Miscarriage and Career!

I rarely could eat breakfast before an important meeting, but it was obvious the baby in my womb had different plans, when the cafeteria lady asked me what it would be, I ordered Eggs Benedict. I wondered if he would mind if I added a decaf but had enough self-control not to.

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The two executives from headquarters walked in and noticed me right away, they were screaming ‘corporate’ due to their sharp suits and polished shaves. One had a British accent; the other German, they smiled and tried to figure out who I was and why all of a sudden I had been dumped on their agenda.

I felt so proud, this was it! This was the career I had always dreamt of. They tried to remain polite but the British couldn’t help himself, as he showed me the list of meeting attendees, he insisted “Don’t take the seat right next to the CTO, let, Xavier handle introductions.”

“Of course”, I smiled, trying to put him at ease. I was not in Sales, no commission was going to come to me, I just really wanted this deal to close before I left for maternity leave, but of course I was not going to bother explaining all that.

Xavier chimed in, “Did they ask you to come so we can have a ladies’ views on the Retail deals” I wanted to give him a sneer, but instead I practiced my diplomatic face, “No, I was invited by the office of the Chairman. When his perplexed look continued, I added, “Because I have been working on this product for two years, and I AM THE BEST person to speak on the Go To market plans“

I see, and why couldn’t the product manager come to explain, what is his name, you know the Asian fellow with the colorful glasses?”

I felt a sharp pain in my side, it took all of my strength not to shiver down, this asshole was clearly upsetting the baby. “Because”, I gave him a cold look, “He actually believes I can do my job, plus I am already working on iOt innovation deals, we just want the deal to close, doesn’t matter by whom.”

The other party’s executives arrived, whistling and too happy of a face for a 7:30am meeting. They greeted each other so warmly I felt we were in a Godfather scene.

The CTO then acknowledged me at last, and looked me up from head to toe, “They sent us a model since this is a retail deal?” He laughed at his own joke but I could tell he put everyone at mal ease.

“I’m Layla, Sebastian thought it would be beneficial if I came today, so we can discuss post- launch milestones and hopefully add them in?

“Interesting, and what kid of a name is Layla? My daughter wants to get a dog and name her Layla too, you must be very trendy”. I wasn’t sure whether to love or hate the guy. To the dismay of Xavier, he pulled the chair next to him for me to sit on, and ordered his assistant to get me a cappuccino. I tried to refuse, but he made one of his jokes, “Oh don’t worry, this is not one of those drinks your German colleagues claim as coffee,this is the real deal”.

We transitioned into the conference room, the meeting was supposed to last 5 hours max, we were going to go through each clause and ensure everyone is clear on the co-innovation agreements between two companies, we had legal, product, and business development teams in the room. I was the only marketer and the only woman. The Chairman had told me if everything went smooth, we could close the deal by lunchtime, and go celebrate on his card. I was so looking forward to that, this baby had an appetite unmatched by anyone I knew.

As the negotiations progressed, so did the sharp pain on my side. It began taking over my entire body, I felt a mixture of morning sickness, dizziness, and then a cold shiver all throughout. It must have shown because the CTO threw in more of his humor:

“Come on Xavier, you can’t be serious with that idea, look you are making your own iOT expert shiver”.

I tried to mask the pain with yet another smile, I had waited so long to be taken seriously, and now here was my chance, it had been given to me, and last thing I wanted to do was to distract the again with my ‘femaleness’.

The hours went by, the CTO ordered me another coffee, I knew better than to drink that much caffeine, so I tried to warm my hands with the cup, I desperately needed a warm beverage. I tried to get up to go the restroom and I realized I was in so much pain I could not stand up.

Lunchtime came and we were no place to closing the deal, so they decided to go to the Café. I still could not manage to get up, so I made an excuse that I needed to catch up with emails and remained in my seat.

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I robbed my belly and talked to my baby, he was the only thing that kept me going, I felt his warmth and encouragement, it felt like he was saying, “Keep going Mommy, I know you can do this”, I knew he was going to be like his father, supportive and a feminist. It must be special to raise a son, to raise him right.

The guys came back to resume meetings, and kept arguing over what felt to me unimportant details. The pain began increasing, but suddenly I felt empowered by it, it was as if the baby was helping me speak my mind. I began chiming in, ignored Xavier’s raised eyebrows and provided input on how to change each clause so it made sense to both parties. I even gave some radical grass root suggestions that had all of them looking stupefied.

But the meeting DRAGGED on. It was finally 8:00pm by the time we signed the deal.

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I had sat there for 12 hours straight. It took all of my strength to stand up so I could say goodbye, they invited me to go for ‘scotch’, but I could tell they were relieved when I refused. The CTO looked at me and said, “I am going to write a note to Bernie, I look forward to seeing you again and working with you on this” and then he winked, I tried to find what the appropriate answer should be to this, but noticed there was blood in my chair and just smiled.

I waited for them to leave the parking lot before calling the ambulance. 30 minutes later, I was in ER room, and felt like I was in the middle of a dream when the Dr. told me I was pregnant with twins. How could my Dr. have missed this. I called my husband to tell him the news, he got super excited and did not wait for me to finish the whole story, “I am on my way honey”. We lived two hours away, as I tried to call him back to tell him the situation, the phone rang, it was the Chairman himself, “Congratulations, YOU closed the deal, we’ll celebrate tomorrow, with the whole team, my office, Well Done”.

Before I could respond my battery died. And then I passed out from the pain. When I woke up my husband was next to me, he was crying.

He held my hands, “They think one baby is Ok, the other one , they think it was another ectopic, but they are not sure”. I nodded, we had been through this before, I knew the deal.

My Dr. finally reached the hospital, and the doctor on duty came back to give results of ultrasound. “We think one pregnancy is already over, but the good news is the baby in the uterus looks fine”. Only time will tell. You need to stay here for a while, and we’ll monitor the pregnancy.

My husband had to go home to take care of our daughter, no family in town makes parenthood so much more of a challenge. But it was great time for me to get to know my baby boy. I had named him Milan and I could already tell what kind of a character he was going to have.

But my time with Milan did not last too long. As I continued to lose blood, my Dr. told me I had a duty towards my first born, “She is too young to not have a mom.” So I lay down, allowing the nurse to give me the infamous methotrexate shot, killing my baby. I felt like I could hear him protest, “But Mom, we have made it so far together”

When we went home neighbors and well meaning friends stopped by, but only to say comments that would simply want me to kill myself or them. “It was meant to be, imagine if he was born with defects, or autism”, “Really, it was meant to be?” First of all, my baby Milan was going to be perfect, I just knew that, and second of all, I would love him just the same, no matter what.

After a few days of bearing distasteful unhelpful signs of sympathy, I decided to go back to work.

I felt that was what Milan would have wanted me to do.

After all, this was not my first miscarriage, but I swear it would be my last. My great project was already given to an ambitious young man, who was running with it. My boss tried to find me a new home, a woman mentor stepped in, and offered me a fellowship in her team, and of course no sign of a promotion, as I tried to make the best of the situation, the sharp pains came back, and this time I deiced not to ignore it.

Turns out my body didn’t dissolve the sac & it kept filling up with blood; growing which ruptured my right tube. I felt like the baby was angry at me, he was punishing me for having tried to kill him. I kept calling my Dr. who told me it was normal to feel this way, the pain and the cramps were going to be present for a while. Then one day, I felt paralyzed at work, and in the middle of a staff meeting, our Director had to stop taking and drive me to the hospital.

I came home a few days later, with no signs of pregnancy left in my bodyy. But that baby sure fought his way to stay. My husband dropped me in the sofa; he also had lost his strength and could not carry me upstairs. The sofa became my new home. Days turned into weeks, and I could not face going back to work, or even upstairs to my room. My manger was kind enough to keep me on until bonus time and then offered me a nice separation package.

Neighbors began dropping by again, “ Cheer up, you are so young, you’ll have many more kids” and I just wanted to slap them, I am not young, and I don’t want any more kids, I just want to be left alone. I just want my son back. The days dragged on. And Netflix became my only friend.

Family members started calling, oh you are so strong, you already endured so many bigger losses, how bad could this be? It is not like he was even a person yet” and I I would have to block their comments out of my head in order not to lose it completely. When one of our religious friends told me that Jesus only gave us what we could endure, I completely lost it on her, was this really me ‘handling it?’ I told my husband no more visits, I stopped answering my phone altogether.

I felt so isolated and cut out from the world. What made things even worst was that one day, I overheard a conversation between my husband and his parents, they were asking him what was wrong with me exactly, and then telling him that he should have married a younger wife, who could give him the 3 kids he deserved. They also told him his brother’s wife was pregnant with the second child, my husband remained silent, and did not really respond, and soon found an excuse to hang up. But after that, it was as if something broke between us forever. I felt angry at him, and I felt guilty for not being able to give him the kids he deserved, and more than anything, I felt distant, so very distant.

One day, a neighbor stopped by, she could see I was in the house and not opening the door, so she let her self through the window. My daughter was lying down with me watching TV, so she looked at me long and hard, and then gave us both a hug, She did not say anything. Gold bless her for JUST NOT saying anything. I wanted to cry on her shoulders, but my daughter was there, and I just could not. But the hug felt the closest thing to a connection to life. She told me she was going to take my daughter to her house so she could play with the kids and I felt so grateful.

More empty weeks followed, my husband began taking more business trips and I just lay on the sofa watching as much Netflix as I could. Then one day, as we watched a Christmas movie, my daughter blurred out “Mommy, why does everyone think Santa is so kind when he is really evil?”

“Why do you say that darling?”

“Well for Christmas all I wanted was a baby brother, remember I wrote that in the letter, and then what does he do, he gives it to me and then takes it away, what kind of a sick person does that, specially since I have been so good, I eat all my veggies, I share my toys, I brush my teeth…”.

I knew my days on the sofa had to end right there. It was time to get up and act like a Mom again. “Honey it was not Santa’s fault that we lost your brother” and she began to cry, and we just sat there and cried together. Then she raised her beautiful head up and said, Mommy, do you want to go and make some food? I am hungry.

“Yes I do”.

“Mommy what kind of food do you think my brother would have liked?

I don’t need to think about this one, “Eggs Benedict” I say, immediately, and we head to the kitchen.

In the U.S. alone there is an estimated 900,000 to 1 million babies lost in miscarriage each year, causing depression in women and men alike. In my experience, one out of two families I know have experienced a loss through miscarriage. Yet it is so hard for people to be supportive for each other. I thought sharing my story could help others. it is easy to find that form by just being observant and listening. Thank you for everyone who was there for our family.

Adventures with AnnaLiza

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv34946-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-4823756347nu0mrjOnce upon a time lived a family of three, Papa Antoine, Maman Layla, and daughter Delarai. They lived in a small but gorgeous house. God had blessed them with many things including good health, lovely neighbors, and loving friends. There was only one thing that was missing. All members of the family, especially the daughter, wished every night upon a star, that they could have a new addition to their family. A nice little sister for Delarai.

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On March 3rd, a beautiful baby girl was born in a magical little city called San Francisco. She was 5 pounds 15 ounces and 20 inches tall.

She was ready for a new home. Maman Layla, Papa Antoine, and daughter Delarai rushed to the hospital to meet the gorgeous little princess. During the drive to the hospital, Delarai chose a name for her little sister, “Annaliza”, which meant a gift from God. As soon as the family entered the hospital room, AnnaLiza turned around & gave a gorgeous smile to her new family. It was love at first sight.

In the first weeks, AnnaLiza loved to sleep. Delarai would stay next to her crib and sing lovely songs for her in French, Farsi

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and English.

She was called Annalisa by her sister, Poussine (French nickname) by Papa Antoine, and “Gomboloo” (Farsi nickname) by Maman Layla. AnnaLiza had lots of FANS. From that day on, Annaliza was called in many loving ways. Annaliza was sure special. So many people loved her.

AnnaLiza was sure a personality of her own. She was naughty, kind, and gentle. She sure knew what she wanted, and she was not afraid to ask for it.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-357-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-436;-57347nu0mrjAnnaliza had a lot of style. She looked good in any color and any outfits her sister would choose for her. She had a real sense for fashion, and she insisted on wearing the same outfits as her big sister. Annalisa sure loved to eat; she could not wait till the day she could start on solids.

On March 21st, AnnaLiza celebrated her first important holiday. That was the Iranian New Year. The family celebrated by cleaning the house, making a Hafsin, dressing in new clothes, and visiting special friends and family.

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Annaliza became really chatty when she turned two month old. She would talk for hours, her mother and the neighbors heard her say “Hi” at an early age.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-2-8-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-436;9-6347nu0mrjAnnalisa and Delarai shared a very strong sisterly bond unmatched by anyone except maybe Elsa and Anna.

She also had a real sense for adventure, mountains, forests, and the park, nothing scared her at all.

When Annalisa turned three months, Mammy and Pappy came all the way from France to meet her. They brought her beautiful toys and clothes. She specially appreciated French Fashion, and had a great bond with Mammy who promised she would take her on many trips.232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-4-8-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-436;-6;347nu0mrj

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At 4 months old, Delarai and Annaliza began planning a secret trip to the kingdom of Tonga, the land of Annaliza’s ancestors. Delarai suspects Annaliza could even the future Queen of Tonga. Located in Oceania, Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, directly south of Western Samoa and about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. AnnaLiza began learning how to swim as soon as she heard the kingdom has 177 islands, so she can be prepared for their first trip. Luckily they had a pool with pleasant warm water where AnnaLiza could swim as much as she likes. She also likes to sunbath with her sister Delarai. Oh the beauties of a California summer!232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv37353-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-4857292347nu0mrj

On the day Tupou VI and Nanasipau were crowned the new King and Queen of Tonga; Annaliza celebrated being an American at her first 4th of July neighborhood parade!

Annaliza began eating solids as soon as her Doctor said she could. (Just a few days short of her 5th month birthday). She was a real gourmand, and absolutely loved everything given to her. Her favorite dishes were: Rice cereal, celery juice and mashed carrots.  She also loved to help cook!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv37267-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-4993-59347nu0mrjAnnaliza even taught us some recipes from Tonga, like this watermelon drink Otai, and Kale Moa which is a chicken vegetable dish. She also loves pineapple.

Over all, Annaliza had a lovely first few months. Her family is looking forward to her six- month birthday, and her sister Delarai is planning many surprises for her to come. Annaliza has many aspirations for the near future. She hopes to try at least one new food each day, learn how to say hello in four different languages, and get a passport so she can go on an exciting adventurous holiday. She is currently deciding between the Kingdom of Tonga, Canada and France.

 

Where do you think she’ll end up next?

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How we adopted a baby on the dawn of our Indiegogo launch!

One month ago, right before pressing the ‘launch’ button on our crowdfudning campaign on Indiegogo, I got a phone call we had waited for four years, a phone call we had given up on long ago,

“There is a newborn waiting for you at the San Francisco General Hospital”.

“A new born? We did not ask for a new born, we wanted a 3 year old boy, remember?” that was probably not an answer our social worker appreciated to hear, but I am not exactly known for my diplomacy.

With a growing number of infertility issues in the world, more people are interested in adopting newborns, and all I ever wanted to do was to help a child in need, somehow I felt I am not helping as much since newborns are considered such hot commodities. Besides, how realistic was it to launch a startup and to care for a newborn at the same time?

I asked our social worker if I could have some time to think about it, and she said, of course, call me back in 20 minutes with your decision!!

My husband was out of town, as I frantically tried to get him on the phone, I tried to remember what is the closest store where I could buy a car seat. My neighbor called to ask if I could watch her kids while she ran to the gym, and it felt unreal hearing myself say, “I am sorry Claire, but I am busy right now trying to prepare our house for a baby”.

Within an hour or two, Claire and Lisa my front door neighbor, showered me with baby clothes, a bassinet, bath, and yes a car seat. We set up the entire nursery in a few hours.

As I broke the news to Delarai, my five year old, upon picking her up from school, she started jumping up and down with joy, then said: “Mummy, mummy, you see I was a good girl and Santa finally brought me what I had really wanted for Christmas”.

My husband flew back immediately and the three of us drove to San Francisco to pick up the baby. During the one-hour drive my husband and I discussed our uncertainties: what did we really know about raising an African American child? Did we still remember how to feed a baby? How often do they wake up during the night? Will the baby be healthy? Should we give her a Farsi, French, or African American name? Will I need to quit my startup to be a good Mom? Is my Indiegogo campaign going to be a failure now that I won’t be able to dedicate all of my time to it? Will my in-laws be disappointed with another girl in the family?

Once in the hospital, we noticed the baby was placed under the critical care unit. As we followed the nurse, my body was trembling, especially after passing each baby connected to a life support systems. The short 5-minute walk seemed like an eternity until we finally reached the last crib in the room. As we walked towards the baby, she turned around and smiled at me!! Yes, a real smile. Now I know this does not sound logical or realistic, but there is no Dr. in the world that will convince me this was just reflex.

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As I held her in my arms, all of my doubts seemed so distant and far away. I looked at my husband and daughter who also had tears in their eyes, and I know the perfect line here would be to say, “Nothing else mattered”, but as I mentioned I am not diplomatic enough, so I will say the truth instead: “I felt a great love for her immediately as well as a mysterious strength assuring me that I could make sense of it all, and still launch my campaign.

That night we had fancy dinner plans with our friends, Noushin and Nick Ivanitsky and Merima and Alec Bicic.  as I called to cancell, they insisted we share this joyous affair with them and prepared us an unforgettable feast, while assuring us of their support in both parenthood and entrepreunership journey.

Both couples made generous contributions towards our campaign and showered us with gifts for the baby.  We are far away from our goal, but that is because much of our love and attention has been focused elsewhere these days.  Based on the amount of support friends and community have shown so far, we feel strongly that entrepreneurship and adoption can have a beautiful marriage!

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We invite you to Check Out Our Campaign and show your support if you care about creating a more healthy and delicious lifestyle for all kids:

Thank you Claire Lee and Lisa Ly for all of your support with the adoption, and Noushin and NickMerima and Alic for your help with the launch! We would not have made it this far without you.

Birthday Bash in Chef Koochooloo style!

Chef Koochooloo transforms your birthday party!

We are happy to introduce a new product in the Chef Koochooloo family! Birthday parties with a twist! That’s right with Chef Koochooloo hosting a session in your kid birthday party you can turn the birthday experience and add an incredible gift for every guest!

To try this concept our CEO, Layla Sabourian transformed Delarai’s fifth anniversary in a Chef Koochooloo thematic party. Kids enjoyed while cooking a delicious recipe from Greece and all guests had a chance to try this!

Check out the photos from the event below and don’t hesitate to contact us to know more about the Chef Koochooloo Birthday Bash!

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Belgium — According to My Four Year old!

This past spring, after I overheard my daughter Delarai tell her friends she is “French” (because we speak French in the house), I realized I had to spend more time teaching her about the world, her heritage, and the countries her father and I had lived in.

I had a difficult time explaining to her that she is not French (even though we want her to learn French) and that actually she is half Belgian. I decided teaching her about Belgium, her father’s country of birth, and discovered it was much easier for her to relate to Belgium through some of the recipes she loved. You can say this was one of the pivotal moments for the emergence of “Chef Koochooloo.”

This summer, we decided to dedicate a week at my husband’s birth country and after our trip, I asked Delarai what she loved most about Belgium. She listed the following (in order of preference!!)

1.Christine, Frederic and Emma!

People always make the difference on whether or not we like a place. Delarai loves spending time with my husband’s god-parents, and she specially enjoyed her trip to the Grand Place in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, where she saw the City Hall light up.

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2.  Les balles qui brilles!

Delarai came up with her own name for the Atomium in Brussels: The World Expo of 1958 left behind a gigantic structure that shone in the spring sun in the shape of an atom, it is a replica of an iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times, and Delarai loved it much more than even the Eiffel Tower!

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3. Les Gaufres

Need I say more? We have promised Chef Koochooloo to work on some amazing waffle recipes and post them here soon, though we are not sure we can ever compare to those delicious Gaufre de Liège or the Gaufre de Bruxelles!

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4. The BIG Pink Watches!

Delarai loves the interchangeable Adna Watches designed by the talented Alain Denys (who resides in Waterloo, just a ten-minute away drive from where my husband’s family lives).  She was delighted when I told her the watches are now being sold in the US and she insisted we get the pink one for Daddy. I also got five other colors and we continue to have fun changing the bands depending on our activities and outfits.  We specially love using the watch during Chef Koochooloo cooking sessions.

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5. Catching crabs with Papi in Knokke

Knokke, is the most North-Eastern seaside resort on the coast of Belgium. It lies adjacent to the Dutch border; separated from the Dutch territory by the Zwin nature reserve. Even though it was a shocker for us to get used to the cold weather in August, Delarai loved running around the beach in her sweater and catching crabs with Pappi and Mammi!

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6. Cecemel: 

We loved discovering new beers while spending lazy afternoons in the windy beach front, and Delarai fell in love with Cecemel, the best chocolate milk she had ever tasted. Much to my embarrassment at Airport security, I realized she had hidden a bunch of  them in my handbag to take back with us. Sadly, I was not able to find this delicious and supposedly nutritious drink for her here in the US.

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Keeping your kids safe: recent recalled products

Health and safety are two of my main concerns when I think about the products my family will eat.  Therefore, I always try to stay up to date with the news of recalled products.

Today I’m sharing with you all some information about products that have recently been recalled.

Peanut Butter and Almond Butter

This recall was announced on August 19th and concerns a product used on a weekly, if not on a daily basis across many households in America. The main brand names affected by this recall are MaraNatha and Arrowhead Mills. You can find the extensive list of specific products that have been recalled here: http://1.usa.gov/1qnD2wN

Is it safe to say that any MaraNatha creamy almond butters or peanut butters are better off your shelf.  Whole Foods, Safeway, Kroger and Trader Joe’s are sadly in the list of stores that carry these recalled products.

Peanut butter recall

Beef is Out

On August 15th a Massachusetts firm recalled a massive amount of beef products due to a possible contamination with E.Coli. The firm’s name is Whole Foods Market with locations in South Weymouth and in Newton.

The complete list of the recalled products that should be out of you house for the coming period can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/1lhVf2U

Chicken Nuggets

Say bye-bye to chicken nuggets for a while. In August 12th a firm located in Georgia recalled approximately 15,306 pounds of frozen fully cooked chicken nuggets due to possible contamination with foreign materials.

The complete list can be consulted here: http://1.usa.gov/1BcSFzR . Also at this link you will find for more information about a person to contact if you have more questions and doubts.

Thinking that it is always better to be safe than sorry, I will keep informing you about recalled products that should perhaps stay off your shelves for a while.

One more way to provide safety for your little bundles of joy!

Life plays funny tricks with you.  This year, I lost twins through an ectopic pregnancy for the second time around. Having experienced loss so many times in my life, I did not expect to be this paralyzed by the pain.  During the past five months, I grieved and tried to take in all of the well-meant, thoughtless comments, “Be glad they did not make it, can you imagine how hard it is to raise twins?” Or  “Could you have really kept three kids safe anyways?”  I watched four close friends, our neighbor, a first cousin, and my sister-in-law give birth to beautiful babies, and even organized two of the baby showers.

Excited for the arrival of each baby, I couldn’t help but imagine how nice it would have been for my babies to come to life and have so many immediate friends around them. One of the few things that does sooth the pain is when I am able to help new Moms make their babies more comfortable–it is as if my lost babies are encouraging me to ensure the safety of their ‘friends’.

That is perhaps why my husband and I signed up to buy the baby monitors for so many of these new arrivals. We couldn’t believe all the advancement in technology of baby-monitors since our daughter’s birth only four years ago.

While my husband played the role of a true engineer and read every product review out there you can imagine, at the end of the day he came to the same conclusion, and selected my top choice, iBaby.

I first discovered iBaby when I met with Karl Xu, the CEO and Founder of iBaby, a few blocks away form our house in Mountain View during a job interview. Through our unconventional discussion, he joined the pool of ‘well-intentioned’ comments when I mentioned my loss and asked, “Why do you need more than one child. One baby, good, no? Lots of work!!” I thought that was pretty funny coming from a man who made a living out of the sale of baby monitors.  Though speaking to Karl further, and realizing how obsessed he was with the safety of his family I understood why he thought the idea of more than one child could become overwhelming.

Karl showed me the product and I simply fell in love with it.  I told him using the iBaby monitor. is reason enough for a second child, to which he responded the iBaby is great for pets as well!

iBaby Monitor

iBaby Monitor

This sleek device enjoys a high intensity microphone and can let you have a look at your baby all the time, while picking up the smallest of sounds with ease.

I love the quality of the camera and how it rotates to get a complete 360 degree view. What I found super unique was that the application lets you tilt the camera up and down to get that perfect view.

My husband who has just become an uncle for the very first time is super excited about its ability to use the iOS as parent control and just bought the device for his niece in London as it enables multiples viewers to have a look at baby’s room. What better way to share a part of our niece’s life without actually being there?

The monitor allows you to add as many people as you like, but only four people can log in and view the camera at the same time. (This is to protect people from overloading the Internet bandwidth).

I know my daughter is excited to keep in touch with her cousin via this innovative piece, and I strongly suggest next time a special baby enters your life, protect their safety in as many ways as you can.

Summer Camp is the best way to excite your kids

As you may know, Chef Koochooloo is working with SAP on a program of corporate social responsibility that benefits the Foundation for College Education. FCE’s mission is to engage both students and parents in intensive, personalized programs that provide information and resources that encourage students to succeed in obtaining college education.

As part of this program, Chef Koochooloo will mentor kids ranging from middle to high school. The kids will participate in content development and provide input on history, geography, science and math concepts. This program runs through the summer and provides a way to keep kids engaged and involved. The kids benefit by developing a new skill for themselves as well as a sense of increased self-esteem.

Are you looking around for something that will engage and excite your kids this summer?  Besides Chef Koochooloo, Summer Camp Galileo is a place where kids can have fun while innovating and learning. This camp is not only convenient for parents, but also educationally engaging for kids. Summer Camp Galileo differs from the rest of the summer camps in two main areas: curriculum and their staff.

Galileo Camp

Summer Camp Galileo combines art, science, and outdoor activities around weekly themes.  This year, Camp Galileo has four fresh themes to incite innovation:

  •  Adventures Down Under
  • Galileo Road Trip
  • The Incredible Human Body
  • Leonardo’s Apprentice

I truly believe that Summer Camp Galileo is an extraordinary summer camp for any kid who has an appetite for adventure and innovation.

Use the code 2014INNOVATION when you sign up for Summer Camp Galileo for $30 off (limit one per camper, Camp Galileo and Galileo Summer Quest) Expires: July 13, 2014.  Also, I want to thank Galileo for their support to make this blog possible.

Fresh and Easy is truly fresh and easy!

I learned about Fresh and Easy from one of my good friends, who visits this wonderful store every week, because she loves the great low prices and hearty food. The Fresh and Easy brand products do not include any artificial colors or flavors, added trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and only use preservatives when absolutely needed. 

Hearing positive comments about Fresh and Easy, I decided to try it. So after work I headed to Fresh and Easy to buy ingredients for the Asparagus Soufflé my daughter and I were planning to make. When I got there, I was welcomed by one of the employees, Jake, who told me about all of the foods that Fresh and Easy carries. I found that there is quite a variety. After I was done shopping, I went through self-checkout, which made it easy to get-in and get-out.

When I got home, it was time to get started on cooking the Asparagus soufflé, an original French recipe that was given to me by my friend. This recipe is not only delicious but also sounds very chic. I was able to get all the ingredients from Fresh and Easy.

Here are the things that I bought:

  • 1 Bunch Green Asparagus                                      receiptFreshandEasy
  • Organic flour
  • Butter
  • Daiya Dairy free cheddar cheese
  • Almond Milk
  • Cage free eggs
  • Chives

The recipe can be found here

FreshandEasy_Dairy_Free_Cheese

 

 

 

 

 

I use Daiya dairy free cheddar cheese and Almond milk because my daughter is lactose intolerant. I think Daiya, which is available at Fresh and Easy is the best dairy free cheese I’ve tasted.

Also, Fresh and Easy is one of the greenest companies I know.  Last year three of their California stores received the silver certification award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GreenChill Partnership by fulfilling strict requirements.  These stores have avoided harming the earth’s protective ozone layer.  Only about 40 stores in the nation meet this requirement.

At the front of all Fresh and Easy stores, they have an in-store recycling program for plastic, aluminum, plastic bags and glass.  Furthermore, all of their display and shipping materials are recycled or reused.  Fresh and Easy even took the initiative to upgrade their trucks to help minimize their CO2 footprint on the road. I had a great experience at Fresh and Easy and will continue to come here for my grocery shopping needs.  I also want to thank Fresh and Easy for their support on making this post possible.

Kid Friendly Kitchen: The essentials to make your kitchen a perfect and safe place for kids

As many of you know I am now leading the startup “Chef Koochooloo” where part of our mission is to empower families to engage in fun, interactive cooking activities and help parents safely involve their kids in preparing a healthy meal. You can read more about our vision and mission in our last post.

When I started cooking with my daughter I came to the realization that I did not have a kid friendly kitchen. Sadly most of my cooking supplies were adult size, extremely sharp or simply not adequate for my daughter, so I moved fast and bought the appropriate supplies, changed my utensils and made my kitchen a safe and fun space for my girl.

It took me a while to find the perfect kids cooking tools that I wanted my daughter to use during this cooking journey. I spent a lot of time browsing online and found some amazing utensils. Believe me I would have liked to buy them all and make my daughter’s cooking experience something she could safely enjoy at every step, but I had to prioritize based on what she would use the most often. With this in mind, I made a list with the essentials and substituted those for kid-friendly versions, which provided both safety for her and peace of mind for me. Here are some of the items that can be safely substituted and can be used by kids.

  • Cutting tools: Disposable plastic knives are a solution when you first start preparing your kitchen for the little chefs. There’s no risk in giving a young child a plastic knife and it allows them to start getting involved with the hard steps of cooking a recipe, but if you don’t have plastic ware at home or you simply don’t like to use plastic utensils, then you can try the plastic knife from Zliss, is a lettuce knife that allows your kids to be safe while cutting. I use kid-friendly knives I bought from IKEA; they come in a variety of fun colors and they have been very useful for our cooking adventures.

IKEA-plastic-knives

Slizz-lettuce-kinfe

  • Spatulas and Spoons: I have found that silicon spatulas and spoons are better for the pots. This material is safe for kids and is very common. The only recommendation I have is to buy it in a friendly size for the kids to use while making their favorite recipe! Remember that these ones come in a wide range of colors and sizes, pick your favorite one! I haven’t completed my spoon collection but soon would like to have spoons and spatulas from www.cookincolor.com

cookincolor-spatulas

  • Measurers: These are a classic for children, and very easy to get, a lot of companies make them in a variety of colors and with fun shapes. But sometimes just a quick visit to your local store will pay off with fun colored measures in a variety of sizes; just keep your eyes open.

61T6GjXpJ4L._SX522_

  • Mixing Bowls: No kitchen is complete without the mix and match “mixing-bowls” the ones in the link are from Trudeau. The ones that I have are from my local store.

Trudeau-mizing bowls

  • Cutting Boards: Of course if your kids are going to be cutting, they need a safe space to do so. At home we have plastic cutting boards, since crystal, wood or ceramic ones are just too heavy for my daughter. Recently, I saw these flexible, cheap and small cutting boards from For Small Hands. Aren’t they adorable? Definitely the next acquisition for out child-friendly kitchen!

small-cutting-board

  • Oven Mitts: There’s more variety for oven mitts. They usually come in different shapes and sizes, but if you want specific kid-size then you may want to try Growing Cooks since they seem to be quite small, perfect for little hands! I’m looking forward to order these ones next time we buy oven mitts.

oven-mitts-growingcooks

I also came across this brand: Curious Chef, and I have to say they do have a lot of great cooking items for children. Next time I’m buying something my daughter needs to cook I will certainly purchase it from their website. I can’t wait to try some of their utensils soon!

There are many more items that a kid can use in the kitchen, funnels, timers, fun spoons, containers with different shapes and more! Share with us if your kids have any preference for kid friendly cooking utensils!