Thursday, March 22, 2018

Auntie 2.0 - Chunky's Arriving

Guess what? It's time for another little baby niece to arrive in my life! Two more tiny hands and feeties to spread happiness in my world. I'm so excited I think I can barely sit still. Being an aunty has been one of the best experiences of my life and I have spent the past nine months patiently waiting, with much difficulty, for a second niece. It's now finally time and we're expecting her arrival any day now, with God's will! It is going to be so awesome, especially to watch Gubby get a little sister. She's so excited and keeps planning what she'll do once the little one arrives. Our girl team is going to grow too (shout out to my poor brother, the only guy in the house! *laughs*). Yay for our girl team! It'll now be Bua, Beeya, Gubby, and ..... CHUNKY! Yes, I have a funky nick name for the second one too: CHUNKY! Funky Chunky! *laughs* Count on me, the most fabulous Beeya in the world, to find the funkiest nicks for her little darlings!

Another doll, another cutie pie, another little one to add to the fun we have together!

Bless her, she's my darling. The past three years with her have been the definition of pure love. She looks up at me with her pretty eyes with so much love that it melts my heart. She's very fond of me and I'm her favorite just like she is mine. I hope I have the same bond with Chunky too. Gubby knows that she can count on me for serious entertainment! *laughs* I always have new stories to tell (I realized I can make up stories real quick - sometimes pretty lame ones too)! I always have new games to play. I'm the cartoon watching partner and the baker auntie who bakes the most wonderfully awesome birthday cakes. It's so much fun doing things for Gubby because she appreciates everything like no one else does. I know that if I do anything different she'll notice and appreciate it. "You have a new shirt Beeya!", "I like your new bag Beeya, it's pretty!", "Beeya's room is so pretty and colorful!", Beeya this and Beeya that. I don't think there is any relation more precious than this one in the world. Oh and my most favorite bit is that she actually gave me the nickname Beeya herself. I think it's the cutest thing anybody has ever called me before!

Every single day with this darling is precious, every morning more brighter than before, and every moment spent with her is a memory I am sure to cherish until my very last breath. Sure, sometimes it means I have the Doc McStuffins' title song stuck in my head and I'm singing Paw Patrol in the shower, but every breath taken with her is worth it. The love she gives back to me is just .... Okay, having a serious melting moment here! I guess Olaf was right, some people are worth melting for. I realized that the most ever since I became an auntie!

Chunky, we're ready to welcome you to our world and into our lives. Please come soon and smoothly! May God keep both my little darlings forever blessed and may we stay the best of friends forever and ever! *Walks away to set another Paw Patrol episode for recording on the DVR*

Monday, March 19, 2018

Blogging From A to Z Challenge April 2018 ~ Theme Reveal

Dhan tanan! It's another year, another April approaches, and with it comes the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge of 2018. This will be my fourth time doing the A to Z Challenge and I'm excited! The April A to Z Challenge is a really great blogging thingy hosted over at the official A to Z site. Basically you pick a theme (optional!) and blog every day in April, except Sundays, starting with each letter of the alphabet. So twenty six blog posts starting from each letter of the alphabet for some serious blogging fun!

I've been doing it since 2015 and I love everything about it ever since. I've had a chance to find some great bloggers plus received great appreciation for my own posts. In 2015 my theme was my favorite place in the world - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I was even featured and interviewed for it as part of Themes That Rocked the Challenge because it was so popular (read my interview). For the years 2016 and 2017 I blogged on the theme 'Sara's Baked Creations' which was extremely DELICIOUS because it was all about my passion for baking, and my obsession of cake decorating. It was REALLY fun blogging about my baking and decorating talents and to hear such praise for it from everyone made me feel swollen with pride! Now, 2018 is here and today is the official theme reveal day for the challenge. GUESS WHAT'S MY THEME THIS YEAR?

Stand up, put your hands together, cheer, shout, clap, do the ecstatic dance!

Yes, that's right! For 2018 my theme is once again going to be Sara's Baked Creations. I keep becoming better at baking and cake decorating. SBC keeps getting bigger and more awesomer! Since the last year I've rolled out numerous cakes, cookies, bars, brownies, desserts, and what not! So I'm back for an extremely delicious April A to Z Challenge again with all my baked creations!

For a quick introduction (in case you missed my blog last year!): I am an obsessed baker and Sara's Baked Creations is all that I bake and decorate. It is my true love; A hobby, a passion, a dream! I started off with cupcakes on January 6th 2011 seven years back and my obsession has only grown since then. I became manic; everything possible must be tried and learned in the field of baking! To me baking is an art. It is my talent. It is my creativity. It works as a stress reliever and as a confidence booster for me. Simply put: I LOVE BAKING. Too too much. I've done so much magic with my baking and cake decorating skills over the past seven years and this year, thanks to the A to Z, I'm choosing to show off and blog about it all!

Sara’s Baked Creations is on Mission Sweetness! Sara and Abbie are hobby bakers who bake for friends and family only. We are not a commercial bakery business; it gives us joy to spread smiles while enjoying sisterhood and living our passion for baking.

All the mouth-watering pictures in these posts are original Sara's Baked Creations' content. Please have some shame and refrain from copying, recreating, and cheating without giving proper credit and mention!

Get ready to see art in edible form.
Embrace yourself for there shall be deliciousness. 
Prior warning: The following entries may trigger intense drooling sensations resulting from extremely tasty images. Proceed with caution.

This index will populate and links to entries will become active as I complete the daily challenges. Some of the prompts I have chosen now may change as I decide which awesomeness from Mission Sweetness I'd like to share the most! The post for the letter 'A' is the same as last year's because my introduction to Sara's Baked Creations remains the same!

A for All About Sara's Baked Creations
B for Brown Floral Sugar Cookies
C for Cookie Monster Surprise
D for A Dainty Delight - Birthday Cake
E for 
F for Funfetti Cookie Bites
G for The Gorgeous Little Beauties
H for Home Sweet Home - The New Home Cupcake Collection
I for
J for Japanese Inspired Cupcakes
K for Killer Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars
L for 
M for M&M Fun Cookie Bars
N for The New Moon Sugar Cookies - Beautiful Blue
O for Overloaded Cookie Funfetti Blondies
P for The Paw Patrol Cake
Q for The Quirky Madhatter's Cupcake Poppers
R for 
S for Seasonal Fall Foliage Cupcakes
T for
U for Unicorn Blue Pinwheel Cookies
V for
W for Walnutter Chocolatey Bars
X for XoXo! Love In Bloom Sugar Cookie Collection
Y for 'Yer a Wizard, Harry!' - The Harry Potter Cake
Z for Zodiac Leo Dad's Birthday Cake


Connect with me and the awesomeness of Sara's Baked Creations!
Like it on Facebook!
Follow it on Twitter!
Visit the Instagram!
Visit the Website!

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Wacky Finds Series ~ Volume 35

It's time for Volume 35 of The Wacky Finds Series!
These are a monthly series I started out of sheer awe of how crazy things around me are! Here's what this is about ... Ahem Ahem: When my awesome self steps out of my bed each morning I meet a world of crazies. People, things, phenomena, and acts of nature which are simply too unusual to miss and not record! The Wacky Finds Series will cover all the weird stuff that I find along my way; good weird, awkward weird, bad weird, I-totally-don't-get-this weird .. all kinds of weird shall be recorded and snapped without any discrimination!

What its that? You must be trying to find some kind of explanation. Let me tell you and make it easy. It's fondant! That's what it looks like during the process of marbling two shades. Looks pretty wacky, doesn't it? I love marbling fondant. It's just so magical. You keep working on it and it keeps changing right in front of your eyes. The more you do it the more detailed your marbling becomes. Magic!

The people of my house seriously need to go back to elementary school and then re-learn all their basic manners. Actually I don't think that will help either. Adults in my house don't act like adults. First I'd found an underwear in the vacuum's bag, then pulled out a tube of glue from another vacuum's pipe, and now I keep pulling out things from my washer and dryer. This time when I unloaded the washer I saw something in there which looked icky. So I called Abbie for help. She took it out using a tong and then was trying to justify that it was a piece from a plastic bag. I took it from her, looked at it, and didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or be mad. It was the completely washed out tag from a Harry Potter shirt or pajama. Definitely Abbie's doing! Look close, the Harry Potter logo is visible! Even our washer is a fan.

This one made me laugh for DAYS because he wore the same outfit for at least two episodes and then I took a picture and laughed at it for at least two more. WHY did he wear that? Oh and I wouldn't have laughed so hard if he had just been wearing the waistcoat. WHY did he have to wear the same awful stripes for pants too? He looked like a teletubby! Hahahaha!

You're staring at a Desi family's trolley at the desi store. It is full of Paapay (rusks) which we are absolutely addicted to. We have them dipped in our chai every morning without which our day feels incomplete. Sadly they went extinct recently and we panicked like mad. So when they were finally back in stock we got an entire carton full! SAFETY PRECAUTIONS ... in case they run out again.

I saved the best for last. That's mum's sunny side egg. We wake up every morning and I make this for her so she can have her medicine at seven. If you're wondering why it's lying in the sink let me explain. Abbie sprinkles a dash of salt on the egg when I'm done cooking it. One morning I placed the egg in mama's plate and Abbie accidentally sprinkled a little too much salt on it. So she was blowing away a bit of the salt in the sink and to do so she tilted the plate and swoosh .. pchooks. That's what I heard. She dropped the egg in the sink. I spent the next twenty minutes laughing and controlling my laughter. She kept sulking and feeling horrible. Pchooks ... hilarious!

That's all folks! Until the next five wacky finds, have a wacky day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Typical Mall Day With the Bestie

Mall days - oh how I always look forward to them. For Abbie and I Mall days are like precious little super short vacations in the middle of our super hectic routine. I keep tweeting and instagramming moments and highlights from my mall days with the bestie and often friends have asked me, "So what exactly do you guys do then?" We basically escape from reality for a few hours, eat, laugh, talk  about absolutely nothing and yet everything, window shop and shop for real, and after a few moments spent in peace we come back home. Every few months mama goes to the mall to get her hair done and while she's there Abbie and I get to roam around and have our own fun. 

One of the best parts about mall days is the opportunity to dress up and put together pretty outfits. It's no secret that I absolutely adore dressing up and whenever we head out to the mall I get all my pretty clothes out. Usually, whenever I buy a new dress or new shoes I try my best to wear them when we hit the mall. It's always exciting and I always try to don on the most gorjabulous outfits and then have some pretty pictures taken of myself. *laughs* I love taking pictures and getting pictures taken, I can't help it!

The dress up part is exciting, sure, but what really gets me motivated is Starbucks. Mall days mean Starbucks' indulgence days for me. I am almost always worried about gaining weight so the only rare occasion when I get something sinfully delicious from Starbucks' dessert menu is when we hit the mall. It's brilliant because I get to try the seasonal items like cake pops and cakes. I am a huge fan! I love how delicious everything Starbucks has is. Abbie and I share whatever we get so we get to try the different flavors and varieties without feeling too guilty. I don't think I can pick favorites that easily but from the top of my mind the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake Pop is mind blowing yummy and the Winter special Gingerbread Loaf is a killer with that hint of orange zest in its icing. DELICIOUS! Oh, and what do I drink? Hot chocolate! One tall, extra hot, hot chocolate please! Mmmm mmmm! I can't have coffee because it upsets my stomach so my go to is my dear friend: the hot chocolate! Starbucks has seriously good hot chocolate too!


Starbucks is our first stop once we reach the mall but then hours of roaming around and having fun make us hungry again and instead of eating a proper lunch, Abbie and I indulge in junk! Abbie gets her Menchies frozen yogurt and because the smell and taste of raw yogurt kills me brutally I stay away. I always ask her to add a little piece of brownie to her bowl though, that's mine. She has to win the challenge of arranging the brownie such that it doesn't touch any of the icky fro yo! *laughs* We don't just do the sweet stuff though (though that's the best!) and also get us a pretzel to share with mama! Roasted garlic and parmesan, sour cream and onion, and the regular salted one ... they're all so tasty! The warm and salty pretzel after all that sweet stuff feels extra good too!

Next on my list of excitement is the shopping (and window shopping) part. Our go to favorite stop is Hot Topic where we unleash our Potterhead selves and go crazy. As of now we've bought mostly EVERYTHING they have in their Harry Potter collection including Harry Potter shoes, dresses, shirts, socks, decor, toys ... you name it, we have it! We also love the classic dresses non-HP that Hot Topic has. So whenever we hit the mall we always go to Hot Topic. Their rewards program is super cool too so we keep shopping online and having it shipped to store. It's so exciting when the shopkeeper brings out the carton full of our order and then we get to unwrap it and try everything on in the dressing room. It's like getting presents - Harry Potter presents! Favorite shop at the mall: Hot Topic, for sure! I'll be blogging about all my Harry Potter merch soon too!

Of course no matter where we go our darling niece Gubby always stays on our minds. So every now and then we get to shop for her at the mall too. It's different than shopping for her in general with mama around because this is like exclusive Auntie shopping. I've gotten her several Disney toys including Gus Gus and the most recent ones are Goofy and Stuffy the dragon. She loves them all! We also shop for her clothes sometimes, Children's Place's graphic tees being a favorite choice of ours. When we last visited the mall very recently we asked her what would she like us to get for her before we were leaving. The kid is real specific, I tell you! She said, "I want a pretzel, with mustard!" So of course Bua Beeya got her a pretzel with mustard on the side. *laughs*

Hot Topic, JC Penney, and Children's Place are all our usual spots but we occasionally do some specialty stuff too. Papaya is a good shop where we've bagged some serious hot jackets in the past. Victoria's Secret is our absolute favorite too and Bath and Body Works makes me go all happy whenever we are there. A not-so-common stop is also the shop called Lolli and Pops, that's the one in the picture above. The sight of all that candy makes me sway. It's mesmerizing!

There's always something new and awesome to do at the mall. Like once we got chocolate frogs from Lolli and Pops and had some fun shooting videos of opening them and finding out which Wizard's Card we'd gotten. They're not the same as the real ones sold at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter but they are still super cool. Abbie got her beloved Gilderoy Lockhart and I got the wonderful Hagrid! Love both of them so much and I can't wait to collect the rest of them.

There's never a dull moment at the mall. Especially not when bestie's by my side. We enjoy seasonal sales and decor, the delicious snacks, hot chocolates, and the shopping. We laugh and enjoy for a couple of hours like we have no worries in the world. It's our Hakuna Matata moment!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Aldeerah Saudi Cuisine - Restaurant Review

I review my experience of the newly famous Saudi restaurant in town!
The Aldeerah Restaurant, located in Virginia, boasts authentic Saudi cuisine. I'd been hearing about it a lot and seeing check-ins appear all over my Facebook feed and finally one day the family decided to dine there to celebrate my brother's birthday. We were there over the weekend with our hungry selves ready for some delicious Saudi food. It was a different experience eating Saudi food but was it good or bad? Here's my review!

The Ambience
Let me start with the decor at Aldeerah. My first impression of the restaurant was brilliant owing to its beautiful decor. The entire place is decorated so fine I took my time taking in everything. The tables and chairs we sat on set the mood for Suadi cuisine. They have these Salt and Pepper shakers which look like Saudi people dressed up in the local outfits. I thought that was a really fun touch. There's wall decor everywhere which includes really cute Chai kettles and what not. The restaurant also offers a sit-on-the-floor eating experience for typical Saudi feels. I'd been hearing a lot of hype about it before I visited Aldeerah myself. However, if you ask me the floor seating section of the restaurant isn't even half as pretty as the other side. The side with dining tables was lit much better and conveyed more Saudi feels than the floor seating did. Plus it felt much more posh too.

The cute kettle and the salt and pepper shakers!

The Food
Now lets talk about the most important part of a restaurant - the food. We ordered the Lentil Soup first which was delicious once I'd added salt to my bowl. It had that perfect creamy feel and tasted great. The Falafels came next which were very tasty too. They came with a yummy sauce which to me tasted like it had a yogurt base. I loved the Falafels a lot. For appetizers we also ordered the Beef Sambosas which tasted really good too. The appetizers did not disappoint. Then we moved on to the entrees. We tried ordering Shawarma, which was honestly the one dish I had been looking forward to the most, and even though they stated in their menu that it was a special feature for the day the server told us they didn't have any left. Err, we were there at seven for dinner. How soon does one have to be there to be able to eat the Shawarma? Honestly, I think they didn't run out, they never made any in the first place. Another special entree of the day was 'Harees' but when we placed the order the server shook his head once more and told us he didn't have any. So we ordered the Chicken Kabsa, the Lamb Mandi, and the Qursan with Vegetables. We also ordered extra chicken and extra lamb on the side.

Beef Sambosa and Chicken Kabsa

Qursan with Vegetables and Lamb Mandi

Extra Chicken and Lamb Sides

Once the entrees had arrived and we'd started eating that's where some ifs and buts came in. Aldeerah, though beautifully decorated, missed out on something essential: SALT! The Kabsa and Mandi were supposed to have different kinds of rice but with no salt I couldn't feel any difference. The meat which came in the sides was much better compared to the entrees. The bottom line was that the food had almost no salt. Maybe that's why they had such interesting salt and pepper shakers? *laughs* I know I have a Desi food palette which biases towards well spiced foods. However, in this case the food seriously did lack spices. It wasn't just me, it was the entire family. Dessert, at last, was delicious and a treat after the no-salt-added food. We ordered Basbosah and Muhalabiya. The Basbosah was this yummy semolina cake and the Muhalabiya (which was my favorite from the night) was a creamy pudding I loved. We also ordered the Karak Tea with milk and cardamom because we're serious chai lovers. Sadly, it was more cardamom than tea and really broke my heart.

Basbosah and Muhalabiya

My Word
Aldeerah Restaurant was a decent change of taste from our usual Desi/American eating habits however it seriously lacked on taste. The food almost had no salt at all and even after I'd added a tonne of salt to each dish it still lacked spices. I've experienced Saudi cuisine when I was visiting Saudi Arabia and even though I know they do keep spices low, especially compared to Desi cuisine, Aldeerah's lack of taste was still unjustifiable. I'd say I had a decent time eating there mainly because of the beautiful decor and the excitement of ordering dishes from a different cuisine. The appetizers and desserts were very delicious but the entrees, unfortunately, weren't. I went for the Shawarma and sadly that wasn't even available. I had a little heart break right there. As my final word I'd say it's a good change of scene but not too good on your taste buds; it did not wow me like I would have liked it to and I don't think I'd want to go there again!

Here's a little video compilation I made that night!
All pictures and videos are my own!
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