Four Photos | February 2015

This series Four Photos reminds me of taking more and more pictures every month. And I’m sure I will cherish all these moments for years to come.

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^^ I took this one on a lazy morning when I was standing at the window, doing absolutely nothing.

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^^ Nothing excites me more than a stack of freshly launder cloth diapers. And I just can’t resist myself more clicking too many pictures of them! Obsessive cloth diapering momma, I’m!

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^^I took this picture back in 2009 when I visited Charminar with family! I obviously didn’t have a high-end camera back then so I had clicked it from my Nokia 5700! Throwback time!

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^^ I took this one when we went out with kids to one of the beautiful parks in Doha. I just love this picture for that awesome reflection in water and the shades in the sky!

 I strongly suggests all of you to try and capture little moments in life, so you can look back to see how much fun you have had while snapping them. So go get your cameras and start making some memories!!

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Productivity Tips for Work-At-Home Moms

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Often I hear people asking me how I manage three children( husband included ;) ), a blog, an online store, and of course a household. And all I can do is to blush away and say Alhamdulillah! Because sometimes it’s difficult to explain everything to everyone you come across.

I have been a work-at-home mom for quite some time now and as a mom of two young children I have been struggling to maintain a healthy balance between my work and family life. I feel happy that I’m not the only one doing this, there are so many women out there in the similar situation, struggling to have balance. And I proudly I have pretty succeeded at it. Alhamdulillah! And this is the reason I decided to share with you my top 10 productivity tips to ensure you have a merrier and more fulfilled time.

#1. Have passion for your work

No matter what you are, a stay-at-home or a work-at-home mom, or something else, having passion for your work will only take you higher! Because if you have passion and love for what you do, you can overcome any amount of hardship and still remain content at the end of the day. And if you have been following me for some time now, you already know that I’m very passionate about my blog, which makes me want to spend good amount time improving it.

#2. Wake up early

I used to sleep until the girls woke up. Then we would all be tired, trying to wake up and get some breakfast, and it would become chaos. Now I try to wake up before the girls so I can have some coffee and sit by myself and read some morning news or workout. Get yourself ready for the day during this time. Shower, get dressed, do your hair, brush your teeth; whatever your routine for getting ready is, do it in this time. That way if you do have to go somewhere, you just get the kids ready and go. Plus it’s a kick start to the day and that way you can get more work done instead of sitting in your pajamas all day. And if you are a person who doesn’t like changing into fresh clothes unless you are stepping out of the house! Then even that’s fine as long as you are doing everything else perfectly. Clothes don’t matter , you see ;)

#3. Maintain a schedule

Having a set routine is very important when you have young kids. Have fixed office times and family time, this will enable you to perform best in both roles.  And it can be extremely difficult to answer emails and write blogs with the kids running around (I know this from experience); hence it is essential to work in a relaxed peaceful environment.  Work around your family routine, e.g. answer emails and make calls when your children are having naps or at school.  I have met many moms who work for 2-3 hours in the morning and do the remaining work in the evening. Try different routines and see what works best for you and your family.

#4. Prioritize your tasks

To ensure you have a healthy balance between family and work life it is essential that you have top three or may be two tasks that you need to complete every day. If the rest does not get done its okay as long as you know those three/two important tasks have been completed. Also it’s very important to be realistic with your to-do list, there is no point jotting down 10 tasks for the day when you know you have a young family and very limited time.

#5. Set goals

If you want to have a productive month then it is best to list all the tasks you would like to complete and set goals for each day of the month. Writing down your monthly and daily goals will enable you to be more productive with your time as you would know what you need to do each month.

#6. Keep up on housework

Yes, at times this is impossible, especially with a three-year-old and a eighteen-month-old, but it’s best to try and stay on top of it! I’ve seen some people only designate one day a week as ‘cleaning day,’ or ‘laundry day’ however I find that with kids, it’s more efficient to do a little bit of cleaning everyday. Besides keeping up with the laundry and dishes, I try to do one room a day. It also makes everyone in the house feel so much better when toys are picked up before bedtime, so the next day you can start fresh and not with a leftover mess from the day before. When you keep up on the housework, it means more quality time with family.

#7. Learn to multitask

Are you waiting for the food to be cooked? Try to read emails in between. Is it your children’s scheduled screen time? Jot down ideas and concepts on a notepad while watching. Waiting in line at the grocery counter? Check your social networks. Use down times to multi-task and get those trivial activities out of the way to have more time for the actual job assignments.

#8. Include your kids in your activities

When you are cleaning or cooking, if your child shows interest in what you are doing, let them help! Most household activities kids can participate in with you, and it will make them feel like your big helper. It may take longer to get done, and more messier than you would do it, but it will teach them what you are doing and make them feel special. In the end they will be learning responsibilities and having fun with mom at the same time! And if you have more than one child, try to divide tasks among them, you can always do it, if they don’t get them done. The basic idea is to get them involved and to keep them occupied for some time.

#9. Seek assistance and take a break

As a mom, it is normal to feel overwhelmed from time to time; that’s why it is key to ask your loved ones for help. Ask your spouse or family members to watch the children while you work on a few blog post ideas, or just stop by at your favourite coffee shop and grab a cup for yourself, or may be just go and sleep for an hour or so. Just take a break from everything altogether. Often times, taking small breaks refreshes your mind and gives you new ideas and instant motivation to get back on track.

#10. Connect with your Creator

Last but not the least, spend at least some time doing a religious activity. Be it anything , offering prayers together, reciting some holy verses to your children or anything else. Let your children know that you are a God-fearing person. And getting them involved will instill the same ideologies in them. And in the end it’s important to keep that connect with your own Creator and be thankful to Him for all His blessing upon you and your family.

Also, writing this post, doesn’t mean I’m calling myself a perfect work-at-home mom. I’m only sharing what I follow to make my life a bit more merrier and content.

It obviously doesn’t mean these are any sort of guidelines you should be following. Because no one is just perfectly, I have equal share of hard days, days when I literally drag myself out of the bed but then on the other side this is pretty much how I do it. So if you are a work-at-home mom like me, then try and see what works best for you and your family because at the end of the day we all want to make the most out of our lives. GoodLuck :)

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Hummus Recipe for Kids

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Off late, the girls have been enjoying their raw or steam vegetables a lot. And as a mom I have to confess that I have been spending more time searching for some easy-to-make, delicious recipes out of those veggies. Also I generally try to keep the recipes very basic yet high in their nutritional value. Saves me good amount of time and effort!
Here’s my recipe for you.

Things you will need:

  • 250 gms Chickpeas
  • 4-5 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • chopped cilantro (optional)

What you need to do:

  1. Soaked chick peas overtime. And mix them in a food processor with garlic cloves and cumin seeds to make a smooth paste.
  2. Add salt, lemon juice and olive oil and mix evenly. And that’s it!

P.S: I didn’t have Tahini at home, so I decided to add some peanut butter instead. And there wasn’t much difference in the taste. So if it’s available for you, you may just want to replace peanut butter with it.

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And my girls love it with fresh baby carrots and cucumbers. It also makes a delicious yet healthy bread spread. You can make it and store in an air-tight container for over a month. It’s super simple to make and highly nutritious. So just go and soak those chickpeas right away. And let me know if you have a better recipe for making it. I would love to learn it from you. :)

Thank you so much for stopping by! :D

 

Easy Homemade Play Dough {No Cook}

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I have two super active little girls at home and keeping them entertained through out the day, does sometime get tricky.

And as a mom, I’m constantly searching for super simple activities, also keeping in mind our tight schedule and budget. We can’t hop into the market every week to grab those harmful colorful dough!? And also since I let the girls occasionally help me in the kitchen. We started making this easy homemade play dough (Play Doh) more often now. It’s super easy to make and fun to play with.

I haven’t used cream of tartar in this recipe which is why the dough may not last for over 4-5 months. But then I wanted to make something that’s simple and I wanted to be able to find all the ingredients off my cupboard!

So here’s what you will need:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (you can use any)
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • Food colouring
  • Water

What you need to do:

  1. In a large bowl mix flour, salt and oil.
  2. Add desired account of food coloring, depending on the shade of dough you want to make.
  3. Knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness is gone. You may add a few drops of oil if it’s still sticky.
  4. You will need to make a perfect dough that has just the right consistency. And that’s it! You are done!

And believe me both my girls thoroughly enjoy making it. And every morning they are out of the bed, they run to their play-area to grab their play dough.

I currently store our dough in zip-lock bags but I will fetch some air-tight containers on our next trip to the supermarket. This dough can last for over a month. And I can only think of those at least 30 no-fuss hours a month?!? Which for me I think is totally worth those 10 minutes of hardwork! ;)

Tell me how you like your play dough in the comments. And if you like this post don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, The Mommy blog via email and give us a thumbs up on Facebook!

 

 

Cookie Ring Sling Review 

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I think everyone is aware of my baby wearing fixation/ obsession. I will let you call it what you want. But if you have read any of my previous posts or know me at all you are aware of my love of babywearing. Yes my name is Haajra and I love baby-wearing. I wear the Little Thing almost every day and occasionally wear the Big Thing too. And guess what, they love it too. You can ask anyone who knows me, my daughter is a baby with very high needs. She has to be around/attached to her momma, time and place just don’t matter to her. And baby-wearing has always been a blessing for me.

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 If you don’t wear your baby already, you should honestly think about trying it. I am so happy that I did and so are my children. With my ongoing pursuit of the perfect baby-wearing paraphernalia I came across the Cookie Pie Ring Sling.

When this sling came home, we were at our in-laws enjoying a long vacation. So I got to lay my hands on it only after a good week or so (I can’t remember exactly). Like they say the first impression is the best impression! I was super impressed by the packaging. My ring sling came packed in a white box with the brand logo printed over it.

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I flipped the box open and almost died seeing that gorgeous black and white chevron pattern. I have always dreamt of a chevron baby wearing gear! And there it was! I got a very subtle yet sassy looking booklet to guide me through.

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This ring sling is absolutely amazing. I love it, it is so soft yet breathable the material used is incredible. And the ease of use is indeed remarkable. I couldn’t wait any longer so I decided to try this out for a day.

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And since I have already used a ring sling before, I didn’t have any trouble in wearing it. In fact this one is way too simple and easy to handle because of the fabric at the shoulder is already pleated. So there was absolutely no need for me to work on neatly gathering the fabric. Just take it and put it on your shoulder. And your sorted! So there’s no problem of fabric bunching up and causing you discomfort.

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And honestly this ring sling was the easiest of all of my baby carriers when it comes to getting the baby in and out. Another thing that stands out is the cross cut fabric, the tail part. Since it’s cut cross it looks just the way it’s supposed to be. This end can always be used to cover up while breastfeeding or to protect the baby from sun. It can otherwise be rolled up neatly around the rings. That’s I do it most of the time. As I don’t like the tail hanging loose. And if you have a baby, who has not learnt to hold her head up, then you can neatly roll it up and use as neck  support.

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So all in all this is such a quick and easy way of baby-wearing. It has made almost everything faster, from going into the store for shopping, or doing household chores, or when the baby needs loads of cuddles on a sick day. I put the Little Thing in, her face in (which she loves) and I’m always able to get everything done so much faster because I don’t have to deal with snaps, buckles, or anything else. While I truly do love my other baby-wearing gears, I have to vote for this one definitely when it comes to ease of use and getting the baby in and out super quickly.

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Also it’s easy to get the M position for the baby, which makes her very happy and comfortable because that’s how we spent major portion of our day!

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Cookie Pie Co. is famous for their versatile range of ring slings and other accessories, so if you haven’t already started baby-wearing or if you looking for a sling that easy yet elegant then don’t forget to check out Cookie Slings on Facebook. And if you like this review, then do give The Mommy Blog a thumbs on Facebook!

**We were sent the Cookie Pie ring sling for the purpose of a fair and honest review. All the opinions and images are my own.

ReeBaby ‘Love is..’ Diaper Bag Review

If you have been following me on Facebook or Instagram you know that we have moved out of India a couple of weeks ago and I have to admit that it was definitely not a cakewalk, nor for me neither for the girls. And before this move, we did a lot of travelling with kids back in India, to see off our people staying outside our hometown. And I would have never had those ‘we-are-all-sorted’ mommy and baby moments without this beautiful and functional ReeBaby diaper bag.

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A diaper bag is definitely every mom’s essential but what if you have a super super adorable one to flaunt?? Would you not just love it to the moon and back? Well, out of all the diaper bags I have come across (Of course, the ones available in India) this one is my favourite and will remain that way for pretty long tim.

Ok let talk ReeBaby now ;) This diaper bag is named ‘Love is…” And what better name can you think of?? Well, love is..actually a beautiful black bag with pink hearts and polka dots. Isn’t it? I reviewed a diaper bag by ReeBaby earlier here on my blog. You can check it out {here…} And I have to admit that this ones pretty different from the Beige one.

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This one up here is a large spacious bag, very generously sized to accommodate almost everything you might need when you are out and about with your baby. And in my case, it very well serves for two girls.

I’m a person who when stepping out of the house will pack the ‘whole’ house thinking they may just need something I leave back at home. So generally my diaper bag is like ‘overloaded’ with pretty much everything. And with this bag, there’s always enough room for everything from toys to sippers to snacks to change of clothes to ipad to my phone and so much more.

These large front pockets can be snapped open for you to stuff some ready to grab stuff like tissue papers, baby wipes, burp cloth etc. I stuffed some candies and chocolate bars for the girls to munch on, at the airport.

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Then there are again two ultra spacious zippered pockets along the length of the bag of about 6-7″ in height. Here’s where I stored my tickets and boarding passes. And believe me it made accessing them so easy. Just slide one zip and pop you have all the necessary documents required for boarding. And yeah I had my wallet in the other zippered pocket.

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And not just those, there was also two side pouches to throw in your keys and other stuff. Though I’m yet to figure out what goes in there, for us. :)

And there this one little issue with these side pockets, and that’s – too often when my bag is overloaded and fully-packed, I can’t slide my hand inside and out of these pockets, which is one reason I generally don’t use them. I wish they were a little wider or had a mesh fabric, so I could see, right through it, which would save me the trouble of digging in it for tiny belongings.

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I also got a sassy pink changing pad along with the bag, which I hardly use, now that I change their diapers almost ‘everywhere’, on bed, on floor, on couch. So yeah I have saved it for our next baby! ;) Or may be just give it away to someone with a newborn.

The best part is that, this lovely bag comes with the stroller straps, of course it’s a must for every diaper bag but then most of the manufacturers are not really bother about it. And I’m glad ReeBaby cares for all those moms who always take along their overloaded baby bags and can very happily hang them on to their baby’s stroller. And trust me there’s no great joy then not having to carry that extra luggage.

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So yeah all in all I just love this diaper bag. Just remember, mamas and mamas-to-be, you do not have to sacrifice style after having a baby!

Also you may want to check out the ReeBaby products on their very own Facebook page. And don’t forget to give us a thumbs up on Facebook if you liked this review!

**We were sent the ReeBaby Diaper Bag for the purpose of a fair and honest review. All the opinions and images are my own.