‘Entertain Me Parenting’ VS ‘Spontaneous Unstructured Fun’

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I am no craft Savvy guru and can barely work a glue gun… Yet I believe in being a ‘hands on mommy’, growing creative kids, & crafting timeless memories. I am not one sold to ‘Entertain Me’ parenting, & by this term I am referring to parents living under a misconception that kids need constant entertainment, being ‘over stimulated’ by gadgets or parents alike. I believe in a balance  which includes planned activities and unstructured play. Are you a parent that feels hideously guilty that you cannot find time to balance your lifestyle and entertain your kid’s enthusiastically? We have all been there and I urge you not to kick yourself for that. After all we have relationships to nurture, a home to keep up and career to pursue. There are many simple ways you can engage with your kids authentically and not pretend on being a crafty Martha Steward that you’re not.

Technology is an excellent source of entertainment and a wellspring of education for the kids.  But it could also pose the risk of turning your children into digital zombies and curbing their social skills. I am not one of those moms who squeal out an irrefutable ‘NO’ to digital devices. I believe they are a good source of entertainment as long as I am monitoring for quality programming and limiting the screen time. Honestly, this is one of my greatest struggles with my oldest and I often have to put him on ‘No Screen curfews’ and ‘Digital blackouts’. I feel like I am in the middle of a battle with my boy. It appears to me that most often he gets his way around his screen time. But the best part of limiting ‘Screen Time’ is that when I manage to win him over I succeed in focusing on more ‘Face Time’. We have a chat on his favorite Superhero and why he chose him. He helps me bake a bread pudding and draws out pages and pages of his favorite memories of holidaying and growing up in our home. I call this our ‘Special Fun’. We plan a few ‘Special Fun’ moments in a week. This is more structured and my boys told in advance what to expect to get the excitement going. It could be cooking together( sunday nights), Dress ups, Organized play dates, Go to the movies(saturday afternoons), Play a sport together, Make Play Dough, Paint eggs. The options are countless.

(Easter eggs painted by mommie and boys)

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However with the many hats I wear and switch, it does not give me the luxury on being a ‘Mothering Martyr’.  I remember when my boys yelled ‘I am bored’ i used to come under immense mommie pressure of having to organise a structured activity to keep them entertained. If I could not deliver to the expectation then I was found drooling in a whirlwind of guilt. Not any more. Oh the joys of learning as you journey on the road of parenting! I have discovered that children are better off left alone to play and to explore some unstructured activity that nurtures creativity. Now when I hear ‘i am bored’ i just scream back ‘never in a million years’. I let them run around in the garden or explore their toys and books in their room and let them create for themselves an adventure land. I give them the opportunity to come up with spontaneous unstructured fun such as play Hide and seek, Tag, I spy, Paint a picture together, Ride their bike…

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Simplicity is one of the greatest lessons you can instil in your children. Train them while they are young to avoid associating happiness with constant accumulation and enjoyment of expensive toys, extravagant play-areas and luxurious possessions. There is always an opportunity to turn mundane into a lasting memory without having to lavish on kids financially and having to come under pressure on being  a crafty goddess. Creating a fun memory is not dependent on crafting perfection  but in the FUN PROCESS involved in creating life.

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REVIEW: Simply Delicious! by FRHI Restaurants

This past week I had the pleasure of joining a select group of journalist, bloggers and other presumable qualified personals for a media event hosted by the FRHI Hotel and Resorts. The group represents three distinct brands which is the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel.

The group assembled an array of their finest chefs and featured mouth watering signature refreshments to deliver an unforgettable gastro experience. To everyone who lives in Dubai here is my pick on the groups most coveted signature dishes, indulgent sweet treats and refreshing drinks.

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The chefs with their genuine charm and personal style of hospitality introduced the selection of dishes presented for the event. There were delightful appetizers ranging from heart-healthy fresh pick of salads, golden brown crispy crabs cakes, creamy silk textured risotto to delicate fork tender Foie gras. A definite stand out was the super crunchy crab cakes fried to perfection with a distinctive flavor. You can enjoy these light bites at ‘Flow Kitchen’ in Fairmont, The Palm.

The authentic carnivore that I am, it didn’t take much convincing to seduce me into a juicy looking slow cooked braised short rib. I am not talking about a slab of meat cooked in high temperature. These melting tender ribs are marinated for 24 hours and ever-so-slowly braised. It was served on a bed of creamed chickpeas and topped with pickled mushrooms. The flavor was magical and the quality undeniable. If you find yourself remotely close to Fairmont in the Palm, remember to make a beeline for Frevo’s Brazilian Churrascaria experience. Truly recommended.

Speaking of soulful cocktails you can never go wrong with the South East Asian acclaimed ‘Singapore Sling’. My previous job offered me the privilege of staying in Raffles in Singapore where the drink was created. The team often could not wait to land into Singapore as there was a thrilling anticipation of hitting Raffles ‘Long Bar’ for a refreshing spirited ‘Singapore Sling’. Put down your tickets. You do not have to fly across seas to enjoy this tantalising refresher. It is as simple as heading out to the Raffles Dubai to pay tribute to this classic.

Raffles display of signature dessert from their renowned ‘Fashion Afternoon Tea’ was set for all to see, taste and fantasies over. I am not sweet toothed but I will describe my self as ‘Afternoon Tea crazy’. I have had the privilege to experience Raffles Afternoon Tea which is chic and bright unlike the usual stuffy, uptight affair. What captured my attention was the presence of the beautifully crafted chocolate shoe from the much celebrated Afternoon Tea experience at Raffles. Too pretty to eat but undoubtedly delicious. For all the lovely ladies who enjoy Fun, Chic, Tea and Dessert this is the place to head to.

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I was deliciously pleased with my experiences for the day. The FRHI group is known for its luxurious and delectable restaurant offerings and it undeniably surpassed its reputation.

 

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review. All content and comments are based on my own opinion and was not influenced by any external factors.

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Review on Vorwerk Kobold vacuum cleaner

 

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A home abounding with love and laughter is where the happy heart thrives.  A home brimming with clean air and crisp space is where a happy lung thrives. As World Asthma day is approaching on 5th May 2015, I would like to draw your attention to the quality of the air you breathe. Is your home a breeding ground to microscopic pests posing health hazards? Statistics state one in five children in the UAE are asthmatic whilst 40% of children in the UAE suffer from allergic rhinitis. Let’s not wait for the environment around our home, which we have control over to adversely affect our children’s health. It’s time we give clean air a thought.

Cleaning the home is a mammoth task to some and a productive experience to others. The obsessive cleaning bug bites not every one, but if you have for yourself the German state of the art Kobold range of vacuum cleaner then cleaning becomes an obsession and a joy ride. I had the unique opportunity to witness a live demonstration of the product range at a breakfast event hosted by {4WORK}. I am so impressed by this ‘WOW product’ that it left me ranting away to my family and friends ever since. There is no other way to describe Vorwerk Kobold vacuum cleaners other than sophisticated, innovative, lightweight and user friendly. I have always thought to myself, if I could get my hands on a cleaning system that is fast, remarkable quality, efficient, and value for money then it would be my wish upon a star come alive. Looks like I have landed my perfect cleaning match or rather my quest has ended. This one is on my wish list for certain!

I had the opportunity to witness this powerful yet inaudible vacuum suck up loose dirt and mop rebellious stains making the task of wet and dry cleaning done away at the same time and at ease. I had a go myself with trialing it and what I love most about this ‘wonder machine’ is that it is amazingly stylish (Oh I can’t contain my love for all things classy!!!). It is seriously lightweight yet agile (3kg, which gave my 3 year old a chance to try his hand at vacuuming). The handle could be adjusted making it posture friendly (Never have to worry over a stiff back after cleaning…Bliss!). The swivel system makes it effortless to vacuum even the trickiest corners (Now this is innovation par excellence we are talking here). Another interesting observation I made was that only a scant of cleaning fluid (allergen free & biodegradable) mixed with water was used for cleaning. I was also impressed to note that the air, which the exhaust emits, is clean-filtered air unlike other brands. Now this is more than a valid reason to invest into this high quality cleaning system especially if you or your children are prone to or suffers from respiratory ailments.

It was also pure delight to experience the Kobold Robot machine navigate through with the aid of its inbuilt laser navigation system. I keenly watched as it handled obstacles at the same time sucked up peanuts off the floor. I was shown how the amazing roller brush system aids in removing hair and other loose substances. It operates on a self-docking system to recharge (we are talking cutting edge technology) and the system knows where it stopped and where to start next (How clever!). It can be programmed to operate to your convenience. Step out of the mess and come back to a clean and inviting fresh space.All of this without a touch of a finger!  If I owned one of these I would have it following my youngest boy (Technology at it’s best!)

The distributors for Vorwerk Kobold vacuum cleaners are {4WORK}.The CEO Gerlinde Krupp was present at the demonstration and came across as engaging and informative. Her team was on deck and formed a crucial part of the overall success of this experience. They educated me on the HEPA-filter present in the vacuum, which means it can collect and contain particles as fine as fine can be. They affirmed the gadget has a minimum life expectancy of 13 years and a warranty of 5 years.

The team demonstrated an 85-year-old Kobold machine that was still in pristine condition and doing its job just fine (Now this is quality beyond compare!).

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Having worked in the service industry for several years and overseeing the same I believe in quality products and equally believe that after care service makes any company stand out from another. Gerlinda informed that they not only visit home for a free demonstration and educate on product operation but they also make sure they are quick at your service to fix any issues related to the vacuum or parts. I highly recommend scheduling a home visit where you will have the opportunity to witness the magic of Kobold vacuum cleaning system.

You can book at # +971 4-880 0268 or info@4work.me .I am not trying to hard sell, but believe me when I say you will be pleasantly shocked to see what this amazing gadget is capable of. I was wowed!!

Verdict:

Do I want one? Absolutely.

Do I need one? The investment to get my hands on one could be steep, so I would plan ahead and budget for the purchase. However it is great value for money spent. I absolutely love it. If I had it at home, I would be a super happy heart and I would use it every single day.

Final verdict:  ‘The Magic cleaning system’ in all true sense with an outstanding performance. It sure creates a distinction for itself when compared with its competition.

 

Disclaimer: I was invited to a Product demonstration  for the purpose of this review. All content and comments are based on my own opinion and was not influenced by any external factors.

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Ripe Food and Craft Market

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Who does not enjoy the gleaming outdoors, the quintessential fragrance of lavender, delightful culinary flavors and textures of artisan crafts and unusual finds? My Easter weekend was well spent with family and friends strolling in the sunshine, browsing the stalls and enjoying a variety of flavorful bites at the Ripe Food and Craft market. There is something to tickle everyone’s fancy.

The Ripe Food and Craft market, Under the Patronage of the Dubai Crown Prince, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, is nestled in the heart of the city of Dubai in the picturesque Zabeel Park. It swings into action on a weekend and has developed a great reputation for its bustling atmosphere. Kicking off at 9am on an Arabian Friday Weekend, it features locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, delicious grab-and -go -grub, handmade crafts, arts, jewelry and other exciting merchandise. There are plenty of options to keep the kids entertained ranging from the lush outdoors to a petting zoo and carriage rides. The market offers you an array of cuisine, which spans from local delights to an international selection of scrumptious bites. As I browsed around, I found myself in conversation with a few of the participating artisans and crafters and I soon realized some amazing talents surround me. Here is a glimpse of my favorite stands.

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In all honesty, I walked in expecting very little from a farmers and craft market set in Dubai but I have to admit I walked out in awe, feeling pleasantly surprised with all of the creativity displayed in this market. With the Ripe market bursting onto the artisan and the gastro scene in Dubai, it finally signals to the community that there is more to life in this urban domain than the luxurious haute couture and the dazzling fine dining extravaganza.

 

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Little boys are little wonders

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I grew up believing I was a little princess and someday I would find my Prince charming and would be teeming with delightful little ones. I saw myself dressing little princesses in floral cottage dresses and cascading their hair with the perfect bow clips and fascinators. I dreamed of our colossal Christmas table where my girls and I would prepare the most delectable dishes and entertain with finesse. I envisioned teaching them how to accessories clothing and how to decorate a home. Oh the joys of being a girl!

In reality there are many days I feel like a princess trapped in a castle surrounded by hooligans and testosterones. Please do not misunderstand my ramblings. I love and adore my boys and I am ever grateful for them. There is not a chance in a million years that I would ever trade them for any other. However I never imagined of having to live in a house full of monkeys bouncing off stairs, beds and kitchen platforms and who care very little about equilibrium and balance. As for myself this princess of poise is caught very often-screaming “seat-up, seat-down, flush, wash, boogers on tissue not on t-shirt, dirty feet’s off couch”. When I finally sit down I find myself giving them a class on decorum of how they should not be running around naked screaming words like, ‘butt and fart’. My shopping list involves kids body wash and kids toothpaste on every trip. You can imagine why. As a mother who monitors the cartoons my kids watch, I am still trying to get my head around to understand why does a hanger turn into a gun, a balloon into a bomb and a spatula into a sword. What is so fascinating about battles and wars as opposed to doll houses that involves nurturing and loom bands that involve creativity. I look at the limitless energy my boys have and think; I have in my home the answer, the source to our world ‘s energy crisis. Some days can be relentless, overwhelming and exhausting. I tell myself “Breathe in and breathe out” and I say a little prayer and hope that I am gifted every day with a little more portion of patience.

I was that person who went through the throbbing pain of miscarriages and childlessness. I was that person who cried to God to bless me with a child. I would give up anything for this mischief, fun and laughter. So does any of this justify my grievance and annoyance? I agree it is not possible to enjoy every moment. Especially as a mother of little boys you need to be endowed with constant supply of energy and motivation. There may be days I may not enjoy and treasure every moment but I have decided that I will enjoy my boys. I have resolved to lay down standards of raising them that are not measurable. I am determined to refrain from saturating my mind with the infinite legions of instructions that the world has to offer on raising ‘proper organic children’.

There are a few things I have learned in my trek of raising boys and  am beginning to recognize is universal truth.

  1. Boys are born to explore. So quit trying to contain their energy.
  2. Boys are created as boys so they will be boisterous and often messy. Get used to noise and dirt. Teach them where and when it is appropriate to indulge in ‘dirt art’ as I call it and to be loud and noisy.
  3. Boys enjoy being funny. Polish your sense of humor and laugh along with them.
  4. Boys do not multitask just like men do not. So stop screaming out endless lists such as tidy up, change into PJ’s, brush your teeth and into bed. Learn to give one instruction at a time and follow up. Oh, did I mention not to forget praising them for a job well done. They love it.
  5. Boys love to be loved. They may not always be expressive but they sure love it when you spent time with them, when you attempt to answer the trillion questions they shoot out, and when you put them to bed with cuddles and kisses.

Little boys are little wonders

Little boys are little wonders, filled with charm, and joy they render.

Two small arms and tiny fingers, someday they’ll stand tall and conquer.

With power packed like fire crackers, they are messy with their cars and tractors.

They hide in bushes, swing on trees, they are hard to find but they are one of a kind.

They are every mothers dream come true; cherish every bear hug as they shout out ‘I love you’.

Sneha Cherian

 

 

 

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A call to India’s Fathers and Mothers

In the wake of India’s Rape tragedies as I sat down to read the numerous articles written on the incidents and after watching BBC’s controversial ‘India’s Daughter’ I questioned, Why do individuals stoop down to become bloodthirsty unbridled vipers? Loathing over the state of our nation and admonishing the crimes is an easier path to protest, but it will never bring about a sustainable change. As responsible citizens and as India’s fathers and mothers, what can we do to make a difference? How do we preserve the sanctity of our daughter’s life’s and woman’s rights?

I am India’s daughter and I am proud of my origins but not of India’s shame. There is a little bit more of an Indian in me, hence it drives me furious and causes pain when a fellow Indian daughter is wronged. My first reaction to all these incidents was to castrate the rapists. Then I questioned my way of thinking and realized that capital punishment or castration just does not cut it. It instills fear to a certain extend but it will not stop the growth of the many sick minds breeding in our societies committing such crimes. This needs to be nipped at the bud. When you hear of all these men who committed these ruthless crimes you often wonder what lead them to this stage. A common thread in all of this- the Family and the environment in which they grew. Most of these individuals who are involved in these barbaric cannibal acts have not been raised in secure homes with a strong role model. They have been deprived of quality love and security. This explains the reason why they naturally gravitate towards evil.

In our society a woman often wades through sexual battles starting from her home and her surroundings. It comes as no surprise that rape statistics in our country proves that there are a rising number of female and child victims than male victims. Ever wondered why you do not hear about men being raped in a bus by women or in their homes by aunties. These prevalent ruthless incidents are resulted by a mindset reinforced by a society or culture that believes men dominate and women are objects of inferior status. This is a sickness that needs to be eradicated with just as much focus given as the nation did for the Polio eradication program. The very first step to deploy a strategy of eradication begins at every Indian home.

I grew up in my home where my father was never overbearing but modeled love and respectful behavior towards my mother and myself. There was no distinction as a daughter, I am celebrated in my home and given equal opportunities as my brother. Growing in a culture of respect and equality has definitely paid off well to mold my brother’s character. I have noticed in various occasions how my brother treats his women friends with courtesy and how he displays old-fashioned chivalry and values such as stepping aside so a woman goes first. I am a mother of 3 growing boys and in my home my husband and I are committed to our in-house project called ‘Rearing Gentlemen’. When one of our boys makes even the slightest playful gesture and hits a girl,  my husband and I are quick to correct and to reiterate that it was a shameful move and they should remember to behave as gentlemen.

I call out to every Indian mother and father to nurture a generation of boys that will tear down this rape culture. These little boys are the father’s and the protectors of the future. Foster knowledge in them of the value of empathy, kindness, compassion, respect and honor towards every human being irrespective of gender, color and social status.

Instill in them that the strong takes care of the weak and to be brave is to have a voice for the voiceless. This is the mark of a ‘Masculine Man’. In our nation it calls for the primary institution of ‘Family’ to mold boys into men and guardians of our future. This is the first step to a sustainable change. Rise up India’s Father’s and Mother’s to this call of duty.

 

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Green Smoothie lifestyle

 

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Time to give thought to ‘Healthy’- Give Green smoothies a try. It is the best fast food you can ever down. With a preparation time of under 10 minutes, it is packed with the goodness of  leafy greens and fruits. It aids in boosting your immune system, increases your energy, packed with anti-oxidants and helps with weight loss. It’s yummylicious and guaranteed to make you insanely addicted.

Ingredients

2 cups of fresh or frozen Spinach
2 cups of Papaya
1 cup mango
1/2  cup Celery
6-7 blueberries
2 cm piece of ginger
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon Linseed
1 tablespoon  honey (optional)

Preparation

Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Sit back sip and enjoy some power packed green infusion.

 

 

*Disclaimer: I am one who enjoys creative, healthy cooking. My family table is a place of comfort, nourishment and satisfaction. My past work experience qualified me to be a service trainer for a leading International airline assessing service rendered in fine dining environments. I am not a chef and have no formal eduction in food preparation, food writing or food photography. Everything I write  is from my own experience. I  love to help women in all walks of life create a healthy lifestyle and enjoy an abundant life in every area.

 

 

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Spiced Banana Berries Smoothie

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Ingredients

2 bananas
4-5 strawberries and a small hand-full blueberries ( use your choice of mixed berries)
1 cup low-fat flavored yogurt (strawberry or blueberry)
3/4 cup skimmed milk
1/4 cup crushed ice
1 -2 tablespoon  honey (optional)
2 cloves, 1/2 a tsp nutmeg powder and 1/2 a tsp cinnamon poder

Preparation

Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Garnish with a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg powder. Serve immediately.

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Fried Veggies and Quinoa

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INGREDIENTS
  •  1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 Tsp sesame oil
  •  2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • A small hand full of sliced carrots, beans and mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce (more or less to taste. I add less if i am serving children)
  • 1 teaspoon Oyster sauce
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a bowl cook 1 cup Quinoa with 2 cups of water and set aside
  2. Preheat a large skillet or wok to medium heat. Pour sesame oil in the bottom. Add garlic and saute a few seconds. Then add carrots, beans and mushrooms and fry until tender but not soft. carrots should still be in texture to bite into
  3. Add the sauces and some ground pepper
  4. Add the cooked Quinoa to the veggies. Stir and fry the  mixture until heated through and combined. If you like it spicy add some chilly sauce to this. Enjoy some healthy goodness.
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