It's a Kid's World 🌎

by Naila Sheikh


On the verge of losing my voice. It's been an insane day and kids are still hyper active. How's that possible with all the activities of the day 😫 ... we've just come back from swimming! How?!?! 

#letmevent

 

(The following is written in a hasty, to-the-point manner to provide just the right amount of info for your understanding. Due to exhaustion, the author refrains from pleasing your senses and would rather digress from any usual formalities. Thank you) .

 

Woke up at 5 AM to prepare for Field Trip, got the kids ready. Dropped off Imaad. Went to Mehreen's school. Gave the extra paraatha roll to Mehreen's teacher but she turned out to be vegetarian who doesn't eat egg, gave the paraatha to another teacher. Answered 1000 questions of Mehreen and her friend in a narrow cramped up schoolbus seat. Kindergarteners can't stop wiggling, or being loud. I'm good, I zone out. Plus I start daydreaming. But taking care of 'em ain't easy. Loved Mehreen's friend. Both my girls listened and didn't run off.

 

Walked a lot in the museum. Beat the crowd by going directly to the butterfly exhibit while the rest was figuring out where it was. Felt victorious walking in as the first people of the morning! Heard the sound of kids coming closer, so took my necessary pics/selfies with my girls and made our way out.

 

Calling it an "adventure" changes the game. I loved every moment. I love children. They're better than adults no matter how hard it gets. They're cute and silly. Andrea was a sweetheart and got immediately attached to me. Mehreen and Andrea looked like sisters and Mehreen's excitement was just amazing to see. I told her a few times that I was her "chaperone mommy" not just "mommy" 😂 Andrea copied Mehreen and called me "mommy" - I felt like I'd adopted a kid. So so cute, mA.

 

Hold on. Let me take my vitamins. Be right back ... ___________ ...

 

During lunch time, we found a nice spot with trees and a grass field ... while most people were seated in the sun on the benches and stairs right outside the museum, all I wanted was to create a picnic scene for the girls to relax and have fun. So glad we found our spot. 15 minutes later the crowd came in and joined us. It was a pretty scene with groups formed in circles eating on the grass. The weather? Splendid! A soft, warm breeze + cloudy.

 

When I chanted "let's be the first ones", the girls would get super happy seeing how excited I'd get in this make-believe competition (mostly created in my own head to be 2 steps ahead of the game😅) ...

 

Went to the Theatre to see a 3 D movie about Africa. I asked the employee 5 to 6 questions pertaining the movie. She wasn't rude but at the end, handed me a paper with all the details. I was happy. I don't notice weird facial expressions when I'm on a mission - focus, baby, focus! 🤓

 

The movie would last 40 min. So in my head I made an instant mental note NOT to watch it for that duration. However, I left the choice with the girls and told them that we could get out any minute. We found seats, I took my pics and the movie started. 10 min. into seeing flamingos finding their love connection (they commit for 40 years?! Wow. Didn't know that.) Mehreen turns around and tells me to go. I ask Andrea and she had the same expression. I'm ready. We leave. But first restrooms (again beating the crowd. Side note: if you're sick of reading this loooonnnnngggg post, pls be free to leave like right now😂😆 it ain't getting interesting; it's just a telling of my day. Don't wanna waste your time ya know 😉😬yawelcome) --

 

We ask the teacher and briefly go to Hermann park on the opposite side. She approved. I had 15 min to spare until we'd leave. Met a Muslim hijabi girl with her baby girl in the stroller. I casually started a conversation. We connected, talked and laughed. I told her I needed to speak to "human" ... she was amused, or so I tend to believe. 🤔

 

We walked up to the centennial garden, the girls were super happy. I kinda jogged my way up chasing them. Took pics, talked to my new friend (she started the convo. No im not a freak all the time 😆)

 

Went back to the schoolbus spot. Everything was right on time. I loved it. My girls were tired but loved every minute.

Once settled in the school bus, boy Jayden who sat on the seat on my left, started teasing Mehreen. I saw Mehreen's discomfort, Andrea didn't like him either. So I gave this Jayden badass a task to distract him from bothering my precious girls. Told him to clean his surroundings and to give me all his trash (I had a plastic bag for trash ready) He obeyed. My stern voice did wonders, he gave me all his wrappers and had forgotten about being annoying. I smiled within.

 

We made it back to school. I shook Andrea's little hand and told her it was an honor to be her chaperone. She was smiling, and probably thought "ok crazyyyy lady" 😂 --

 

The ending you ask? Wellllllllll,

 

The BIG smile on my daughter's face👧🏻 and my ❤️ filled with ✨!

 

THE END.

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The Smoothie Project

by Naila Sheikh


I have finally gotten the time to sit down and write this Blog Post while the kids just shut the door and are heading outside (really, just now) to visit their grandfather. I can either continue to watch the episodes of '13 Reasons Why' OR I can keep on sharing my thoughts here ... what shall we choose? The idea of watching some TV by myself is really appealing but to "talk" to you guys after my very mundane and robotic house chores, definitely requires some interaction on my part ... and I so happily abide to the latter option. :) 

 

I can finally NOW take a breath of relief and say that I'm extremely happy for my kids to be eating as I 've always wished for them to have a healthy appetite but during these six, almost 7 years I've endured a LOT of stress and at times felt extremely lonely in their feedings and upbringing. Imaad never used to be picky and I thanked God for making it easy on me until the inevitable happened and all my dreams of an easy eater were crushed. He started (and still is) avoiding chicken and all kinds of veggies. Mehreen, my daughter, always the picky one - would even gag at the food I so lovingly made, causing me to seriously at times become very very upset...

 

As you can read, none of this has been easy for me ... nor am I dancing on the table today for my small victories, but I am keen on acknowledging the ease they're now finally atleast TRYING to give me for the sake of peace in the house. I have, at times, emotionally influenced them on how "upset mommy gets when you guys don't eat!" 🙎🏻Taking them to the grocery store to educate on various produce was always fun and I did my best to make the best out of it.

 

With the Grace of God, a mother's efforts and duayei'n (prayers) are never wasted 😭 -- as it still remains a humongous challenge for me, I am so grateful to Allah that we are making progress, even if it is the slightest improvement in our daily lives. 

 

Following Weelicious, a mommy health & foodie blogger from LA, for quite some time, I have occasionally tried to make fruit smoothies in the past. This would result in only Imaad drinking just a little bit and Mehreen turning her head in avoidance - thus, bringing me much disappointment ☹️ -- To still have them eat their fruits after school time, I implemented FRUIT TIME in their daily schedule in which they were allowed to tell me their fav fruits and I'd get it for them. The many trips I've made to the grocery store just for that reason alone, ha!  

 

This past week or two I've been very adamant about making fruit smoothies following Weelicious' approach and few of her ingredients. During a health family crisis in my in-laws recently, my mother-in-law suggested to force veggies on the kids until they'd get used to it. You see, I appreciate my elderly and I took her advice in good spirit, knowing that she wants the best for her grandkids. Although, it was my Ammi that gave me the practical solution to supplement Mehreen's diet with fresh organic fruits, like fresh squeezed orange juice . We slowly had her take a few sips until she liked the taste and approved of oranges, yay!!! Winning atleast one battle gave me confidence to carry on!

 

Weelicious' Smoothie Project is truly an amazing initiative and I'm super happy with the result as of now. I'm pouring a lot of my dedication and energies into this while looking up healthier options to supplement the kids' much-needed antioxidants. The making of small videos for my NailasKitchen instagram page keeps me excited & going and the kids tend to think of themselves as "actors" in my movie 😃 - I happen to love sharing my experiences with all of you as I believe that we're all trying to raise our kids to the best of our abilities - and believe me, it ain't easy. I truly believe that sharing my ideas & methods contains "happy powers" making me feel fulfilled and needed to my friends and community, even if the feedback is minimal. Not only does it keep me sane to go on and stay excited, but I'm also documenting my parental journey with all the ups & downs ... such is life. 😉

 

Stay with me in this journey; follow NailasKitchen on Instagram and let me know YOUR experiences and the solutions you've applied to make life easier.   

 

 

With ❤️, 

Naila ~ 

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Mutton Biryani

by Naila Sheikh


Today's bipolar weather called for cooking up a storm in the kitchen. With half a packet of goat mix left in my freezer, I decided to make mutton Biryani as comfort food on a relaxing Sunday. 

 

With thunder raging in the clouds and rain falling upon my precious garden, the process of making Biryani kept me busy in my thoughts and excited for today's dinner serving. A quick trip to the mall and the recording of my Vlog (which has now become a natural routine in my daily life), I was happy to see my goat meat marinating beautifully with its Tarqa companions. 

 

All there was left to do was the the boiling of my already soaked Basmati rice in my rice cooker and viola! 

 

Ingredients: 

 

 - oil 

- goat meat: 1 packet 

- one onion

- 2 tomatoes (you can opt out of tomatoes, but I prefer them)

- ginger & garlic paste - 1 tbsp   

- red pepper flakes - 2 tsp

- 1 whole jalapeño, slit in half

- shan's Biryani masala  

- cilantro and orange/red food coloring 

 

 Directions: 

 

- cut your onion thinly and fry it in a drizzle of oil, with red pepper flakes, jalapeño, 2 tbsp of Biryani masala. 

 - add the tomatoes once the onions are fried to a brown consistency.

 - make sure to stir, add the meat and stir again. Put lid on pressure cooker. Keep on low heat. Lock the lid.

- Soak 2.5 cups of Basmati in water, rinse the rice a couple of times. Now, do yourself a favor and watch an episode of your fav show.

- Done? 😄 

...stop smiling. We ain't done yet, ok. Turn on the rice cooker, boil the rice, add peas if you want (I do for the sake of my kids), a pinch of salt and a little olive oil. Let the machine do its magic. 

 

- Check on your meat in the pressure cooker. Add some water. Lock the lid again and turn up the heat jussttttt a little bit (I prefer the temp setting between 3 & 4).

 

- Once the rice is almost done, you can add a pinch of yellow or orange food coloring with a small cube of butter so that the rice can glisten in all its glory ✨ 

 

- Meat is tender? Turn off the heat. Keep the lid on for the steaming to take over. You just step back and relax. Okay, the hard part is done. Bravo!  

 

- Find a dish in your cabinet in which you'd like to see your Biryani served. That one? Great! Start layering your rice - cut some cilantro while you're at it - with meat curry and rice , meat and rice ... you catch my drift 😆 -- done? Put a lid on. Let it sit. Microwave for 2 - 3 min and serve! 

 

 

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Salad, please.

by Naila Sheikh


One can never go wrong with salads. It's the best option when at times, we feel overwhelmed of our hectic schedules and simply don't want to prepare a whole meal.  

 

I always keep Organic Spring Mix Salad in my refrigerator when desperate times, like today, force me to whip up something easy and quick for myself (hubby doesn't do salads). It requires no work, and it's always filling.

 

I also keep a pack of frozen Organic Spinach & Cheese Ravioli in my freezer, purchased at Sams club. Boiling the ravioli, draining it and adding it to my mountain of Spring Mix is all it takes! You can add your favorite dressing/sauces to this mix, or go crazy and add cucumbers and tomatoes while you're at it. I tend to keep it simple since the ravioli is very filling. 

This is GREAT stuff and easy to prepare! 

This is GREAT stuff and easy to prepare! 

Can't live without... 

Can't live without... 

End Result:

 

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A minimal salad makes a great meal!  

 

 

With ❤️️,

Naila -