Monday, December 15, 2014

Thanksgiving - decorations and more!

This was my first year hosting a Thanksgiving dinner all by myself! Normally every year we do thanksgiving dinner at my parents place in New Jersey, but this year we couldn't make it up there; so I decided if we can't go to thanksgiving we'll bring it to us! There isn't much of Fall in Florida, but this year we actually did get a few chilly nights, just enough for a few beautiful orange and red leaves to grace our yard. I took the boys for a walk and decided to incorporate fall into our Thanksgiving dinner. Can you tell how badly I miss autumn down here?
Our Thanksgiving Banner, flower arrangement, and leaves we found outside!
Using a dollar store bucket and tea light I added in some acorns we found outside to create a fall festive candle!
Spruced up our drinks bar with a few mini pumpkins from Walmart and festive pine cone decor from Michael's


my centerpiece! created from All Nature's Products found..outside our home! (candle,tray and pumpkin not included)

Took Ali for a walk and came back with a few cute items!

my little bubbas all ready and waiting for their guests to arrive!
Our Thanksgiving Menu: Turkey, roast lamb, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, green bean casserole, Waldorf salad, pasta and dinner rolls



my little poser


Alhumdulillah Banner - Arabic saying "All Thanks be to Allah"


Quick and Super easy Chicken Pad Thai recipe

I probably spent 15 minutes on this recipe from start to finish and it came out tasting great!! 
Everything you should need is pictured above, except veggies can't forget those!!

Brown your ground meat. I used ground chicken you can substitute with ground turkey or beef.

Chop an onion and two cloves garlic
whisk an egg, fry and set aside. 
create your sauce
Done! Tip: cook the pad thai noodles at the very end and add in before serving. These cook extremely fast and start to break if left with sauce too long.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Baby Boy Shower decor!

Last weekend I helped plan a baby shower for a good friend who is expecting a boy. You would think we're starting our own boys club here since we now have about 10 boys and growing among our play group and just 4 girls!

I was in charge of decorations, games, and party favors. And if it isn't already evident here here and here that I love party planning, you can check out below some small simple ideas I used to make the shower fun! I absolutely love Pinterest, because I can always find some sort of free printable page if not great inspirational ideas to work off.

Firstly, for decorations I had the photobooth props leftover from my Valentine's party last February and figured the mustaches and bow ties worked for a baby boy shower. I also found some adorable chalk print signs we used for the photo booth courtesy of The Phillips Family blog. Then I found a template for making a onesie banner, it was perfect for the simple yet adorable look I was going for. Michael's was having a sale on their craft paper 6/$1 so I grabbed a bunch that went with our theme and put my scissors to work. I liked how on the original design they had used clothes pins to hang the onesies like hanging baby's clothes to dry. But, upon finding that clothes pins are ridiculously over priced and won't ever be used again I went with a simpler option: Punch holes through the onesies and thread the ribbon through. 

courtesy of BottleYourBrand Blog

Next were the party favors. I just could not decide what I wanted to do! In the end since I'm a huge chocolate fan and so are most of the girls who attended the shower; I indulged in our sweet tooth. I filled the favor bags with chocolate truffles and also made some baby shower themed chocolate candy using a Wilton melts template I had at home. Michael's also has a baby shower section where they had a bag of 'It's a boy' themed Hershey's kisses. I tried finding some cute baby themed favor tags for a reasonable price but the ones at the dollar store were cheap looking and Michael's was too over priced. So I made my own using extra paper I had got for the onesie banner. I love when I can recycle ideas! I found at Michael's the chalk print stickers on sale for just $.89, originally like $3! Then I added a few more cute baby boy themed bottle and rattle stickers to tie it all in to the theme.  




A pretty important part of baby showers are the games! To keep it fun without going too crazy we decided to play three games. 1) Design a Onesie 2) Guess Mommy's Answers 3) A-Z baby words. We had a lot of kids at the party and it just wasn't practical to play any relay race baby food feeding games and frankly none of us wanted to do that anyway! The first game was a fun arts and crafts activity that the kids helped with too. I had the girls decorate onesie templates I printed out using stickers, crayons, colored pencils and the extra patterned sheets I had gotten from Michael's. They wrote a small message to mommy and baby on the back so she could later add these to the baby's book and I had mommy be the judge for the Best Onesie Design which won a prize. While everyone was working on the first game I had mommy fill out her own answers for the second game. Even though the first game took more time, the other two were quick and fun to see what wacky words everyone came up with! For the Baby ABC's instead of matching mommy's words again, I gave everyone 1 minute 30 seconds and whoever had the most correct baby related words won.
via Poshtart Parties
     

via Google Search 'Baby Shower games'

Lastly, I decided no shower is complete without a diaper cake! Using unused diapers from my own shower cake earlier this year, some baby themed ribbon from the dollar store (way cheaper than Michael's and they even had 'it's a boy' ribbon) and a bag of rubber bands to roll up the diapers, it took me just one of Adam's naps to complete this cake! To decorate it I got a classic rattle and found some cutie booties and a teddy bear around the house. Diaper cakes are fairly simple to make, but just to be prepared I watched this video before I started.



Voila! 

our photo booth station


You know I love me some chalkboard!


It was a potluck so we ended up having a huge variety of some pretty delicious dishes!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I've got my hands full.

I've been absent for the last few months and I promise I have good reason for it. First of all I can't believe Adam is already 5 months old! When Ali was a baby, it felt like time was flying and this time around it literally feels like we're zooming. The summer was very busy to say the least. First, it was Ramadan where eating and sleeping schedules are all off (also, Adam was a newborn and we were literally not sleeping at all). Soon after that ended we went a 20 Hour Road trip to Chicago to attend my cousin's wedding, which was a ton of fun and really great as the whole family got to meet Adam, but it was also extremely exhausting! Imagine a week full of wedding events with a cranky colicky newborn and Ali who would not stop partying like a 20-year-old, running on a week of no naps. Then not even a week after our return Wajih's family arrived for a family reunion. Since everyone was gathering after many years we had tons of things we wanted to do. Including roadtrips to Miami, New Jersey, and multiple ones to Orlando; all with a baby who can't stand the sight of his car seat. Learning the ropes with two children takes some time but I didn't anticipate how chaotic it could actually get. Most of the madness was because we tried to keep going with our own plans and expected the kids to adjust accordingly. If there's anything to know about children it's that they hate change more than grown-ups do and they sure let you know it! 

So basically our life has been off routine, hectic and tiring for the past 4 1/2 months and just finally starting to settle down. The best part of all the chaos was how quickly time passed! We were sleep deprived, exhausted and constantly on the go but it was over before we could even realize it. Also, I had a ton of help with everyone around. Man I miss the help! Now that it's just me and the boys, many of my days are spent where my hands are literally so full. 

It's funny how having two hands was never something I thought I took for granted until now. Many moments are spent with one hand feeding Adam a bottle while the other helps Ali get dressed. I can now proudly write on my resume that I am an expert at preparing bottles, pushing strollers, driving, texting and changing diapers all with one hand.

Adam, you pretty much take up most of my days activities. If I'm not holding you or having you use me as a trampoline, together we have staring contests to see who will cave first into a fit of giggles. 
I'll admit before you were born I was a little afraid whether it was possible to love anyone as much as I love Ali because my heart was so full of love for your older brother. Everyone who had more children reassured me it was totally possible yet I wasn't convinced. Then you entered the scene and my love has not just grown but multiplied times a million!
It's like I can't keep track of my heart anymore. Sometimes you can find it in the tiny fists that you try fitting in your mouth. Other days it's in the strings of drool that slip out of your shy smile. I think I've seen it hiding between the rolls of your thighs or possibly those of your neck, I can never be sure. And the way you grab onto your feet, your mom couldn't love anything more than a baby who has just discovered how to play with his toes! Your endless babbling and loud giggles possess magic to melt my heart right on the spot. If I had to pick just one, it would be the way your smile lights up and your eyes sparkle with delight when your brother plays with you, that causes my little heart to swell right up. 

You know I had a feeling my heart was in for it when Ali was born, but now with you here too I know for sure the poor thing doesn't stand a chance. He's a goner. 

As full as my hands and days are right now, I make it a point to relish in moments more than I ever did before. IE: Two days ago after we dropped Ali to preschool, I put you in the stroller and went shopping. It was a blissful 30 minutes where you slept and I had both hands free to shop and both eyes to take in my surroundings. Not occupied by keeping track of a restless 3 yr old or cries of a baby, my eyes caught sight a beautiful monarch butterfly dancing from flower to flower. I thought for a moment to pull out my phone and capture this occurrence. Then I told myself no, some moments are best captured in our memories not our camera rolls. Same goes for my memories with you both, I'm trying hard to capture them in my heart before they fly off. Hopefully one day when you look back upon them you will treasure them just the same. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Meet Adam!

This post has taken me awhile to get done, because as some of you may know, newborns are quite demanding! I've been working on it for quite some time and came to the conclusion that the best thing was to let pictures do the talking. Adam is 1 month old today alhumdulillah and, despite all the lack of sleep and nonstop feed/poop/sleep schedule I really am shocked at how fast this month went by. My mom was around for 2.5 weeks to help out which was SUCH a huge help that I've just been struggling to manage ever since she left back home. 

Someone wise once said about child rearing that the days are long but the years are short and I couldn't agree more. Almost daily I am beyond exhausted by the time 6:30 pm rolls around and often you can find me texting Wajih with a desperate 'please tell me you will be home soon' message. But every time I look at Ali and how overnight he has transformed into this big grown up person of his own, I am reminded to cherish every bit of each stage that Adam goes through. 

Happy one month my dear sweet Adam. We are over the moon to have you as a part of our family and cannot wait to celebrate many more of these milestones with you. May each of them be blessed with laughter, health and love always.
Adam Mustafa Wajih born Tuesday June 17, 2014 at 12:45pm 6lb 12 oz 19 in at Tampa General Hospital


first of many kisses from big brother!





I have not met a big brother more loving than Ali, mashAllah. He is so gentle and so affectionate towards Adam that it breaks my heart sometimes when I have to ask him to please stop kissing his brother already! He's always ready to help put the binky back in baby's mouth or throw out diapers, and sometimes even hold the bottle! First night he jumped into bed with Adam ready for a sleepover!


First bath given by Nani!


Post bathtime photo session for Adam turned into fun for all


Big brother Ali reading to Adam
Pictures above are of a few of Adam's many loving visitors!



Adam and Ammi's first photo together  6/27/14

before Nani returned back to New Jersey (we all miss her so much!)


Celebrating Ammi's birthday with a shopping trip to Orlando outlets

brothers bonding session, also called Mom's heart melting momentt

Happy 1 monthday, Adam! (yes you scratched your forehead)

These boys with all the chaos, laughter and love they bring make my life complete.