Al Rawabi Farm

Dubai has an endless possibility of fun activities for the kids on the weekend. Unfortunately, it also means you need to have an endless bank account to pay for these activities. Having none of the latter, I’m always in the hunt for fun frugal family activities I could get my hands on.

When a co-mom at school told me about this tour at Al Rawabi Farm and that it was FREE. I was in.

All you have to do is to go to their site (link here ☝️) and book your farm tour date. They call you the day before and send you an email with the location. All you have to do is follow Google maps and be there 10 mins before 10:00 AM. 

There’s a bus that will pick up all the guests at the entrance and take you around the farm.

First stop and my favorite one is the milk collecting area. I could watch these cows for hours. They go inside their stalls in such an orderly fashion and face their fate without the slightest complaint. Call me crazy but I kinda feel a little sorry for the cows. I don’t think the whole process hurts them but seeing them get hooked up to a machine and gets their milk sucked from them brings back painful memories of breastfeeding. They said they do it to the cows 3x a day … can anybody say OUCH! 
The next two stops were the milk and fruit juice packaging process which to me was super boring but to  my 4 and 7 year old was “Super cooooooooool!”.

Free juice at the end of the tour was the best part for these two.

before we left, everybody got freebies which to me was “Super cooooool!”

If you are kind of squeamish about cow dung and grass and all that “gross” farm stuff. Don’t worry the whole tour is in a AC room. You could smell the aroma of the farm in and out of the bus to the buildings but IT IS A FARM…🙄.

The whole tour only took about an hour and 15 mins but it was a nice thing to do on a Saturday morning with the kids. Something different, something educational, and something free.

Until my next frugal weekend mommies!

Lovin’ their mooooooful weekend.

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My budding reporter/blogger taking notes of the farm tour to share with his friends at school. 

 

 

 

 


IMG worlds of adventure

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Take 3 boys + 1 Marvel theme park + a 5 day holiday = an awesome fun day at IMG worlds of fun.

My boys couldn’t wait to get here. Everyday on our way to and from school they’d see signs of their opening everywhere and everyday they’d tell me

Mom, I want to go there! I want to go there!” x10 times EVERYDAY!!!!

So you could imagine my relief when finally the day has come where we can actually take them here.

Our day of reckoning was last Wednesday which was also Arnie’s last day of Eid holiday. We thought we were being smart by going on a weekday and since majority would still be on holiday, some have actually started working. I thought it was a good day because although I didn’t expect the park to be empty at least we still had some personal space to ourselves and in places like these, that’s all I could really ask for.

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Prior to going, we did a little cyber stalking on what people who have been there actually said about the place. Not that it would change our minds on going  but if you are like us and want to know some first time observations here are some of mine.

  1. The height of your child is crucial. Most of the rides require a 1.05m minimum height (and they are actually very strict about it). So if you have an over 3-year-old child but less than 1.05m in height you’d still have to pay for him at full child’s price but he won’t be allowed to go on most of the rides. We’ve actually seen some families react with anger and some in tears because of this and for everyone’s sake and for your wallets too check your child’s height.
  2. If parking is a big deal, don’t worry as per norm in Dubai there is a valet service. They will charge you 50 aed but if you are not ready to walk from Mars (which is where we parked our car) then 50 aed isn’t so bad.
  3. No food and drinks allowed. They actually check at the door and they confiscate them. There are a variety of food inside to cater to any budget so that shouldn’t be an issue.
  4. The AC could get cold for some so if you can, carry a light pullover. I’m actually ok with this because imagine the alternative, with people being so close together, I’d rather nobody sweat 😜. But it could get cold…you’ve been warned.
  5. Get ready to fall in line. Most of our day was spent falling in line and I actually expected that. What I didn’t expect were little kids trying to cut the line because they think they can get away with it. On one ride I actually saw a mother coax her kid on to move ahead of the line. I mean what are we trying to teach our children people?

*One thing about the lines though was that after we’ve gone on the ride, the nastiness, the waiting in line and all the other stuff just fade away. Which makes me think of the saying that goes “anything worth having/experiencing is worth waiting for” #insightsonline

11 hours passed and my boys would’ve gone for 11 more. They had so much fun that in our heads paying an arm and a limb for a year pass wouldn’t be so bad (if only they’d offer any).

The best part for me was the ride home. The boys gave us a play by-play on what we did and to hear their version of the day with such high spirits was absolutely priceless.

Update:

For anyone interested IMG does have an annual pass…


Dome Box Dubai

The Dome Box is a dome theatre with a state-of-the-art 360-degree screen that offers a unique audio-visual experience.¹ In lay man terms it’s like going in a planetarium but like 1,000 gazzilion times better!!! Totally blew my inner geek nerd mind away…

We got the tickets by winning it from Dubai 92, 5 months ago. I’ve had it for the longest time but never really got to doing it because to be really honest, I had second thoughts of bringing my 3 year old. His attention span is so fickle that I’m always so scared that he’s going to blow a fuse any moment. (FYI, it is getting better at least i’d like to think so…)

But then, their nursery class got to go on a class trip and he absolutely loved it!!! He has been talking about it non stop that it raised our curiosity and we finally decided to go last weekend before the 6 months validity of the ticket expires.

When we arrived there had just been a birthday party at the site and my curious side asked the staff if it was possible for me to see the set up and take pics while they were cleaning up. It really looks like a cool place to hold a party especially for those around 7 and up ages. Upon inquiry the birthday party starts at about 125 aed per head with a minimum of 10 kids. Of course ++ if you want them to have popcorn during the movie or for their adult companions to have a small snack, anything is possible, if you have deep pockets (as it goes in Dubai😉).

The movies are 30 minute shorts that are educational and at the same time entertaining. I learned so much on “The life of trees” that I didn’t know about. Our second one was about astronauts which takes you to the everyday life of an astronaut living at the space station. I’m not sure how often they change the movies but I’m hoping they change again before our other tickets expire.

 

Check out their website for more info but personally I found it more interesting once I walked in on their space. Plus the staff was extremely friendly so inquiring alone was a pleasant experience in itself.

¹http://www.thedomeboxdubai.ae

weekend with Bu

I had a very eventful weekend and I’m very excited to share it to anyone who will give me the time 😜. Well before you get too excited I must tell you it’s a very “domestic” type of adventure. Being a mother of two that’s about all the type of adventure you can expect from me (not complaining 😉).

We were invited at our friend’s house in Ajman for the weekend for some get together and to go second hand store shopping at Bu Faisal. I wrote about Bu Faisal before – click on link if you need to be reminded haha. Ramadan tends to be a good time to go to second hand shops because it’s this time of the year that some of our wealthy muslim brothers change most or all of their furniture which means second hand stores like Bu Faisal gets all the goods they sell, throw or give away. Which makes Bu Faisal the destination for thrifty bargain hunters like me us.

The store opens at 5PM and closes at 11PM so our host thought it was best if we all slept over to maximise our shopping expedition. Of course the boys were not informed that they were going to be daddy nannies the whole night which led to a very vocal protest as soon as we got home but it fell on deaf ears for we were all on a shopping high.

Prior to the event, I thought our house was good the way it is now so I was under the impression that I was just joining them to look around and not buy anything, with that being said, our car (with a very large boot mind you) was full of stuff I got from Bu Faisal on the way home to Dubai from Ajman. I told you I didn’t need anything! haha

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Busy weekend,Fixing the boys’ room with my new drill and mixing my Bu finds with my old furniture. I think the TV is almost vintage! haha

Without further adieu I share with you my precious cheap finds.

  1. Shelves organiser from ikea at only 10aed each (I got 3)20140718-214912-78552980.jpg
  2. Shoe rack also from ikea @ 35aed20140718-214913-78553840.jpg
  3. Fortune Plant @ 40aed20140718-214916-78556626.jpg
  4. Kids chairs @10aed each20140718-214915-78555797.jpg
  5. Frames @ 20aed each20140718-214919-78559458.jpg
  6. Brand new Coffee maker @40aed20140718-214914-78554928.jpg
  7. Ikea poster with frame @40aed20140718-214917-78557439.jpg
  8. Vanity Mirror @ 8aed20140718-214919-78559175.jpg
  9. glasses @ 3aed each20140718-214918-78558218.jpg
  10. Butter dish @ 8aed 20140719-115304-42784700.jpg

Phew! I think that was the most shopping I did ever in my life and I only spent less than 300aed now that’s a whole lotta savings!

If I sound like a walking advert, it’s because I am! (an unpaid one at that hehe) I’m just really happy and excited about my finds and savings. Now as I look at my home, I feel like it needs a million things, which means a trip back to Bu is inevitable!

 

P.S. Special thanks to Tita S for bargaining for me and to Tita LM for opening their home to us city folks! Until our next shopping expedition ladies!  

 


Exploring the East

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Being an adopted child of the province of Rizal I feel like I’ve never really made the effort to explore around. We always stay there half of  the time we go home but we only limit ourselves to Tropical Hut (a DH fave) along Ortigas extension and of course SM.

After watching an episode of Travel Time with Susan Calo-Medina exploring the province of Rizal. I told DH that I would like to see some of these places. I took notes from the episode and saved it on my memory bank.

I was particularly intrigued about the PINTO Art Museum. I see lots of my Instagram and FB friends visiting this place in Antipolo and from their pictures it seemed like a very nice and relaxing place to come and visit not to mention educational too. So on one of our free days we planned an exploration tour with my MIL, BIL, and SIL.

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The Pinto Art Museum houses a vast collection of contemporary Philippine Art and boasts beautiful gardens which you can sit on and spend the afternoon on all over the property. Every corner was photo worthy I can imagine why people are enchanted with the place. Do be ready for some walking up and down the stairs if you want to see the property. It was a bit warm when we went to visit so not exactly perfect conditions for my AC loving boys.

The museum is open from Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 – 17:00, with an entrance fee of P150 for adults, P75 for students and children and P120 for seniors. There are 2 hour tours offered scheduled throughout the day. I would’ve loved to have attended the 2 hour tour of the place but because of the heat, all the walking and the restrictions of no touching the art, my boys can only handle 30 minutes of the place. I managed to stretch it to 45mins with the bribe of buying them juice if they behaved a bit longer. In hindsight maybe it was good that we weren’t able to see the property in one visit because now we have a reason to come back. The woman at the reception did say that they have Cafe only open on the weekends but on weekdays guests are allowed to bring in food. The place is so huge with lots of places to sit that maybe having a picnic there won’t be so bad (just pray it doesn’t rain).

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Got so inspired by all the art I had to contribute my own, I call this … “Man by the window

Next on our list was the Angono Petroglyphs in Binangonan, the two towns were probably in disputes as to whom the petroglyphs belonged to that they just decided to share the title (gotta love Philippine politics or humour)

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The Agono Petroglyphs (in Binangonan) is found on the side of a mountain and you would have to walk through a tunnel to get to the other side to see it but it was raining when we got there, so the guard made us drive through the cave which was part of the thrill going there (at least for me). It had a P20 entrance fee but it was indescribable in life. Imagine people from long long long time ago inscribed those drawings on the wall to tell you a story of how they used to live. GOOSE bumps!!

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This concluded our exploration of the east, at least for now. I’m sure there’s more to see and explore but we’ll save those for next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Subic Break

While in Manila for the holidays, we wanted to go on a vacation from our vacation and decided to go to Subic. We originally wanted to go way  up north but with the five-hour drive to get there and the boys thinking my BIL’s car was a jungle gym, probably from enjoying their new-found freedom from the car seat. We decided it wasn’t a smart decision to drive up north, not to mention unsafe. Our next best option was to go to Subic, hey, at least it was still northbound! 😉

FACT: I’ve never been to Subic before. Were you surprised? Me too! All these years I thought I’ve been to Subic (at least once) before, it turns out I’ve only been to Clark! hahaha

20140714-104005-38405637.jpgAnyway, upon my cousin’s recommendation, we stayed at the Lighthouse Marina Resort. Upon driving at the hotel, I was expecting a big tall lighthouse that you can see from far far away, this one was a mini one with only 5 floors high and can be barely seen from afar. But the novelty of staying close to a lighthouse was a nice touch.

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Complimentary sweets and a hot drink for a night-cap. I know they do this for everybody but it felt personal and that was a nice touch.

Prior to checking in we read on the net that the beach at Subic is not recommended for swimming but there were lots of establishments that rent out water sport vehicles, not exactly fit for our little family of 4. So a hotel pool was one of my requirements to keep my water-loving boys happy.20140714-104000-38400878.jpg

Since Subic used to be a US Naval base (biggest one outside of the US) the roads are well-kept and at first we couldn’t understand the rule of the first come first serve rule on an intersection, but once you get the hang of it, it’s actually a good system. By the way everyone was willing to abide by this rule so why can’t they drive the same way in Manila? Anyway, that’s for another post!

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This one was staring at me like he was gonna eat me for dinner.

For the kids’ entertainment, we went to the Zoobic Safari where their main attraction is to put you inside a cage with angry tigers and make you pray for dear life! Ok it wasn’t that bad but when we were there the tigers were probably tired or hungry that they started growling at each other just when we were passing through their cage in a very narrow corridor (my brain was replaying episodes from Animals gone wild and this time the tigers were mauling ME!!!) I squeezed Adrian’s hand soooo hard he asked me to let go! The boys loved it so much amidst me shouting OMG OMG the whole time. I think Adrian even told me to relax and not to be scared… (he’s so funny sometimes).

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Adrian showing off his tiger paws

20140714-195756-71876562.jpg20140714-195759-71879369.jpg20140714-195755-71875489.jpg20140714-195758-71878963.jpgThat about sums up our overnight in Subic, it would’ve been nice to stay longer but our holiday was short enough as it is so staying the extra day would make our holiday even shorter. But next time I hope we can stay longer so I can have some time to do a little shopping 😉.

With this short trip I’m starting to appreciate exploring more of the Philippines especially places I’ve never been to. I hope that as the boys grow older we can explore more of it with them.

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The Singapore Stop-over

We usually prefer to fly direct from Dubai-Manila (with the kids we feel it’s better for our sanity) but this year our usual airlines bumped up their prices so high ⬆️ up that the husband calculated that if we take Singapore Airlines with a two night stop over in Singapore the price still comes out cheaper and we still had extra mulla to pay for the hotel accommodation (Genius? Right?).

So thus begins our 55 hour Singapore Stop-over.

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With a 4-year-old and 2-year-old in tow we simply cannot plan a trip like we were normal tourists. But I secretly did, with plans of going to China Town, the east coast, and even walking up and down Orchard road like I used to. Of course none of these were done for on this trip the kids ruled all day long.

Upon arrival and after a quick nap at the hotel we headed out to Singapore Zoo. Because we were only staying for two days the Singapore Tourist Pass was perfect for us. (I’ve linked their sites for your convenience or maybe I will write a separate post). Still quite tired from the 7 hour trip and the looong way to the zoo we headed home to our hotel and decided to end our first day in Singapore early.

Day 2 was spent at Universal Studios but we also did not stay for long because all the walking to and on the park itself made my 4-year-old whinny and cranky. Plus my wrong choice of footwear made me very HAngry as well. Don’t ask me what’s the connection between my feet and my stomach – all I know was I was cranky the whole trip!

We got so stressed juggling the two kids and finding our way around Singapore that the husband swore to never again take them anywhere until they get older! I had mixed feelings about this because on one hand it was really hard to manage the boys, but on the other hand I really do want my boys to get exposed to different places at an early age with the hopes of them appreciating the privilege of travelling that we can give for them. I’m feeling optimistic that the more my boys travel the more used to it they will get thus gets easier (wishful thinking).

Then I saw this great blog that help me realise and open my eyes to other perspectives. Here’s what she had to say about travelling with young kids.

http://sandierpastures.com/travel/traveling-with-young-kids-is-not-a-waste.html#comment-863124

Our Singapore trip was short but sweet. It will always be one of the places I will not get tired of coming back over and over. And as the boys grow up, I hope they have a special place in their hearts for Singapore as it has one in mine.