me Life and Times of the Fireflies: 2015

Thursday, 31 December 2015

A Roundup of the Year Gone By

As the sun sets on 2015, and the sun lingers for its final moments before the dawn breaks on a new year and we begin to look upon the horizon with renewed hope and goals and dreams; I always find some solace in taking a look at the moments that have passed us by. The ones that have  had the biggest impact on me. The moments that have challenged my heart and mind. The moments that have made me pause and reflect. The ones that have opened my mind and replenished the soul. For in Life's journey, these moments, big and small, unravel the greatest discoveries within ourselves.
Looking back over the months that have passed, this has been a big year of Change for us all. So many big moments and big decisions that have altered the course of our paths. Moments that have made us pause and wonder what lies around the next corner and many moments of joy and celebration too! We have celebrated weddings and welcomed a baby...while also having to embrace a few ditches and dents along the way. It has not been easy sailing all the way; but we have learnt, we have hurt and we have discovered...and we have done so as a Family!
2015 has definitely left its mark on me! It's been a year of big changes and new beginnings. And as we bid our final adieu's; I will hang on dearly to the lessons I have learnt along the way. At the end of it all, the ebb and flow of  Life will always be constant. Though it's important for us not to be pulled by the tide it's also important not to fight our way to the safety of familiar shores. The waves of change will always come, and when they do, we must embrace it and move with the flow of the current, instead of fighting against it!

Here's a list of my personal favourite pieces of 2015. It might not have all been popular, but they are the ones that stand out most to me for this year...

Endings and Beginnings  Last years ending was this years beginning...A recurring theme in various ways for all of us this year. Beginnings and endings always interwoven. One thing always leading to the next...

Life Begins @ 40  My eldest sister celebrated a big milestone as she entered her 40's. Naturally this post was full of sisterly sentiments
Second Chance  My sister got married!!! And though there were quite a few posts revolving around the various festivities; this one is my favourite :-)
What the Future Holds My eldest child became a Teen! Obviously this opens one up to unfamiliar territory and a host of concerns!

 Introducing Aryana Just as I'm about to emerge from the haze that comes with having young kids; just as I thought I was done with babies...I became an aunt again when we welcomed little Aryana into our midst and I lost my heart once more!

Thank you for all your continued support...for reading, following and being part of my journey!
Here's hoping you will tag along in the new year...learning, conquering and growing together :-)
Much Love!
NAMU :) 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

School Accolades

These past few weeks have been nothing short of hectic! And now that the school year has come to an end, I feel like I can finally breathe a sigh of relief and process my thoughts before holiday mode fully takes over. It's been nothing short of rollercoaster... with all the end of year demonstrations, awards ceremonies and graduations. Emotions catching me off guard as it fully started to sink in that Zaydaan will start grade 1 next year and Raqeeb joins his big sister in High School!
As a mother; a parent; I think it's only natural to want to see our children flourish and succeed. We want our children to do well, so that one day they can make something of themselves, get a degree, integrate into society and not be left behind. We want to know that when the time comes, they will be ok. That they will be able to fend for themselves. We want them to follow the 'norm'....and with these good intentions, we send them off to school; getting lost amongst the swarms of other kids whose mother's have the very same feelings and intentions. 
I love that accolades celebrates the kids who rise above the rest, but at the same time, I don't believe in 'stupid' children. I believe that every individual has been gifted with strength and purpose; and like a field of flowers, each has their own time to bloom. Sometimes I feel like the system is slightly flawed. That it pitches kids against each other. That it sets one up to fail. That it doesn't recognise the child in the middle, or acknowledge the child who; despite trying their best; didn't quite reach the mark. I feel like it forgets the child who persevered through a subject they didn't quite understand or tried hard at a language they find difficult to comprehend. And very often, I feel like it fails humanity when they neglect to recognise the child with compassion, integrity and humility. In short, I feel like they celebrate kids, but not ALL kids...under the premise that we all need to strive towards a certain standard...and yet I find it strange, that in these very same schools, they don't expect every child to run the race...or do long jump....or kick/pitch the ball.
I feel like the world wants academics and so we groom our kids for this world, but sometimes we forget what the world needs more of and forget to nurture those aspects in our kids. What I do know is that the world/universe has a way of teaching you what you need to learn irrespective of our accolades, and perhaps we need to nurture individuals to be more attentive, more balanced. Perhaps we should try celebrating ALL individuals and acknowledge their strengths. Perhaps in this way you truly will be grooming a generation to strive to do better...not compared to everyone else...but better than themselves!
I guess what I'm trying to say is that we all progress at a different pace, and though we should always strive to be better and do our best, we should never compare our best to the best of someone else. In my own kids, I want to create balance. I want them to know what the world expects of them, but I also want them to know what to expect from the world. I want them to strive towards success knowing full well that the definition of success will differ between each individual. And so as a mother, I will encourage the academically strong to achieve their full potential, motivate the one who is struggling and praise the one who is trying hard! I will teach the one who cannot draw while not diminishing the pride of the artist. I will run alongside the one who is slower, while cheering the one who can sprint... My kids all have different strengths an I love them ALL!
Well done on your achievements kids! You all shine in your own special way <3

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Introducing Aryana

Name : Aryana

Language : Persian

Meaning : Full of Life

I thought I was done Loving...that my heart had reached capacity...that there was no more room. I thought that life had settled. That the tiny babies I cared for and nurtured, are all grown up...almost all of them past me. I thought that these arms have done all it's embracing, cuddling, soothing. I thought that my energy had run dry from loving...that I had nothing more left to give - But I was WRONG!
I thought that I was done with babies...and all that it entailed. That I'd lost the built in instinct to love instantly and unconditionally. I thought I had my heart guarded against the power of a baby's tiny embrace. But then I  held you in my arms, and the chambers of my heart instinctively opened. Your head against my heart, my arms wrapped around your tiny frame...I thought I was done Loving...but I am not!

I thought I'd packed away the rattles and the toy box. That the memories of those years are all I have. But I am ready to unpack all those packed away treasures (and skills) in order to entertain you! I thought that I was done loving, but I am ready to open the doors of my heart and Love you. I was ready when I heard your first cries...ready when I accidentally refer to myself as "Mommy"...ready before you were born.

Though I did not bring you into the world, my heart beats with a knowingness of the sacrifices your mother endured to bring you here. For this reason my love for you is different. When all the other kids were born, I was an excited Aunt waiting to spoil her nephews...Now I stand beside your Mother as she draws her protective shield over you, knowing full well the responsibility that comes with raising a child...and more especially, a daughter. are born into a great big family, and though you are your Mother's first, you are the newest and littlest Firefly of us all for now, and that means you will have to deal with a lot of love from all directions! There are many hands to hold you...and many hearts who hold you dear <3


Cousins (minus 3 living in the UK)...all waiting to shower you with love  <3

Three generations of Firefly girls :-)

Love Always,

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Rocky turns 12!

I've been feeling very sentimental of late...Perhaps the arrival of the newest addition to our family coinciding with your birthday week has sparked the memory bank...perhaps one never truly forgets. But the memories are there, as vivid as my yesterday.
You have grown so much this past year, and I don't only mean your height; even though you have grown past me! You have grown in confidence and independence too; let go of the proverbial apron strings so to speak. You have grown in so many ways, yet some things feel like they haven't changed at all.  My heart beats with pride just thinking about the individual you are morphing into...but you didn't reach here without a great deal of struggle and sacrifice...Struggles you were too young to remember. Struggles I am glad you don't remember....But I do remember, and it makes me want to draw my protective shield over you ever so tightly.

There are some who would like to take credit for your good manners and gentlemanly charm...your worldly knowledge and wisdom far greater than your years. Gosh! Sometimes I want to take credit for it too! But the truth is that you are a rare and special soul who has brought in me a  much needed calmness, faith and reason (and ever so often give me a good dose of a reality check too with your quirky and witty one liners that has me laughing till my sides hurt!).

You are the joy and laughter of our home. Sensitive (in a way that is different to your siblings), sensible, steadfast...and a little bossy too! A wild card with a gentle heart and a stubborn streak. An off the bat talker, say it as it is (but with a sense of humour) kind of boy. Your bouncing off the walls and crazy exterior housing an internally calm individual. "Big brother" to your big sister, instigator of trouble with your baby brother and dearly loved by ALL who know you.

Your late grandfather always said that you are destined for great things. All I can hope and pray for as you get older and head into Life is that you don't get swallowed by the world or allow the world to change you! The illusion that is this world will always be a temptation...but you will be ok as long as you never forget your roots...never forget what we stand for and never forget who you are!

P.S Please don't exercise your stubborn streak during photo taking times so that next year I can have plenty more pictures to add to my post!!

Love always,
MOM :)

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Embracing the Now

When I was young, all I really wanted was to be a teen! People in their teens seemed so much more put together than those going through adolescence. They possessed an aura of confidence, appeared to have more freedom and fun, seemed more trendier and stylish than me...and in many ways I aspired to be like that.
When I reached my late teens, I fell in love and all I wanted was to marry the guy I love, sail into the sunset and live happily ever after. I wanted to be an adult without really knowing what it entailed.
When I got married, and the kids started to come, and exhaustion took over, the responsibilities kicked in; I couldn't wait till they were a little bigger, a little less of a handful; I prayed for the day where I could have a little time to myself, squeeze in some time for gym, maybe colour my hair in peace! And just as I could see myself emerging from the haze...OOOPS!...Baby number 3!...and I had to go through the process again, albeit a little better prepared.

And when the rough times came rolling in, I fought hard not to lose my footing, to get myself to stable ground. To find the rainbow in the midst of the storm.
And now, my baby is six and the older ones are entering their teens. Life has settled somewhat, and what do you know...suddenly I have something I never had a lot of before. Suddenly I have some Time! And it got me thinking...My whole life so far went by with me wanting to be somewhere else, reaching for the next phase, waiting for tomorrow, waiting for better days... The horizon always seemed a little brighter.
Perhaps the longing robbed me slightly of enjoying the present moment. Perhaps it was a glimmer of hope that made the chaotic days more bearable. But I waited and wondered; and now the tomorrow that always seemed so far away has finally come. Strangely enough, I never quite planned my life beyond this point!

So what is next for me? What does tomorrow look like? Middle age? I don't quite know. But what I do know is that in all my life, I have never been more excited about today and for the first time I am in no rush to reach what's next. I have never before been so aware of the power of the present moment, or more enthusiastic to embrace the Now I'm in; whatever it may bring!

Life is hectic, but my mind has become more calm. Perhaps, in this next stretch of my journey, I get to start focusing on me, find my centre, my balance...and that's a helluva exciting prospect if you think about it :-)

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Recipe - Panna Cotta with a Mixed Berry Coulis

There's nothing like a series of hot, sunny days to put me in the holiday spirit! Sure enough, there's a month to go before Summer vacation starts, but with the weather being far less temperamental and rather increasingly consistent, it feels like my mind is already starting to wind down with the year. Summer is practically here and I'm quite looking forward to it!
Extra hours of sun means more time outdoors, and more time outdoors obviously means less time in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean our taste buds need to suffer the brunt for our frivolousness! You'll obviously need a sweet treat to accompany your  Summer Braai, family get together, or end of year function and I have the perfect Summer treat. This dessert is so fabulous, it will have you in and out of the kitchen without breaking a sweat!
Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert which literally means "thickened cream". It is quick and easy to make and practically fool proof. When I first tasted Panna Cotta, I almost expected a laborious recipe attached to this indulgently smooth and creamy, easy on the tongue dessert. I was kind of surprised at the short list of ingredients....and even more shocked at the amount of time spent behind the stove...Never would I have guessed that a few kitchen basics could turn out this fantastic!

Ingredients (for Panna Cotta)
  • 1 cup full cream milk

  • 1 cup fresh cream

  • 1 cup coconut milk/cream

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 15 ml gelatine

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1.  Pour the milk, cream and coconut milk into the saucepan and sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over top. Let soften for 5 minutes or until the surface of the milk is wrinkled and the gelatin grains look wet.
  2. Dissolve the gelatin over low heat: Set the saucepan over low heat and warm the milk gently, stirring or whisking frequently. The milk should never boil or simmer; if you see steam, remove the pot from the stove and let it cool down. The milk should get hot, but not so hot that you can't leave your finger in the pot for a few seconds. The gelatin will dissolve quickly as the milk warms; it melts at body temperature so this step should go quickly.
  3. Dissolve the sugar: Stir the sugar into the milk and continue warming until it dissolves as well. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes total to dissolve both the gelatine and sugar. Again, never let the mixture boil. Once sugar and gelatine is dissolved, add vanilla extract.
  4. Pour into the ramekins and chill: Divide the mixture evenly between either greased ramekins or moulds, or in mini shot glasses like I have done with mine and put in the refrigerator to chill. If serving straight from the cups, without unmolding, chill for 1 to 2 hours. If you want to unmold the panna cotta, chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. I personally think it's best to chill overnight either way.
* Be careful not to boil the gelatine as this destroys it's thickening power and your dessert won't set.

    There are several ways to decorate a Panna Cotta dessert, many opting for fruity flavoured toppings. I've opted for a very easy to make, fresh, summery, Mixed Berry Coulis! If I knew it was this easy, I would've made it a lot sooner!

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries

  • 3 Tablespoons water

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • Method
  1. Add al ingredients to a pot and cook on medium heat, stirring every now an again until sugar is dissolves. This takes about 5 minutes.
  2. Once berries start to burst, remove from heat. Cool down slightly and then blend until smooth.
  3. Pour through a sieve, using a spoon or spatula to work the syrup through with only the seeds remaining behind. Don't forget to scrape some of the yummy goodness stuck to the bottom of the sieve
  4. What you are left with is a thick, glossy Coulis!
*Any leftover Coulis can be frozen to use at another time.

 Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Baby Moon Coming Soon

Without a doubt, this has been a colossal year for our family! In some way or form, we have all had to embrace change... but perhaps the biggest adjustment is just a few weeks away. True, I've watched her body slowly transform over the past few months, but I don't think it's fully sunken in that in a few more weeks my baby sister will be a Mom! That my tomboy little sister has evolved and is soon to start her journey as a Mother!

As the due date draws closer, I guess it's not only Moon who's making room for change...we all are! Just when we thought all our babies have grown up, there's a new little bundle we are ready to welcome, nurture, embrace and protect. And just as she has always been ready with open arms for all our kids, we will be fighting over hugs and kisses and nappy changes. trips to the park! And with her still being Mom's baby herself, emotions are running high as the days pass by.

 Moon has been such a big part of all our kids lives, having been so actively involved in helping the rest of us raise our own; that it's kind of strange watching her prepare for her own child...and now, all these years later, the kids she so freely embraced and entertained, are ready and queuing  to do the same for her baby. From the 19 year old to the 6 year old and everyone in between; they are all eagerly waiting to welcome their little cousin!

There's no denying that this baby will be born into a fortitude of love! She has already captured all of our hearts, and we simply cannot wait to meet her, hold her and love her forever. In the meantime, as we prepare for her arrival into the world, we knew this journey would be incomplete without a baby shower of sort. Obviously not compromising on making it special for the Mom-to-be! And naturally, we involved ALL the kids. Moon has been a big part of their lives, and now they get to share in the excitement and be a part of this new journey too <3

Proud Parents- to- Be...Moonlight


Special Cake for a Special Occasion
Some Sweet Treats
Pretty Pink Turkish Delight Cupcakes


Yummy Desserts

Each guest got to leave a special message for the baby.  (Artwork by Saafiyah Sonday)
Firefly Funnies

Dad- to- be hopeful that the next one will be a boy lol
Awesome Agu- Mamu Bhai

Saafiyah Appa (Twinsies lol)

Shakeel Bhai Strikes a Pose

Two Naani's having Fun

Amaarah Appa

A Baby Shower is not complete without Gifts
Rocky Bhaijaan

Waseem Bhaijaan and Naushaad Dada
Zee, counting down the days till he's a 'big brother'

A Firefly Family Tradition...The Countdown Calendar.   Awesome Agu makes one for every special family event.
Family Members leaving their print on the Family Tree

Artwork by Saafiyah Sonday

Didi Mummy Making her Mark
Proud Naani and Naana eagerly awaiting the new arrival.

Finally, the PIC OF THE DAY!... If all ANGLES else fails we have no choice BUT to take a Selfie hehehe.

Thanks for reading!