a frugal year ahead

The husband has a very funny sense of humor. He sent me an email, reprimanding me about my spending. Although I think that  this is no laughing matter and we should always take this seriously you see the funny part is…I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong financially. (enter innocent face)

He has noted that we have been loosely using our credit card of late. And the number ONE rule between us is that the credit card is a NO TOUCH commodity. It should only be used on emergencies i.e. gas and for groceries but only if we are dying of hunger haha (I exaggerate) . Which as he pointed out has not been the case these past few months.

In my documented spending (yes, I write everything I spend – OC much?) I’ve noticed that I spend a lot on groceries and that I visit the supermarket almost 3x a week, sometimes even more. I’ve noticed that this is dangerous because every time I go I don’t only buy the things I need but buy something extra as well.

My solution: For this month I’ve bought all my needs for the month ahead. I know that this is common sense to all mothers doing the home budget. But you have to understand that this act of buying in bulk is very hard for me. It seems that it’s suppose to be in my genes to want to buy in bulk because almost all the women in my family are closet hoarders!(I say closet because they don’t want to admit to it).  I believe that we buy the things we need at that moment and not could need because the need for it may never come at all.

But the husband pointed out that things like diapers, shampoo, laundry soap etc etc these things never change and would be ok to buy in bulk since we would eventually definitely use them. After almost 10 years of living alone, I’m still learning folks!

Another chunk of my spending goes to my bad (but very good) habit of eating out. Can you blame me? I love to eat and I love places with good lighting, comfy chairs and over all ambiance which sometimes translate to expensive.

My solution: DIET. haha Just kidding!!! But seriously lately, I’ve been eating out less during the weekdays and reserve my cash on eating out together with the family. If I do want to eat out for breakfast, I stick to my cheap favorites like McDonald’s and Ikea to keep my spending low.

I truly admire those people who can let go of material things and just live on what they have and need. That is my goal for myself this year. To be happy with the things I have and not want anything more than what I need. To help me with this endeavor I’ve recently discovered this blog that’s relevant to what I’m going through now. This particular post made me relate to her so much with some exceptions…guess what it is…haha

Money Matters in Marriage

Happy Reading!!!

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Seafood in a Bucket

20140219-182105.jpgThere’s a silent buzz on the social media about this hole in the wall restaurant in Karama. The buzz has rung in my ear for so long that I cannot resist it anymore. So last week the husband was on leave and my son was on his mid-term break I pushed forward and we ventured on to Karama to try Seafood in a bucket.

The concept was simple upon ordering your chosen seafood, you pick a sauce, and your drink. Don’t even bother ordering rice “What?! Forget the rice??? Is she insane?” (Well that’s actually debatable). But no need to order the rice because it comes with the order and is get ready for this … U N L I M I T E D !!!

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I was very excited and had high expectations on the place but upon waiting for almost an hour for our food, I was ready to pack up and go. Then the food came and to be honest with you, my pride was telling me not to eat the food but my body was weak. I told myself I will just feed the little one with the rice and fish but after a while I found myself cleaning the bottom of the bucket of rice for myself!!!!! ahhhhh pride is so over rated.

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shrimps with garlic butter

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20140219-182148.jpgOk fine, The food was good, neigh VERY GOOD believe me when I say I wish it wasn’t but it was. We left the place with happy tummies and smiling faces. The price was GOOD very GOOD. I mean who spends 80 aed on shrimps, crabs and fish with unli rice and a big a*s glass of ice tea. I’ve never heard of it. Less than 100 for seafood. This was actually the main buzz in the social media, it’s good food with not so high prices.

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apple cucumber juice ❤️

The husband argues with me that not everybody eats 30 aed for a meal a day so I can’t say this is cheap eating but mind you it’s 30 aed of seafood of your choice and unli rice. What more can you ask for?

Now how to get there is the tricky part especially if you are not familiar with Karama. I was lucky because I was familiar with the place because we attended a baptism in the same building months ago. I could give you the address and building name but it wasn’t written on the outside of the building so why bother?

Here’s my simplified version: Either walking or driving get yourself to Karama Metro Station, opposite Union Coop is a building with Papa John’s Pizza go inside the building (not Papa John’s haha) and look for Seafood in a Bucket. It’s fairly easy to find, unless you are blind in which case…how are you reading my blog??? hehe

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waiting in vain

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but so much sweeter with free kropeks

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eating gear before the attack

FYI some people say it may get crowded during the weekend so make sure you plan your trip, we were there as soon as they opened at 12 on a wednesday, there was a crowd but not so much.

Happy eating!


My DIY planner

I’m very much excited to share with you my latest DIY project. Ok by the time this post comes out it will not be as latest as it is but excited I am much the same.

With my obsessive planning you are right to assume that I loooooove planners! But this year, I was trying to embrace the digital age and use my phone’s calendar for schedules which actually is synced to my laptop. So in paper or shall I say on-screen, it would seem like I have things settled. But! On one of the blogs that I read, she posted a picture of her planner and it was colorful with washi tapes and all sorts of stamps that I suddenly missed my old school planner.

I asked her where she bought it and she gave me the website. Upon checking the site I realized that she just sells you the right to print the planner. So the printing and binding still goes down to you. Alright her planner was lovely and full of dividers I could use in my everyday life but I wasn’t planning to pay for something and do the work myself. I mean if I was going to make the planner by myself I don’t want to spend. So I searched and found lots of free printable planners online.

I found and fell in love with this one

http://jennasuedesign.blogspot.ae/2013/11/my-free-2014-monthly-planner-is-back.html

What I loved most was that she used colourful stripes (FYI I’m a sucker for stripes). I was looking for a weekly planner but then realised that would be a lot of printing so since this is my first time and I’m using my printer. I decided to settle for a monthly planner and think about the weekly next year, or if the husband will allow me to print at the office hehe

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With a few distractions from the boys I finished my new planner in a couple of hours and viola!

I am very happy with how my planner came out that I’m already excited for 2015! Haha

All my materials were supplies I had from before so my advice to you if you want to copy my project, look around the house with what you have, you’d be surprise how resourceful you can be when you start to think thrifty! 😉

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The Beach

Very few things shock me in Dubai anymore. I mean with The Palm and The Burj Khalifa can you really blame me?

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But when they turned an open parking lot into a beach front mall (with an open air cinema) with restaurants on one side and the beach on the other, this left me dumbfounded. I was impressed with the architecture and the way it was planned. Added attractions are the jogging path, the open gym, and play grounds scattered around the area.20140221-122916.jpg

If you are familiar with “the old” JBR there used to be a big open car park that separates The Walk from the beach, then they closed the parking lot and started construction on a mall that they called “The Beach” at first my thought was they were building a normal mall with an air-conditioned building and shops and restaurants inside – pity because the view from that lot was amazing. But boy oh boy! was I wrong. They built an outdoor type of area with a minimalist vibe made of wood that curves and big screen billboards around with lots of outdoor space for kids and adults alike to walk around and play. I can’t really describe it, you have to see it to appreciate it. And my pictures don’t give it much justice. With the cool weather still upon us in Dubai, it felt like we were in another country. But nothing I’ve seen or read from before. (Can you tell that I was impressed?)

20140221-123340.jpgThe shops are still not 100% open but there are some restaurants that are up and running so you can opt to wait to visit it when it is in full swing or if you are like us who just want to make uzi then by all means GO! NOW na!

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Be ready to pay for parking as it may be a little steep at 20 dirham per hour. But there is an open car park beside Hilton Hotel that charges 10 dirham per hour on Friday – Saturday and 5 dirham on Sunday – Wednesday. If you are patient enough you can standby and wait on one of JBR’s side streets and park for free but based on experience unless you come by 7AM, parking on the side streets may be next to impossible to find.

It was a nice friday morning stroll with the kids especially after a big breakfast it’s good to walk around (and explore new places). I can’t say The Beach will be our weekend ritual but I see ourselves coming back again and again and again.

Happy Weekend Folks!


Oregano Presto

The husband has been trained by now that on “special” days i.e. Valentines day not to suggest to eat at fast-food places or places we eat often at. I’m not being high maintenance, it doesn’t have to be a place where I have to dress up but at least something new, something we haven’t tried before something “adventurous” or different (as long as I don’t cook) – that’s all I really ask.

20140217-062107.jpg20140217-062542.jpgSo for this year we had Valentines lunch at Oregano Presto at Motor City. I’ve written about Oregano before apparently there’s a slight difference, with the “Presto” branch they only serve pizza, salads and pasta. I was looking for the mushroom risotto which I tried at Oregano in Jebel Ali and that’s when they told me the difference. Nevertheless, it did not disappoint!

20140217-062120.jpgEverything was very good, “Delicious!” as my four-year old would say. The place has a small indoor sitting area but a big outdoor space. At the moment the weather is lovely to sit outside but I can’t imagine sitting there during the heat of the summer. We had the Tres amigos Pizza, Spaghetti Bolognese, and a bruschetta for starters. I was worried that our order was not enough for the four of us because sometimes these places have very little servings. But the servings here were big, our family of four had half a pizza and half of the spaghetti left over. There was a family of 5 across our table and they ordered pretty much the same thing we did and they seemed satisfied at the end. But then again, it really depends on your family’s size and age group, our children are still in the toddler phase so how much can they eat really?

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Price wise, let’s just say, it won’t be our go to place every weekend but with my Entertainer voucher one main entrée was free #winner.  I still have two vouchers to go and they have a branch opening up at Silicon Oasis which is much closer to our home so I’m guessing we’ll be coming back! (at least 2 more times this year – hehe)

Oregano Presto!
Motor City, Dubai: Tel. 04 4470740

One year…

Wow! Driving spider-man is ONE today. I didn’t know I could/would last that long.

If you are a bit confused about why I say I am one today but have post from 2009. It’s because in the middle of this blog journey I decided to combine all my previous blogs! Yes this is my third attempt to start a blog. Third times a charm right?

My first one started when I was awake on the wee hours of the night attending to Adrian when he was a baby. So if you look back it’s more one liners because I was, most of the time, half asleep. Then my next attempt was to be a food blogger, but then I realized I don’t eat at exciting places, exciting enough to whet your appetites at least. And then came Driving Spider-Man where I’m just myself and not trying to be anything else. That seems to work the best in most aspects of our lives don’t you think? – being ourselves.

Thank you for your continued support (?) I promise to write more and share more until you get sick of me! (haha) Most of you are family so I’m sorry your stuck with me for life! haha

One year and moving onwards! Wish I could throw all of you a party but we all know that takes 6 months planning (OC) hahaha

Have a nice day y’all. Your faithful blogger and friend and cousin, and sister, and niece,…

nix


A Mexican Love Affair

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With two tots and no nanny, a romantic dinner for Valentine’s day is out of the question. But we celebrated heart’s day with the next best thing, a fun evening with dear friends. My Belles (related post: Saved by the Belles) spent the evening of romance with Mexican food and kids running all over the place. Definitely not your typical valentines night out.

I decided to keep the dinner simple with a Taco bar, which required me to buy the condiments and serve. Guest make their own tacos so I could just sit, relax and enjoy the evening (genius noh?). I wish I could take credit for this idea but this is how we had tacos with my cousins when we were growing up. 10 children with different palates this was how my tita Gilda✞ (miss her much) made all of us happy.

Sharon, was supposed to make the Guacamole but ended but bringing an ice cream cake which to any dessert loving, unhealthy eating mama like me preferred over guac any day! It’s a long story how the guacamole turned into a cake but that’s why I love Tita Shawie she tries her best but is honest enough to say  “No!, I can’t do it! Let’s bring cake instead“. The talented and ever so posh Tita Carina made the chicken fajitas which I think was the saviour of the evening because Tacos alone for the boys simply will not suffice. She also brought red velvet cupcakes, which turned slightly pink but was yummy nonetheless. Plus I ordered Tres Leches cupcakes from Cakes Couture by Annie. She even made the cupcake topper of Mexican hearts with no extra charge!

20140214-191132.jpg20140215-092136.jpgMexican food is often seen on food trucks and is generally thought of as street food in America so to host this type of evening just means “fun eating”. With the make your own taco concept it gave my guests the option to make as much as they want and however they like it. Because I was also not willing to wash a lot of dishes, this type of food made me get away with serving paper plates and plastic cutlery to my guests. Something which would make my dear Tita Gilda✞ turn on her grave.

The kids having their own room to play enabled them to have a safe and fair amount of distance from us leaving the adults to have some quality time chit chatting about nothing (hehe). Of course the little one still clings on me like moss to a tree but I did not let this bother me while I listen and join in on the adult conversation. I shy away from having people at the house because I feel like I cannot entertain them well with the two boys always on my tail. But with my dear belles I feel like I can just chill and be myself and they will definitely understand without judgement. It’s my first official hosting gig of the year and in this new house too. This venue made me relax more because the boys were in their own turf less stress on myself that they might break something of value.

We ended our evening planning our next gastronomical adventure which was going to be Thai themed. I volunteered to make the Pad Thai, Tita Carins will make the Tom Yum, even Tito Ed chimed in and volunteered to make pineapple fried rice our ever dearest Tita Shawie will bring the fish sauce! (hehe I kid tita Shawie because I love you!)

To end my post, I want to leave you with words from my friend Jane Austen:

My idea of good company is a company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.

-Jane Austen

And my Belles are definitely good company! Until next time my dear Belles. Much love.

P.S. Thanks to whats app, we can tease each other and share cheesy texts to each other almost everyday along with the founder of the group, Cynthia from Bahrain – which is the craziest one of the bunch (shhhhhhhhh!).