So I made a birthday cake…. First time ever

And surprisingly, it was edible!

I have never been a cooking and baking enthusiast. I am a stay at home mom and do all the cooking myself but kitchen is definitely not the place where I feel home.

But last week I decided to make a birthday cake myself. All I have ever done (and also messed up) is bake cakes using boxed cake mixes.

So, of course, I started with watching a million YouTube videos and seeing how complicated the whole procedure was, I decided that it would be best to keep the budget minimal (but realistic), make use of the utensils/tools I have already and buy ready made stuff as much as I can to ensure the process can be simplified as much as possible.

A day before I was supposed to have the cake ready, I decided to drop by a supermarket nearby to get the boxed cake mix. I chose chocolate because I know that chocolate hardly ever goes wrong. However, I was not able to find many other stuff which I required. I then headed off to another shop that I thought would have most of the items I required. I decided against buying expensive tools like Cake rotating stand or the cake leveler. I was just unsure how the cake would turn out and whether I would be making another cake ever in my life. But I did buy ready made fondant and some reddy made gum paste flowers.

That same day I decided to get the cake baked with the help of my kids. That was such a fun activity as the kids got to crack and eggs themselves and they helped me stir all the ingredients together.

IMG_20180830_171107.jpg

As I didn’t buy a spatula or a new cake pan, I just used the cake pan I already had and poured in the batter with a simple spoon. Thankfully, the cake came out perfectly.

IMG_20180830_181313.jpg

I left it overnight in the fridge so that I could get down to decorating it the next morning.

So next morning, after dropping off the kids to school, I took out the cake and cut it in half to put in the icing. Meanwhile, I had kept the butter outside so that it would melt. Then I made my first ever icing.

IMG_20180831_111401.jpg

It was actually simpler to make then I had anticipated. I put it on one layer of cake, put on the other layer and covered the whole cake with the icing.

IMG_20180831_114806.jpg

Next, was the turn to cover it with fondant. Now as I mentioned earlier, I had store bought fondant, which apparently I only had to roll and put it in the cake.

IMG_20180831_124431.jpg

I started by dusting off my counter with corn starch and started rolling the fondant.

IMG_20180831_124909

It was all white and a little boring and so I added just a few drops of red food color… Which turned it into pink.

IMG_20180831_125748.jpg

I then rolled on the fondant onto my rolling pin and stuck it onto the cake.  As my cake was not exactly high, it didn’t prove to be as difficult as I expected.

IMG_20180831_130728

Now I just needed to stick my decorations to the cake but I realised I didn’t know how to do so. A quick Google search helped me find out the easiest and the most economical way… Just use a little water. The kids were back from school by then and they helped (added on) with the decorations and they were quite proud of it.

IMG_20180831_165202

So the cake turned out OK. It didn’t look awesome but hey, it was just my first attempt. I made a few mistakes and I will be sure not to do the same in the future. Of course, next time I will try and bake the cake from scratch as well just to challenge myself a little further.

Advertisements

Top 10 Must Watch Kids Movies

Television has long been a source of entertainment and a way to wile the hours away. The prime objective of TV shows and movies has always been keeping the audience’s interest. But this platform has also been a strong proponent of positive messages, good vibes and lessons to learn. You and I have grown up watching some of the most classic children films and they remain to be some of the best movies of all time.

It’s not about the jaw-dropping graphics or the melodious soundtracks; it’s about the character development, the solid plotline and a positive life lesson that makes these movies stand out from the rest. While there are many titles that fit this description, here are top 10 children movies that have outshined through decades and must be watched with your kids before they turn twelve.

#1: The Lion King

Ah, who can forget this timeless Disney classic? This isn’t only a story of courage and how to fight for your people. This is a story that teaches children how to deal with loss and of course – how to put the past behind them.

_20180904_104541.JPG

#2: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Adapted from Roald Dahl’s best-selling children’s novel, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is about the adventures of an unprivileged boy into a magical chocolate factory. This movie not only keeps children entertained and humming the Oompa Loompa songs for days, but it also makes them understand the importance of humility. Charlie’s patience, humbleness and kindness brought him riches in the end unlike all the other bratty kids in the movie who met a more or less dreadful end to their chocolate factory tour.

_20180904_104821.JPG

#3: Toy Story

Toy Story has seen many different sequels but the ’95 Disney film remains to be the best still. Toy Story is a fun concept with a strong message. Woodie’s dedication to protect his friends and Buzz’s show of courage are all inspiring themes that children are sure to pick on.

_20180904_105033.JPG

#4: Akeelah and the Bee

This relatively contemporary movie blew up the box office charts in 2016. Akeelah, a young girl with a broken household, find an opportunity to break free from her circumstances through a Spelling Bee competition. With the help of Dr. Larabee’s coaching, Akeelah learns how she can become someone she can be proud of.

_20180904_105219.JPG

#5: Brave

As the name implies, Brave is a story about courage and strength. Forced to marry at an early age by her parents, Meredith breaks the customs of her family tradition and pursues her passion instead – archery. Brave is a story that highlights and strengthens a mother-daughter bond and teaches both children and parents to understand the other person’s point of view.

_20180904_105428.JPG

#6: The Iron Giant

Inspired from Ted Hughe’s award-winning novel, The Iron Giant made waves back in 1999. This story about friendship and sacrifice will leave tears in your eyes but a lesson that you will remember for years to come – a perfect kids move indeed!

_20180904_105627.JPG

#7: Matilda

Another Roald Dahl adapted movie, Matilda narrates the story of a gifted yet misunderstood girl. Her struggles against the prejudice from her family and the cruelty of her school principal are short. Matilda soon realizes she has the power to stand up to all that don’t believe in her. This strong message of self-esteem, self-love and courage is extremely essential.

_20180904_105831.JPG

#8: E.T the Extra-Terrestrial

This heart-wrenching timeless movie remains a favorite for many adults still. When a young boy befriends a gentle alien, new bonds are made and new adventures are embarked upon. The powerful message of sticking up for your friends is both a tear-jerker and uplifting.

_20180904_110035.JPG

#9: Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte must do everything in her power to protect her bovine friend Wilbur from getting slaughtered– even if it means constructing an elaborate spider web. Children will learn how important it is to help out those in need from this film. They will also learn the true meaning of friendship in Charlotte’s Web.

_20180904_110336.JPG

#10: Wizard of Oz

Possibly one the most oldest and yet still one of the greatest classic children films is the Wizard of Oz. The plot follows Dorothy, a girl lost from her home because of a tornado, and her quest to return to her family. With her friends she finds embarks on the way back home but this road isn’t simple. Dorothy must act intelligently, with courage and kindness to make it through. The Wizard of Oz is truly one of the most inspiring kids’ movies of all time to date.

_20180904_110602.JPG

Neurological disorders explained: Seizures

We’ve seen it on TV, in cartoons – characters getting sudden episodes of fits. It’s almost taken as a hilarious act in some shows but there’s honestly nothing funny about a fit.

Seizures, known by the layman as a fit or simply and episode, is a spontaneous change in the electrical conductivity in your brain that causes a sudden change in movement and behavior. In some forms of seizures, unconsciousness follows before the patient can recover.

_20180831_095124.JPG

Seizure is a broad term; there are actually several different types of it. Most of these episodes last for only about 30 seconds to two minutes but even this short time period is a serious cause of distress for both the patient and his loved ones.

The underlying pathology of a seizure varies from what caused it in the first place. A neurological disorder, epilepsy, is the leading cause of seizures but meningitis, high-grade fever, certain medications, low sodium levels and even a striking lack of sleep can cause a seizure to occur.

It’s important to know how you need to act if you witness someone with an episode of a fit. During the attack, it’s important that you clear other people away and remove all sharp objects from the vicinity of the patient because you never know if they might lash out. It’s also important to not hold them down or try to stop the uncontrolled movements they make. Waiting is pivotal and it’s also the most hardest.

Once the episode has safely subsided, check in with the doctor. Anticonvulsants are the first line of therapy in patients with seizures along with certain lifestyle changes such as improving sleep quality, stress management and removing triggers.

<< Previous

Neurological disorders explained: Parkinson’s Disease

Diseases that inch by inch rob you of your capabilities are the absolute worst and the most distressing. Be it progressive memory loss as in dementia and Alzheimer’s, or slowly losing touch of your cognition as in Parkinsonism. But there’s always a silver ling, a hope. If diagnosed in the early stages, the progression of these diseases can effectively be slowed down if not completely halted. Parkinsonism is one such disease that, if detected early on, can be appropriately managed with the support of your family and a good doctor.

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by progressive neurological disorder that particularly affects movement, cognition and speech. A course tremor is characteristic of this disease as well as a small-stepped gait, rigid muscles and soft speech.

_20180829_134849

What causes Parkinsonism? Probably your genetic makeup with a little input of some toxic environmental triggers. The core problematic area in this disease is the basal ganglia in your brain that has an increased quantity of a certain protein accumulate, Lewy Bodies. Fortunately, with the marvelous advances in modern medicine, several medicines exist to improve the symptoms of a patient with Parkinsonism. There is no cure, however.

If someone you know is showing signs of Parkinsonism (mostly over the age of 60), get them to check in with their physician. The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the better the prognosis will be for them.

<< Previous

Next>>

Neurological disorders explained: Cerebral Palsy

Statistics have shown that about 500,000 children in the US alone are victims of cerebral palsy – a debilitating group of neurological disorders that keeps a child from leading a normal life. The prime manifestations of this disease are impaired muscle movement and motor skills along with secondary disabilities that affect vision, mental health, learning, hearing and speech.

_20180822_114504.JPG

With such a high prevalence rate of cerebral palsy, it’s important to illustrate the true cause of this disease. Most children with cerebral palsy have undergone some sort of brain damage. This could have occurred during birth or in the first five years of his or her life. Brain trauma is, thus, the main etiological cause of cerebral palsy. Premature babies, lead poisoning, and meningitis are other causes that may result in a case of cerebral palsy.

Without getting into too much detail of the different types of cerebral palsies, it’s more important to know what you can do if your child has been diagnosed with it. It’s important to approach this disease and its outcomes with a strong, open mind since it is a lifelong impairing disease.

Currently no cure for cerebral palsy exists but the symptoms of this disorder can be minimized by the appropriate medication. Children with cerebral palsy commonly require special equipment and therapy to improve their quality of life.

<< Previous

Next >>

 

The star that is Humayun Saeed

Humayon Saeed is unarguably one of the biggest stars that Pakistan entertainment industry has produced over the last two decades. He is 47 and he is here to stay for a long long time.

_20180803_094756

Nowadays, its rare to see Humayon Saeed on TV and even if we do, it’s usually to promote one of his movies. I believe he always wanted to be a movie star. He tried his hands on a negative role in Inteha and then did a few other movies as well but it was his work in Television that got him recognition, fame and respect.

Now, he is the biggest movie star and one of the best producers for movies and drama serials in Pakistan.

_20180803_094730

When we think of Humayun Saeed now, we don’t think of an actor but a celebrity. However, it was not always like this. He has done some memorable roles in a lot of drama serials which are a must watch (if you haven’t already, of course).

Here is a list of some of his television dramas that are, and will always be, my favourites

1. Mehndi: Of course no surprises there. It used to be everyone’s favourite. And although there were some other big names associated with this project, people simply loved Humayun Saeed and his pairing with Ayesha Khan who debuted in that serial.

_20180808_170800

2. Uraan: Humayon Saeed is very charming and he used that quite intelligently to his advantage in this serial that deals with marriage, domestic abuse and divorce in a very novel way. Penned by Umera Ahmed and directed by Yasir Nawaz, it is actually a story of woman emancipation but its the antagonist that stands out the most.

_20180803_094533.JPG

3. Doraha: Also, penned by Umera Ahmed is a story o  love and how it becomes difficult due to family pressures. It also boasts of jaw dropping performances by Sonia Rehman and Sanam Baloch.

_20180803_094632

4. Dil Lagi: One of his recent works for Television came as a pleasant surprise. Its penned by Faiza Iftikhar and directed by Jawani Phir Nahi Aani fame director, Nadeem Baig. The best thing about it was the fact that the leading lady, Mehwish Hayat, had a role just as powerful as Humayon Saeed.

_20180803_094516.JPG

5. Bin Roye: I had huge expectations from this one but oh well, this one just makes it into the list because Humayon Saeed is looking extremely hot.

_20180803_094551.JPG

Which one is your favourite humayon saeed drama serial?

 

Neurological disorders explained: Migraine

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience with a throbbing headache on one side of your head, it could be a migraine. In fact, it probably is. This extremely common condition affects over 5 million people in the US alone; the stats are even more sobering in Pakistan.

The word migraine rolls off our tongue all the time whenever we get the slightest of headaches but is it such a casual condition?

_20180806_190235

Turns out, it can be. Only a small portion of people with migraine suffer from the more concerning aura-type migraine. In this version of the headache, vision disturbances and photosensitivity is predominant. But most people don’t go through the aura phase of a migraine and suffer only from the basic pain symptoms and associated mood disturbances, nausea and fatigue – of varying intensities of course.

We still don’t really know the true pathology behind a migraine and several theories have been proposed. But one thing is for sure: it can run in families and it can be triggered by certain noxious environmental stimuli.

Patients with severe migraine attacks are often given a list of medicines and pain relievers over a long course of period. Those with only mild pain can find relief in paracetemol or naproxen as well.

Do you suffer from recurrent migraine attacks? I’d say get an appointment with your physician and find out what can help your symptoms.

<<Previous

Next >>