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Month: November 2015

Dinner Time Home Run

Dinner Time Home Run

Meal times around our house are pretty simple. You eat what’s been served or you don’t eat.

But of course, when you have seven mouths to feed three times a day you’re going to be hard pressed to find a meal that somebody doesn’t complain about unless the pizza man delivered it to the front door.

But every once in a while the stars align just right and everyone at the table asks for seconds and  praises my culinary skills while I recline at the dining room table and soak up the admiration.

Ok, maybe it doesn’t happen exactly like that but that’s how I prefer to live it out in my head so let a mama be. Okay?

This week we had one of those nights and because my love for recipes teeters ever so slightly on the verge of obsession…I have to share it with you.

For the Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken I used frozen chicken breasts because it’s what I had on hand and it worked perfectly.

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And these Hasselback Sweet Potatoes…oh my! Why am I just now learning about these things?

 

UnknownAdd a quick salad to the mix (because my mom always said you have to have a green on the table) and dinner is served.

 

 

Brody Turns Eight

Brody Turns Eight

This past weekend we celebrated a very special birthday- our sweet Brody turned eight.

He decided he’d rather go to Kidzania and then out to dinner with our family- in lieu of the usual party.

{Fist bump to all my fellow moms who have ever managed to get out of the birthday party planning craziness}

While I’m on the subject of Kidzania, you should go if you ever have the opportunity. My boys ages 4-10 think it’s the most fun place they’ve ever been. It’s like all of the best field trips you’ve ever been on rolled up into one awesome place.

We arrived  around 11:00 am and stuck around until 10:00 pm- when it finally closed.

To say my boys love that place is a huge understatement.

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The place is like a city that is ran and ruled by kids. They have newspapers, fast food restaurants, sports teams, grocery stores, radio stations. Kids learn to be producers and consumers and earn Kidzos for the work they do which can be spent in the Kidzania store.

Most of the day they were much too busy working for the various shops to stop for a photo-op, but they know mom is relentless with the camera, so they finally stopped and let me have a moment.

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In a city where they can make Coca-Cola, be an airline pilot or host their own radio show these boys had a hard time pulling away from the allure of the Kidzania Soccer Stadium.

IMG_5045The next day our Birthday Boy was able to choose any restaurant in the city for his birthday dinner. It was no surprise that he chose Texas Roadhouse because he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

Can we just talk about how awesome it is that we live in the Middle East and have a Texas Roadhouse? There is no shortage of good food in our neighborhood.

IMG_1279After dinner the manager brought Brody a brownie topped with ice cream and a candle. That meant Momma got out of baking a cake! Score for the home team.

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The highlight of the night was when the waiter brought a saddle over and had Brody climb up on it. They all sang “Happy Birthday” to him, which was hardly recognizable with the strong accents.  Good thing the hand clapping, cheering and hollering made it a memory for the ages. And I honestly can’t think of a more perfect celebration for such an amazing young man. We love you Bro Bro!

Happy 8th Birthday!

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Honest To A Fault

Honest To A Fault

I have written before about the challenges that we face living in a different culture. Some aspects of this culture we actually prefer, while other things take a little bit more time to get accustomed to. One of the things that has taken me some time to get used to is the “straightforward, no holds barred, tell it like it is-to your face” kind of talk. It’s not rude. It’s not unkind. It’s just the way people do it here in this culture.

Let me give you some examples… We had only been living overseas four weeks when I found out I was pregnant so you can image the hormonal tears I cried when my neighbor told me I was getting fat.

Girl! Yes, she did.

Or, if you show up to Arabic class without any  makeup on, you teacher will definitely call you out or ask if you’re sick.

Fast forward a few years and I now understand that people aren’t being rude or trying to hurt my feelings, it’s just an aspect of the culture that was different than what I was used to.

There is also a positive side. People in this culture are quick to give compliments.

If you’re having a good hair day, your girlfriend will let you know. If your children are being well mannered and polite, you will be praised for it.  If you’ve lost a little weight, a neighbor will point it out. If you look younger than you really are…you’re going to hear a lot of “Masha Allah” which basically means “It is the will of God.”

Having logged about 2 1/2 years in this part of the world prepared me for when my friend came over to visit recently and literally greeted me with, “Oh, should I go home and let you rest? You look really tired.”

Hmmmm… not sure what to say to that one. I laughed it off- but I could tell she was legitimately concerned for me.

I’m sure I was tired to some extent. After all, is a mom with lots of little ones ever not tired? But, more than likely, the problem was that I was wearing zero makeup.

I assured her I was fine and we ended up having a wonderful visit.

The next week my new friend came for another visit. This time I made sure to put on some lip gloss and mascara in an effort to look a little more… awake.

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The doorbell rang and I sashayed myself to the door, pleased to present my new face. Upon opening the door I learned that my girlfriend had taken matters into her own hands.

She walked in with a HUGE bag and pulled out…

  1. A full pot of arabic coffee.
  2. A bowl of dates.

Coffee for the obvious reason. And dates because they are believed to be a great source of vitamins, minerals and energy in this part of the world- a superfood if you will.

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I didn’t take it personal. I actually have learned that this is their way of showing love and being a good friend. We had a great time together- we talked about life, laughed together and sipped coffee while our boys played.

And while the visit was wonderful I was super thankful that I had taken the extra time to apply a little mascara or I may have had to drink the entire pot of coffee by myself.

Family Fun Night: Halloween Edition

Family Fun Night: Halloween Edition

Holidays can come and go around here without leaving the slightest trace that they ever happened. The past few years we’ve celebrated holidays with the same friends and learned that with a little determination and a lot of effort, you can throw together a janky little party that somehow works out to be pretty special. I guess it really is the people that make the party and not the other way around.

This year when Halloween rolled around we found ourselves in a new country. The friends we usually celebrate with were in a neighboring country and the hubby was traveling which meant it was just me and the boys.

At this point I should mention that I love Halloween. Not the “hang creepy decorations and wear inappropriate costumes” kind of Halloween, but the “pumpkin carving, candy corn eating, friends coming over for chili, adorable costumes and kids trick- or-treating in the neighborhood” kind of thing. Love it.

And don’t think for one second that my boys have not inherited that trait.

The one thing they wanted to do this year was go trick-or-treating. Problem is, the folks in these parts don’t really go for the whole “trick-or-treating” thing.

We opted for a Halloween family fun night and in-home trick-or-treating, if you will.

The day started with jack-o-lantern pancakes, which has become somewhat of a tradition around our house. Breck ate breakfast in his underwear which has also become pretty much a daily tradition.

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In my former life, all the boys had personalized trick-or-treat bags with their handprints turned into spiders that were to die for– but that life is a distant memory and has been replaced with more shenanignas from Loser Mom.

Yes, as a matter of fact, those are white gift bags being decorated with the finest magic markers Ikea has to offer. Eat your heart out, Pinterest. Please don’t be intimidated by my awesomeness. 
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We recently received some hand me down clothes that just so happened to have soccer uniforms in the right sizes.

Viola! Halloween costumes.

The baby was out of luck so he got to wear a last minute Minion costume constructed from the lid of an oatmeal container and some rolled up jeans.

But lets be honest, babies in Halloween costumes are swoon worthy no matter how ridiculous the costume is, right?

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We had a “Booooo-ling” contest that got a little more competitive than I had anticipated and ended with one very excited winner and one very sore loser crying on the steps because he didn’t get the prize. Just a friendly reminder that life is not all rainbows and butterflies.

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We wiped the tears and decided to take a break for dinner. Because it was Halloween I used that as an excuse to serve my children Nutella on bread and call it dinner.

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The apple bobbing contest went much smoother than one could expect. No tears involved, just insane amounts of cuteness.

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The highlight of the night was the in house trick-or-treating. Yes, you read that correctly.

I bought enough candy to put at every door in our house. Bedroom doors, bathroom doors, front doors and back doors…they all had candy behind them. One door at a time the boys would knock and I would answer the door to four anxious faces simultaneously shouting “TRICK OR TREAT!”

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At the end of the night they dumped the bags out in the living room floor to assess the loot, just like I remember doing as a kid.

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The kid in the diaper ran around swiping whatever candy he could get his hands on before his brothers finally caught on to his tricks.

IMG_1248The boys consumed insane amounts of sugar and told me ten times that this was the “BEST HALLOWEEN EVER” which I’m confident was the sugar talking. Regardless, it was a win for the home team and a very happy Halloween.