Friday, 30 November 2012

Left behind with Aisha - the kids head off to karate camp

Earlier this evening I said my goodbyes to my older 3 kids, as they headed out to their annual karate retreat.
Training started at 19:00 tonight and ended at 21:00. It will resume at 07:00 tomorrow morning and continue until 17:00 when the students will get an opportunity to grade.
This is the second gusuku  upon which they've embarked. Although they had tremendous fun last year, they were a bit anxious this afternoon, since, this time around, they are fully aware of the amount of pain, hard work and endurance the next 24 hours will entail.
And that applies to me too, as I am left behind to keep Aisha (3) entertained ALL BY MYSELF.
In fact I pity myself more than I do them. Aisha can inflict more anguish and torment than any brutal training regime their sensei can mete out.
And I won't even receive new stripes or a different colour belt as reward for my suffering.
Here are pics of their 2011 gusuku. I hope they have as much fun this year.


The girls enjoying a well-deserved break (with a majestic Table Mountain in the background)

Shakeel training with one of the sempai's.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Joint birthday celebrations for Tharaa and Aisha

On Friday evening we held a joint birthday party for Tharaa, who turned 11, and Aisha, who turned 3 the previous Wednesday.

As usual Tharaa preferred to have just grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins present. Like her shy mother (as a child), she finds it awkward to invite school friends over and is much more comfortable being surrounded only by family. [We'll need to work on that]. Fortunately though, Maama (Mo's mum) also invited her own uncle and his wife, which was a lovely surprise for us.

Tharaa did however want to take a cake to school on her birthday - a fact of which she only informed me at the last minute on Thursday night. So I quickly baked a rectangular sponge cake and left her to do her own decorating. Which was just as well, since she did a better job than what I would have done.

I spent Friday afternoon making a caramel peppermint crisp pudding, strawberry and banana pudding, eclairs and cake pops.

The puddings and eclairs were quick and easy to make. The cake pops, though, took an eternity to complete, since I only have one cake pop mould. Also, the melted chocolate which coats each pop has to run off the pop so that it does not drip down the stick, resulting in a huge mess. I preferred to make the baked version as I was certain that our guests would prefer this one to the more common one (consisting of crumbled sponge cake and frosting) which I, on the other hand, really like.



The big boys stuffing themselves with cake pops (which I, sadly, had forgotten to photograph from up close)

As soon as everyone arrived, Mo headed out to buy fish & chips and gatsbies for supper. Mo and my mother were at odds over how this meal should be served - my mum insisted on tossing the food into a pyrex dish and serving it in a civilised fashion, while Mo felt that that just defeated the purpose of having a gatsby or fish and chips ''dyte'', both of which are best dished straight from the white paper wrapping into a plate à la Cape Flats/ Grand Parade cuisine.

After supper the kids were ushered into the dining room to sit at the party table (even though they were already stuffed, having just eaten supper) to sing Happy Birthday to the birthday girls.

My mum - next to Tharaa

My mum (blue scarf) and Mo's mum a.k.a Maama (white scarf)

We are lucky to have Uncle Yasser, a professional photographer, showing us how it's done. Check out his blog

Nothing we said could convince Aisha that it was inappropriate to wear a petticoat as an outer garment ( à la Madonnna in the 1980s).

Maama baked the birthday cakes and, as usual, her efforts did not disappoint. Not much thought was needed in choosing a theme for Aisha's cake, since she remains one of Barney's most ardent fans.

Tharaa, on the other hand, took us on a trip down memory lane by choosing pictures of herself as a baby *sniff*


The evening was spent chatting (much of the time we compared our weight loss techniques while stuffing our faces), laughing and relaxing.

Until, for some, the night took a competitive turn....


Both girls were really grateful for the gifts they'd received, although Aisha was far less gracious in her acceptance of these gifts - much to my horror and embarrassment, she responded to people's gifts by shoving it back at them, saying ''I don't want it''.  We definitely need to work on her etiquette.

Despite her lack of decorum, she absolutely loved her gifts and spent the day after the party showing off her acquisitions.

Tinkerbell sleepwear

Cool sunglasses, jellytots and a funky leather pouch

Books from Aunty Shaida (award-winning writer - check out her website)

Tharaa also loved the clothes, shoes and Moroccan bag she received as gifts.

We were so grateful to everyone who took the time to come and celebrate with us. Both girls loved being surrounded by their family (especially their darling cousins) on their special day.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Special moments on Aisha's birthday

Aisha turned 3 on Wednesday (last week). We did not have a big party, but made her day special in little ways.

Her dad bought her a (cheap) princess set comprising a crown, skirt, earrings, a necklace (which could not fit over her head) and a bangle (which I snapped while trying to put it on her arm). She glowed with joy at her gift.

Shakeel (13) could not contain his excitement and pride as his little sister paraded about in her princess attire. He insisted on snapping as many pics as possible (while he was supposed to be studying for his Maths exam).

Aisha with Elizabeth, our domestic worker

 And...the princess on her throne

Although we had decided to postpone giving her actual birthday present until her and Tharaa (10)'s joint birthday party this coming Friday, Nuha (7) insisted on giving her her gifts on her actual birthday.

 The older kids reminisced about the past three years, by showing Elizabeth video clips of Aisha as a baby.


We had an unscheduled supper at Canal Walk, where the kids had McDonalds, while Mo and I revelled in our newfound love affair with Thai food.

 I just love how a tub of bubbles can keep kids occupied for ages (allowing us to enjoy our meal in peace).


We got home and had a little party, where I surprised the kids with my homemade cake pops.

It was a simple day filled with special moments.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Aisha turns 3 - my sentimental kids say farewell to Aisha-as-a-2-year-old last night

My kids are very sentimental, always noting the significance of dates, times and places which are special and should therefore be forever etched in their memories.

Each year, the night before their respective birthdays, Shakeel (13) insists upon taking pictures of the birthday boy/girl; marking their last few hours at their present age. Before bedtime, there are excited exclamations of ''The next time we see you, you'll be X years old!'' or ''Enjoy your last few hours as a Y year old!''

Today Aisha turns 3. For the past few weeks Shakeel has been staring adoringly at his baby sister saying things like, ''You are no longer a baby. You are a toddler now, '' before squeezing the living daylights out of her.

As if sensing the end of an era, our clingy baby has miraculously started to disengage herself from our stifling bond and regularly opts to spend time with Elizabeth, our domestic worker instead.

In addition, for the past week, she is completely off the nappy.

This is also her fifth day without her precious boobies.

Much to my pride and grief , my daughter really is becoming a big girl.

My other kids too, felt particularly sentimental last night before bedtime when they said their final goodbyes to Aisha-as-a-2-year old. In accordance with their usual tradition, they took some farewell pics, while fussing over her - much to her delight.

Because the ritual was becoming too sad, they put on her favourite song and joined her in a ''Farewell to Aisha-as-a-2-year-old '' party.

I watched them, while snapping pics and fighting back tears of sadness, pride, gratitude and confusion. (No prizes for guessing from whom my kids inherited their sentimental natures).

Only at bedtime, as she lay in my arms, did I burst into a storm of sorrowful tears.

I realise that I am being completely foolish. So this morning, determined to yank myself out of my selfish misery, I looked at these pictures we took last night - and it made me laugh.

Today it's time to celebrate our new 3 year old!

I love this pic for Shakeel's adoring look at his little sister