Friday, February 29, 2008


Layla's cultural heritage thing was Wednesday and Thursday... Since I've talked about it so much I thought I would share the finished project. Oh, and she wore one of my jilbabs. The funny thing was that of all the things we talked about she remembered one without fail. The Nile is 4,160 miles long. Funny what kids latch onto, huh?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Random Acts...

I have seen this on other blogs and I like the idea... So here it is. I have 5 things to give away to the first five people who comment asking for them. But, you have to remember to give me your e-mail so I can contact you for your snail mail info.

1)Something for a Muslimah.**UmmLayth**

2)Something for a person who is a kid at heart.**Amira**

3)Something for a person who tries to be green.**Rahma**

4)Something for an expectant mother (could be a new mother too).

5)Something for a hijabi.**UmmHana**

I will ship these things to you within a couple of weeks... All these things are handmade by yours truly;) So, don't let me down! Reply! Reply! Reply!!


Mona (AKA MamaMona) tagged me sooo, here goes.

Assignment: Write 6 things everyone should do before they turn 18. Oh that seems so long ago...

Da Rules: List 6 actions or achievements you think every person should accomplish before turning 18.There are no conditions on what can be included on the list.At the end of your post, choose 6 people to get tagged and list their names.People who are tagged write their own blog entry with their 6 suggestions.Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged.

1)Get an education... And I don't just mean sit in school. Read, study a language, take outside courses in things...

2)Find a hobby that relaxes you, preferably something with your hands. Learn to sew, knit, paint, sculpt... Whatever. Just have something that you can learn and love so when you are an adult and you say, "I don't have time to take up a new hobby"... You have one to fall back on. They are great for stress relief.

3)Meet people from as many different cultures/backgrounds as possible. You have to get out of your little world in order to have an intelligent and rounded opinion in life. Cultivate it now.

4)Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. I don't mean go do a pole dance at the local strip club or go on one of those girls gone wild tapes... I mean go to another country for the summer, join debate club even though you hate public speaking, volunteer at a nursing home even though you don't know what to say to the older generation... You have to learn to challenge yourself now before you get to old. Trust me, I have never seen anyone who never left their comfort zone run off and join the peace corp once they are 30.

5)Practice patience. You won't grow it spontaneously the day you turn 21. You have to learn to cultivate it now, and you will have a much better life if you can learn it.

6)Study world religion. Now, ah ah... Don't get all defensive on me about "You should be telling them to study Islam!!!" I am assuming you already know about Islam (although it doesn't hurt to brush up on the deeper subjects). But, if you are ever going to really have a conversation about why did you choose Islam... You have to have examined the other faiths first. I am not one for expecting people to understand our deen if we don't understand theirs.

I tag: hmmm, I don't know! Everyone has been tagged already!

Monday, February 25, 2008


So in the middle of loan applications, selling cars and meeting with construction workers for the daycare this is the week that Layla's report on her heritage is due. On Wednesday she has her presentation and on Thursday we have to bring a snack/sweet that doesn't have nuts from the country she is presenting on.

As per my previous post DH was opposed (and still is) to the whole Egypt thing. I guess it comes down to feeling like the school has no business asking about relatives and family ties to other nations. He feels like they are gathering information from the kids in the name of education. I see where he is coming from. So, I bid on Germany but the teacher said that there are so many other people doing it that she would rather see Layla choose something else. So, I decided that there were some positives to doing Egypt and we are going with that.

I am going to try to focus on modern Egypt. Cairo to be specific (since that is where DH is from) and point out that it is a modern city blah blah blah. Maybe we can dispel some myths that Egypt is all about some guy on a camel taking tourists to the pyramids (although I do have the obligatory photos of said guy and me with my DD riding that camel). Since Discovery Channel and the like always seem to bring that. I mean, the average American probably thinks that Zahi Hawas is the only man that speaks English in Egypt!LOL

So, I am trying to think of something to cook... Grape leaves? Hmmmm. Also, I am going to play some modern Egyptian music. Hopefully my niece will be able to come through with some Mp3s for me. The one thing I am stumped on is clothes... She is supposed to wear something "traditional from the country she is presenting on. But what is "traditional" Egyptian dress? I don't think that DH will laugh if I put her in a jilbab, braids and a scarf with pom-poms around the edges!LOL I mean he's from Cairo guys... Traditional for him is what? A school uniform?LOL I'll have to think about that one some more. How can I represent without being all upper Egypt about it????

Friday, February 22, 2008

Where do we go from here?

I just got a phone call today from my 1st grader's teacher. Apparently he has been sent a disciplinary action form for the 3rd time... And this time he didn't bring it home.


I am ready to pull him from everything and move to a place where we can have a more peaceful, quiet life today. I am ready to chuck the ideas that DH has for all these business ventures and just run to Egypt and live by my SIL where I can have a simple existence. I think all the chaos in our house is at the root of this problem. He was fine last year.

So now I am asking myself should I push ahead with the plans we have... With the life that is keeping my husband in bed every hour of the day that he is at home? Or should I put my foot down and demand that things change? I have been seeing this anger in our DS... As a matter of fact I just spoke with my DH about it this morning over breakfast. He doesn't see it. He thinks our son is merely defending himself. I see uncontrolled aggression and I'm afraid it runs deeper than not liking school this year because I see it at home too.

I just hope our lifestyle (which is intended to provide a good life for our children in the future) doesn't ruin their lives now. I know it's been hard on me. I have been suffering from a deep depression for some time now... I can't let it touch my kids though, that would break my heart.

I think we are doing too much, fighting too much, and struggling too much. We need an easier life. We could have it. The question is will DH be willing to seek it?

Don't buy it!!! Make it!!!

The next time you feel the need to give the kiddos some playdough just make it yourself! I NEVER buy playdough;) You can even make your own and hand it out as party favors buy cutting it into chunky little shapes and putting it in little plastic gift bags.

Here are my favorite recipes:

Kool Playdough

3 cups Flour
1/2 cups salt
2 Koolaide packages
2 cups Boiling water

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add boiling water. Knead on floured board and add flour until desired consistency. This playdough will last for a long time when stored correctly.

Cooked playdough

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tarter
2 cups of water
1 tablespoons mineral oil
food coloring

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until stiff. Allow to cool, then knead.

Another fun one is what I call goop.

Part 1
1 cup room temperature water
1 cup white school glue
Food coloring

Part 2
1 1/3 cups warm water
4 tablespoons Borax laundry booster

Mix parts in separate bowls. Pour the glue mix into the borax mix and don't stir. Just kinda roll it around until it firms up. Then take it out and knead it! Makes a fun gooey kinda dough.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Shoes and Souls...

So, Mama Mona (on the sidebar there) has inspired me to lay bare my shoe closet as I do agree with her idea that shoes can tell you something about a person... Here goes:

So let's start with my all time favorite since high school... Birks. Yes, I wear them all the time and with socks. Of course there are times when I have to leave them aside such as the dead of Wyoming winter... That's when I pick up these babies:

I also heart my Uggs. I have a suede pair like the ones pictured and a hard leather foot type to back it up on days when I can't wear the others. They are warm and comfy and wonderful in the winter.

Now if I must wear something that looks a little more formal I have my Dansko Professionals. I think they are comfortable and pass relatively undetected with a nice outfit. True story, I don't even own a pair of flats. I just wear these with dresses and everything. LOL

Someday I'm sure I'll have to grow up and get a more formal set of shoes... Then again maybe not. Oh, and of course my shoes are a dead giveaway that I am American wherever I travel... I don't think an Egyptian would even believe you if you told them what you pay for a pair of Birks!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Does not being able to get married make you a better Muslim?

Check out this article on the front page of the New York Times

There are two separate issues in the article as I see it, and the unfortunate part is that they have melted them into one... Well, and they made the return to practicing Islam in my generation of Egyptians seem like a bad thing.

I agree that the two main ideas that marriage is being blocked for many young people in Egypt and that many of the same generation are returning to practicing Islam are both true. BUT BOTH THINGS OCCERING DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE RELATED!!! Ugh. What's that they teach you in science about a positive correlation not always indicating cause and effect?

It is my opinion (since I can say that I have seen my DH's & SIL's friends all who married at a "normal" age) that there is no reason to believe that only people who don't get married are becoming more religious. All the people my DH grew up with are more religious now as adults. Most of them are more religious than even their parents, I know my DH and his younger sister are. I think that Egypt is just experiencing the normal swing of the pendulum when it comes to expressing your faith and practicing your deen. Now, I am no sociologist... But it seems like that is a natural thing in societies. We go from one extreme to another, and when the government came down hard on the brotherhood of Islam in Egypt it forced the pendulum to swing towards a very secular type behavior. Now, some of that has gone away and we are seeing people coming back to Islam for a variety of reasons. I don't think you can pinpoint it... For this guy maybe it's culture, and that girl it's political, and then that guy see's it as reclaiming something of his identity lost while he was young... Who knows. But to put it in such simplistic terms is well, being simple (which in this case means stupid).

I guess that I have a knee jerk reaction to these articles because on a gut level I feel like the implication is that Islam is for losers and if you were happy in your life you would never turn to this "extreme" religion. You'd just be happy like all those "moderate" (in this case I mean non-practicing) Muslims out there professing your Muslim identity and doing nothing different in your daily life because of it.

As usual, just my two piasters on the subject.

***Edit 2/19/08***
I read the article to DH and he had some thoughts. Mostly he wanted to say that not getting married until you are older does lead you back to the religion... Because that is what is at the heart of avoiding fornication. The longer you wait to marry the more opportunities you have to become sexually active and the more tempting it becomes. So, you focus on the salat, you fast you do dhiker. Basically you try to keep your mind off of this temptation.

He also mentioned that of all the things that are tempting this one is the worst, because it is a God given instinct and unlike drinking and other things that you might do in college this one could be legal under the right circumstances.

Finally, he and I have always talked about trying to be sure our children DON'T wait until their 30's to marry.

Anyway, just wanted to share the thoughts of an actual Egyptian male who DID wait until he was about 30 to marry... *WINK*

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dieting is hard!

I have been dieting for about a month (I think!LOL) and I just wanted to let you all know where I am at with that. The part about my dieting that sucks is that I can drop the first 10 lbs or so pretty fast, but the rest is an uphill road. So, I lost the most in the first weeks and now I am losing about 2lbs a week. I know that is actually what they reccomend... But it feels slow for the effort I have been making. Anyway, I know that I am not the only one on this whole weight loss journey... So I thought I would share, maybe some of you have had the same experience.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I have not had a new purse in a long time. I have not had a REALLY NICE new purse since college. So, after several auctions... I finaly got the tokidoki bag I have been looking at!!! Yea E-Bay! I also won an auction on an expresso machine I have been wanting. So I guess now I can sip my homemade expresso drink in my to-go mug while I carry my new bag to take the kids to school!LOL

Friday, February 15, 2008


Like many people who plan to move "back home" someday we have been planning to buy a building in Egypt instead of a house here in the states. Now, this all seems fine... But the details of such a purchase have been eluding us for the past 4-5 years. We talk to people, we consider, and then whatever plan we have gets pushed aside for other things. I am starting to wonder if it will ever actually happen!LOL I guess I wonder how we will ever accomplish this task. But, we are always looking at our lives here in the US as a stage and planning to invest in our future in Egypt. All our hard work here is for that Villa which we have never seen, and from my perspective at least, we don't really have the slightest idea about.

When I think about it, I wonder if we are doing the right thing? I'm sure there are other people who need things in this life more than I need a villa in Egypt. I don't even know that I have the right to such a house considering that the ummah is in a horrible state at the present time. Aren't there people in other nations that need food and shelter? Aren't there children whose parents can't afford to educate them? Aren't there families all over the world one step away from lifting themselves out of poverty and into a position where they could help not just themselves but others as well? Didn't the Prophet say:
"Muslims are one body. If any part of the body is suffering the whole body feels the pain."
And the Quran teaches us:
"And verily this Ummah of yours IS A SINGLE UMMAH and I am your Lord and Cherisher: Therefore Fear Me (and no other)." Quran 23:52

So, if we ever do have the money and the opportunity to build that villa... Insha'Allah we will make it an orphanage or a school for poor children instead... A clinic for people who have no money for medical care... A business for someone struggling to help his family escape poverty... In other words something that will help people in the best way we can. After all, we can be comfortable in the same apartment my DH grew up in, insha'Allah.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What do you think?

So, in my DD's school (as I have mentioned in the whole cultural heritage post) they are doing a unit on family and heritage. I have been OK with this until yesterday when my DD came home and said that the teacher insisted that she tell the class what god she believes in. Now I am a little irked by this, but apparently the entire class had to answer the question. So, I think it's not an appropriate discussion... But I might be inclined to let it slide. However, DD then went on to say that when she stayed late yesterday to finish an assignment the teacher asked her about it again. Now I'm mad. I am thinking about bringing it to the teacher and making sure that DD wasn't telling me the story in some way that makes it sound worse than it is... And then going to the principal with my feelings on 2-3rd graders entering into theological discussions under the name of cultural heritage.

I am not really prepared to put my daughter in the position of explaining the Islamic concept of God to her class, and as it stands I think she is somehow feeling like her classmates believe she is worshiping some foreign God called Allah. This really puts me in a bad position. So, dear readers... What would you do?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

But I'm not bitter...

We have been invited to an event today, an akeeka to be exact... And I don't want to go. I could think of a million reasons, but I think the sad truth is that I hate these women's rituals because I am bitter and jealous. You see I never had one.

I never had a big walimah(my MIL and SIL planned my wedding dinner and I didn't even invite anyone because it was so last minute and the whole thing was done w/o DH and I really being involved). And no one has visited me after any of my births. DH has never wanted to have an akeekah for our children... So I have never really had a princess for a day kinda experience to be honest. When my last child was born DH brought the kids to the hospital to visit me and we ended up in the family waiting room so he could take a nap in my bed. Our life has just not been conducive to these family rituals... We are always struggling, there is always work to be done.

Now, I don't wanna sound like I pouting (although I am!LOL) I guess I am trying to fess up. Yes, I hate celebrations because I am a bitter person who is just a little jealous. There, I said it. I feel better now.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Identity Crisis

My daughter has a "Cultural Heritage" project coming up at the end of February. She will have to set up a table and give a 10 minute presentation about the country her family is "from" (which can't be America) several times for a cultural fair that will be happening at her school. Groups will stop at each table and listen to the presentation then they will end the day by sharing food from each person's country. They have to do things like counting in the language of that country, singing a children's song from there, wearing traditional dress... Now, we are lucky in my estimation because we don't have to look back to a great great anyone... My husband himself can tell my DD about Egypt... I was all psyched because it is a fun chance for her to be proud of coming from such an interesting background... And she has even been there! But DH is boycotting the project. What's up with that????

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Not at all Shocked...

You Are 96% Non Conformist

You're incredibly strange. And a weirdness like yours takes skill to cultivate!
No one really understands you. And you're cool with that. You just hope you never have to understand them!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Yesterday I did the weekly shopping and found discounted blueberries at Wal-Mart and a flour grinding thing for whole wheat at the local co-op so I decided to make whole wheat blueberry crumb cake. Here's the recipe I came up with by tweaking a few recipes to add the whole wheat and fruit:

Whole Wheat Blueberry Crumb Cake

2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour***
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1 large egg
About 1 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 cup packed Brown sugar
4 Tbsp butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. Then, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and milk to the butter and sugar mix. Then, mix in dry ingredients until moist (now it is important to note here that you may need to add a little milk if you live in a dry climate... Your cake should be like a muffin batter consistency if it is moist enough). Finally, add your blueberries and fold in gently. Pour into a greased 8X8 inch pan.

Now, take the topping ingredients and cut in the butter with either a fork or your food processor until the toping is crumbly. Don't overdo it!!! Sprinkle on top of your cake.

Bake for about 45 minutes. Top with powdered sugar if you like!

*** You will have better results if you use pastry flour. It is ground finer that "all-purpose" whole wheat. Most "all-purpose" whole wheat is ground for bread. For lighter baked goods you will want to use the pastry kind.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The importance of intention

After my hijab post I have been thinking about what it is that gets me about some of the things I see happening in the ummah. And the thing I am most concerned about is intention. I keep coming back to that as the root of all the things getting under my skin, causing me concern for my kids and the future of the ummah. Using the hijab thing as an example... I am worried that the intention of this type of hijab is to beautify, to fit into a culture... Not to please Allah(swt).

I am no scholar...Check out this article by Jamal Badawi for the scholar's thoughts on this subject. But, I just wanted to share my thoughts on intention...

“All actions are judged by motives, and each person will be rewarded according to their intention. Thus, he whose migration was to God and His Messenger, his migration is to God and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

Simply, if you are seeking the pleasure of Allah(swt) with your actions your reward is with Him... But if you are seeking the pleasure of people your reward is with them. Now when you think about this simple concept it will actually blow your mind... Because that means that you can't go to the jummah to please Allah(swt) and to further your standing in the community since you are running for some position on the Masjid board or something. How many of us have purified our intentions to that extent? Think of the following...

“A person learned [religious] knowledge and taught it [to others], as well as reciting the Quran. He will be brought [to the presence of God], and God will mention to him all the favors he granted him, and he recognized them. God will ask him, ‘What did you do with them?’

He will answer, ‘I learned [religious] knowledge and taught it [to others], and I recited the Quran purely for Your sake.’

God will say, ‘You have lied! Rather you learned [religious] knowledge to be called a scholar, and you recited the Quran to be called a recitor, and it was said of you!’ Then it was commanded [to punish] him. So he was dragged on his face and he was thrown into the Fire.” (an-Nasa’i)

Whoa, and what about this? I think it really shows how Islam emphasizes intention in our lives:

If somebody intends to do a good deed and he does not do it, then Allah will write for him a full good deed in his account with Him; and if he intends to do a good deed and actually did it, then Allah will write for him in his account with Him, from ten to seven hundred times to many more times its reward. And if somebody intended to do a bad deed and he does not do it, then Allah will write a full good deed in his account with Him; and if he intended to do a bad deed and actually did it, then Allah will write one bad deed in his account." (Al-Bukhari)

Of course as with all things in Islam, there is a great mercy to consider... I think of the following hadith whenever I get down on myself for not having more time for worship:

“If he is working to support his small children, then it is for the sake of God. If he is working to support his elderly parents, then it is for the sake of God. If he is working to occupy himself and keep his desires in check, then it is for the sake of God. If, on the other hand, he is doing so to show off and earn fame, then he is working for the sake of Satan.” (al-Mundhiri, as-Suyuti)

I guess what I am trying to say is that it isn't what people are doing as much as why... I worry about WHY they are doing these things. If you are doing things to please the people around you, there is no reward in it. Now I am not saying that I know what is in people's hearts, because I don't. But, if what I suspect is true... We are in some real trouble.

So, I am trying (and I hope you will to) to purify my intentions. I want to examine them, control them. This is not an easy task, but a jihad that must be undertaken by every Muslim.

Say: "Whether ye hide what is in your hearts or reveal it, Allah knows it all: He knows what is in the heavens, and what is on earth. And Allah has power over all things. (Aal `Imran 3:29)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Go ask Baba Ali!!!

Check out the new Ummah Films Ask Baba Ali... This is the first episode, insha'Allah there are more coming!!!

Family nights

This image is an update on 2/3. A picture of my cowboy boot cake;)

For some time we were doing fun Fridays around our house... And once the kids went to school I just kinda let it drop. But I have decided to revive the idea and make it Saturday instead. So, tomorrow we are having a western night. Big people will end the evening with 3:10 to Yuma once little people go to bed;)

I'm making a cowboy boot cake, sheriff’s badge cookies, BBQ with baked beans and cornbread, and maybe some bandana napkins... And I will serve it all in camping gear type tins. I think I will try to get some cheapo cowboy hats too, and have you ever made those paper grocery bag vests? I'm going to do those... Plus some sculpie badges that the kids will make.

Anywhoo, you might want to try it if you have kids who are young enough not to think it's silly!LOL I know I have fun with it!LOL