When I heard that a beach club nearby was opening its doors to the public on weekdays to come, kick-back and read, I jumped at the occasion to enjoy the setting, catch-up on some of my reading list, and mostly to reinforce my kids’ perception of reading as a fun activity.
Many places in the United Arab Emirates are likely to make reading related events this year as 2016 was declared the Year of Reading! As for my London friends, keep an eye out for events around the end of this week, as March 3rd is World Book Day in the UK.
My New Home (by Marta Altes) and Petit Noun (by Géraldine Elschner) were the choices for my 4year old daughter. The first deals with the tribulations and excitements of changing homes and was a great way to get my daughter and I to have a conversation about how she has experienced our various moves in the past few years. I do know (and she reminded me that day again) that she misses her friends back in London a lot but just like in the book (and I reminded her of that AGAIN) she is making new friends and learning how to adapt to novelty and difference. As for Petit Noun, it’s an amazing metaphorical adventure about a blue hippopotamus in ancient Egypt… this book transports both parent and child, at different levels, to a world of reflection, colors, history and mystery.
As for my 18months old tot, I enlisted l’âne Trotro (and his sister ZaZa) to help me introduce her to potty training (wish me luck, that’s gonna take a while…) and then we read about good old Sophie La Giraffe’s busy daily schedule in Sophie’s Busy Day (…and I thought I was busy! 😉)
I find that anticipating a book a long while before it’s released or you get your hands on it makes the eventual read even more enjoyable… I’m therefore disclosing two books I’m eagerly awaiting below (and feel free to add in the comments any recommended upcoming books):
- The Importance of Being Little – What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups (by Erika Christakis): a reevaluation of traditional teaching and parenting techniques, this book promises to propose an alternative approach which promotes a better learning environment by listening more closely to the needs of children and how they experience their surrounding and the teaching/parenting itself)
- I Love You Madly – Marie-Antoinette and Count Fersen: The Secret Letters (by Evelyn Farr): it’s about newly discovered letters that promise to shed more light and confirm the much rumored loved-affair the Queen had with Count Fersen
Among all the February celebrations, my warmest is my hubby’s birthday. For the past couple of years, my daughter and I started a habit out of baking a cake on that day. I don’t often bake, so this makes this day extra special as it gives us the opportunity to share memorable, exciting, messy, one-off funny/panicky moments in the kitchen before we polish everything up before daddy comes home for the big surprise (well perhaps not-so-surprise anymore as he’s starting to notice the tradition now).
This year my daughter and I decided to bake a… Zucchini Cake! Credit for this idea has to go to my daughter’s amazing former nanny who introduced us to this cake.
I know some of you may be cringing and despite the nutritionist in me, I myself was initially skeptical, but the result is AMAZING and it’s almost impossible for someone to figure out that Zucchinis were involved in the mix! In effect, none of the people I served this cake to suspected this twist. So here you’re thinking, why should I ever try a Zucchini cake and to that I’d say:
- Zucchini replaces the butter and gives the necessary moist to the cake (ideal for people trying to cut on fat-calories since Zucchinis have close to zero fat!)
- Introducing vegetables in cake-baking with your kids is a great way to promote vegetables to them as appealing and fun
- It is actually VERY TASTY IN ITS OWN UNIQUE WAY and you will only believe me once you try it so here’s the recipe:
Ingredients (10-12 servings cake):
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. canola or other mild vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups blended zucchini (about 1 large)
- Preheat oven to 350° F (175°C). Grease a 10-cup Bundt pan.
- In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Mix eggs and oil and add to the dry mix. Add blended zucchini and stir.
- Pour the evenly mix into the prepared pan. Bake 60 minutes in the preheated oven.
- Cool the cake completely before decorating it with your favorite garniture. Here I sprinkled on my beautiful blossom-shaped Bundt a bit of confectioners’ sugar then left the final touch to my daughter who decorated it with her favorite fresh berries!
Me: Come to the table! It’s meal time
Pipelette: What’s for dessert?
Me: Stop being so difficult! Look how your sister is behaving well, she has no problem with any food
Pipelette: Mom, my sister is a BABY!!!
L’amour & la nostalgie were in the air yesterday! At 91 Aznavour’s voice, wit and very French sense of humor are still intact!
PS: kudos to that random stylish woman who wore this coat with an amazing in-built squirt design! Smack in the French-Love theme!