Last minute weekend fun at Kiddie Ville Al Barsha Mall

We all love our weekends. Whether we decide to chill at home, go out shopping or indulge in a ‘stay-cation’ at a fancy resort, weekends are our chance to blow off some steam. My little one already has his share of fun and games at the nursery, but Fridays and Saturdays are our chance to do things together as a family. But with my poor husband down with the flu, battling a migrane,  a tooth cavity and a root canal, it was up to me to take the little one out for some weekend fun. But the thought of going to a mall on a weekend and having to deal with the nightmare of finding a parking spot with a super fussy kid in the car was just too painful. Then I remembered that Al Barsha Mall has this childrens play area that my Yehia always cries and nags to go to whenever we go grocery shopping. We drove over and we were there in ten minutes. On the first floor right after the co-op is Kiddie Ville. It’s not your typical children’s entertainment zone. It has a number of rides (carresole, flying airplanes,  a mini ferris wheel, go karts and the usual race car games) that you pay for by card. The area also includes a number of places to eat. So you can sit and enjoy a quick meal while watching your little ones play. The rides are also priced 11AED each, unlike many other play areas around. At the very end is a soft play area, priced at 25 AED per hour) Overall, its good value for money and for those living in TECOM/Al Barsha areas – this is a great place to check out if you run out of ideas a need a quick place to go to with your little one for some fun and games.

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2015 – Keep doing what you do best!

Oh God – looking at my last date post is a terrible thing – I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that so much time has passed and I’ve done so little on here. Yes – I feel guilty for not giving my blog some major TLC. I mean, it’s 2015 – the chance to start fresh, list down all these resolutions that I want to accomplish by this year, live the dream and get all psyched up about my new beginning. Hell – I didn’t even make the time to list them, so chances are I won’t even be able to achieve them.

My point is – and I think so many mothers and fathers out there will agree – we’re literally kicking butt by making it through every single day with all the other responsibilities that life throws our way. We should all give ourselves a huge pat on the back, maybe treat ourselves to some fatty Hershey Pie for making it this far, going through each day like a fighter and being amazing parents. So to all those who are in my shoes; who feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, from juggling a dzillion things from managing to make a career and a living, to changing diapers and folding through endless piles of laundry – you are doing an awesome job. WE are doing an awesome job. Lets keep doing it the way know best and don’t bother by anything or anyone else.

 

The Pacifier Review_AnanIbrahim_TPR_MOM_2015

Five Survival Tips for Travelling with a Toddler

PhotoGrid_1417700673992I recently took off three weeks from work and traveled back home to Egypt with the fam. It’s been more than a year since I boarded a plane with my little Yehia and I must admit – it wasn’t as easy and breezy as travelling with him when he was younger. In short, yes – there was a lot of running around, chasing, hiding under counters and trying to jump on baggage belts. But there’s hope; there can be some tricks that can help you keep tabs on your excited little traveler and minimize your urge to pull that exit door handle and just jump off the plane.

Rise and shine early in the morning: I’m not really an advocate of using cough drops to make your little one drowsy so they can doze off on the plane. However, if your child happens to have the sniffles, then you’re in luck. You can give him his regular meds an hour before the flight takes off. What I strongly recommend you do is wake your toddler up really early in the morning, so by the time you’re at the airport for passport control, baggage claim and your duty free shopping, your little Columbus would be worn out and exhausted; all ready for his nap. At least this way you can enjoy a hassle-free trip on the plane, read a book in peace or enjoy a good movie.

  • STROLLERS, STROLLERS, STROLLERS: For some odd reason, I gave in to Kais’s constant pleads to leave the stroller behind. I ended up having to run after Yehia in terminals, duty free shops and toilets and the killer part: carrying around for what seemed like hours on end. Yes, I was plotting Kais’s ‘accidental death’ on my three-hour flight to Egypt and kicking myself for not doing it my way and taking the stroller anyway. Rule of thumb: ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH A LIGHT-WEIGHT STROLLER.
  • Charge up that smartphone/iPad: If you have some animations or movies that you know your baby likes on your iPad/Tab or smartphone, then make sure to charge up your devices. You can also purchase a power bank from the airport’s duty free, if you already don’t have one in your hand luggage. Most airlines have a good set of movies on their in-flight entertainment programs, but just so you can keep your little one distracted while you shop or as you roam around the airport terminals, some movies or games can be handy. I also had to resort to Youtube, since Yehia seemed to want to watch some random car videos rather than his actual favorite cartoons. So a device with an enabled data package would also be a plus.
  • Pack your toddler’s favorite items: If your little boy has a favorite stuffed animal, book, blankie that you know keeps him sane – make sure to pack them in your hand luggage. Avoid small toys that can be easily lost – otherwise, you’ll have to deal with constant tantrums once when you can’t find them in the airport or on the plane. Also make sure you have extra diapers, a change of clothes and a whole bunch of pacifiers – we all know how they magically disappear when you need them the most.
  • Where you sit on a plane makes all the difference: When my kid sees open spaces, he gets a sudden urge to just get up and run around. For that, I insisted that we get three seats by the window and have him sit in the middle. With not much to see and barely any room on an EgyptAir Economy class seating, he was settled and dozed off since we woke him up at the crack of dawn. If you are travelling with a younger baby, it’s always best to sit at the very front facing the separators so you can ask the flight attendant to get you one of those baby cribs for your munchkin to sleep in.

Traveling with a child will never be easy; so say goodbye to those old days when flying solo was a walk in the park, but I do hope that these tips help make your travel experience a little less painful.

If you have any other tricks up your sleeve that work wonders for you – share them in the comments section below!

 

The Grandparents Frame by JOHNSON’S® Baby

This is by far the best and most meaningful campaign I’ve seen on a long time. Johnson’s Baby launched the ‘Grandparents Frame’ initiative to help bring grandparents closer to their grand children.

Because so many grandparents live far away, some of them don’t get to see their precious little ones for years on end. We all know what a grand child means to a grandparent; my father for instance only smiles when there’s a mention of Yehia and would do anything to make sure that Yehia is well and happy. However, many grandparents aren’t very connected to social media platforms, nor do they get the hang of all the latest tech tools.

So what Johnson did is that they introduced a digital photo frame that you gift to your moms and dads that also pairs up with your smart phone. Everytime you snap a photo of your little one, you can send it directly to their device and then they get a glimpse of their precious grandchildren and watch them grow. 

I love how thoughtful this idea is and how much joy it can bring to a family.

Watch this video, but keep a tissue box within arms reach because I got teary and emotional. 

To learn more about this initiative and how it works, check the link below:

What is the Grandparents Frame?

 

If only I can turn back time..

We all have a favorite set of grandparents. It’s just how it is. You become more familiar with either party based on who spent more time with you as a child, who treated you better, or who geniunuely loved and cared more for you. I personally loved my grandparents from my mom’s side and was more fond of them than the latter. As their first grand-daughter, I was spoiled and in every way possible. I was fortunate enough to live close by them and got to see them every single day. I loved them unconditionally, just like l know they loved me and even though I don’t see them now, I know they are both in a much better place.

My relationship with my other grandmother (father’s mom) is quite the opposite. She lives in a rural, remote area in Egypt and growing up, I only saw her once or twice a year when we went down to Egypt for the summer holidays. We never really had a close relationship; don’t get me wrong, I respect and appreciate her like no other, but its a distant kind of relationship and I didn’t think it would matter to her, after all she has another 20 grand-children and a favorite grandson anyway. 

Days turned into years and we all know how life get can get super busy. The older I got, the less I visited; sometimes for as long as two years in a row. I got married and started a family of my own and spoke to her less and less. Sometimes I would even forget to call her and remember three month’s down the line that I hadn’t spoken to her in a while. It’s pretty embaressing to admit, but that’s how it has been.

I recently found out that my grandmother had suffered a stroke and is now unable to speak or move. She requires health care and help with everything around the clock. Devastated to learn this news, my Father travelled to Egypt to be by her side. The news fell heavy on my heart. I tried to remember the last time I saw her, or even spoke to her on the phone, but I couldn’t. It felt like I was trying too hard to fit some puzzle pieces together to make sense of my memories. I couldn’t remember anything. I couldn’t think of anything. I was ashamed of myself. I wanted to call her now to check on her, but what good would that bring when she can’t even talk. 

I can’t travel to see her for work and many other commitments that I can’t get out of. All I have left is a very vague memory of what life used to be like when she was younger and well. 

I don’t know if she will come out of this and it breaks my heart that I might lose her someday without seeing her or even telling her how sorry I am for all these years and that I love her and respect her always. But It’s already too late. The reason I posted this is because we all get caught up in our crazy lives and often forget the little things that matter. Well folks, I hate to say that I only learned after its happened to my grandma. Reality check: Life is too DAMN short. 

Tell your parents and loved ones how grateful you are to have them instead of facing the ugly fact: death hurts those who endure it and bear with their losses.

That’s why I haven’t posted anything in a while. I hope you remember my grandmother in your prayers.