Monday, December 31, 2007

UmmLayla gets Mortified

http://www.getmortified.com/book/
I suspect that many of you fellow bloggers kept a diary/journal when you were you angsty teens... I think most bloggers are writers at heart, and many people who like to put thought to pen keep a journal...

Anywhoo, I wanted to share with you a book that I found at The Virgin Megastore in FL, Mortified. It's the journal entrees of teens and preteens that originally found life as a stage play. I really enjoyed it and it inspired me to go to my dad's house and dig up my journals that I kept from about 9-18 years of age... And in true keeping with the spirit of the book, I will share an entry from one with you:


Thursday, April 5th 1990
Well, all's quiet on the (my last name) front! Yesterday, I did well in the lacrosse game. I'm definitely not in danger of losing my position (as team goalie). And I asked Alex if he likes Jenna. He didn't even freak out he just said, "Yeah, but only as a friend." totally calm and serious. So I'm sure he's not lying. Oh baby, my man and my position are safe! At OM (Olympics of the Mind) Alex and I both cut our fingers up with those retractable razor blades while we were cutting some cardboard. It didn't really hurt, but my mom wants me to get a tetanus shot since I haven't had one in ten years and the razor was so dirty. Oh well, I'm sure I won't die. I'm getting lazier and lazier as the end of the year gets closer. Soon I'm gonna just veg out! Speaking of veggin out, just about a month ago I became a vegetarian. It may seem odd but I feel better and I feel like I'm not hurting anything for my food and that's a good feeling. I've pysched myself out so much to refrain from meat that even the thought of eating animal flesh appals me! It's odd, before I loved steak and chili and chicken pot pie and turkey breast. but now I couldn't dream of touching it to eat. But in science I'll still dissect and stuff, I have to!!!!! What good would a doctor who didn't be?

Thursday, April 12th 1990
Whoa! Today has been just a blowout! I went off on the OM team about screwing around and not getting anything done. And at practice Jill (the coach) asked Selena (a teammate) and I to talk to the lacrosse team about their "bad attitude" towards practice lately. I was glad though they all really shaped it up afterwords. OM was different. Alex has decided that he kinda likes Jenna. (Bleah!) So he has to show off for her and screw around and shit and I'm getting sick of it. He can be cool though. Like tonight he rode home with us and i had on glasses and he actually told me I looked good in them. It was cool. but his shit with Jenna is gonna piss me off. I just hope he'll get over it pretty quick. Jenna likes Jason anyway. I don't know, I hope he grows to hate her!j/k (just kidding)

Adult me says...
I was about 15 when I wrote those. See I told you I was a geek. Olympics of the mind and all! LOL Seriously, I never even dated Alex... But I would've been smart to, last I heard he was at MIT;)

____________________________________________________


Now fellow bloggers, I am challenging you to get mortified! Pull out that journal and post a page or too, come on. If I can do it you can. Leave me a comment if you are planning to do, it would be cool to make the challenge on your blog too if you do. I'm waiting!!!!

Name that Daycare!


OK, so we are all over the place with a name for the daycare... I think it should be a little cheeky... Or just a nod to the fact that it's a Waldorf style school. I'm extreme that way. No babyland, kiddie kastle, or anything cheesy like that for me.

So I was thinking of the name: Shmoosville, or Shmoo Valley as in shmoo from the lil'Abner cartoon. Check it out... Here's a shmoo site.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I think I need a faith lift...


Friends, I have a request. I am way out of the loop here in cowboy country. So if you hear of an Islamic convention, a learning oppertunity, a great book... Please pass it on. I am thirsting for Islam. No really. I am just parched. So give a sister a cool drink, huh?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Flying While Muslim


This is me, looking fairly annoyed as DH argues with the lady at the Delta counter over CHARGING US when we missed our flight because we were selected by them for a "random" security check.

I have no problem with security checks. And if you want to just say that you are going to check every passenger you suspect might be Muslim/Arab... Do it. But just ADMIT that is what you are doing. We flew Delta (something I will never do again) and were "randomly" selected for extra security on every flight we took. Now, I wouldn't even mind... But my last name is different and I NEVER got selected... Sure, random. Now, on our return we checked in at 6, with baggage out of the way and everything and proceeded to our 7:30 flight. That is when my 6 year old's shoes set off the mass spectrometer (those sniffer machines) and we were detained for the next hour+. We told them throw the shoes away. We told them we are late to our flight... DH ranted about the research project he was involved in building such machines and how they were not that great yet anyway. We waited for an endless parade of supervisors who were unsure what to do in this situation and finally our son's name was logged in some security violation book and we were on our way.

Now, Delta seems to take their time of departure seriously because we missed our flight by a few minutes. The same thing happened to us when making a connection on the way to FL... Silly really that they don't wait if a passenger is making a connection or already checked into a flight. Really silly.

Now, there we are at the Delta counter... We are looking at the next day we discover and I start calling hotels. I regret returning the rental car. I wonder what my DH will do about his work. Then the Delta lady hits us with $75 a ticket to get the new flight. WHAT? Oh no, it gets worse. DH gets the supervisor and she tells us that she is "doing us a favor" since they weren't "real tickets". Oh great. Well, we paid real money for them! So, apparently the Delta policy is that if you buy your tickets through Priceline or a discount ticketing company you are SOL if you miss your flight. The tickets are only good for that flight and that flight only.

Well, I can't say I'm surprised. I can't say I didn't expect to have every crevice of my baggage inspected. But I didn't think I'd be paying over $500 for it!!! UGH. I hate Delta. I hate "random" security checks.

The funny thing is I was gonna go postal on the first flight when we got delayed and I started to go on about these checks not being random and just as the poor security lady is telling me that the airlines select people DH says "cool down, stop!" Then the next day as we got "randomly" selected again DH starts going postal!LOL So I told him, "Gee honey, cool down!" After that there was something about shoes and something else about random and a final thought about how these checks were stupid because the machine that said the night before my son's shoes contained traces of explosives registered nothing the next morning. Ohhhh my. I guess we will be leaving for the airport a whole day early if we go to Egypt this year!LOL

Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm Baaack!


We are back from Florida... I have so many post I owe about traveling while Muslim, the Disney empire, my DH vs other Egyptian men of his generation and just about 100 other random things. This was a computer free vacation though... So I am just getting to it all. Insha'Allah you will be hearing from me this week lots!LOL

Friday, December 14, 2007

YAAAAHOOOOWWWEEEE!


If you know me, you know that we have been dying to take a vacation. We wanted to go for the last Eid... And that was shot down by a shortage of workers for my DH's business (what's new?). Soooo, here we are at the next Eid and DH's friend from Egypt is going to be in Florida... So we start debating the trip. We look at tickets, we do math, we wait... And all the time the deal keeps getting sweeter from the friend (who is a nice guy, masha'Allah). "Diab, I have a second suite with a kitchen..." "Diab, I have a rental car until the 22nd." "Diab, I can get 4 free tickets to Disney." OK!! OK!! We're coming!!!

So, we leave to Florida early tomorrow morning. I'm off to pack! Wheeee!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Come on, it's funny!

Saw this on Mamamona's and I had to give it a try!

Kids Will Do Anything For The Egyptian's Wife.

Enter a word for your own slogan:

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Hmmm, not my kids but it sounds good!LOL

The Sweet You Can't Eat Without The Egyptian's Wife.

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Generated by the Advertising Slogan Generator, for all your slogan needs. Get more the Egyptian's wife slogans.


Well, if you're gonna eat sweets AROUND me you're gonna eat them WITH me!

Tell Them About The The Egyptian's Wife, Mummy.

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Get it, Egyptian... Mummy... Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk

The Egyptian's Wife Makes Everything Better.

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I do, I do, and I'm incredibly humble as well!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Why can't we learn from them?


OK, so I was all set to rant about why don't we Muslims have youth groups and things that would help us entice our children to learn more about the deen and befriend other Muslims from their generation... When I found this
Muslim youth group in southern California. Bravo. Masha'Allah. So, I hope this is the beginning of a trend... Insha'Allah there will be youth groups all over the place when my kids are older... Well, there will be... Right?

I have struggled since I converted with the tendency of the Muslim community to adapt this attitude of complacency when it comes to teaching the deen. It seems like we just assume that the deen will teach itself. That it will jump out of the pages of the Quran and grab our children and community members in. And while I can't deny that it has happened... I think we owe our communities and families more in the way of teaching the religion. And I don't mean dogma, I mean giving them the tools to reach a deeper level of commitment and understanding of the deen.

Also, I have struggled with the lack of community in Islam. There seems to be these little ethnic groups and everyone else just falls into the cracks. And by everyone I mean second generation immigrants, people from mixed backgrounds and of course converts. I know, I know, people from the mosque are all up in your business in some places... But I rarely see it as constructive, actually it is usually quite the opposite. I have seen communities that seem to specialise in divorcing people... Astagfurallah.

You have to admit that as a fixture in the religious landscape of the USA we are pretty new. There are groups that have been doing this for a long time and maybe they have some ideas that we could adapt for ourselves. I guess what I'm getting at is why can't we learn from other groups that have these things nailed? I look at the Evangelical Christians... Wow, they have got the youth thing going. And I know the LDS folks here where I live have caring for their community down to a science.

Look, ISLAM is perfect... No one said Muslims are. Just something to think about.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Keep me in your dua...


Please keep me in your dua. Our daycare project goes before city council AGAIN today. Insha'Allah, it will go well and we can move on with the the actual construction. We have been busting our butts getting a petition signed and talking to different people about it, so we've done what we can in regards to showing that people support this. It's with Allah(swt) now and we are ready for whatever he has planned for us.

Update: Back from city council... We got it! ALHAMDULILAH!

Monday, December 03, 2007

My kingdom for a bag?


OK, if all women are either shoe whores or bag hags.... Usually I am a shoe whore. Shoes were really the thing I spent money on, and even still nothing covers my stubborn foot that costs less than $100. Only now I can afford only 1-2 pairs a year!LOL

I find myself coveting these tokidoki bags big time... But can a mom of three really spend $200 on a bag? Well, maybe in my next life!LOL

Edit... Mom to three? Wow, I really am sleep deprived!LOL Four. Mom of Four.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I know I'm a geek...


When your day is ruined by the inability to make your i-pod sync so you can listen to all your talk radio/podcasts for the day you know:

A. You are a hopeless geek
B. You are totally anti-social
C. You are on the edge

OK, I confess! Now will my stupid i-pod work already!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No words...

13 Year-old Girl Commits Suicide After Cyber-bullying
What do you say about the tragic suicide of a young girl who was only 13. To make it worse, she did it because she just broke up with a boy. And worse? Said boy never existed. It was the mom of another girl in the neighborhood who just wanted to see what was being said about her daughter online.

Is setting up a fake myspace page and posing as a boyfriend to a girl this young a crime? If she kills herself over the relationship is it a crime then? I was listening to something about this on NPR this afternoon and I got to thinking about it. I thought about it a lot. Where are we headed when a mother would do this to another woman's child? Even if she had no idea the girl would end her life over the break-up how sick is it to do something like that to a younger person? Where is the wisdom that comes with age in this country? Does something have to be defined as a crime so we will know it is hideous and wrong? I'm just so sad.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Is Sneaky Good?



So I went and purchased the book Sneaky Chef which has been the topic of conversation in many parenting type magazines, shows, forums and so on. Initially I admit the idea was appealing. Hmmm, feed them good food with no argument? Why not. Then I got to thinking about it. Masha'Allah, my kids eat a wide variety of foods and I don't think I have much to worry about really. But even if they didn't I'm not so sure this is the answer. A scene of a well meaning mother delivering her sneaky meals to a malnourished 23 year old popped into my head.

Isn't it our job as parents to give our children tools to go on and be successful in life? I'm not saying that sneaking in a nutrient or two is wrong... But isn't it far better to teach them that there will be a way of preparing a less than desirable veggie that they might like? What about offering them alternate sources of said nutrient. OK, you don't like chicken... Maybe you like eggs. You don't like brussel sprouts... Maybe you'll like stuffed cabbage leaves.

I guess what I'm getting at is where are we going with this? Will our son's wives be passed this torch on the wedding night... "I know you are in love with my son and you want the best for him... So you should know he has never eaten a vegetable plain in his entire life. What you should do if you want him to be healthy is puree them and put them in all his food. Here's how:" I just can't imagine that a fussy eater who has been allowed to eat to his/her preferences for so many years will suddenly mature into a vegetable eating adult. I might be wrong about that... But I don't want to risk it.

Seeing this and thinking about the pediasure commercials just makes me sad for the children of today. We (my generation) seem to be pampered brats raising even more pampered brats. Where does it end? No wonder the waiters look at me strange when my kids ask for salad. Sheesh.

Turkey Jerky?


Well, I am not usually one to bag on someone else's culinary efforts... But DH's sister insisted that we drive three hours to her house for a Thanksgiving dinner (something we don't even celebrate) because she has her daughter this year. Well, I didn't really want to go and DH reassured me that her turkey would be good because she was just cooking it in an oven bag.

So, I didn't make dinner and we headed out at our usual dinner time. Well, we got there starving only to find the weirdest Thanksgiving dinner ever. The turkey had been cooked early in the AM (because she sleeps all day and is only up at night) and left on warm all day. Yes, from 5am to 8pm on warm. It had collapsed into a pile of turkey jerky. And she had taken off the skin and spiced the heck out of it... Why? Then the side dishes... Microwaved frozen veggies with dried Italian spices (again, why?) and the weirdest spiced rice ever. It was brown from the amount of spices and tasted like biting into a clove. And that's it. Oh yeah, Jello brand gelatin (not cool, but she doesn't believe gelatin from pigs is haram and she and I are constantly fighting over it... Her daughter will be horking down skittles and I have to be like, "no kids, we can't eat that because it has gelatin.") which was 3/4 eaten by her daughter with the spoon still sitting in the bowl. Good grief!!! I have never seen anything like it I swear. So, to recap... Turkey jerky, rice no one could eat, frozen veggies, and 3/4 eaten jello we couldn't eat. What?

OK, enough complaining. At least I got to shop the sales and go to Costco (club size organic products at good prices, yeah!). I hope your holiday weekend was a little better.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

UmmLayla in the news!!!

So look at the front page of the local paper... Above the fold I might point out.

It's a little article about a project we have going, I would've scanned it but my all-in-one is acting up (what's new?).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Having second thoughts...


So, we have been in 800 square feet since March... And I am starting to have second thoughts about the arrangement. I still have not gotten the other house on the market (too much work to be done) and we are paying lot rent on it still. But, we won't move back there because we feel the area it is on is too polluted with diesel exhaust and DH is much better away from it. Not to mention that all trailers tend to have mice, and since we have been gone they have started to come into the house, YUCK!

We are too crowded here really. And since the time we moved here we have seen more visits from my husband's sisters than ever before. Weird. But I am feeling the strain. And I desperately need to have another room for the kids so I can have a boy's room and a girl's room. There are so many options, but finding the right set up considering DH's schedule is hard (to say the least). His sleeping area must be in a quiet corner and out of the general traffic pattern of the house. Which is not happening here in this space... But the funny thing is we are both stuck on not moving unless it is an improvement to our conditions... So here we sit.

I hate to move again, but I need another bedroom. And when my SIL comes this week I will be reminded of this once again (like her visits aren't annoying enough). I must say that even when we were in the larger space she managed to sleep on the couch in the middle of everything all day... So it's a problem no matter what I guess. Anywhooo, I hope we can move to a place with some storage and another bedroom very soon!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Put on a little makeup...


OK, I know it may not be a popular idea... I once heard a joke, What is the difference between men and women's expectations in marriage? Women marry men expecting them to change everything. Men marry women expecting they won't change a thing.

In that line of thinking, I started to ask myself what do I do differently now? Well, I used to dress more for the house... Put on makeup... Leave my hair down... So many little things. And I decided to start doing them again. I had the idea that just because my house is a mess doesn't mean I have to be. So over the last week, I fixed the hair color DH has been teasing me about, I have been dressing nice from the time I get up in the morning and I have been putting on a little makeup while in the house. And you know what? It was like a new lease on marriage. I won't go into the details but lets just say nap time hasn't just been for the baby this week and everyone smiles a little more freely.

I don't want to go all 50's house wife on you here... But no one says you can't use your feminine whiles for the common good of the home and still be empowered. Actually, maybe more empowered because a satisfied man is more ready to satisfy his wife, right? So just a thought ladies... Go put on a little makeup and a nice outfit. He won't be looking at the lbs you gained since the last baby, he'll feel like he got his bride back;) Just my two piasters.

PS. If you are usually a mess like me don't be surprised if your DH and kids look at you a little strange when you appear all cleaned up!LOL

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Meme

I have been tagged by Shama for a nablpomo meme. Here it is!

So, here's what to do:
1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

My seven things:
1. I am fanatic about nutrition, natural health and the like but I am addicted to diet soda. I have tried many times to kick the habit to no avail.

2. I was a performer before I was Muslim, primarily musical theatre… And I was pretty good if I must say!LOL

3. Somehow I always knew I wouldn’t marry another American… All my serious relationships have been with people from other countries.

4. I won’t eat fish. Once again I KNOW I should for health reasons… But no. However, I do cook it for my family. But I hate it when DH buys them all intact with heads and scales and blech! I can hardly stand to touch them long enough to prepare them.

5. I haven’t been to many concerts, but among them… Nine Inch Nails, Amy Grant, and New Kids on the Block. Now you figure that out!LOL OK, I’ll tell you. The first one was my choosing… The others were with friends.

6. My first car was a green VW Rabbit, and I would take another one if I could get it until this day.

7. I remember the words to songs for years… My kids think I know every song on the radio! And I wonder why can’t I have that steel trap memory for Quran?

I tag:
Sister Surviving
The Imam's Daughter
Sketched Soul
Unique Muslimah
Mama Mona
Dictator Princess
Bipolar Muslimah

Monday, November 12, 2007

And today playing the part of a Muslim will be....


So, you know I have never represented myself as a scholar or even a person who has a deep understanding of the deen. I feel like I have just started to scratch the surface to tell you the truth, and I am more than well aware of that fact. So naturally when there is a call to teach a class or represent Islam in a theological way I don't even think about volunteering. You want me to talk to a women's sociology class about BEING Muslim? SURE! A panel where views of various community members will represent their PERSPECTIVE on Islam? SURE! A class on Islam for non-muslims? UHHHHHHH, isn't there someone more qualified?

Apparently not. After asking the local community (which includes a prof raised by a pretty big scholar) the University is left with who to teach a class on Islam as part of their community outreach program? A woman who ran away from Saudia with her American boyfriend. Yes folks, and she's apparently pretty bitter about the whole Muslim world. UFFFFFFFFF!!!

I am so angry about this, and I find it hard to believe that no one more qualified is willing to step up and teach this class. I am so TIRED of hearing this story repeat itself!!! From the "expert" on CNN to the person teaching Islam to University students... We are never represented by Muslims. Worse, we are usually represented by people with no respect for Islam at all. SHAME ON US!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you have knowledge, don't let an opportunity pass you to represent the deen. No, you don't have more important things to do. Yes, you are qualified (and if you know someone who knows more than you get him/her to help you or convince them to do it instead!). No, no one else will do it. Yes, it does matter what someones first impression of the religion is. How wonderful would it feel to know that you put someone on the path to understanding the religion?

I know there are instances where the Muslims don't even get asked to speak about Islam... And even in those cases I think it is incumbent upon us to be there in the audience representing. And writing letters VOLUNTEERING to offer a Muslim perspective. And good grief if they come to a masjid ASKING for someone to teach Islam be sure that someone from the community takes them up on the offer.

Meanwhile, I will be signing my hijabified self up for the class to sit in the front row as a little reminder that Allah(swt) is still watching and taking account of her actions even if she is all mad at her Saudi family and stuff. HUMPH. Oh, and don't think I won't be ready if she starts talking trash about Islam.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Stolen meme

I saw this meme on DP's blog and I had to do it!

What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now? Bath and Body Japanese Cherry Blossom... And I also have the lotion and the body spray.

Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? Yes, and it was expensive!!! But DH loves it.

What would you change about your living room? Hmmmm, size and I think I probably need to replace the nasty furniture.

Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? What is this dishwasher of which you speak? Seriously, I ALWAYS seem to have dirty dishes in the sink.

What is in your fridge? A little of everything, alhamdulilah. Specifically, ground beef, chicken leg quarters, many cheeses, lunch meats w/o nitrates, organic milk, half and half, peppermint mocha coffee mate, lettuce, bell peppers, a few salad dressings, various condiments, pickles (American cucumber and Egyptian turnip), eggs, lots of yogurt, sodas (Pepsi, fanta, diet coke), juices (mango, guava, and strawberry kiwi), butter, jam, GF flours and turkey pepperoni.

White or wheat bread? Wheat, and on a good day I make it myself.

What is on top of your refrigerator? A giant fake plant. Oh, and behind that little Rubbermaid containers with dried beans.

What color or design is on your shower curtain? A beach scene.

How many plants are in your home? One, mint (does that count?).

Is your bed made right now? NO, DH is on it when I am not so it is never made.

Comet or Soft Scrub? Comet. And I always come back to it.

Is your closet organized? Yeah, it hasn't been that long since we moved I guess... Now the kid's closet is another story...

Can you describe your flashlight? Just one? With Mr. be prepared we have them in every size shape and color. Should I tell you about the propane heater just in case?

Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? Mostly a ceramic mug. I got rid of many of my glasses because of getting broken and me being afraid of broken glass getting into a kid’s hand or something.

Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? Iced tea? No.

If you have a garage, is it cluttered? Once again I will ask, what is this “garage” of which you speak??? My storage shed is nice and neat. I just cleaned and reorganized it last week as a matter of fact.

Curtains or blinds? Both. Privacy is an issue for us since our windows are all basically very visible to the neighbors.

How many pillows do you sleep with? Two, a small one for my head and a long body pillow for well, my body.

Do you sleep with any lights on at night? No, none at all.

How often do you vacuum? I should vacuum daily. However, my vacuum seems to have other ideas. Every time I use it I have to take it apart and unclog it, so I vacuum when I have the temper and time to deal with all that.

Standard toothbrush or electric? Standard. But the kids have electric.

What color is your toothbrush? White

Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch? I have a welcome mat in front of the apartment door.

What is in your oven right now? I have lasagna baking in there.

Is there anything under your bed? No, because our bed sits directly on the floor.

Chore you hate doing the most? Hmmmm, picking up clutter and folding clothes.

What retro items are in your home? Not much really, I can’t think of anything right now… Wait, I have little boom box type stereo from when CD’s were a new technology, doe’s that count?

Do you have a separate room that you use as an office? DH has an office in another place… But we are in a small apartment right now. If I had another room I would separate the kids not make an office.

How many mirrors are in your home? 1

Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home? Yes, we have a fire safe for important documents and emergency money. Remember what I said about Mr. Be Prepared?

What color are your walls? Off White.

Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home? No, not really. Maybe one of my heavy Mag-lites?

What does your home smell like right now? Lasagna and garlic bread.

Favorite candle scent? Sandalwood.

What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now? Cucumber (American dill) and turnip (Egyptian style).

What color is your favorite Bible? My favorite Quran is blue.

Ever been on your roof? Nope.

Do you own a stereo? Nope.

How many TVs do you have? One little one in the bedroom.

How many house phones? Three. A regular phone and two cordless.

Do you have a housekeeper? WHAT? Don’t I wish.

What style do you decorate in? Neo-clutter? Seriously, I have four kids and live in 800 square feet. I can’t keep it in order let alone decorate.

Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints? Solid, dark and kidproof.

Is there a smoke detector in your home? Yes, one in every room.

In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you’d grab if you only could make one quick trip? The safe, my diaper bag/purse and maybe my laptop.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Go to Farhana's blog and enter the latest swap. The idea is to swap reusable bags (handmade if you can) with another sister. I love her swaps and you know I will be all over this one! Sounds fun!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My so called life...



UGH! I looked today and realised that I haven't written in sooooo long. I have been busy with lots of things. Trying to find new vender's for my store, taking my new project before city council, and starting a volunteer position teaching drama at my kids' school. I have been so happy with the teaching, and I hope things are going well with the other two, but you never know.

I have also been going through some personal stuff that I don't think this blog is the place to talk about. I started a new blog and if you know me and don't feel all voyeuristic or think I shouldn't talk about private stuff (which I know has it's issues trust me)... E-mail me and I will give you the address, insha'Allah. Not that it will be private, but I am not just going to link this blog to it because that would defeat the purpose of making it a separate entity. Anywhoo... ummlaylagd@yahoo.com

I am still working out trying to go to Egypt this year, but as this year draws to a close that becomes less and less likely. I am not as flexible as I once was because of school and all the projects we have in the works.

SOOOO, I am trying to get the house in order. Clean, iron, do laundry, clean out the kitchen and the fridge... I have been just puttering around with the i-pod in one ear all weekend. So, part of my house look more inhabitable... But other parts are still awaiting hurricane ummlayla. Mundane, I know. But I have so much on my mind right now and no time to sit down and type it out!!!

BTW... Anyone know how to find islamic lecture MP3's? I have had little to no success finding anything that I can figure out how to download onto my i-pod. I'm thinking my problem is that what I am finding is streaming audio and so I can only listen but not download... HELP!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Eid, can I go to bed now?


I don't know about other women out there, but Ramadan leaves me wiped. The cooking and cleaning for the family, preparing for Eid... I think there should be a week of rest for all caregivers after Eid is over. Are you with me?

Of course I have fasting to make up. Insha'Allah I will start this Thursday and fast Mondays and Thursdays until I make up my days. I have been playing with the idea of committing myself to Mondays and Thursdays all the time, I have a BIL who does that. Considering how much fasting I have missed I would like to do it.

How was Eid for everyone? Pretty ho hum here... But the kids were too happy with their gifts and new clothes to care!LOL Alhamdulilah. DH surprised me with some nice gifts (he gave them to me early since he never can seem to keep a secret!LOL) and that was nice. I must admit to going a little crazy the day before Eid though... Trying to get things ready and do the shopping... DH wanted me to go fishing and I was a little too firm with my no I think, but he took the kids and gave me a chance to prepare their gifts and stuff the pinata without them around. One thing I was hoping to do is a goody basket for our neighbors, but I didn't have time. Next Eid, insha'Allah.

Oh, and the TV isn't coming back. I had said it was a Ramadan thing at first... But now I am thinking about making it permanent (DH is not so happy). Seriously, I got more done and the kids actually played with their toys, did craft projects, read, and played board games that haven't seen the light of day in years. Alhamdulilah. Did I mention all the great books I read? I am finishing up Kite Runner... WOW. Seriously people, go read a book!!! You won't regret it!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Amigurumi Chick


Amigu-what? Well, after seeing a friend make a doll that was just too cool for words I asked for the pattern. They called the style of the doll AMIGURUMI. And like a good internet geek I googled it to find out what it means. Apparently it is a style of doll made by crocheting in spirals and adding felt features leaving you with a slightly anime looking character. Soooo, of course I had to make one! The chick above took me maybe 1 1/2 hours and is the height of my cell phone. Awwww!!! I'm hooked (pardon the pun)!

Go check it out:
Amigurumi Kingdom
Ana's Amigurumi Patterns

Now see the fun things you find yourself doing when you get rid of the TV???? Not to mention that I have read three books thus far... More than I read in the entire before!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Basics of my Ramadan craft this year, edited 9/27/07 (photos added)

The basic idea that I was going for was simple. Kindness builds the community. My first thought was a masjid building block set that the kids would get a piece of every time they did a good deed during the month of Ramadan. But, that didn't work out because they were on backorder and I have not been able to get one. So, I did a fabric wall-hanging instead.

I took a .coloring book picture of a masjid and copied it onto fabric, and they will get a piece to iron onto the main scene every time they do a good deed. I made envelopes with the ideas for charity/kindness and in each one there is a new piece of the masjid.


You will need fabric, bonding paper, good scissors, and a pencil to draw the outlines with.


To make the whole thing I took a yard of my main fabric (sky and stars in my case) and then I ironed on a fabric bonding paper (you can find it at craft stores) onto 1/4 yard of a few other colors and 1/2 a yard for the main color of the masjid.



Then, you go to town making the pieces of the mosque by drawing onto the paper backing and then cutting it out. When you are ready to put a piece onto the wall hanging all you do is peel off the paper backing and iron it onto your main fabric.


Here is the basics of what it will look like with all the pieces just laid out over the top where they will be ironed on in the end.

Now, the rub with this one is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can use felt and glue rather than the iron on stuff if you want. Or, you can do what I am doing. I have a matching yard for the backing and a piece of batting so I can make it into a quilt in the end. Sooo, after the kids place the piece and we iron it on I will be sewing around the edges of each piece. Then, at the end of the month I will stick the three pieces together with some spray adhesive (saves pinning) and quilt around the design.

Does that make sense at all??? Insha'Allah

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Evolution of Ramadan



I was thinking (as I often do in the quiet time I have eating suhoor in a home with the children all sleeping and my husband at work) how Ramadan has changed for me over the years. I converted a decade ago… And it seems like I am so far from the place I started I wouldn’t even recognize my old self if I bumped into her on the street!

My first Ramadan I was teaching kindergarten at Crescent View Academy in Denver, CO. It was a great time for me, and I was really into the deen and it surrounded me in all aspects of my life. My work, my friends, and my free time were all tied to Islam. I will never forget making little paper lanterns with my class and filling the ceiling of the room with them. And going to work very early… Even eating my suhoor at my desk and praying fajr in the little musullah in the school so I could turn in all my paperwork by the end of the school day and have time for iftar with friends or tarawih at the masjid... It was a blessing to be in such an environment for my first Ramadan, alhamdulilah.

Then, I married my husband. It was during Ramadan, and people told us we were crazy… We told them it was a blessing. People broke their fast at our meager wedding party in December and we all prayed magrib and ate iftar together. And, that was my last Ramadan in a large community. I moved from Denver to a small town in Wyoming.

I would like to tell you now about Ramadan as a young married couple that was still getting to know each other… But I had our first daughter before the next Ramadan, alhamdulilah. We were new parents during that time, and I can’t say that I remember much about it… Other than my husband taking the baby with him when he got up for suhoor and me grabbing much needed minute of sleep while he prepared the food.

From the birth of our daughter on, I have missed many months of fasting due to pregnancy, or having a young nursling. So, Ramadan changed for me. It became about decorating the house, cooking, and trying to get the kids involved in the month. And I started to feel more and more isolated here in the Midwest. And every year I felt Ramadan slipping from my grasp. I felt the spirituality of it just sneaking away from me… All I thought of is what to cook for my fasting husband, and what activity to plan for the children that evening. Many nights I left my husband watching Al-Jazera while I went to tarawih with the kids and concentrated more on the grumpy old people in the masjid being annoyed by my children than the prayer. I came home from an Eid gathering crying one year..

This Ramadan my littlest is 15 months old, and with no other babies in the plans for the next few years I have started to fast again. So, I was excited for Ramadan to begin. But, I knew this year it was up to me to help it have some meaning in our home. I wanted to get the spirit back by force if I had to. So I went all out. I threw the TV into a storage shed and pulled out all sorts of games and crafts for the kids. And I put copies of the Quran in strategic places in the living room and our bedroom, so we can read it when we are relaxing or feeling a little tired. I have also decided that tarawih will be a family affair. We are praying tarawih here, where I don’t have to wonder what the kids are doing or who sees them doing it. And we are planning a vacation for Eid. And you know what? I feel more connected this year than I have in a long time. I feel the joy of preparing food for my fasting husband, I have achieved a calm and even state when dealing with the children… I feel like things are back in order.

It’s like those little geometric puzzles… You have to work with the pieces you have to make the shape you want, and there is no one shape that is right. I was looking for the pieces to fit together in the old way… But I have added so much to my life over the years that I had to make a new picture with my pieces.

I guess what I am saying is that I am doing my best to help myself evolve and adapt with my life. I have realized that I have been missing what I experienced my first Ramadan and it’s holding me back. I have to accept that as my life changes the experience of the ritual of Ramadan will change with it. There are new blessings, new opportunities and new joy… It is up to me to find it, and make every Ramadan the spiritually uplifting experience it should be.

(cross posted on Ramadanish)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Get ready, get set, Craft!!!!!!!


This years Ramadan craft will be posted late tonight,insha'Allah. I am in the final stages of working the photos into a tutorial instructions kinda thing. So stay tuned!

If you haven't seen them, here are the last two years:
Ramadan 2006
Ramadan 2005

And from other sources, here are some great ideas:
Farhana's cool ark suprise box
and her Masjid surprise box
Ramadan Craft Book PDF
Cookie sharing project @ Ramadan Joy
Surviving's no-sew gift bags
Farhana's gift bag tutorial

***Update on 9/16/07- Still working on the photo tutorial. I didn't manage to get it all finished before Ramadan, and now it's going slowly... Insha'Allah, soon!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cool Blog

Just a quick post to tell you check out Ramadan Joy. Full of wonderful ideas! Masha'Allah.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fall is here!


Go celebrate fall! I feel it in the air here in WY. And I love fall... You know how everyone has their season? Mine is definitely fall. So, time to get out the jackets and some seasonal foods... Here's one of my favs: Oh, and if you have never baked a pumpkin, get a little pie pumpkin and give it a shot. You will have enough puree for a few different things once you are done!

This pumpkin cookie recipe includes directions for making your own pumpkin purée.
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin purée, canned or homemade*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
sifted confectioners' sugar, for dusting
PREPARATION:
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Stir in the pumpkin purée. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Stir flour mixture into the creamed mixture along with the milk. Blend thoroughly but do not over beat.

Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for about 12 minutes, until set. Cool for a minute; remove to racks and continue to cool. Dust pumpkin cookies with sifted confectioners' sugar.


*To make pumpkin purée, cut pumpkin in half, crosswise. Remove seeds and membranes. Place on a greased baking sheet, cut side down, and bake at 325° for 1 hour, or until tender. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove pulp and place in blender or processor. Purée or process until smooth. Place in a cheesecloth-lined mesh strainer or sieve and let drain into a bowl for about an hour. When dripping has stopped, put purée into a container, cover, and refrigerate if not using right away.
Makes about 3 dozen pumpkin cookies.

***These cookies are also great topped with cream cheese frosting, they are just harder to store that way!LOL

Friday, September 07, 2007

Don't let the dunya rule you...


And I mean that. Of course we all KNOW this but only in an intellectual way. All we have ever experienced is the dunya, hence it is natural to get caught up in it. Well, I for one am working on transcendence. But DH has a rope and is ready to tie me to it if he has to. He is all about money and jobs and planning for the future. Trust me, I think about the future but I have an all too real idea that the future I am planning for might be changed in an instant, I am not in charge. So when something happens, I move on. Lately DH just gets stuck in this circular thinking about how bad things are. So he is obsessing about work and money and investments... And I am planning for Ramadan. Today he told me "Wake up yah Amu! We have real problems!" Yes we do, we have four children who have to learn that Allah decides their fate... And I don't think he's even getting it!

The example that I give, and I'm sure anyone who knows me is sick of hearing it, is my father-in-law. FIL was a supreme court judge in Egypt. And, masha'Allah he was a good one who participated in many extra court sessions on illegal gains and had his contract extended many times beyond his mandatory retirement age. When he finally did retire from the Egyptian legal system he took a job in a gulf country. It paid well, very very well by Egyptian standards. The same year, my SIL was in a car accident and EVERY extra penny that he made went to medical care, lawyers, living expenses and all the other things that came up with her rehabilitation and her decision to live here in the US because of accessibility. Now, did my FIL do the right thing by pursuing an extra income for his family? Of course. Did it mean he left his family with tons of money to spare? Did he secure his kids (as I'm sure he intended)? Did DH have money to get married and live easy for the first years? No, uh-uh, nope.

I guess what I'm driving at is don't look at the outcome of your choices as something that stops here. There is only failure and unfairness if you are limiting your accounting to this life. And it seems to me that satisfaction in this life is a slippery little creature. The more you chase it the faster it runs.

Enjoy the gifts you have been given. Savor the moments of contentment when you find them. Wonder at the beauty of this earth. But keep in mind that we are not here only for this. And this is temporary in comparison what comes after death. So, if you want a long term investment... Don't build your bank account. Build your garden in Jennah, insha'Allah.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Life in cowboy country...

So this picture wouldn't seem like much...



Unless I show you where I took it.




Yes, here at your friendly Wyoming Wal-Mart you can feel free to pasture your horse at the back of our parking lot while you shop! You got to rest your legs from the road... Why shouldn't your horse???

Sunday, August 26, 2007

School this year...

Every year we have a heated debate about school. I just don't think my husband and I will EVER see eye-to-eye on the topic of educating our children. He is dead set on having them in some sort of "school" type activity. He doesn't care so much what or where. I care ALOT. I would rather have them home away from all the lovely things cowboy country has to offer anyone whose name isn't Billy Bob Smith. But DH insists that they "need" to get a real taste of the world as it is. HUMPH.

Alhamdulilah, this year they were drawn in a lottery for a spot in the University Lab School. There are a total of about 15-20 kids in each grade and their record for culture, diversity and great science programs is good. The middle schoolers were even part of an archaeological dig in the area last year. So, I am much more pleased with this year's school... But I still am not sure that I am OK with the situation we are in here. I will continue with The Well Trained Mind as a supplemental, but I am still worried about negative socialization.

What's a Muslim in an isolated area to do? I struggle with my own identity as a Muslim here, how can I help my kids feel like they are Muslim under these circumstances? I know that things will work out, and Allah (swt) guides who he will... But I am worried that I need to do more to help my children feel as if they are Muslim first and foremost. UGHHHH! I have made myself a promise that this year I will not let DH trample all over the holidays and the plans I make for the family. I will not let him dissuade me if I find an activity for the kids with other Muslim children. I will drive to Denver if I have to.

I just pray that we have a better situation as far as the deen soon. I am tired. I hate this place. I don't know what we are doing here anymore. Yah Allah!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Book meme from DP


OK, I am stealing a book meme from DP since I think it's a good one!

What are you reading now?
I tend to have two or three books going at the same time. I choose between them based on mood. One is pure entertainment, one is usually Islamic knowledge stuff, and then one practical one about herbal medicine, parenting, midwifery. So right now in those categories,
Amy Tan: Saving Fish From Drowning
Tariq Ramadan: In the Footsteps of the Prophet
Linda Delgado: A Muslim's Guide to Publishing and Marketing

Do you have any idea what you'll read when you're done with that?
I think I will try to get more Tariq Ramadan... And I will get some other Islamic type stuff in case I finish it (it being Ramadan and all).

What's the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin. I am not an Austin fan... Which put me in an interesting position as an English major (since there are people who get entire degrees devoting their study to her work). But I really feel she's like the Daniele Steele of her time. Blah blah, cute boys, blah blah, rich boys, blah blah, "intelligent" woman who can seem to think of nothing but said boys, blah blah.

What's one book you always recommend to just about anyone?
It depends on my mood, and the interests of the person. I don't have a one size fits all recommendation. For pregnant women, Henci Goer: The Thinking Woman's Guide to Birth. For American Muslims (if they haven't read it already) Jeffery Lang: Even Angels Ask. For anyone who thinks they are interested in saving the planet and stuff, Jim Merkel: Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth.

Admit it, sadly the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don't they?
Probably, but it's just because I come with all four kids and we check out like half the children's book section;)

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don't like it at all?
Hmmmmm... I really liked Faulkner: As I lay Dying. I do think many English majors have a deep hate of Faulkner because you need a flow chart to follow his plots if you are not paying attention... But that's why I LIKE Faulkner. I would sit and read it in one setting and let it flow naturally and it touches you on some weird level because it really is like you are in someones head.

Do you read books while you eat?
I read and eat all the time. I used to sit at the table and read whenever I ate before I had the family. Now, if I am alone at a meal I WILL read... I find myself doing it during suhoor in Ramadan since DH is at work and the kids are too young to eat suhoor really. Actually, I think DH might have married me because the first time we meet for dinner after we got engaged he was an hour late and he found me happily sipping my diet coke a reading the latest installment of Anne Rice. He was impressed that I wasn't mad that he was late (masha'Allah!!! so understanding), so don't tell him it was just because I don't even notice the time when I'm reading Anne Rice, OK?

While you bathe?
Yes, sadly my entertainment reading should be waterproofed. But once again, family and sitting in the bath reading don't mix well... So I don't do it often anymore.

While you watch movies or TV?
While watching TV with the kids or DH I will read if I'm not interested in the show.

While you listen to music?
Yes, but only when reading a book that I have to read for school or something.

While you're on the computer?
Anything more than a few pages I prefer to have my hands on it. So, something too long is not for me.

When you were little did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Well, yeah... I liked to read from a very young age, and I would read every chance I got. I was actually probably the only person in my AP English class that finished all the reading over the summer. I also liked to roll play books... When other first graders were playing Star Wars, I was playing Nancy Drew, or Little House on the Prairie. And DH STILL teases me whenever something that was a book makes it to the big screen because I want to analyze the differences after I see the movie... Oh and I actually have been known to blurt "That never happened in the book!!!" loudly during the movie. Yeah, I know.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn't put it down?
The Girl With the Pearl Earring. I read it on one sitting late at night. I woke up to soak my legs (leg cramps) and started reading in the bath and never put it down(and actually that relates to 2 other answers, reading in the bath and of course when they made it into a movie I sat ruining the whole experience of seeing it for DH by comparing it to the book).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happy Birthday!

The 16th was my son's 6th birthday! Happy Birthday to him!!! I made this panda cake with a GF cake mix from Bob's Red Mill. We don't really do more than cake for b-days...

We also had a doctor's appointment in Denver, so we were there for a couple of days this weekend. I got to use my
Splashgear swimsuit for the first time at the hotel. You know it was the first time in a decade that I have been in a pool. The whole family went swimming! Yeah!!!

DH and I also talked on the phone with my SIL's ex and he and I had the whole life as a convert conversation. Then DH and I had a conversation about how he thinks there is no such thing as life a convert... There is just life as a Muslim in America... I beg to differ. What do other converts think? Is there a difference? My argument would be background, family, acceptance from your piers, other Muslims challenging the very idea that you are REALLY Muslim, everyone feeling they have a leg up on you because they were "raised Muslim". So yeah, I think there is something called an American convert's experience of Islam. Just my 2 piasters.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Call Him Marvin....


You remember that book by Dr Seuss, Marvin K Mooney will you please go now? Yeah. This town for us is kinda like that. And DH just keeps insisting on staying here. I think I should just start calling him Marvin.

I went to get the key to my new store the other day only to be told that they are refunding my deposit and will not rent to me. Then, the sign we have up on a property we are working on explaining that it is under development ( you know blah blah, legal obligation to post it, blah, blah, for more info call)... Yeah, stolen. Which means I will not be getting back the $80 deposit I gave the city for it, and I will have to pay another $80 deposit. And of course when we went to the city last time we discovered that everybody already knows it some "Muslim guy and his American wife" developing it... So I have no doubt that the person who did it knows that information.

Hey Marvin, can we go now?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I live in an area of the country that necessitates thinking about Ramadan early. So, I don't know if you are thinking about it but I am. I am thinking of things like the little petit fours pan in the picture... And the fact that I need like a case of foul and another one of dates, and that needs a trip out of town. Not to mention the customary trip to a warehouse store that almost every Muslim American family I know makes pre-Ramadan...

I am also looking into going somewhere for Eid. I don't want to sit here another year, I hate it. I know I should be focusing on the worship aspect of Eid... But I think there is no harm in having fun too... And Eid here leaves me depressed. I would love to go somewhere where there is a larger community that would have some sort of festival and of course a big eid prayer. I like big.

Of course Ramadan means a new Ramadan craft, insha'Allah. And I already have some ideas;)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Camera back on-line!!!

I have been unable to post photos from my camera for quite some time now because I couldn't load them onto the comp. Now I can so get ready to see some!

This is the baby digging into the cake we got for her first birthday in June. I have been wanting to post it but have been having problems with my digital camera... Of course posting this means I finally got them figured out!LOL


These are some cupcakes I made that I thought turned out pretty well. The center is chocolate! YUMMM.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sufism?


My SIL has become interested in Imam Ghasali (is that how you spell it) and Sufism. DH is flipping, but I have always wanted to know more about it myself. Does anyone have any recommendations for more information on Sufism? Any Sufis out there with thoughts?

Monday, July 23, 2007

IUD update

So, I got the IUD this afternoon as planned. It went well, alhamdulilah. The midwife told me to get ready for a pinch and a big cramp... But I didn't feel anything, masha'Allah.The midwife told me I must have a high threshold of pain, I am thinking I was lucky!LOL Also I think I just feel pain differently than some people. Whenever I feel pain I tend to have stomach problems. Weird, but consistent. I has always happened to me the day before and the first few days of my period and in early labor. Maybe that's my body's version of cramps. OK, I may have just given you more information than you ever wanted to have!LOL

I guess I am saying, so far so good. Masha'Allah. Now I just have to convince the DH that there is nothing to be afraid of since both of my SIL's have been telling him about people getting pregnant with the IUD! GOOD GRIEF!!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

YUMMMM!

I must confess that I get obsessed about things sometimes... I get an idea and I keep researching and planning and learning more than I really need to know. My latest obsession in jam. I have become interested in the process of making jam and canning in general. I am making strawberry jam this afternoon, insha'Allah. I even made the fresh bread to go with the test batch!LOL

Now, I am making plans to make pickles and can vegetables. Is getting fixated on canning wierd? I hope not.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

If you haven't seen him yet....


I have been following this brother's videos for quite some time. He makes me laugh, he makes me think. If you haven't seen him yet, check it out.Ummah FilmsThanks for this one brother Aly, you really did remind me.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Say hello to my little friend....

I know that it may be slightly controversial for a Muslim woman to publicly discuss her birth control choices, but I figure if no one ever talks we will all just be in the OB's office starting and that BC chart and thinking, "HUHHHHHH?". So, here I go.

I have been going through the BC thing since my baby was born a year ago in search of an option that actually makes sense for me. See, I got pregnant on the mini-pill and had some mind numbing headaches after the third round of Depo... So it was time for a new option. I have revisited the BC thing after my last three pregnancies and tried something new every time.

When I was not really serious about BC after our first child (we were spacing not really preventing) I used a diaphragm. Now, for those of you who have never even used a tampon or checked your own cervix... A diaphragm might be a little odd for you. But, once you get used to it you can do it pretty quickly. My Dr (family friend) at the time told me I could always teach my DH to put it in and then I wouldn't have to break the mood. "I thought you knew my DH? Maybe I should introduce you sometime... His name is _____!" was my response. But maybe there are people who that would work for. For the rest of us it requires a bathroom break, and a generous application of spermicide (which changes vaginal PH and cause more frequent infections for some women).

Then, I went to the mini-pill. No mood breaking, no interfering with breastfeeding... And I got pregnant with my third child when our son was about 9 months old. To be fair, I wasn't taking it at the same hour every day like I was supposed to... But I was always taking it before bed, so go figure. I don't really promote it because I feel it may not be enough hormone to interrupt the cycle for all women.

Then, now gun-shy, I wouldn't let them send m home from the hospital without a depo-prevara injection. They are a time release hormone and they last about 3 months. I got 3 boosters and then headaches and irregular bleeding forced me to consider other options. We went to spermicides until we were ready to get pregnant again.

This time... Well, I started out with the nuvo-ring. It worked fine (less side effects than the pill) but even after the adjustment period of two months I was suffering from a reduced milk supply. So, I took it out. Now, if I wasn't nursing it would've been fine. But, in the long run I would rather stay away from hormonal BC. So... I talked to my midwife AGAIN who told me that I might want to consider what she has always relied on, a copper IUD. So, we agreed I would just come in next time I had my period (since that is when it is easiest to insert) and that's now. So, Monday I go in and get the IUD placed. I am a little nervous about it, but ready to be done with BC conversations and trial and error with hormones.

So, I know you might be thinking that you don't really care to hear about BC... But if you want an actual woman's perspective on it, here you go. I will post Monday about how the procedure went and whether or not it left me considering celibacy as an option!lol

Saturday, July 14, 2007

rant

I have been just trying to keep my head above water these days. We drove to Denver the week of the July 4th only to have our car break down halfway there. Now, when there are 6 people in your family you can't just load into the tow truck. Soooo, we waited an hour and a half for a taxi on the side of the freeway (of course we didn't let the tow truck take the car until we left). So now I have my grandma's old car (a vintage station wagon which unfortunately she smokes in) and DH is fighting daily the 1001 complications that have come up in getting our old car fixed.

Also, I am fighting (literally) my DH's moodiness. I am just about fed up really... I know he has things going on in his life, but he has a family and a wife to think about. He told me in an argument the other day that he was "this close" to running away to Egypt. Yeah, real mature. Then you add into it all this stuff we have going on... It doesn't make for a great environment. You know at these moments you ask yourself "Am I the crazy one?" Sometimes I am confident that he is just a demanding person, other times I wonder if I am really just not as hardworking as other wives. Sheesh. I guess the cold hard truth is that I am giving him lots of leeway because the house money is his. He's the only one making money. If I really do get my own income, I'm sure we would fight more because I would want more control over spending. And I don't know where a Muslim man gets off telling his wife that it's her turn to support him for awhile or she "owes him" for supporting the family anyway. It's odd. Ya Rubb!

OK, I'm just ranting and venting... I hope to be back with a more constructive post soon, insha'Allah.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Kefir and kombucha

DH has called my remedies "voodoo" ever since we were married 8 years ago. The only thing that has changed is that he now ASKS for my "voodoo" rather than running from it. I have become interested lately in probiotics... And the result is that I am, insha'Allah, going to start growing my own kefir and kombucha cultures. Basically, they both result in a drink. Kefir is like yogurt (a drinkable consistency) and Kombucha yields a tea which is pretty similar to apple cider. Why???

Drinking "living" drinks has different health benefits depending on the drink you are talking about. Kefir helps balance yeast and grow a healthy environment on your insides for optimal absorption of nutrients and general digestive health. This one is pretty straight forward and like a good yogurt regimen pretty widely accepted as fact. Kombucha tea falls further into the "voodoo" category, but basically the kombucha culture digests the sugar and tea into a slightly vinegary drink with several detoxifying ingredients and some helpful vitamins and enzymes.

I was given a kombucha culture by a friend in college and remember that it did make a pretty drinkable tea that I tryed. Of course I was young and in good health anyway, so I gave up after some time since I really thought I didn't see a drastic improvement in my overall health. Now, with all these things DH is on for his condition... Detoxing seems like a good thing. His liver has already started to show some stress on the blood tests, so I remembered kombucha.

If anyone has thoughts on the whole thing, let me know. I am new to growing kefir, so I might be crying for advice... But I have purchased it from the store in the past and yikes!!! I paid a bundle for the three week course I did to kick a case of thrush I had when the baby was about 2 months old. But, it did work. I even applied it topically for the first week. And I rubbed acidophiles on the baby's tongue every time she nursed (since I was afraid to give her the kefir since it was cows milk). And it worked wonders. I also lost my tummy pillow that I always seem to have. Of course the tummy crept back later!LOL

Ummmm, OK I'm rambling now. Kefir good. Kombucha, hopefully good. Making them at home, good. Amywhoo, back to my whole wheat bread (which hopefully hasn't over-risen).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yellow polka dot Burqini?



So, DH and I have been contemplating meeting at the local rec center every morning and taking the kids swimming. This leads to my usual question of, "Is it worth it to try to find a modest swimsuit or will DH tease me until I run and hide in the locker room?" Ha Ha.

I think I have settled on making one, but we will have to see how expensive it is to buy that many yards of swimsuit fabric!LOL So, has anyone out there bothered to try these "modest" swimsuits? What do you think of them? I'm thinking no matter how much they suck I am dying to get into the water with the rest of the family!!!!

Of course in looking for images and ideas I came across all sorts of craziness... And if one such crazy person should happen to stumble across my blog. No, these suits are not oppressive. The fact is once you wear hijab and are committed to it you feel naked without it. I know, I know... "How's that?" you ask. Well, everyone has their own standard of modesty. I personally think that most women work hard to overcome the natural feelings of shyness to go out wearing a bikini... I know I did. So if you see a woman in a "modest" swimsuit, please just smile and say, "To each her own." Look, as long as you don't force me to wear your suit... I won't force you to wear mine, deal?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Egyptian Husbands

I have had so many people find me by searching for something to do with marrying an Egyptian... So, I thought I would humor these searchers with my take on being married to an Egyptian. Not to be mistaken for my earlier post on You know your husband is Egyptian when...

Basically, I think Egyptians make a good match for American women. Assuming that they are from a city... Because I could see where there might be more friction/cultural mis-understandings if a big city American married a village Egyptian. Overall, as long as you both give each other some time to understand the differences... Insha'Allah, you will be fine.

The things that might come up... Keep in mind that I am generalising here... But after a decade of Egyptians I have noticed some trends.

I have seen standards of modesty as a problem in some marriages. It seems to me that Egyptians (no matter what religion) are very modest people. So they really don't want to see their wife in a mini-skirt and a tube top walking out the door... EVER. I never had this issue personally, because I wear hijab, but DH has seen it happen with his friends.

Family, and visiting family... Egyptians are loyal to their families no matter what. I have seen Egyptian couples separate over one insulting the other's mother, sister, brother, whatever. This fierce loyalty is all good if your spouses family is normal, but can be a real hassle if they are not. Personally, this comes up for me all the time. I can have a lengthy conversation with my DH and feel he sees that his sister can be awful and downright destructive only to have him go visit her the next day. Alhamdulilah, I am over it because at least he lets me say how I feel and doesn't expect me to visit. But I have seen this be a source of tension in marriages where the husband not only visits the crazy relative but insists that his wife does too.

Disciplining children. DH jokes that some people in Egypt beat their children for breakfast. I think that may be going a little far.... But I do think the manor of discipline is different between Americans and Egyptians. Americans talk to their children and try to shame them out of bad behavior. Many Egyptians skip the shame in favor of a smack on the hand. This can be hard because consistency is so important with children. So, rather than a disciplinary tug of war, I think couples should have a policy for their home. And it should be specific.

What constitutes a meal. I have heard American wives bemoan the amount of food they have to serve in order for their husband to call it a meal countless times. It seems that Egyptians just have bigger meals, so don't be shocked when you serve what you think is a meal and your spouse asks "Where's the rest?"

He might think that you are Superwoman. It seems that men from all over the world have the impression that American woman can do everything and work tirelessly. Ummm, no we can't.

I'm sure I could go on with the trivial things, but those are the major ones that I can think of. Now for the great things about being married to an Egyptian.

They LOVE their families. Yes, along with the bad parts there are good parts to the loyalty to family. Your DH will put your children first and will love them fiercely.

They have kind hearts. Most Egyptians are kind, generous, and welcoming. You will never feel uncomfortable in your spouses friends homes. And, I think it rubs off. You will find that he brings out the sweetness in you too.

They will never be too busy to sit and have a cup of tea and some sweets with you... Providing that you bring the tea and the sweets;)

Hmmmm, I hope that I haven't offended. As I said, these are my observations. I would urge caution to anyone marrying someone from a different culture as I have mentioned in previous posts... But I think that Egyptians are a good match for us American girls most of the time;)

Magnoona has left the building...

Soooooo, if you have been paying attention you know my SIL (the one here in the states, I have two) drives me to the brink. She has been visiting us for the past two weeks, and basically just annoying me as much as humanly possible. For the finale today, for the first time in my 32 years, I yelled straight at a person other than my DH or my poor mom (whom I yelled at a lot when I was a teenager). Yes, it was my SIL.

Now, I have maintained my control with her so many times. I have kept my cool with a woman I swear would make Gandhi renounce his pledge of non-violence... But today I laid into her, and of course she yelled right back and the whole thing was rather unbelievable really. DH just woke up to go to work and he told me, "Please tell me that this evening didn't really happen."

Basically it went like this. I tell DH that even our neighbor whom my SIL saw only briefly during her visit (she was sleeping on the couch 99% of the time) mentioned to me how sad my SIL seemed and how hard her life was with her disability and thier mom dying. DH then tells SIL, see even our neighbor knows your sad story and proceeds with his usual advice about don't go around making sure everyone knows you are miserable and they should feel bad for you. Now see this is where the sequence of events should stop for a normal person... But you are not talking about a normal person you see, so then... SIL concludes that our neighbor must know from a mutual friend about her sad life and her tragic situation (which is just crazy because if you sit with my SIL for five minutes she will tell you about her sad life, you don't need secondary sources) and gets really angry that this mutual friend who knows the details of her situation only for the purpose of setting up a fund for her (some sister set up a trust fund for my SIL because of her "tragic" situation) and how dare she gossip to anyone about it (that's my SIL's job of course). But, she doesn't stop there, noooooo. My SIL then proceeds to go over to our neighbor's house at 10pm and confront them to find out what they know and who they know it from. YA RUB!!!!!!

So, I am sitting there, watching from my window knowing I can't do anything to stop this psyco, and she is about to cause a big problem. I am imagining that this poor woman is going to be berated by her husband about this since I know they are not the type to gossip and are very private people... And the wife really said NOTHING. What she said to me was very general, you would say the same thing if you sat with my SIL for five minutes. And my SIL is going to them accusing them and their friend of gossiping about her. I was ready to pack my bags and move. I was sooooo embarrassed. Then she brought the husband to our house only to continue the fight with my DH in front of him. So, the polite husband left and soon as he could and went back home. So now, my SIL and my DH are screaming at each other. Soon, she is telling me look what you started. I went crazy.

I started by telling her that she couldn't even see the point of DH talking to her. "He was telling you that you can't go around telling everyone your problems so you fix that by going and telling our neighbors your problems and dragging them into the fight with your brother?" From there, it just kept escalating. She is accusing DH of just being dragged into my evil plots against her... I'm telling her she is crazy and doesn't have the social skills God gave an avocado... DH is telling her his whole life with her is like this... She's saying she just wanted to clear her name and we are the crazy ones... And so on. So, as I am answering a phone call from the neighbor (who were masha'Allah very nice about the whole thing) saying she never heard anything from their mutual friend and let's just forget all this ever happened, my SIL just leaves. I am hoping she is going home. But no. She went back over to our neighbors to say one more thing. I was livid. DH just told me "Ma'laysh, just go have some chai because you can't stop her."

Now, I have to say I'm not sorry I yelled at her... Although I do know that it doesn't make her see what she did. I feel better. And, Alhamdulilah DH had my back... Which is a nice feeling. I guess the really crazy thing is that she has no idea what she did. UGH. I told my DH that if his other sister comes to the states (which we have been planning for this summer) I can't have both of my SIL's here. If we want the whole family to be together it has to be somewhere where my crazy SIL can only embarrass the s&*% out of me in front of total strangers. Just what I needed after feeling drained from chasing all the kids (she brought her daughter which DH and I must watch and include in everything but never discipline) and dealing with her demands for the past two weeks so she can sleep on my couch all day. Sheesh. Well, good riddance to bad rubbish as they say. Now I just hope I can get the courage to go BBQ with the neighbors tomorrow as planned. I'm just praying that my SIL didn't cause them a big fight.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sugar coated Islam

I have been noticing a new movement in Islam... For lack of a better word, I will call it sugar coated Islam. It seems like people are just pushing the idea and not the substance of Islam. I see it in my own born and raised Muslim SIL. It's this wierd idea that you can just "Do your best" (which is usualy pretty far from actual Islam) and everything is fine.

I know everything STARTS with La illah... But you should build on that, not have it as your only goal. And this attitude has been leading to some things that I just can't stomach. Maybe I'm a hard-nosed person... But there are things that even if I do them, I am under no illusions that I am right. What I am seeing more and more from people is a lack of understanding that they are bending the rules. Quite the contrary, they think they are good "modern" Muslims. You know, considering how different things are now, and how hard it is to be a muslim in today's world (rolling my eyes).

Now from my perspective, there is no such thing as a "modern" muslim. We should be striving for the same things that the people around the Prophet were striving for, and in the same ways. The trappings of our life may be different, but the substance should be the same. I accept that we will have a hard time reaching the levels that people around the Prophet reached (they had a stellar example after all) but I don't think that means we should stop fighting for it.

So before you tell yourself the fairy story that "we live in different times" followed by "so it's ok to pray late, to read less Quran, to let our children stray further and further from the deen... (fill in the blank here)". I want you to think about what happens when you set the bar that low. You won't jump higher one day... You will just keep lowering the bar.

Let me tell you a little story with my kiddos that was making me think about the expectations I have for them. This week my 7yo got a new bike. It was her reward for learning to ride a two-wheeler. Now, I never asked 5yo and 4yo to try to ride without training wheels, because I assumed that if my DD didn't ride untill she was 7yo they wouldn't either. But, DH and I decided to go against our assumptions and when the boys asked to have thier training wheels off we responded by taking them off and assuring them they could ride without them if they just kept trying. And you know what? I chased my daughter for months trying to get her to ride, sadly proclaiming it "hard" and it took her months to learn it. My sons went off with a smile and a you can do it... Only to have them return hours later RIDING A TWO WHEELER!

So, this weekend when I get out the salat programs and try to have DD learn fatiha and everything she needs to know to pray, I will raise the bar and include my sons. You never know, maybe they will all learn together.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

NOT an all inclusive resort....

OK, so I know that I shouldn't talk but I am going NUTS here. My SIL came for an unexpected visit (which is enough if you have four kids in 800 square feet) and brought all her problems and demands with her.

Last night she woke my DH after we had been asleep for only an hour screaming hysterically (not a good thing to do with a person who has an overworked heart and problems sleeping)... Why? She was cold and didn't want to get into her chair and go like 2 feet to get a blanket. The night before she called for me at 3:30am after a whole day of chasing kids and doing all the set up and break down for a day camping by the lake to get her tums. I was peeved and I stomped downstairs thinking, you had better be dying!!! She said sorry, and I felt bad that I was mad and at least was happy that she knew it was an annoying thing to do. But noooo, she had to continue "I tried to call you on your cell phone, but it was down here." Sorry for yelling, not for waking me at 3:30am. Now, this is funny because she is just like that. She sits on the couch demanding things all day, or sleeps. THIS IS NOT A RESORT!!!! I am not a place for her to crash and be serviced. She must be doing these things for herself at home because she lives alone.

Can I just say that this is not the time for this? We have so many things going on with the businesses and our lives. I am ready to have a throw down with the guy I am renting my store from. The permits for our property are taking an eternity. Our tax guy is sooooo behind I am going to have to go to a new accountant soon.... And so on. I need a break, and am in no position to give one to someone else right now. Sheesh.

OK, rant over.... Now I'm going to try to post some pictures of DD2 eating the cake we got her for her first birthday yesterday... Incidentally, she liked the bath she got after the cake more than the cake itself!LOL