Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year, I actually did most of my cooking the day before Thanksgiving.  The boys' school had National Day celebrations the day of, so I wasn't sure how much time I would have to actually cook.  So here goes, a must for Thanksgiving - Pumpkin Cheesecake pie!  I added some bananas into this attempt.  It was good but I think just a bit mushy so maybe no more bananas for next year's batch:
And perhaps the consistency was just a little off as well because I had to use "real" pumpkin and not the usual can ones. I couldn't find our normal can of pumpkin puree.  Thankfully I did know a friend that had a baby food processor, so I was able to blend up some real pumpkin:
This pumpkin color just seems a little off, a bit more yellow rather than orange. Anyhow, perhaps it was still better than using the very expired can of pumpkin. Use by March 2015!!!
There was the option of making this Spiced Pecan Pumpkin bread. I should probably check the expiration date for this one too!
The other usual dish is Mac-n-Cheese:
And also meatloaf.  Meatloaf with slices of bacon on top! Yes, real bacon. There's a pork section at the back of the supermarket. You have to push a button to open the sliding door.
I also made mashed sweet potatoes. YUM!!! But neither of the boys liked it.  The recipe called for pecans and instead of buying a can of pecans (super expensive!) we opted for a can of mixed nuts - cashews, almonds, and pecans.  Wow, the ratio of other nuts to pecans was no way close to 1/3. There were maybe only like 8 pieces of pecans.  I really should write a complaint to the company!!!
Anyhow, I'm glad the meal turned out alright as we had a guest this year.  Our new friend/golf buddy John, from Canada - whom actually just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October.  Thumbs up from everyone!
A mish-mash of food but thankfully, it all worked out alright :-)
Next holiday,... Christmas!  In less than a month!  The year has flown by so quickly.  Thankful for another year of good health (except for the occasional runny noses and fevers) and friends and family!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy National Day!

Graham and Charlie's school celebrated National Day this past Thursday.   We picked the boys up early from their classroom and I got to bust out my Abaya for the afternoon. Haven't worn it for a while now.  I still don't know how the local women do it.  It didn't take me long to start sweating in the 33C/91F weather!  Thankfully, we found a shady spot for a quick lunch:
For some reason, Charlie has started to do silly faces while we take photos.  At this moment, he was doing some sort of Zombie thing. Ha!

After lunch, it was quickly to the main stage in the grassy area where Charlie sang the "7 Emirates " song with the rest of his year.  And then, we just roamed around the displays, which included the boys' class art work.  This one is from Charlie's class:
And this one was Graham's class effort.  Pretty neat!
And then, Sand Art.  The boys love this stuff!!!
You basically pick out a print and then, you peel off little patterned pieces bit by bit and pour different colored sand onto the sticky surfaces:
Charlie's print wasn't too complicated so he was done pretty quickly:
And obviously waiting is not Charlie's thing, so we moved on to something else rather quickly.  He painted a new cap with some UAE colors - a map of UAE on the cap's bill and then a palm tree on the top/button of the cap. Charlie loves palm trees!
I think it turned out quite well!  Just have to make sure the cap never gets wet. Otherwise, I am guessing that paint will probably just smear. Wish us luck!  Hmmm... good thing it hardly ever rains in Abu Dhabi! :-)
Graham is finally done with his Sand Art!  This seems to be his new "smile":
A few more minutes with tug-of-war, and we head home:
It is actually Thanksgiving today and I need to finish up cleaning and cooking for our guest!

Trampoline time!

Graham and Charlie finally had a chance to play at "Bounce", located in a mall in the city.  Mommy was playing golf at this time so I completely missed out on the fun!  Obviously the boys couldn't get enough of it and the boys went early so there were lots of room for them to do everything!
Lots of jumping and sliding!
And also, ball playing:
And running too.  They could literally do this for hours!!!
video
I'm sure this won't the be the first and last time for the boys there.  Maybe I will be able to do a few flips next time.  Nah... not likely.  My gymnastic days are over! ;-)

Formula 1 week

Unfortunately, no free tickets for the Formula 1 race this week.  I did get a glimpse of it the other night when a bunch of us were having dinner at a hotel, where the race track actually wraps around it.
Pretty neat but not so nice when you are actually trying to have dinner and have a decent conversation!  This guy was going around the track for hours!!!
video
And then, the airplanes started to fly right over our heads as well.  Can't win - LOL!!!

Random photos of the week

Charlie has been so SO tired when he comes back from school.  Leo the leopard keeps him company :-)
And more Home Learning for Graham. This time, working on a snow flake with recycled items (bottle caps and ice-cream sticks):
How is it that I get dragged into this and not Bobby :-P
Not too shabby!  And there is Leo again:
Leo, unfortunately has gone missing!  I think we left him at the golf club.  The search continues!

Oh wait... we just found Leo. Phew! He was stuck in between Charlie's bed and the wall.  His bed is on wheels so it moves occasionally and obviously I had squished Leo against the wall.  Oops!

I finally had a chance to try out this Chinese restaurant in the city last week. It was an all-you-can-eat dim sum for less than Dhs100 (less than US$30) which is a really good deal!  Needless to say, I really did stuff myself that day :-) 
I really liked this dragon sculpture outside of the restaurant.  Perhaps I am partial to it because I am born in the Year of the Dragon.  Roooarr...!!!  Okay, I know a dragon doesn't roar but what sound do they really make???  I just looked this up online and based on a few comments - yes, dragons do "roar"! :-D

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Making Christmas ornaments

I got an idea to make Christmas ornaments through a random website.  It required some felt fabric and I thought... IKEA!  The ornament actually required 3 different colors but I ended up buying an entire blanket with snow prints instead.  This way I could make snow ornaments as well!  But first, lots of cutting.  Graham participated:
So did Charlie. All hands on deck!
And then, having to sew the snow flakes together and stuff them so it would be just that little bit puffy:
Charlie wanted to learn how to sew :-)
Tada! Yes, Charlie still has his Leo:
Now, for some personalizing.  I discovered that you could actually make alphabets with bracelet looms. Who knew!
It took me 3 tries just to finally make this 'A'!
Hmm... not liking it so much like this:
Ahh.... that's much better! Not too shabby, eh?! :-D
The only thing about these Christmas ornaments is there is lots and lots of cutting! 7 different sizes starting from 1/2" and increasing by a quarter inch each time.  Phew!!!  Too bad the boys weren't too interested by then to help me cut up these squares.  Perhaps I will have to bribe them for the next ornament-making session :-)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Where is Leo?

Charlie had assigned Daddy to bring Leo to work last week.  Here goes!

Leo by the entrance of the warehouse:

Leo at work in the warehouse:

Leo taking a break:

Leo working with Daddy on his computer:

I wonder what is Leo's next assignment! :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"Supermoon"

Last night, we had dinner in the patio area of the golf club as I wanted to take some photos of the moon.  Supposedly, the moon or "Supermoon" as it's called - was at its closest to earth last night and this phenomena won't happen again until 2034.  We had to wait until dark so a few photos before that:

This clubhouse is quite stunning:
Our new favorite drink - banana milkshake. YUM!!!
I really don't know when Graham started smiling like that!
Rooaarrrr!!!
Some fighter jets flying by tonight. I think they were practicing for the upcoming National Day in December:
Sunset colors by the clubhouse:
Bobby with Graham:
Bobby with Charlie:
The sun finally set and here is the Supermoon!  The palm tree was in the way, but actually turned out pretty neat!
Graham's attempt with the big camera and the zoom lens:
Charlie's attempt. Haha!
Let Mommy a.k.a. the pro take care of it :-)
A little fun with the moon in the parking lot:
Too funny :-)
One last look before the next 18 years for another Supermoon!