Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dining Out in Doha: Carluccio's

We finally enjoyed the breakfast at Carluccio's! We waited too long for this breakfast at the Pearl but it was worth the wait. It's not 100% authentic Italian food here in Doha but it comes close.

It was not easy to find also for us. At the big round about, we turned right, instead of turning left. So if you are visiting the restaurant, it is at P7. Turn left after the big round about and follow the sign. I think P7 is still under construction right now but there is still a HUGE arrow pointing to the parking entrance of Carluccios. We missed it but we it's a habit of ours to miss important signs. We were able to turn back immediately and after parking the car, it was all breeze finding the restaurant.

The kids are so fond of eggs, and they definitely loved the eggs at Carluccio's. We didn't get to sit outside and enjoy the excellent view while eating because it was already sizzling hot and humid at early mornings. That's a big shame. Although, the kids enjoyed running around inside the restaurants freely. But hey, these kids can run around inside any restaurants no matter how tiny the place is. But in the case of Carluccios, they had some space to run around without irritating other customers who were eating at that time.

We definitely love the kids pack. It's a coloring puzzle. Plus, the pencil colors look elegant and not cheap! The kids had a good time while waiting for the breakfast.

The husband find the food good enough. Not so-so like any other restaurants he tried but not extra good. It's in between his taste. Well, that's not so good then.

It's a good place, though not extraordinary in Doha. We have enjoyed the Opera more this time around. Would we come back? Maybe for lunch or dinner during winter time.

It is a bit expensive for our taste but nothing we can't make at home. If we are going for breakfast again, it would be just to relax and have a long breakfast with husband. 

The kids pack so posh!

my chocolata!


my egg florentine! I enjoyed every bit of this!

breakfast combo! 
husband does not look impressed!

but hey, they devoured the food and nothing is left. 

Keep exploring!

Our Favorite Bedtime Stories

Looking for the life's "pause" button because the kids seem to be growing up way too fast? Somehow, for me, reading these type of books for kids make everything stop: forever they will be my babies. These books will always be remembered as their bedtime stories. They may sometimes think that I am cheesy  I love you  to them all the time, every chance I got, but I want to absorb every moment until they say eoowww. Well, K1 is actually starting to mock me but hey, I still got two kids to go. And deep down inside, K1 still loves to told I love you and all the time looking forward to our cuddle time.

Here are our favorites:

I Love You With All My Heart - Polo the polar bear questions how his mother can love him with all her heart and learns from his many friends the all-encompassing quality of a parent's love.

I Want a Cuddle Kisses - Poor Little Rabbit has fallen over and hurt her paw. She wants a cuddle, but where can she find one that's not too prickly, tickly, bristly or bumpy? A warm and gentle story in which Little Rabbit discovers that everyone needs a cuddle at times, even Little Foxes! Ages 3-6.

Kisses: In this warm, playful tale, a father helps his daughter get ready for bed. Lisa asks her daddy to give her a kiss. "Of course, " Daddy says. "Do you want a witch's kiss? A butterfly kiss? A Morn kiss? A circus kiss? An Eskimo kiss?" Finally Lisa tells him what kind of kiss she really wants. Each of the kisses is lovingly and humorously illustrated with Marijke ten Cate's expressive artwork.
Parents and children cherish the quiet time at the end of the day when books are read. Bedtime stories are a comforting, shared ritual of love, laughter, and anticipation of sweet dreams.

I Love You Stinky Face - A vividly illustrated bedtime story that shows how the unconditional love of a mother can be tested through the relentless questions of her little boy.

"But Mama, but Mama, what if I were a super smelly skunk, and I smelled so bad that my name was Stinky Face?"

Mothers love their children and this unconditional love is truly tested in I LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE. Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore beautifully weave a reassuring tale of the love and affection of a parent. The imaginative son turns himself into a meat-eating dinosaur, a swamp creature and much, much more before being satisfied with the fact that no matter how stinky he is or how slimy of a creature he could possibly be, he is loved and nothing will change that.

Here is K1's version of her review of the books:

Hope you like these bedtime books as much as we do!

Keep reading!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Criminal Minds and Internet Safety

“The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” - Eric Schmidt 

I have been an avid fan of Criminal Minds the past two years. I think I have watched all episodes and now re-watching it again since the it's summer and in between seasons. I actually have written about the  "Parenting Lessons From Criminal Mind." It's always fun watching the series! I have to squeeze it to my working mom schedule as my "me-time." A time well spent.

Recently, my online friends (I have a lot, although very few close ones!) have discovered someone who is a big scam! She surprised all of us with her identity theft incidents, lies and God-knows what else. It is really scary that she preys on mothers like us who are vulnerable to gain a lot of friends who share about the same passion - our kids. To use our kids as a ruse is such a disdain.

I am now scared about the internet. I have pictures of my kids and family members in the internet and social networks. And out of nowhere, I've seen this episode of the Criminal Minds: Season 5, Episode 22: The Internet is Forever

It is a story about the serial killer/ unsub  who uses social media network to learn about the victims' routines and to eventually kill them while video streaming  the scene online.

To quote Ross (not verbatim, though): "Sushi for lunch, yumm..., My boss made me work late tonight, grrr.. "WHO IS A PERSON SO IMPORTANT THAT WE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN THIS KIND OF DETAIL" - this actually made me laugh! Everyone wants to be important that a lot of "followers and friends" would actually comment from the status post. I know I feel that. Aren't we all some sort of narcissists?

I won't stop blogging; blogging makes me calm and put things in perspective with all things going on with the family. It helps me to plan and prioritize my kids activites. But I will be cautious and vigilant due to the recent incidents. It is scary. I hope she realizes have karma. Things she did will come back to haunt her. But I will not stoop down to her level and will not degrade her (publicly or privately.) I hope people like this realizes that there is nothing to gain but lots of hatred from friends. Shame.

I hope I made my two points: Internet could be bad, and if this turns out bad for us, I have watched Criminal Minds series, all of its episodes, twice. Yes, they will never find your body AND they will never even know you are gone. Ever.

Stay vigilant!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How To Encourage Summer Reading in Doha

reading indoors outside! 

It's that time of the year again that we spend a lot of time indoors that reading indoors could be so boring. As much as we want to read outdoors and enjoy the breeze, the extreme heat outside may prevent us from doing so. This will not stop us. We commit ourselves to everyday reading. And we have this in writing! We joined the summer reading challenge 2012. And it's going to be fun!

We will definitely prevent "summer slide" where reading abilities lapse during summer. NO!

Here are the tips from Jen Robinson on how to encourage summer reading:

Parents can help make this magic happen. Here are a few simple tips:
  1. Make sure your kids have plenty of books. Take your kids to the library or the bookstore (new or used) to pick out some interesting new books. Go to the library every week, if you can. Go to yard sales, and sort through the books there. Organize a book swap in your neighborhood or scout troop. Do whatever you need to do to keep a fresh supply of books around.
  2. Always pack up books whenever you go somewhere, for your kids and for yourself (including audiobooks). Make sure your kids see you reading, whether it's on the beach, while waiting for the softball game to start, or at home. Bonus points if you spend some of your time reading kids' books. Then you can also talk about the books with your kids, and recommend other books that they might like. Listen to audiobooks in the car, especially on long trips. Pick books that are fun and/or exciting. You'll find that these add to your family's common frame of reference. And they makes the drives go by a lot more quickly.
  3. Encourage social reading. If your child wants to read a book because other kids are reading it (and you don't have personal reasons why you think your child isn't ready for the book), by all means get a copy. This reinforces the idea that reading is cool, and gives your child a chance to talk about the book with others. Consider buying two copies of the same book, for your child and his or her best friend, so that they can both read it. Maybe start a book club. Take the kids to see a movie based on a book, and also read the book. Do whatever you can to make reading cool and social.
  4. Try not to get hung up on whether or not your child "could" be reading more advanced books. Do you read Proust on your summer vacation, or do you read James Patterson? Kids turn to books for a respite from cares sometimes, just as adults do. They don't want everything they read to educational. There's no harm in suggesting the occasional book that's more of a stretch, but don't push too hard. If kids find reading enjoyable, they'll keep reading, and they will eventually push themselves. For that to happen, they just need to spend time reading.
  5. Try to keep some time available for reading. This is perhaps the hardest thing, as schedules fill up with sports, cookouts, trips and movies. These are all fun, too. But if you ask me, there's no substitute for the occasional afternoon spent perched up in a tree exploring far-off worlds through books.
  6. And that's it. A prescription for getting kids reading this summer. Get great books, take them places with you, make reading social, keep reading from being a chore or a contest, and leave a bit of time for reading on the schedule. There are no guarantees, of course. But if you do all of these things, you're setting the stage for a reading-filled summer.

Definitely awesome tips to follow! We also have our own tips but still work in progress.

Keep reading!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Qatar Cinema: Brave

Brave the movie is showing in other parts of the world but not in Qatar Cinema. It might be showing next week though, and we are very tempted to watch. Let's hope that City Centre Cinema will open real soon.

We heard quite a lot of great reviews about the movie especially from Geek Dad. If the title suggests something, it's the golden lesson of the story - about being brave, then we are definitely watching this movie. Here's the trailer:

This movie might be showing in Qatar Cinema next week! Maybe.

Relax and see a movie!

Qatar Cinema: Madagascar 3

We really haven't seen Madagascar 3 in Qatar Cinemas! It's just way too scary to be in the cinema nowadays with the safety issues! Both cinemas in Villagio and City Centre are closed indefinitely. The two malls are closed until safety issues are corrected.

We normally watched at The Mall but with the two cinemas are closed, we are scared it might get too crowded. And it gets more dangerous with many people in one confined space. I realized that the cinema in The Mall has only one exit! God forbid that fire happens, stampede may occur and a lot of other awful things in my mind. So we are waiting for a clear movie in the internet. This is where we get the movie: Madagascar 3

We read a lot of positive reviews how good the movie is. Shame that we can't watch this movie in the big screen. For now, it has to be good enough to watch downloaded movie.

Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman and of course the penguins, for sure, will not let us down and will keep us laughing all through out the movie, we hope!

Relax and watch a movie!

Reading Chapter Books: Magic Tree House #2 - Knight at Dawn

We started the Magic Tree House chapter book series and we loved it! YAY, more importantly, our little miss reader likes it!

We immediately moved on to read The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House, No. 2) and here is what she has to say about the book. She prefers the dinosaurs over the knight however, she is becoming more intrigue by the clues of who owns the book in the Magic Tree House.

Apart from discussing the book in video to enhance the "public speaking skills", she also writes the summary of the book answering the question on what the book is about, the lesson of the story and the new words she learned from reading the book. This aims to make her love writing too and to enrich her vocabulary.

Needless to say, we can't wait to read the next boo of the series!

Keep exploring!

Reading Chapter Books: Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark

We hope to read this chapter book, Magic Tree House series, over the summer and have lots of activities about the books.

Book #1 in the series is about dinosaurs. Dinosaurs Before Dark is a very great introduction to reading chapter books for both girls and boys alike. Adventure with dinosaurs is simply intriguing for kids at these age (5-7) and the book can be read by an adult for 30 minutes. Our reader K1 here can read the book in less than two hours if she concentrate on the book and not distracted by her little brother.

All kids can definitely relate with Jack and Annie and will want to read more about their adventures. For parents who want their kids to love reading, this is a perfect series!

Here's what our 6-year-old silly girl say about this book. We read the book in one sitting so she's a bit struggling with the details of the book. We'll dig deeper with the details and supplement it with the facts of the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #1: Dinosaurs: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark.  It will be a very productive summer for us, I hope!

.. hoops, it was not Fiona Creek, it was FROG Creek! Sorry, kiddo, Mommy taught you wrong! ha!

Keep reading!

Reading Chapter Books: Jumbo Jets - Gosh look Teddy, it's a Werewolf!

We have tried another chapter book and this time, it's a bit different. Gosh Look Teddy, It's a Werewolf Pb (Jumbo Jets) is not your typical adventure book! There's a lot of silliness and weird parts in this book. Made us look up who the author is as well as his other books. Bob Wilson has lots of books similar to this book that are worth checking out. This type of books is refreshing for both kids and adults alike.

The story is indeed a frightfully romantic story. Frightful and romantic are words that usually don't go with each other. Not even words to be used in the same sentence. It completely makes sense, though, to describe the book.

Who could have imagined that werewolves could co-exist much more fall in love and what if all teachers and all adults around kids were werewolves? Ha, now that is a thought.  Hideous adventure!

Here is K1's summary  of the book as well as her reactions. We hope that we are getting better with the recording as this is our fourth chapter book.


Keep reading!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Turkish Dishes: Ayvalik Tostu (Toast)

It's a popular toast from Ayvalik - Ayvalik Tostu. For a tourist like me, it's really nothing special. It's a sandwich in a special bread using special hotdogs, chili, cheese and mayonnaise - that's what it is for me. But for the locals, the taste is amazing compared to the normal toasts they make at their home. I am smartly deducting that theory because Turkish don't really like eating out much. But since we had to travel to an island (Ayvalik) to eat this toast, then it must be really special. 

For those of you who are running out of idea on what to pack for lunch for the school kids, this is something new and easy to prepare: special hotdogs, chili, cheese (try mozzarella because it melts) and mayonnaise). Don't forget to toast the bread though - duh, Ayvalik toast! 


Ayvalik Tostu - toast from Ayvalik!

It's a big serving of bread!

Alvalik Tostu + Ayran is a good combination apparently

It's not that I didn't like it - I just find it ordinary. The kids loved the toasts and devoured it like crazy or probably they were just starved so much! Ha, mean I am not!

Ayvalik, on the other hand, has some spectacular sights to see!

Afiyet Olsun!

Dining Out in Doha: Cinnzeo

It's not actually Dining Out in Doha blog entry but more on hanging out in Doha while getting fat. We love Cinnzeo to bits! We just can't help grabbing a bite of this delicious cinnamon dessert every time we pass by The Mall to go to Spinneys for quick groceries, or watch a movie or just stroll. Hence, the calories we need to burn! 

Cinnamon + Coffee = Great Satisfaction after watching the movie and chatting about it. You try it! 

The Mall Cinnamon outlet 

our favorite cinnamon roll - we just can't get enough!

Afiyet Olsun!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Reading Chapter Books: Rainbow Magic - Danielle the Daisy Fairy

I was sure that Little Ms. Reader will like the fairy books but I wanted her to read first the famous chapter books from US - Nancy Drew and Junie B Jones. I was hoping she would love the book series and find these books imaginative enough to her taste. Apparently not!

So, we read the first fairy book: Petal Fairies #6: Danielle the Daisy Fairy: A Rainbow Magic Book and naturally, she loved the book.

Here's what she has to say:

She has a point - she is already a first grader and silly girl, why read about it. Oh my, oh my!  Watch out for more fairy books on here then.

Here is MY wishlist still:

Keep exploring!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Exploring Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

One of the major landmark of Istanbul is the Grand Bazaar. Grand Bazaar Istanbul is one of the oldest and largest covered market in the world with 61 streets and over 3000 shops! It is very easy to get lost in Grand Bazaar. The first time I went here was to shop for our wedding ring, wedding ring and other wedding "stuff." I don't remember any of stores. All I remember is the excitement among other feelings. 

The other times I went here is to but souvenirs for loved ones back home in Doha and Philippines. Not being fond of shopping, the funny incidents I remember is how tired and hungry I got. Since we usually visit Istanbul during the summer, it tends to be so hot during this period especially during with the big crowd. The heat, the crowd, the choices, the overwhelming things to buy, is synonymous to stress and boredom. 

The first 2-3 hours of exploring the Grand Bazaar is pure bliss. The history behind the infrastructures, the uniqueness of the place really lives up to its name, The Grand Bazaar! However,  3 hours or so of shopping, is really my tolerance. Well, I am properly fed with lots of Turkish dishes then I could still go on for the next 30 minutes, but usually, I get too impatient to even stand up. 

My mood aside, no one should visit Istanbul and not go to the Grand Bazaar. 

Turkish Viagra for sale! 

a typical summer crowd  at Grand Bazaar 

pashmina. Turkish decorations  and other kitchen stuff 

cheese and other Turkish goodies 
Turkish Delight and other Turkish sweet! 
i think this is the wholesale isle

woohoo- kokorec

I am tired and bored, can we go now?


baklava and other fattening yet very tasty sweets!

candies and other sugar-dishes! 

fresh fish!



A word of caution: plan what you want to buy at the Grand Bazaar or you will end up with lots of stuff you really don't need. It's very expensive a bit pricey shopping at the Grand Bazaar!


Keep exploring!


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