is still limited, but the knowledge we left with was immense and interesting. After we finished with our tour which extended for almost an hour, I asked the boys what they have learned from this experience and out came their answers:

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  • One ostrich egg makes 72 omelettes. The ostrich is also the biggest and fastest bird.
  •  The horns of the Oryx were used to make the Arabian sword. Once cut these horns do not grow back and the Oryx dies losing its only and best defense mechanism.

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  •  A zebra has a black body with white stripes! I did not know that! Did you? Moreover, zebras walk side by side as they move in herds, so from a distance its predators think it is a huge animal. Smart!

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  • A lion, which sleeps around 18 hours a day, is known as the King of the lion because of the mane around its head and looks like a golden crown.

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  • A giraffe has only seven vertebrae just like us humans! It is a very strong animal because of its hoofs, but can become an easy prey once it goes down to drink water from below. Finally, a giraffe’s tongue reaches up to 45 centimeters. The way the boys’ eyes opened in surprise at this bit information made me laugh in admiration!

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  • Birds in the African safari make a number of tiny holes in the stones to lay their eggs. They use however only one, but they try to trick snakes in order to save their offsprings from the fangs of the serpent.
  • To escape the vicious claws of a cheetah which darts in a straight line, a gazelle runs fast shifting from left to right trying to lose its enemy.

After the Safari we watched a 15 minute movie in Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center, where we learned all about the ways people endured and survived the toughness and roughness of the desert’s nature. For instance, the desert sand which might feel coarse, scratchy, and painful when rubbed on the skin, also has a soft cooling aspect. What an ironic magnificent combination!

That short movie not only made us as grownups appreciate people’s resilience and great adaptation to such harsh environmental conditions, but it also made our children value the luxury they have now. The details shown in the movie marvellously reflect the daily living and change of season from complete dryness to refreshing showers and cold nights of the desert. The center, which has won international and local prizes, by itself, is a great learning resource about Al Ain and its exquisite natural attractions.

After a quick lunch at the ‘Zarafa Restaurant’ we took the little ones to ‘The Children’s Zoo’ where they were able to feed the animals like sheep, goats, horses, ducks, and camels. It is also enjoyable to have your children go inside the bird cage and feed the beautiful birds of different colours.

I would like to take the opportunity and thank all the employees at Al Ain Zoo for their hospitality, knowledge, and friendly attitude. It takes a lot of hard work, patience, and fervency to successfully run such a place.

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Hope you all had a nice weekend with your little ones. I would love to know how you spent it and if you recommend us trying it…

Fruity Chocolate Mousse

The other day I wanted to prepare a chocolate pudding for my kiddos. As usual the minute I started assembling the needed ingredients I came up with a new recipe. My second son suggested I add fruits and our creation turned out heavenly.

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For the cream:
3 cups water
6 tablespoons sugar
9 tablespoons milk powder
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Mix all the ingredients until dissolved and heat.

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Gently add 2 beaten eggs along with vanilla and 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Mix for a few more minutes until the cream thickens.
Set aside.
In a round plate dip tea biscuits into coffee and layer.
Add strawberries or bananas or even both.
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Then cover with the chocolate cream.
Repeat until all the cream has been used.

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Use some blueberries and strawberries to decorate the plate and keep in the fridge.
Serve chilled.
Bon appetit!

Too Fast Too Speedy!

Yesterday, my middle child celebrated his 100 days of school. He was so proud of the project he prepared on his own in celebration of this day! By applying his Math knowledge, he arranged 100 bottle lids into groups of ten where he could easily count the number needed. As I made him pose for a memory picture, it struck me that not only he has grown so fast, but 100 days of this school year have elapsed.  It felt like yesterday when we accompanied him to his Grade One class. He was my little baby who used to tug at my feet to help him remove his socks. Everything seems to be moving way too fast, too speedy.
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Then my thoughts went even further in reflection and I realized that as we are moving fast forward in life, we are also losing an essential attribute in our daily routine; and that is patience!

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We feel we don’t have the patience while driving, or when the internet is slow, or when we tend to multiple issues at the same time. With all the media and the expansion of technology things are indeed moving at a very high speed that we cannot really wait for results to come out. We want everything to be completed in a short period of time! To be honest with you, the idea by itself freaked me out. How could I make my children understand what patience is. How can I make them appreciate it? How can they understand the importance of being patient humans as they grow into mature adults?

After giving it a lot of consideration, I came out with four basic points which we usually apply and I think these steps help a lot in exercising patience successfully.

Role Modelling:

Children are watching the way we act more than they are listening to what we say. That is why, if we as parents are not patient with our children, or our house helper, or with any other adult, they will obviously follow into our steps and become impatient beings. Practicing our patience with our children makes them appreciate time and learn how to use it conveniently. It also makes them feel secure and protected by parents who provide them with time and tolerance in dealing with issues.

Reduce Screen Exposure:

It has been scientifically proven that early exposure to screens is harmful for children not only physically but also mentally. When a child is nailed in front of the screen for hours, his/her body is not being active. Moreover, the speed in which the images move on the screen are way faster than the movement in reality. Hence the boredom and hyperactivity result once the child is seated in a classroom.  If a child gets used to the idea of accomplishing things just by pressing on a button, then being patient in real life would be far-fetched for his/her sight.

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Learning to Not Hurry:

Talking with our children about the importance of acquiring patience is essential. We always try to have them face real life situations where they need to understand the importance of resilience. So they know that things need time to ripen, just like a fruit. Highlighting these points with them helps instinctively restore this information and use it sometime later in life. Moreover, they should acquire the fact that they need to work hard to achieve their goals.

Start Early:

Every Wednesday I have the twins unconsciously practice their patience as we wait for their brothers to finish their music lessons. It is of course easier to take an Ipad and have them watch nursery rhymes while I sit and relax for 30 minutes, but fortunately I don’t. In fact, I tell them that while waiting for the boys we can scribble, identify pictures of animals and things, mold play dough, and enjoy a healthy snack. Honestly, it is tiring to stay voluntarily active and keep them quietly occupied for 30 minutes, but I am certain it will pay back. I know that I am training them to be able to wait while knowing how to beneficially enjoy their time.

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In this steadfast lifestyle we follow, as a mom of five I sometimes feel I am out of breath. We are always on the run with many errands to do and abundant obligations to cover. Having written down what I usually do with my children, eased my worries and made me want to work harder on my inner self. I not only want to continue being the patient mom that I am, but I also want to have it embedded in every breath I take. After all it is always beneficial to press pause for a while and patiently observe yourself. Take it all in one at a time, step by step.

I would like to know about your ways of practicing patience in your lives and how you train your little ones on attaining it.