Thursday, November 29, 2012

You Know You Have a Toddler When...

-There's a border of hand prints about two feet from the floor where he/she has walked around the walls.

-Picking up and putting him/her down all day is seriously toning your biceps.

-Every dining experience requires extensive floor cleanup afterwards. Unless you have a dog.

-Having time to yourself is a luxury, sleeping through the night is priceless and yet, time away from the munchkin still leaves you missing them not long after parting.

-On a normal day you can choose between having a clean kid or clean clothes, but not both and sometimes neither.

-You have learned how to interpret a variety of the toddler version of non-words.

-Playing chase is impossible because the child still wants to run TO you rather than away from you.

-Knowing your child feels loved and secure is a more satisfying feeling than any other experience you can imagine.

I am positive that this list is not exhaustive... and though true for my family, may not be for yours. What would be on your list?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kids Unscripted: Chapter 10

Talia (laying on my lap and Elias comes and pokes her tummy): "That tickles!"
Elias: "Tee-kow, tee-kow!"
Talia: "I am the 'Yes Ma'am,' Elias is the 'Yes Sir,' you are the 'No Ma'am' and Papi is the 'No Sir.'"
Me: "Would you like banana in your oatmeal?"
Talia: "Anything you would like to put in there, I would like!"
Me: "Muahahaha!"
Talia: "Mommy, I gave Elias some banana, but I licked the yogurt off first."
Me: "GROSS!"
Talia: "Mommy! Elias bit my toe!"
Talia: (singing a made up song) "Mama, Mama, Mamaaaaa, you're not perfect for my heart!"
Talia: "Vinegar, that's the name of a dog!"
Me: "Are you talking about Whitaker?"
Talia: "Yeah, Whitaker..."
Talia: (to me) "When you hug me it makes me feel special!"
Ben: (to Talia) "It's time to go upstairs and read a book."
Talia: "Yay! I was going to do that anyway so I'm glad that's what you told me to do!"
Me: "Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else get your way..."
Talia: "I put on my yellowest clothes."
Me: "Those are light green..."
Talia: "These were the closest to yellow!"
Talia: "What does my shirt she gave me say?"
Me: (spelling) "G, U, E, S, S- it says 'guess.'"
Talia: "But I can't guess if I already know!"
Talia: "What would happen if you put fish on the clothesline?"
Me: "Why would you put fish on the clothesline?"
Talia: "We would put them there to dry before we ate them!"

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cinnamon-Apple-Stuffed Bread; (or the 'I Miss Fall' post)

My mom sent me a video of colored leaves falling, not leaves falling because they were so thirsty from the desert sun, but because it was fall!

 That made me start thinking about fall.

Abu Dhabi is particularly nice at this time. The 120 degree temperatures have dipped down into the 70's-at-night-90's-by-day' range and should stay there until April or May... it's gorgeous weather! It's just not fall. So, we compromised by filling the house with a different kind of fall: the smell of baked cinnamon and apples put inside of a braided bread.

This creation, inspired by, begins with three peeled and cored, and then sliced apples.
 Then, if you have a good helper like I do, get them to squeeze 2 teaspoons of lemon juice on top.
Then, they can add the 3 tablespoons of raw sugar, 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and mix it up.
While the apples are baking at 350* for 15 minutes, mix 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup of raw sugar, 1 tablespoon of instant yeast, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of warm water and 2 1/4 teaspoons oil.

On a greased surface, knead the dough and roll out into a 12x16 inch rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to make strips leaving 1/3 of the center solid. Fill the center with baked cinnamon apple mixture and then braid it up!
Bake at 350* for 25 minutes or until brown. Enjoy the fall smell while it's baking. 
For a simple glaze, I just melted a little butter and added raw sugar to brush on the top and finished by sprinkling with cinnamon... it was not super sweet this way, but still tasty. The original recipe has a glaze if you're interested.
And then take a bite!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Seen Around Abu Dhabi: 3

(Photo property of Roula Corm)
The most expensive cappuccino in the world: Cappuccino with real gold shavings from Emirate Palace.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Favorite Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Ben gets hungry at work. Ravenous by the time he gets home, if he doesn't have protein... So I make him granola bars. (Annnnd, I might like them just a little bit, too...) "Roasteries," which were a new concept for me- places with barrels of dried fruits and nuts of all sorts, are very common here. It's easy to find and not super expensive to buy different kinds of nuts, which actually keep one full for longer than two minutes, since sometimes he doesn't have much of a break for lunch.
This is my favorite protein-packed granola recipe, though since the protein comes from nuts, it is also full of those natural fats found in nuts, so don't consider this necessarily a "healthy" recipe- but it is natural and uses real, whole foods. The cool thing about making granola is the fact that it is super easy to personalize- just switch out the things you don't like for things you do... but try to keep the ratio of dry to sticky ingredients the same overall so that it still forms a bar.

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raw/brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)

Heat on stove until sugar dissolves and then remove from heat and add peanut butter, then add to dry ingredients:

2 c oats
1 c sliced almonds (raw)
1 c sliced cashews (raw)
1 c walnuts
1/4 c flax
1 c favorite like dried fruit or chocolate chips.

Line 9x13 with foil or wax paper and bake at 350 until brown to your liking. I usually bake around 20 minutes. I slice while warm and then let cool, and wrap individually to send in lunches.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Seen in Abu Dhabi: 2

Did you know the locals here are called "Emirati"? The men wear all white usually (but sometimes wear other colors) and the women wear all black- because of this, some souvenir shops sell salt and pepper shakers in the form and dress color of Emiratis.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kids Unscripted; Chapter 9

Talia: "I'm going to give you a point every time you laugh or have fun!"
Talia: "I need more than one person to not be lonesome!"
Talia: "Babies are the cutest kind of people!"
Me: (to Elias) "Do you want a bite?" (putting it in his mouth.)
Elias: *Elias shakes his head 'no' and spits it out. Then, waves at it and says "bye bye" and promptly eats it.*
Talia: "Mommy, do butterflies take baths?"
Talia: "Does the wind have hands?"
Me: "Would you like a cup of milk?"
Talia: "Can I have a couple of milk?"
Talia: "I'm glad there are no lions in our house!"
Me: "Me too... Why did you say that?"
Talia: "Because they go 'RAWR' and they eat you up!"
Talia: "Mommy, God did a good job when he made you."
Me: *speechless*
Me: (singing a made-up lullaby) "Rockabye..."
Elias: *opens sleepy eyes, grins and waves 'bye.'*
Talia: "I'm going to draw a sea-squirrel instead of a seahorse."
Talia: (wrapped in a brown bath towel) "I look like chocolate ice cream!"
Talia: "If we see a bug, should we spray killer-izer on it?"
Talia: "Mommy, can bees get fat from honey?"
Me: "I think we know what to research in science next..."