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FREE Back to School Distance Learning banner

So it begins!

We have chosen ‘distance learning’ school mode for both our kids since this is the best setup for our family right now.

The excitement this school year might is not the same as the previous ones; for the first time we did not bother much with school shopping besides the essentials. No need to buy uniforms, shoes and socks. Alarm not as early, this I am very pleased.

Despite all the crazy happening around, we are all trying our best to make this 1st week of school a smooth one because when we just open our eyes we will see so many reasons to smile.

With that… let me present my babies with the new school setup and a FREE back to school: distance learning banner for 2020 – 2021 school year.

Fancy using our First Day #backtoschool banner?

Click link below to download.

FREE #BackToSchool Distance Learning Banner.

What’s inside our GO BAG?

What is a ‘Go Bag’?

A ‘Go Bag‘ is something that you would grab in situations that require immediate evacuation. It basically is an emergency-preparedness bag that you pack in advance but hope you never need.

Contents of the bag should be sufficient for a 12-hour period. It is recommended to update contents of this bag every few months. You have to choose a bag that is large enough to carry the necessary items. I prefer to use a backpack so my hands are free to hold my children.

emergency bag

What is inside a Go Bag?

Travel and identification documents are the top most items that I make sure is updated and always inside our bag since we are living overseas. Make it a habit to scan important documents, then save it in a virtual drive and send copies to your relatives

  • Passport
  • Emirates ID (identification card for UAE residents)
  • Health Insurance Card 
  • Insurance Papers

First Aid Kit – masks, bandAid, antiseptic wipes and important medication. Include a copy of your physician’s prescription.

Flashlight and batteries. Ideally, a flashlight for each member of the family. For younger kids, a headlight or flashing emergency lights attach to their clothing.

Whistles with a neck cord for each member of that family will help in situation to call attention.

Gadgets like a mobile phone, cord, battery pack, and a solar charger.

Food with a long shelf life like canned goods, dates, energy bars, gum, candies and water.

Money of multiple currency that you have, include some jewelries too.

Clothes and mylar blankets. Pack a book or toy if you have smaller kids, this will help entertain and give them comfort.

Tools that you might need like Swiss army knife, duct tape, matches.

Where should I keep the bag?

Store bag in a central location where it is easy for any member of the family to grab. We have ours hanging by the main door. As of the moment, we only have 1 bag.

Ideally, I would have a bag for each member of the family. If and when I have this gut feeling, I would prepare a much more eleborate #emergencybag for all of us.

My kids are aware that the bag is important. Once they hear a building alarm, this is one of the first item they would grab after wearing sports shoes.

When they were younger, we would do a practice run by the emergency exit.

Yes, I am paranoid but I’d rather be prepared.

Do you have an emergency go bag?

How To Make Ice Cream at Home

Just 3 ingredients to make ICE CREAM at home!

It is so easy to make that Chloe took charge in preparing the recipe and she even prepared a video to show you how.

This can be a very fun DIY project for the family to do at home and because we need to satisfy a sweet frozen craving.

The base recipe is versatile that you can basically add different flavorings! The option is endless to your imagination.

How to Make Ice Cream at Home

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping or heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add condensed milk and vanilla, on low speed until just incorporated.
  3. Pour into resealable container. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until firm.


Flavorings:

Cookies & Cream
15 Oreo cookies, chopped

Cookies & Chocolate
10 Chocolate Digestive Cookies, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Chocolate Hazelnut spread

Rocky Road
1 cup Chocolate Syrup
1 cup mini Marshmallows
1 cup Walnuts & Almond mix

Brownies with Dark Chocolate Chunks and Walnuts

Brownies with Dark Chocolate Walnuts

We have a fudgy, chunky and easy cocoa brownies for your family. I guarantee that the chocolate lover in your family will ask for more!

This brownie recipe will easily become a family favorite!

Tips:

  • I prefer to use Dutch processed cocoa powder when available. Otherwise, a natural cocoa powder will do great as well.
  • 70% dark chocolate chunks is a MUST. You can double the amount of chocolate if you don’t fancy nuts.
  • CHECK brownies after 20 minutes of baking, if the middle is still runny and wet, bake for 5 minutes more. Continue baking until you see the middle part is set but still give a bit of movement when pan is moved.
  • I baked our brownies in our electric oven for exactly 27 minutes.

Important! Bake two batches and hide one tray for yourself.

Easy Brownies with Walnuts and Dark Chocolate Chunks

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup 70% dark chocolate chunks

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
  2. In a bowl, sift and mix dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Add vanilla and melted butter, give it a good mix.
  4. Fold dry ingredients to wet mixture, until incorporated.
  5. Add in 1/2 cup each of chopped walnuts and dark chocolate.
  6. Pour batter in a greased pan. Sprinkle more walnuts and chocolate on top.
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Check at the 20 minute mark.
  8. Let brownies cool for 2 hours or overnight. Cut in squares.

recipe for brownies with dark chocolate and walnuts

Grow | One Little Word

As with the beginning of each year, I have chosen a word to inspire and guide me. One word that I would intentionally live with for the whole year.

There are so many ways I want to grow this year:

  • I want to grow ‘ME’
    • make meaningful connections that will make me a better person. I will make an effort to get in touch with friends, meet-up and enjoy a conversation.
    • To exercise and eat better. I have been sickly and have ignored signs my mind & body is telling me.
    • Spend more time to read and write.
  • Grow my digital skills
    • learn a skill every month if possible – photo & video editing that will help me make more content for our social media channels.
  • Grow my team and business
    • my Young Living ‘Happy Essentials’ team had a slow growth since I began using essential oils. I intend to meet with them often, share my knowledge and empower each individual on the use and benefits of the products.
  • Grow my relationship to…
    • God
    • my husband
    • my children

How are you growing this year? What is your word for 2020?

Largest Research Science Lab in Dubai

A dedicated science laboratory for kids ages 7 yrs – 11 yrs old opened at Children’s City, Creek Park.

Forscherwelt (Researchers World) is a project between Dubai Municipality’s Children’s City and Henkel. The new, purpose-build science centre is the first of its kind in the Middle East and is the largest Forcherwelt Science Lab for children anywhere in the world.

I attended the inauguration last November 18 and was treated to a VIP tour of the facility. Reviewing base alone on what I saw and heard is not enough. The best way to showcase the center is through the eyes of my kids and their friends.

I gathered 17 kids from our Phases Basketball family for an afternoon of science fun at Forscherwelt. The kids are in for a treat because they were among the first batch to experience working on the lab.

For many children, it is a rare opportunity to do hands-on laboratory work. Science taught in schools are often more about memorizing formulas, looking at pictures, and listening to their teachers telling them how and what will happen instead of doing actual experiments.

The Forscherwelt team will be offering ten, 45 minutes modules, for up to 25 children per session. On our visit kids got to work on the 2 modules offered about starch and skin, we won’t share details it is better for the kids to experience it for themselves.

Each group was assigned an experienced instructor that guided them with the research and experiment they have to do. Emphasize on the word “guide” because when the kids seem lost on the research, they were asked to go back and was asked “why do you think did happened?” and “do you think we should try and go back to the first procedure?”

Finally, they answered the question that was first presented to them before they began their experiment.

All 17 kids ENJOYED, LEARNED and requested to go back to do more experiments at Forscherwelt. This was definitely one fun afternoon rediscovering their love for science.

Forscherwelt Science Lab for children in Dubai is located at Children’s City, Dubai Creek Park and is for children aged between 7 and 11 years of age. Ten hand-picked employees from Children’s City have been trained in the past month by Ute Krupp, Head of Henkel Forscherwelt. They will be coaching the children on their scientific journey. Sessions at Forscherwelt are free for children to attend. For further information and bookings please visit www.childrencity.ae

In behalf of the kids, I would like to thank the team behind Forscherwelt, Children’s City, Henkel and Twister Communications for a fun afternoon.

Spanish Bread Recipe

The smell of freshly baked bread greeting me as I step out of our room and on the dining table a brown paper bag filled with soft bread filled with sweet buttery filling and my aunt Mama Alma pouring ice cold coke on a glass with a smile “Meryenda na ‘nak! Nagpapalit si Daddy ug tinapay.”

Right there at that moment I was a small kid again forgetting for a minute that a newborn baby was peacefully sleeping in the bedroom.

Spanish Bread is a childhood favorite which was always available at the neighborhood bakery. It tops my list next to ‘double body’ and ‘pande coco’.

I’m so happy that the first batch I baked hit the spot! As soon as I took a bite, memories of me as kid enjoying afternoon snack with my Lola Mommy, Mama, friends and siblings embraced me.

Spanish Bread

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Source: cuddlesandcrumbs.com
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Ingredients

Bread Dough

  • 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm whole fresh milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 tsp oil to grease bowl
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour for dusting

Butter Filling

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoon milk / all-purpose cream

Breading

  • 3 tbsps milk to brush bread
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar optional

Directions

For Bread Dough

  1. In a medium-size bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of sugar and dry yeast, give a mix. Pour lukewarm milk. Let it stand for 5 to 10 mins until yeast begins to foam.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add yeast mixture, egg yolks, and butter to the dry ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon until just combined. Add warm milk, then give it a mix.
  4. Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on to the lowest speed and mix until all ingredients are incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  5. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Add additional flour as necessary, start with 2 tablespoons. Continue beating for 5 to 6 minutes until the dough is slightly sticky and soft and pulling away from the edge of the bowl. Be careful not to add too much flour.

First Rise

  1. Wipe or spray oil on the sides of the bowl then form dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until it doubles in size. Prepare filling while dough rise.

Spanish Bread Filling

  1. Heat butter in a small saucepan until bubbly. Add the flour and the breadcrumbs and stir the mixture vigorously with a wire whisk for a few seconds. This is a grainy mixture at this point. Immediately add the cream or milk and keep stirring until the mixture loosens up a bit. Stir for 30 seconds more and turn off heat. Cool mixture until just warm to touch. Stir in the sugar until it is incorporated. Set aside to cool. This mixture is a chunky paste
  2. Taste mixture and adjust sweetness according to your preference.

Second Rise – Shape the rolls

  1. Remove the plastic wrap and punch dough down. Transfer onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth.
  2. Divide the dough into portions, around 50g each (use a kitchen scale). Adjust based on your preference.
  3. Using a rolling pin, flatten each portion into an oval shape. Spread 1 tablespoon of the filling, then roll it into a log.
  4. Brush with milk. Lay it in the bread crumbs. Shake off excess then place inside the baking tray greased or lined with a parchment paper.
  5. Repeat with all the other portions. Make sure that the dough is arranged about an inch apart. Cover with a towel or cloth and let it rise for 40mins to 1 hour.

Baking

  1. Preheat oven at 200C, 15 minutes before the dough rolls finish rising.
  2. Bake the Spanish bread for 18 to 20 minutes until the top turns light brown. If you’re using two racks, switch the trays after 10 minutes so all the rolls will brown evenly.
  3. If you find dough still pale. Turn on broiler and “toast” bread for 2 minutes. Keep close watch till bread is brown to your liking.



Grilled Chicken Wrap

Sandwich wraps is a fun alternative to our good old sandwich for school lunch. I find it much more filling and my kids find it easier to eat.

Filling for a sandwich wrap can vary from the protein, vegetables and dressing desired. What I have here is a marinade recipe for chicken that would work for a lot of dishes.

Box: Citron | Bag: PackIt | Banana Box

Grilled Chicken Wrap

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Source: cuddlesandcrumbs.com
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 500 g Chicken thighs, skinless & boneless
  • 1/2 cup Yoghurt
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp All Spice
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper

Directions

  1. Mix marinade in a bowl – yoghurt, turmeric, paprika, all spice, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Add chicken thighs, marinate overnight.
  3. Grill chicken on high heat, cook for 2 minutes in one side. Flip and cook for another 10 minutes. Let chicken thighs rest for 5 minutes, slice and keep aside.