Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lunch Date at Tony Roma's

Posted by Kero at Sunday, February 28, 2010 9 sweets for Kero Links to this post
The dusty weekend restricted our activities to play area visits, eating out, car wash, and a lil' shopping (I finally succumbed to the Dubai Shopping Festival waaaah. fortunately, DSF ends today ;D). Friday, while Andreas took his two-hour nap, we headed to Tony Roma's for lunch and newspaper reading.

The restaurant is located at the Skywalk of Dubai Festival Centre. With the such location, one would expect an excellent view and indeed it is. Tony Roma's restaurant is divided in two: the other half for comfy indoor and half of it offers al fresco dining over looking the Festival Promenade. But because the city wind and dust is at it again, everybody, except for those occasional smokers opted to stay indoor.

We arrived for late lunch and no sooner than we were seated, the place was packed with families, sweethearts, and group of friends.

After giving our orders, we were served complimentary warm sesame bread and garlic butter with  fresh parsley. We scooped it all as soon as it landed our table. Hubby liked the unusual presentation.


Hubby ordered their famous offering -- half-slab of slow smoked beef ribs. His side dish includes mashed potato with onion springs and bacon, and coleslaw.

I don't make salad and I never attempted to toss anything with dressing. My two boys happily munch on  cucumber and carrot slices so I ordered Tony's Asian salad (fresh chopped Asian greens, tossed with Pan Asian dressing, diced red peppers, and cilantro) with grilled hamour. The menu also said it has sesame seeds and fried wonton noodles but i didn't see any on my plate. Maybe the sesame seeds went all to the complimentary bread. But will happily let go of the noodles so i don't mind not being served with it. Verdict, i like salad so long as i am not the one who prepared. The hamour with its sweet and spicy sauce was juicy inside and the grilled side was crunchy. Definitely worth coming back.

 Tony's Asian Salad with grilled hamour
We rarely order drinks when eating out. If we must we happily settle for water but seeing the amount of beef we need to consume, hubby opted for bottom less soda and i thought the Pina Colada looked realy inviting so I ordered a tall glass.
Tony Roma's, Skywalk, Dubai Festival City

Tony Roma's is also located at Sahara Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, and Ibn Batuta Mall.

Bill for two
Bountiful Beef Ribs - 69 AED
Asian Salad - 24 AED
Pina Colada - 19 AED
Bottom Less Soda - 9AED
Total - 121 AED (P1,512.50)

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Dreams That You Dare Do Come True

Posted by Kero at Thursday, February 25, 2010 13 sweets for Kero Links to this post
I am sharing two songs for this week's theme called Song From A Mom's Heart.

The first one comes from a Kris Aquino CD titled Songs of Love and Healing. It was given by our then neighbor Vanessa who was very supportive throughout my pregnancy. She also has a son Grantley who  is a year older than Andreas. Vanessa eventually became Andreas' godmother but we have yet to see them after their family moved to Abu Dhabi.

The disc contains about 12 songs and the track Over The Rainbow became my sole favorite all throughout my pregnancy (I first heard the song back in gradeschool when my choirmates and I watched Wizard of Oz). And even more so after watching little Miss Coney Talbot perform it  for Britain's Got Talent. You know how preggy mothers are so emotional and I had to wipe my tears everytime i hear Coney's singing. I feel like the song sums up my journey and that dream.

In one of my favorite spot on earth with my most favorite boy.

To my darling, Andreas, I once dared to dream of my own son which in my life was inconceivable. But God in His goodness, soothe my soul and blessed you to us. My child, you made me see the glory over the rainbow. I love you like nobody else.



The second song, I posted this to Andreas' FS account along with his 2nd birthday greetings. But I messed up the link and eventually lost it. I am glad I now have the chance to post it again. It's a heartwarming music video especially made for Mothers and their little prince. Enjoy singing along, Mommies!



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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Breakfast in Bed / Nightcap

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12 sweets for Kero Links to this post
The other night, while sharing a glass of Merlot in bed, I told hubby that our CC theme for the week is breakfast in bed. Since I do not have a photo to spice up my post, i thought of skipping a CC entry.. 

Ever the eager one on reading what i'm up to online, Hubby said, "How about drinking in bed?"

Like any loved-up newlyweds, weekend breakfasts during the first year of our marriage  were spent on bed. We even bought a tray table specifically for bed breakfast. But that all changed when our son arrived. Andreas sleeps like an aged man. He wakes up early and sleeps late. I do not want to risk a mess with a toddler's eating habits so we refrained from doing that romantic thing.

Nightcap. Merlot, apple slices, and creamy stilton cheese.

Instead, on those rare occasion that Andreas hits the sack early, hubby opens a bottle of wine or brandy or whatever is available on the counter. I, on the other hand prepare finger foods as simple as slices of sharp cheddar cheese, diced wholemeal bread, and pineapple slices. With dimmed lights, reclined on several pillows on the bed, we toast and discuss just about everything. Our future plans or what we learned from the past. Often it could be what's on the news like the Middle East politics, the war on Gaza, Mossad spies, CIAs, or books like Sun Tzu's The Art Of War. Yeah, those are definitely not romantic but we both have fascination for such topics. Maybe because hubby spent two years in the Philippine Military Academy and my childhood was spent in war-torn Mindanao.

Anyways, breakfast or a drink in bed is one way of nurturing your marriage. That is why a couple's matrimonial bed is very sacred. It is the sole witness to a husband and wife's secrets -- and glorious moments.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Sign Spotting Project

Posted by Kero at Sunday, February 21, 2010 9 sweets for Kero Links to this post
The weekend brought us back to Dubai Festival City to view the exhibit of Lonely Planet's best selling collection of outrageous and unforgettable signs. These were snapped by people from all over the world and curated by world traveller, Doug Lansky. The touring collection has graced millions of people at the cities of Stockholm, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and now Dubai.

Have a good laugh!!

Your vehicle will rise up and get an oil change. All traffic violations will be forgiven.

Pac-Man Parking!!!

I'll hold him down, you grab his socks.

Would today's X-ray security equipment be able to detect Canada?

Left lane for midlife crisis, right lane for abandoning New Year's resolutions.


Which sign made you laughed out loud? =)

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Taza Spicy Broast Chicken

Posted by Kero at Sunday, February 21, 2010 6 sweets for Kero Links to this post
I have never been a fan of deep fried chicken. Either I find them too oily, too dry, or just plain messy to eat. Back in the Philippines, i always choose burger or pasta when eating out in fast food. But it all changed when my friends L and S took me to a fast food chain called Taza along Dhiyafah Road. We used to live along this road from about a year and a half and I always noticed the place is packed during lunchtime and dinner. But because I mostly see fried chicken on their  wall ad, hubby and I never dared to enter.

Anyways, during one of those afternoon walks, my two lady friends said we stop by for a snack at Taza and they ask me to try their best seller spicy broast meal. chicken. For 16 AED (P200), you are given half of a chicken cut into four parts - breast, ribs, wings, and thighs. It is served with fries, freshly baked Arabic bread, garlic paste, and ketchup. When i tasted, it was crispy, juicy, tasty, and spicy just the way I like it. Their serving was too much for a snack so I brought home two pieces for hubby. And even though always the healthy eater, Hubby was not able to resist finishing it all.

Our Saturday lunch. Broasting chicken  is a method combining  pressure cooking and deep frying after doing the special marinade. For those curious to make this recipe at home, broasting, apparently, is a trademarked technique. One cannot buy a broasting equipment and all that comes with it.

From then on, Taza was a regular place to eat. I think it even beats Nando's  or Popeyes'. chicken. For those looking for a meal with rice, Taza also offers maglouba, kabsa, and chicken mandi . Hubby had ordered all of those during our visits and Andreas is always happy to help him consume it all. The place has a three Playstation for older kids and a soft play for children below 5 years of age. Andreas gets to play with them while waiting for our order. When it's time to eat, we opt for the high chair area where we can watch the resident baker make fresh Arabic bread.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

First Valentine Celebration For Andreas

Posted by Kero at Thursday, February 18, 2010 11 sweets for Kero Links to this post
 Note: Maybe I should have posted this a long time ago but I never had the chance. I am thankful there is Mommy Moments to capture and reminisce those cherished days.

My son was 13 months when we officially celebrated his first Valentine date. I gave birth to him via CS so I was still horribly fat, breastfeeding, and recuperating in February 2008. Frankly, I had no idea how our Vday went on back then. We were just probably catching our sleep with a two-month old to take care of hihi.

Saturday, February 14, 2009 we chose to celebrate our second Valentine as a family at Sezzam, Kempinski Hotel. The restaurant has been highly recommended with its steam, flame, and bake options included in their intercontinental buffet. The 800-seater dining area boasts a view of the Ski Dubai. There is magician, face painting, and bouncy castle to keep children occupied while parents indulge in overflowing food.

We just arrived and our table had a great view of the skiers. Andreas immediately climbed up to look closer.
 
But before the buffet opened, he decided to eat his Milupa biscuits.
And went on to play in the bouncy castle with the other kids. It won't be long before he fell asleep so Hubby and I were able to devour sushi, pasta, kebabs, and the sweetest pastries in silence.


After our desert and a huge cup of Cafe Americano, we decided to take Andreas to Bastakiya, Dubai Creek for a stroll. Fortunately, Drums Of The World were performing with the public so a well-rested Andreas joined the beat of the drum.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do You Still Love Me?

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9 sweets for Kero Links to this post
I actually find the question childish. Violent reactions accepted =)

But I know that at some point in a  relationship, you need to ask this. When things aren't going smoothly, when you're both busy and you think you are taken for granted by your partner, or simply because you want to make lambing.

So yes, i am guilty of asking this once. Maybe not exactly in that phrase but something to that effect. We had a few shots of brandy one weekend evening and the discussion went to reminiscing our past, the flirtations, how it became us, etc.

Hubby answered, "Always."

And i never dared to ask him again lolz!!

Instead, when i feel like making lambing, I say I love you. Those three words are not always easy to say. At least for me. They don't come out that easily. It's like i have to be satisfied emotionally to speak it out. But then, Hubby does a wonderful job keeping me happy so he gets to hear those words every now and then.

Yet off course, like any woman, I do wish that sometimes Hubby would say I love you often. But I guess, like me, those words don't come out easily for him. Sometimes I feel like I have to earn it. I feel like I have to do something really good and then I earn his three words. And I like it that way because it puts a CHALLENGE on the relationship. It keeps me on my toes to make our marriage BETTER everyday.

Truth is, I hear a lot of praise for Ceasar's devotion and commitment as a husband and a father. Like most men, he is not into public display of affection but behind closed doors, he is the sweetest guy on earth. You get an unexpected hug, a kiss, a massage, and would volunteer to do the dishes and even help fold the laundry. And if anything goes wrong, it is more likely that it comes from me. 

I guess it's his way of keeping me reined =)

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Swarovski Fashion Exhibit

Posted by Kero at Sunday, February 14, 2010 12 sweets for Kero Links to this post
After weeks of everything that interests my two boys, the family weekend turned to glitz and glamour as we watched Glamour In the City Fashion Exhibit at the Fashion Avenue of Dubai Mall. All of the collection featured were embellished with Crystallized Swarovski Elements. Incidentally, the Friday was also my birthday and being an avid clothes collector, the glittering fashion event was the icing on my cake.

The following gorgeous haute couture gowns were made by leading designers and branding partners from UAE, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. It is their representation of what the fashionistas wear in the most glamorous and flamboyant cities all over the world. Let me know which creation is your favorite =)

From the Tokyo fashion scene by Michael Cinco

The Miami Fashionista by Arushi Design team

Rio De Janeiro

Marrakech

This exquisite Mumbai  Fashionista is from Amato of Furne One, a renowned Filipino designer based in Dubai. Furne carved his career here in Dubai designing wedding gowns for the royalty. We used to live in Al Satwa, the same area where Furne maintains his shop in Al Hana Center.

Paris

Milan

The Dubai Fashionista by Ahmed Al Reyaysa of Dar Sara Fashion


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Sapin-Sapin

Posted by Kero at Sunday, February 14, 2010 3 sweets for Kero Links to this post
Going home after our trip to Stargate, Andreas fell asleep on his stroller. We had quiet a distance to walk back home but since it was manageable to pass by Lulu Hypermarket, I decided to drop by for some afternoon snack. Except for pork, Lulu also stocks on delish Filipino kakanin such as maja blanca, puto, biko, cassava cake, and palitao. I tasted all of those before, so now I opted for sapin-sapin.

 A slice of afternoon delight with my favorite cup of coffee.

Sapin-sapin is a layered glutinous rice and coconut desert in Filipino cuisine. It is recognizable for its layers, each colored separately. Sapin-sapin, meaning layers, is made of rice flour, coconut milk, water, sugar, and coloring with coconut flakes sprinkled on top.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pierced Heart

Posted by Kero at Thursday, February 11, 2010 6 sweets for Kero Links to this post
Happy Valentine's Day to my visitors!

I took this photo during the 2010 International Al Ain Aerobatics Show last month. Three propeller planes from the Royal Bahrain Team were responsible for the sky sketch.

"The heart is the only broken instrument that works. " ~ T. E. Kalem

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Valentine Plans

Posted by Kero at Thursday, February 11, 2010 3 sweets for Kero Links to this post
Unlike last year, we are skipping the Vday date of eating out because the budget does not permit and Sunday is a working day here in the UAE waaaaaaah. Instead, we are focusing on our family holiday which falls on our 4th wedding anniversary come April.

 Our Valentine Brunch last year at Sezzam, Kempinski Hotel.

Still, I owe hubby lots of massage  because he's been giving me back rubs before he leaves in the morning for office. Actually, it's his way of waking me up since he would ask me to turn over and stretch my limbs. But after complaining those muscles he presses feel sore, i would be half asleep and could barely give him a kiss on the front door.

That is one of our differences actually. He is a morning person while i tend to sleep late. I only wake up early when i know i am going shopping for the day lolz! Hubby had tried plenty of times to wake me up early. Form kisses, to tickles, hand massage, but one late morning, he just smiled and shook his head as I looked up. "Para kang mantika matulog."

Anyway, I plan to make up for those back rubs and foot massage between today and the Vday. We still have some red wine, stilton cranberry cheese, unused red candle from last Christmas, and the red dress i've been meaning to wear - even if it will be only outside our balcony.

I guess I am planning for a late night rendevouz.Yeeee haaa.

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Rodliz’s Nest

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Of (Travel) Signs

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, February 10, 2010 4 sweets for Kero Links to this post
Have you ever wanted something soo bad yet you doubt if you will ever achieve it? And then one day, you wake up and you saw this tiny little chance. You calculate and yet the whole thing seems soo far fetched. Do you stop? Ask somebody up there for a sign?

I'm talking about our dream holiday.

When Hubby asked the HR (some says she is the unofficial CEO) if we can use our accumulated plane tickets for travel to other countries, the HR said that can be arranged as she herself is planning for a trip to Singapore. Hubby of course was happy to hear this but did not told her where we plan to go.

And that was the tiny little chance I was referring to. At these trying times when you have to hold on to your cash, it is irresponsible, unreasonable, and impractical to embark on a family holiday. But since some amount of our air fare (equivalent to a round trip ticket to the Philippines) will be paid by the company, we saw this as our only chance -- in a life time (two years from now and Andreas will be in school).

After we agreed which country to visit, I checked online about holiday packages. One prominent travel and tours office promptly e-mailed a quote of AED26,000 plus visa. It sent us reeling and totally dismissed the idea. Soon we were busy with Christmas and New Year parties so the issue was never brought up again. I was just thinking maybe we will travel to Jordan or  Egypt or take the Singapore/Malaysia offer.

At one of these parties, I was told that one of BIBAK member was not able to attend last week's party because he was in a country where we were precisely planning to visit. I immediately looked for the person and luckily he was accommodating enough to sit down with me and patiently answered my rattled queries. I told him I thought he was like this God's given sign. We had totally given up on the idea and now this talking and sharing about his trip, I felt a rush of excitement!....... And a renewed hope.

So I went back checking online and this time called office numbers - including my ka probinsiya H who is a travel coordinator. Like any budgeting Mommy, I had to choose the cheapest offer of AED11,000 (P137,500). It was a very busy weekend but we managed to squeeze a visit to Al Tayer Travle and Tours and gave our air fare reservation of AED750 (P9,375). That is unrefundable if our visa application gets denied waaaaah!

Our travel is scheduled for April and a friend said it may took about two weeks to know if your visa is approved. The list includes bank statement and the local sponsor's letter. That made me nervous again.We have not informed the HR where we were going and some part of me imagined her saying that is impossible to arrange. It could be a precedent blah blah.

But this morning, just as i was finishing my lemon cake, hubby called to say the CEO gave his no objection letter for our travel as endorsed by the HR. Woot woot! I wanna kiss Gangga! I swear I am going to buy an islet for her in _________ = D

We still have a long way to go with our visa application. We have just started to gather the attachment. We still have to visit our banks for the statements which hopefully we can do this Saturday.

I'm just soo glad and thankful that one fourth of the universe has agreed on our plans. May God help us.

D is for Dance, Drawing

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, February 10, 2010 8 sweets for Kero Links to this post
This is the traditional Emirati Stick Dance. We only witness this during UAE National Day and Eid Holidays.



My husband Drawing on our son's magic slate. This is the first time i saw him draw something different other than building designs. I gotta buy him a drawing pad next time.


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Monday, February 8, 2010

New Activities

Posted by Kero at Monday, February 08, 2010 2 sweets for Kero Links to this post
 for Andreas that is =)

About a week ago, I added the six-piece jig aw puzzle to  our morning activities. Andreas will scatter and step on them for the first few days before allowing me to guide his hands on where to place the puzzle pieces. I just patiently sit beside him and assemble the puzzle repeatedly while he flips around the pages of his story books. Because this is the age where they want to be involved in just about everything, I waited for his curiosity to tick. Soon he was seated on my lap and understood the concept that the pieces had to be arranged so we can see the yellow school bus and the brown, fluffy teddy bear.
The jigsaw puzzle is a give away from Abbot during the Mother, Baby, and Child Show we attended last year.

Of course he still cannot put the jigsaw all together but i see him from time to time studying the pieces and uttering eeyow for yellow. It is the first color he recognized. His tiny hands will attempt to arrange the pieces and they end up stacked on the - at least inside the frame hihi.

We are getting there, darling. Mwaah!

Now this i'm guilty. I think we bought the magic slate a little too late. We have coloring activities from time to time so that when he got acquainted with color pens, I no longer thought of buying any other material for scribbling. Besides, I found them expensive when i checked once.

Over the weekend, while trawling the mall, I found this inexpensive magic slate with stamping pads for AED 35 (P438) at Toys R Us. I checked with hubby if we can buy it and he said yes. I'm glad we did bought one finally because Andreas is enjoying the scribbling - and erasing. He will sometimes ask us to guide his hands draw  a huge circle to fill up the board and he chuckles in delight.

As for his flashcards, I decided to stop them for a week now. I only want him to be familiar with letters and numbers but i do not want him to memorize C is for carrot.  Instead we bought him magnetic letters. The first time I handed to him the board with those letters, he recognized letters k, m,s, and z and made their sounds. I know the flashcards helped him a lot to know those and that is enough for now.

Quote of The Day

Posted by Kero at Monday, February 08, 2010 6 sweets for Kero Links to this post
An excerpt from my little brother's letter. He is mediating after my little sister disowned me for failing the role of a big sister.

But first, here is a part from the apology letter I wrote to my brother. The Mama I am referring to is our  maternal Grandmother who stood as a mother we never had.

"It is true that I failed in emotional support as a big sister to you and Nikki. But I never failed financially. The whole five years I worked in Batanes, I gave five thousand every month to Mama to add yours and Nikki's tuition fee and school allowance."

"I had my own issues to work and thought if I remained distant I would spare you and Nikki from hurting. I wanted to set an example of strength and to some extent discipline. And that no matter what, you can live alone. I am sorry, kiddo. It was the only way I knew we could survive. You have no idea how wretched I felt from losing Mommy."

"No, I do not regret anything. Maybe if i had been more available as a shoulder to cry on for you and Nikki, you would not have reached the success and independence you both have these days."

My brother responded in a way that made me the proudest sister in the world. Here is an excerpt from his letter.

"We all have differences, yet we are the same. We all grew up without somebody to really talk to or cry on. We all share this common emptiness in us, that none of us ever grew with our parents. We have grown distant to one another. Maybe because we've been accustomed to being left by our loved ones that we tend to think that we can live without each other - - that we have lived this long without the outright support of each other. 


"We have grown so independently that we think we can live without each other."
~ Jason Salendab


Our mother didn't die as one would assume from the letters. She just vanished a few years after she and our biological father separated. Our maternal grandmother went to great lengths to find her. But you do not find a person who chooses not to be found.

I am the classic example of a child from a broken family. And then the abandoned child. Then the disowned sister.

I hope parents reading this will consider a thought before heading for legal separation - or divorce.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gulf Bike Expo 2010

Posted by Kero at Sunday, February 07, 2010 13 sweets for Kero Links to this post
Happy Sunday visitors!

The family had an exciting weekend as we attended the annual Gulf Bike Expo at Dubai Festival City. Visitors were treated to an exhibit of the most prestigious brands of bikes such as Ducati, BWM, and Harley Davidson. The four day event also featured open air concert of local and international bands such as Nickelback. In between these concerts are death defying bike stunts which I will be sharing today.

 These two dare devils came from South Africa and Sweden. 

All the aerial stunts were done at the Red Bull FMX Zone.


Look Ma! No hands! This was the most applauded stunt.




So which stunt is your favorite? I will be sharing photos from the Bike Exhibit in the coming posts. Thank you so much for the visit!

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