Monday, May 21, 2018

Our Gorgeous Ramadan 2018 Favors

Ding Dong! Knock Knock. Look who has arrived! Only the most awesome neighbors/friends everrrrr. Duh! *rolls eyes* It's Abbie and I, with our Ramadan favors! We've been doing it for a couple of years now and each year our friends just LOVE it! A pretty box full of delicious treats which also happen to look so very stunning. And all of this just to wish Ramadan Mubarak before the month of peace and blessings begins! This year Ramadan has arrived during the Spring season again. So once again our favor box was all colorful and glittery and flowery! It was beautiful! Yayyy!

Aaaahhhhh they were so so so beautiful! I still haven't gotten over them and it's been a week or two since we gave these babies away. They were so colorful both inside and out and oh my goodness, the delicious factor in there? BEYOND understanding delicious!!! Let me tell you what these beauties had in them ...

The New Moon Sugar Cookies!
This year the cookies were in a gorgeous shade of electric blue and dusted with edible glitter too. They sparkled and shined and tasted divine. Oh hey, look, I just rhymed! Hahaha!

The Belle of the Ball Sugar Cookies!
The weekend right before Ramadan began was Mother's Day and that's when we made and sent away these darling favor boxes too. So in went my Beauty and the Beast inspired sugar cookies which were my Mother's Day treats that doubled as Ramadan favors. They were beautiful! It was coincidence that the New Moons were electric blue this year. When we placed both of these cookies next to each other in the box it looked like I'd done a yellow and blue Beauty and the Beast theme. Hahaha!

Chewy. Gooey. Delicious. The sprinkle cookies of your dreams.

My world famous Snickerdoodles! (ahem ahem)

Tadaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! That's my entire baking ready to be packed away. Isn't that a gorgeous spread of deliciousness? Yummmmm .... So the favor boxes had my New Moon cookies, the Bell of the Ball sugar cookies, the Sprinkle Cookies of Your Dreams, and Snickerdoodles. But there was more. Muaa haa haa haaa!!! We also packed dates and chocolates. Dates were that brilliant traditional Ramadan touch and chocolates of various kinds just added more yumm to our treat box. There was Twix, Snickers, Hersheys, Butterfingers, Peanut Butter Cups, Rolos, and what nots!!! DELICIOUSNESS OVERLOADED! 

When we went looking for seasonal favor boxes we found similar ones as we had last year. They were floral and Spring like and colorful and pretty and just the right size. So we grabbed them and brought them home for our beautiful Ramadan favor box of 2018!

SEE THAT GIANT BAG OF CHOCOLATES? Yumm. We also had two other bags which had Hersheys and what not. I confess ... I ate two while I sorted them out for packing in our favor boxes.

Abbie designed and printed out a beautiful blue and yellow Ramadan wish label for each one of our favor boxes. It read 'Ali Family wishes Ramadan Kareem' and matched with my cookies!

This picture is oddly very satisfying, don't you think? I tried my best to pack these up with perfection so in the end they all looked exactly identical to each other. Haha! There was the bed of chocolates underneath and then the layer of dates and cookies and finally those two show stopper fondant decorated cookies on top. These boxes looked beautiful! I am jealous of my friends and neighbors because they get to experience that feeling when the box is opened and you first set your eyes upon this deliciousness. It must feel awesome, right?

Another year, another Ramadan upon us, and another extremely delicious and stunningly beautiful Ramadan favor box. *wipes away happy tears* I feel so satisfied and awesome looking at these! Aren't we just the best people in the neighborhood? *laughs*

Ramadan Mubarak everyone!
Let me leave you with this glittery goodness ...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Have a Blessed Ramadan 2018!

Here's wishing Muslims all around the globe Ramadan Mubarak! May the month be full of peace, blessings, and countless happy moments. May God bless us all, bring our families closer, make our friendships and communities stronger, and bless our hearts with goodness so we can all become better versions of ourselves!

Each year I plan out my Ramadan with super duper excitement. We're super low on energy while fasting so Abbie and I make our Sehri meals ahead of time and freeze them. Currently, our freezers are bursting with food and frozen frying type items from the store. About a few days before Ramadan begins we begin cooking Sehri saalans and then in a ziplock they go and straight to the freezer. It saves us a lot of time which we then use to the best of our abilities towards praying and doing all that good stuff. I've even managed to clean most of the house (as much as my broken wrists allowed me) so I don't have to worry about deep cleaning until Eid. For Iftaari this year, I am again gearing up to bake some super delicious desserts! Ramadan is the one month in our house when we don't think about diets so this is my chance to get my Sara's Baked Creations mode on! Haha! It's all going to be super awesome, God willing and I'm just so excited!

I've set some personal goals for myself this Ramadan. I want to do as much as possible. Quran and prayers will be my top priority above all else. I hope I'm able to do my best! I get really terrible murderous thunderous migraines when I fast so everyday is a challenge for me. Good luck to me for that! Other than my spiritual goals I'm also going to be focusing on self care a lot this Ramadan. I've been ignoring myself a lot lately and things need fixing! This will be the perfect time for that.

This year all I wish for is peace. I've cleansed out as much as I could before the month began (both within myself and also removed toxicity from my surroundings) and I intend to stay as far away from negativity as possible. I just want to say this to everyone: Please stop being toxic. At least for a month. It can't be that hard, trust me. A month is just around thirty days. This year, please, just please, try not to make Ramadan a kitty party-ish affair. Don't focus on how huge of a gathering you managed to invite for Iftar at the local masjid. Focus on how many needy people you were able to help and feed this month. Don't focus on how gourmet your food provision was during your Iftar parties. Focus on how beautiful and sincere your prayers were. Don't focus on what the other person was wearing. Focus on what special good deed they were doing and then do it yourself. Don't focus your energy on dissing others, bringing them down, and getting into comparison wars. Focus on how to become the most awesome human beings on planet earth so that when Non Muslims look our way they only see goodness and not the foul misconceptions which haters and bigots have created. Be the best example so that there can be no possibility left for negative misconceptions! Because really, Muslims, if truly sincere to faith, can be the best human beings!

Ramadan Mubarak,
Be kind, be nice, be awesome!
Have a beautiful month!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

My Socks Are Cuter Than Yours!

Aren't cute socks just the cutest things EVER? I love getting cute socks for myself and my collection right now contains way more socks than I think I can even wear in an entire month! Haha! But hey, they come up with the cutest new designs each time a new season begins and then I find myself standing in the shop with round puppy dog eyes hoping the heavens would split open to tell me that it's okay and perfectly fine if I buy a few more pairs! This time though, I didn't have to go through the dilemma because mama and Abbie came home with these awesome six pairs for me. They're from Target's Bullseye Playground and I guess these must have been Valentines themed! I love them all, but I think I have a favorite ... Ssshhhhh, don't want to hurt their feelings!

This one's a dark dark shade of blue with grey toes and pink hearts all over. It reminds me of the days when Hilary Duff used to be in her teens and the best kind of fashion was wearing neon level pinks with denim jeans. Those were some serious good times and this pair is totally the same level of girly and cute and elegant at the same time!

In my case the sock should say 'Me + Me = Glitter' but it conveys the love for glitter and is purpalllllll! I love purple and pair it with pink and I'll be head over heels! Haha! Get it? Heels. Socks?

THISSSSS almost became my most favorite. I think this is my second most favorite one. For sure. I love the colors so much, the hearts are super adorable, and that's my life's motto on top. Hahaha! FRIES BEFORE GUYS! Totally me. Hey, I should make a cake inspired by this pair of socks someday! That would be really cute!

The typical candy hearts socks! How cute can they be? Seriously. Check the level of cuteness. It's hazardous - it's just TOO cute! Aahhhhhh!

This one is SO Chesire Cat from Alice In Wonderland. Like, you look at these socks and you instantly see Cheshi there. "Every adventure requires a first step!" ... Step. Get it? Step. Socks. I did it again. I'm such a genius! Hahaha! We're all mad here!

XoXo! These are my girly version Gossip Girl reference socks. What's not to love about these? Pink. Red. XoXos all over. Glamorous, fabulous. fantabulous, gorjabulous.

Andddddddd presenting my most favorite!!! The white sock with the roses on it. The pinks and the light teal/turquious ... I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS PAIR! This is my most favorite one! It's very Beauty and the Beast pretty rose type but like its pink version. I love it!

Oh how beautiful these new socks are! They are such a nice addition to my collection of cute socks. They're everything I love. Girly, beautiful, funky, and super colorful! LOVE. LOVE. LOVE!

Monday, May 7, 2018

SUCCESS! The April A to Z Challenge 2018 Completes!

Dhan tanan! Stand up, applaud, cheer for me!
Once again, I have successfully completed another April Blogging from A to Z Challenge!
This year it was particularly challenging because my life was a busy mess, yet, look at me ... surviving like a champion! Yayyyyyyy! Now, it's time for reflections, thoughts, and what nots!

What was I up to in April?
My Blogging from A to Z theme this year was once again all about my passion and hobby of baking and cake decorating: SARA'S BAKED CREATIONS! My love, my talent, my favorite thing to do! All throughout the month I was posting delicious detailed blog entries. For each one of my selected baked wonder of the day I showed off beautiful and extremely tempting pictures, behind the scenes shots, the making, and the detailing. For a month my blog was boasting mouth watering content from top to bottom. It was so so so much fun! You can find the main index of all my entries right here!

The good, the bad, erm .. yeah!
I have been doing the challenge for a couple years now and I love it. There's a special kind of excitement on my blog in April thanks to the challenge. It's just so much fun! Buttttt ... I think out of all my years of participating in the challenge, this year was my slowest. I had a new baby niece arrive in our house on the fourth of the month and then dad came over to meet her. We had some guests over thanks to the little darling too. Oh and my wrists weren't in their best condition. I have pain in my wrists because I've overused them a bit while traveling and dragging luggage around so they hurt real bad and feel stuck. With all this happening I wasn't able to schedule all my posts ahead of time. Usually I do that so when in April I have free time I use it to go commenting on other participants' blogs. This year, I spent the few moments of free time that I had writing up blog posts so I won't miss a day. Guess what happened? I wasn't able to go discovering and commenting on other blogs. So I'd say this year I was pretty dead where interacting was concerned. Not good!

Maybe it was because I wasn't able to leave comments, but I also noticed that this year I got far less comments than I've received in all my years of this challenge. It was sad because I find the comments very encouraging and motivating in a world otherwise full of negative people and bullies. Anyhoo, those who left me comments had awesome stuff to say and I intend to go back and get in touch with them now that I'll be freer in May!

Now let me talk about the new changes we saw on the A to Z blog this year. Basically, there was a new Master List and the Daily Letter Lists. I had no problems with them at all, though I admit the daily letter signups should have stayed open all month because I know each year there are people catching up with posts on the weekends. I was able to post everything on time even though I had nothing scheduled but still missed a couple of daily letter forms because I was busy and couldn't enter my link in them. So my opinion: I'm fine with the forms and everything but they'd be so much more fun if they stayed open for entry through the challenge! Also, I think the A to Z team should look into RTing posts tagged with #AtoZChallenge on Twitter so they get more exposure! Ummm, the rest, I think the team manages everything EXCELLENTLY! I'd say I have no complains.

Just like always I loved participating regardless of how rushed I was or how many comments I received! I love getting a chance to revisit my baking and find pictures of their making. Behind the scenes are always fun! I also love how, thanks to the A to Z, I have a sort of April feature on my blog that's all about my baking! I'm seriously considering making this a thing for sure. Oooh and I'm also considering taking part in the road trip the A to Z team is hosting. I was planning to go and visit the blogs in my free time anyway so the road trip definitely sounds like my thing! You know what? I'm already thinking about next year's challenge! *laughs* Would I do the same theme? Different one? Would I make it? Would I survive? Time shall tell ...

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sara's Word ~ It's Been A Bumpy Ride

Woohoo! April is done. It's May already. I witnessed the showers and can see the blooming flowers. Now what? What's up!? What's happening? What has happened? What shall happen? So much to think about, so much going on. Where do we start?

Let's start with what's been happening so far, shall we?
April this year was possibly the most happening April of my life so far. On the first of April began the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the month. On the fourth my darling baby niece Chunky arrived in our lives and filled it with a double dose of adorableness. Then dad visited us to meet the new baby. All this while my wrists were in a pathetic condition. Phew! That's a lot to happen in April. Now details, yes. Here we go.

When Chunky came in our lives we lost track of time completely. She was adorable. She smelled BABY and oh my God I was going to bite her because she looked just so cuteeeeeeee! *laughs* She took over our hearts, our times, our lives .. everything! First we welcomed her home, then hosted a little lunch for bro's in laws to come and celebrate with us. Then we got busy with her adorable ways in general .. because she moves and we go all awwwwwwwww. Just like that.

Our next busy bee was dad! Whenever dad gets to visit we give him the royal treatment. *laughs* Dad is a wee bit difficult to please so we literally bring out our best. We cook our best possible recipes, clean the house up in super fine detail so he doesn't say 'clutter' while he stays, and make sure he gets the best. Hahaha! It's super busy, therefore. Ever since my baby nieces have arrived it has become double the treat to witness Daadaa play with the babies. It's so adorable to see dad with her grand daughters.

Oh and the April A to Z Blogging challenge. It was a REAL challenge this year. With so much happening I was struggling to keep up with the daily posts. But you know what? I survived. And that too with the most beautiful and yummy posts. I didn't miss even a single day, although once I almost did, posting my entry for the day ten minutes before the clock struck midnight! Wooo .. that was a close one, that was!

I'd have had double my speed through all this if only my wrists were functioning okay. Like I mentioned earlier here something's seriously been up with my wrists. First, they were both wrists, then just my right, and now it's back to both of them being off. My chiropractor tried all kinds of adjustments and laser therapy and what not. Now, she has finally given up and showed me the boot. Just kidding. She says according to 'protocol' I should get an x-ray done, go see an ortho, and 'come as needed'. To be honest, the 'as needed' instruction did sound like she was saying toodles to me so I took a hint.

May has begun at last and let me see what I'm planning next. So currently, I'm scheduled to see an ortho for my wrists soon. Meanwhile, I've stopped going to the chiro. The A to Z is done and I'm breathing fresh air again (minus the pollen causing allergies). I'm already spinning awesome blogging ideas in my head for the future. As for the rest, I really don't want to plan anything. I have no idea what I'm looking at in terms of this ortho appointment so I don't want to make plans and then be disappointed for not keeping up with them. Ramadan is approaching soon so there's a buzz of excitement in the air along with panic. There's so much to be done and so much to look forward to!

Here I am hoping my wrists feel better soon. It's been a pretty bumpy ride and I'm going to keep my seat belts fastened and take whatever comes at me head on. Meanwhile, let me just go with the flow for a change, see how things turn up for me, and just try not to catch fire in the blazing heat that May is bringing with it! *laughs*

Happy May lovelies!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Saraallie's Tweet Logs ~ March & April 2018

The time has arrived again! Another month comes to an end which calls for posting my Tweet Logs! Ahem ahem: "The Tweet Logs are a concept I have totally cheated (I mean, it is supposed to be inspiration!) from Abbie's blog; perks of being a sister! She's stopped posting them but I still do! My Tweet Logs will contain all my Twitter updates for each month. The updates will include tweets by me and those by Abbie which had me tagged or were related to me in some way. Why you ask? Well, my tweets are too awesome to go waste in cyber space thus they shall be recorded on my fabulous blog!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Zodiac Leo Dad's Birthday Cake

When my college mate texted me and said, "My dad is visiting the country and I want to surprise him with a birthday cake bake by you," I was ecstatic. This was years ago and I still wasn't good with advanced levels of cake decorating like fondant and all back then. "Are you sure?" I'd witnessed myself ask her. She'd been super confident about me and my cakes though and so it happened ... the Leo Dad at 64 Cake - which was a completely personalized cake just as my friend requested!

When I asked her what kind of a cake she wanted, she told me she had no idea. So she decided to check out pictures of the cakes I'd made so far back then. She fell in love with three designs and then we narrowed it down to the one she loved most. It was the 'Sweetheart's Delight' cake she chose and then told me how she wanted it personalized. I changed the cake to include her message 'Leo Dad at 64' and changed the pink girly colors to yellow so it'd suit his dad and the occasion. She was so happy and I was super excited to get to bake for her dad. It was such a big deal and she'd chosen me to do it!

The Sweetheart's Delight cake design is one of my original buttercream cake designs. Originally, I'd made it to surprise a friend on her wedding anniversary. It features chocolate squigglies on the sides and candy hearts on the top. For this cake instead of adding the original two candy hearts in the center I piped out the message 'Leo Dad at 64' in the middle right on top. It stood out and looked so funky! The rounded beady border was embellished with gold pearls and there were hand piped candy hearts on top.

I love the squiggly effect on the sides. It adds that little bit of funk and fun to cakes!

I piped out candy hearts free hand for the cake. Each one of the hearts atop this cake design is piped with a slight deliberate casualness so that they give that doodle-like effect which goes perfectly with the adorable squigglies on the sides.

The cake was beautiful! My friend ended up getting a bigger size and a double layer so this cake was MIGHTY HUGE! I was so happy after having completed this one. I'd worked extra hard on smoothing the buttercream to perfection so that it was so smooth and perfect it almost looked as sleek as fondant. The cake was made with lots and lots of love and I was really excited to find out her dad's reaction to my cake!

He loved it! My friend shared with me pictures of him posing with my cake and ooooooh the wonderful feeling I felt in my heart upon seeing them. MY cake. MY creation. Somebody surprised their loved one and chose MY cake to do it. Wow! Just wow! That's what Mission Sweetness is all about; spreading smiles, one baked creation at a time!

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

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This entry belongs to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018.
For a full list of all of my entries this year click here!
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