My DIY morning

20140520-151319-54799817.jpgThis morning I was thinking of a way to transform this old Ikea bookshelf into something other than what it was meant for. I believe it’s called an Ikea Hack.

If you have kids then you know that having an open bookshelf with books and all sorts of expensive trinkets on display is definitely a recipe for disaster. That’s why in our house there is no expensive trinkets on display. Everything that’s valuable or has sentimental value are on display 6ft. above the floor or are inside cabinets and shelves, if possible with locks, but this doesn’t guarantee they won’t get their small hands on it.

So you see this book shelf has no use for me anymore. I did at one point lay it on its side and placed it behind the sofa. But the boys, with their wild imagination use it as a diving board to jump from and land on the sofa (oh the horror!).

And then I had a lightbulb moment this morning I decided to put it by the dining table and use it as a buffet table. With our family coming in 4 more sleeps (as my son would say) it will be perfect in that space to hold, drinks, snacks, desserts, the possibilities are endless.

But the birch wood finish did not match my other furniture so I searched for some old fabric and some thumbtacks to have that upholstered studs look like in the picture below.

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This is my end result. If I had more thumbtacks I would definitely put them side by side but I only had a few left and I didn’t want to spend on this project, This would have to do.

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Of course I had to practice some table decorating (skills)…but did not leave it there for long, if you can see someone was very busy like mommy

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Oh and because it still is a bookshelf even when it’s laying on it’s side I kept the back part open and used it to hold some papers that the kids will never get their hands into.

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SAVE the banana, make some bread!

Yesterday there were three over ripe bananas staring at me from the kitchen counter. They were begging me not to throw them in the bin. But it was looking gross and I can’t risk my children eating them by mistake, so I called my inner Martha and asked her what to do? We decided to make banana bread out of them. (I know what you’re thinking…SCHIZO alert!!!)

20140514-061904.jpgThis morning, as I drank my coffee with the moist(est?) banana bread ever I am thankful for my inner Martha for the suggestion.

Here’s the recipe I found from food.com:

Ingredients:

Serves: 12

Yield:1 loaf

Units: US | Metric
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4-1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine the oil, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas.
  2. Add the baking soda and flour.
  3. Combine well for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Read more: <a href=”http://www.food.com/recipe/moist-and-delicious-banana-bread-252449?oc=linkback”>http://www.food.com/recipe/moist-and-delicious-banana-bread-252449?oc=linkback</a&gt;

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To make it my own I tweaked the recipe a little, here are my revisions:

  • Instead of vegetable oil, I used butter. This trick also comes in handy to improve box cake recipes. I know it adds to the calories but really? You are making a cake, if you really want to save on the calories slowly put down the bowl and whisk and go to the gym. haha
  • I also added a dash of cinnamon, why? no reason I just like it and I have it here sooooo…..
  • For a bit of extra treat, I added brown sugar on top before baking it. I love the banana loaf from Red Ribbon and that crusty top is my favourite part. So I figured maybe this will do the trick. And it did! This small tweak gave my banana bread that sweet chewy crust I was looking for. Not exactly Red Ribbon level but BETTER! (nakanam!!!)

 Lastly, I also found out that you can actually freeze your loaf and it will stay fresh for about 3 months. Same goes for your over ripe bananas, just pop them in the freezer and use them as needed.

Bake loaf as per the recipe. Leave to cool completely at room temperature then wrap well in clingfilm and foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for 2-3 hours before serving.

Delia Online

 

 


Springing onion

20140502-070003.jpgSpring onion (aka scallions) is not really an expensive green vegetable but I recently discovered that by putting the bulbs in water, the leaves just grow out by themselves. Now I can grow spring onions in my house and never buy any ever again!! Isn’t that cool? The littlest things excite me  so get over it! haha 😘

Upon learning that I now have unlimited supply of my now favourite herb (?), I started looking up other uses for the green vegetable other than garnish.

Apparently, if you are one of those that are sensitive to the strong smell of onions you can use this instead. Now scallions are still onions per se but it has a subtle smell and taste so just consider yourself warned.

I, however love the smell and taste of these green thingies. I sprinkle them in my congee, noodle soup, add it to my potato salad, fried rice and anything I can think of really. I have a recipe that calls for scallions being sautéed with mushrooms and butter and the smell is so heavenly I could eat the smell with a cup of rice.

More recent discovery is to add chives (aka spring onion) to my cream cheese and salmon duo on toasted bread. This actually would be better on a bagel but I don’t have any at the moment so a slice of white bread would have to do.20140502-071238.jpg

 

 

 

20140502-071245.jpgMy all time favourite potluck dish the Creamy Chicken Pasta also calls for some spring onion 2 cups to be exact! So you see having unlimited supply of this benefits me in more reasons than one. In the end your grocery bill is not going to change much but hey! any savings is savings still right?


Bu Faisal General Trading L.L.C.

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Aside from our Tagalog movie marathon and non stop eating in Ajman last friday the women of Ajman brought us Dubai girls to a “secret” place in Ajman that sells used furniture. Bu Faisal is not really a secret, I’m sure the super super thrifty have heard of this place in Ajman to buy used furniture. I’ve heard of it because we have friends who live there, one even had her two bedroom flat fully furnished by Bu Faisal. I was happy to be able to go sans naughty boys special thanks to Kuya V, Ate C and Ate M for watching over my boys while mommy was away shopping hehe .

WARNING: not a place for kids, there were broken glass everywhere and the stairs were not so sturdy so BEWARE.

Imagine a warehouse full of a variety of used items for sale. It was like a candy store to DIY(ers).  I wish I could start a project but space and resources are all not to my advantage. There is a couple of wing chairs I had my eye on that simply needed a upholstery and it would have been a fabulous (naks!) I do have to give kudos to the men who run the place because it was well sorted out. There was a place for electronics, furniture, appliances, clothes etc etc. Ikea furniture was all over the place (but don’t tell my husband or else he will never let me buy anything from the Sweden store ever again!!! – my life will be over – drama!!!).

I’m currently obsessing on dinnerware so that was my section of interest. I was overwhelmed with my choices and as always couldn’t decide and didn’t get much. I did see some nice wine glasses but I could just imagine my boys breaking them and me ending in tears so – never mind. a friend;y advice you do need to get your hands dirty and dig in there my friend got some Corelle plates as a set hiding somewhere under all the dishes – she was very lucky and very happy because they only priced her items at 20 aed.  As for me, I just bought a CorningWare serving dish and a glass candy bowl from Poland, that I just thought was nice meh meh!

I am excited though to be invited again to Mr. and Mrs. M’s place because maybe the girls and I can sneak out again and visit my new best friend Bu. 😉

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Bu Faisal Used Furniture
Ajman
United Arab Emirates

+971 (50) 179-4045 (Toll Free 800-JUNK) 

www.takemyjunkuae.com
info@takemyjunkuae.com )

Physical Address
Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Street, Jurf
Ajman, United Arab Emirates


a lesson on car care

Since my car carries precious cargo (the boys … and me – of course!) everyday we have always brought it to Toyota for service. Every 5,000 km we bring it in and every time they have some recommendations for us that needs to done. They don’t force you to have it done with them but since I have a very low EQ I always say yes. Now this may seem like a very impractical thing to do but when they play the safety card with me there’s nothing I can do. I don’t know squat about car stuff so my/our instinct is to always prevent the problem before it arises.

In the beginning it was little things that didn’t cost much but as the kilometres and the costs piled on, the husband had to see what was going on. So on our last visit he brought it in himself and said “no” to a bunch of stuff. This was when the husband started questioning their motives. Are they really looking out for the maximum performance of our car or are they just robbing us blind?

With the latest “to-do list” in hand we brought the car to Satwa (the equivalent of Banawe in Manila, where there are cheap auto parts and even cheaper labor fees). The only negative thing about going to Satwa was that everything had to be paid for in cash but the husband said it’s still a lot cheaper than having it done at the service centre.

This alone is already a good lesson for you on car care but give me a few minutes and read about my part of the story…

My sunglasses compartment fell off months ago and because it doesn’t affect how the car runs in any way the husband just disregarded it. When we were in Satwa and the guy was doing something on our AC, I took the chance and showed him my broken compartment. Not expecting much from him because the people at Toyota told me that there was a part missing and had to be ordered somewhere. Translation this is gonna be expensive and will take time to do. But you do know that it was killing me softly not having a place for my sunglasses right? (haha! I know priorities).  So back to the person from Satwa who took one minute to look at my broken compartment gets his screw driver one-two-three it was fixed!!! and he didn’t even charge us for it.

So this made me think, maybe I shouldn’t be quick to assume that the official service centre is always looking out for our benefit after all it is a business and the more things they have us done the more money they get out from us. Right? Another lesson maybe to canvas around first, in fairness to them they really don’t pressure you into having something done but if you are like me who knows nothing about cars and believes every Tom, Dick, and Harry in overalls that tells you what your car needs then maybe a little canvassing around won’t hurt.

Think of all the shoes you would’ve bought!!! hahahaha

Punchline: after my sunglasses compartment was fixed and I was happy as Pharell…my latest flavor of the month sunglasses don’t fit inside! hahahaha

The Entertainer Dubai 2014

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My entertainer has arrived!!!

Who here loves a good bargain?

20140207-075956.jpgI most certainly love love love it. For two years now our newspaper has offered a free Entertainer book for every yearly subscription. I know what your thinking, “with tablets, cellphones and laptops today who reads the paper?” well my husband still does and he loves it. And I love it because I get the book for free which makes me think I’m saving 2x, once from buying the book and next from the deals I get using the coupons from the book.

The Entertainer comes in different types, there are kids, fine dining, travel, body and there’s one that has a mix of every thing. We usually get the generic one so that we get bits of everything. There’s also an entertainer for different locations such as Bahrain, Oman, Singapore, even London to only name a few. Oh and they even have an app now so it’s easier to get your bargains just by showing your phone. Check out their website for more info.

Disclaimer: Again, I don't work here or in any way affiliated with them I'm just a happy customer.

With the boys growing up, it only makes sense for us to try to save up and try to get a bargain when/wherever we can. The book has an extensive list of establishments of deals that would surely tickle any family’s fancy.

With the fam bam coming, for sure we’re gonna be using a lot more of these coupons and I will be one happy thrifty host.

P.S.
If you avail this from The National they give you added 100 aed coupon for Carrefour. If that isn’t to your liking.,  I just came from Borders, if you buy from them, you get extra 60 aed Borders gift card.

Travel Destination: DUBAI

With family coming over from the Philippines in May, The husband and I have thrown ideas at each other where to bring them. Of course you know it’s mostly coming from me since I’m the “planner” in our family and I’m the excited one too hehe. In my defense, it’s their first time here and I just want them to have a good time (so forgive my OAness). But last week I got an email from the husband that surprised me because it was so out of character.

Side note: Yes we communicate by email even if we see each other everyday. Major decisions regarding the kids, money and vacation are always discussed via email. Sometimes in english to stress the seriousness of the situation. 

Anyway, back to regular programming, the email was a detailed schedule of our visitors’ trip to Dubai (excited din pala siya! hahaha)

Here’s the schedule he made for them:

24-May Saturday PM Airport pick-up
      Dinner – House
25-May Sunday AM DFC – Ikea breakfast
      Dubai Museum
      Creek
    PM Lunch at Camel Burger
      Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa/Fountain 
26-May Monday AM JBR – breakfast
      Madinat Jumeirah/Burj
    PM MOE / Ski Dubai
27-May Tuesday AM Outlet Mall /Miracle Garden
    PM Desert safari
28-May Wednesday AM/PM Atlantis
29-May Thursday AM Ferrari World
    PM YAS Mall
      overnight- hotel
30-May Friday AM/PM Abu Dhabi City
31-May Saturday AM Water taxi 
    PM Lunch at Marina Mall
      Dubai Mall
1-Jun Sunday AM Outlet /Karama
    PM rest / off to airport

So now that the schedule has been set, there is nothing much for my brain to do than to count the days our family will come. About 112 days to go (more or less).

This is a good and sensible schedule doable for families with kids. If you were directed by google into this site because you are doing your own research on DUBAI – feel free to copy or message me for any questions you may have. I will be your voluntary virtual tour guide.