Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy happy twos

My girls turned two years old and two months old yesterday. It was truly a very happy day in my life. I also found the perfect Arabic speaking babysitter which is very significant for me since I want my girls to learn Arabic. In case you're curious she's an Iraqi refugee who totally reminds me of my mom. I had her for the first time yesterday morning and Alahamdulilah I had a good vibe.

Later I had two of my friends over along with their kids. We went out for dinner at this cool ghetto Egyptian restaurant (they use a microphone to call people to get their food.. Totally Egyptian!! I say.. never give an Egyptian a microphone, If you've been to Egypt you'll know what I'm talking about:)) then we headed back home where all the kids played with the birthday girl's roller coaster birthday toy from Grammy. Thank you so much Grammy, the kids had a blast and they were as planned completely tuckered out by the end of the night.
And oh if you're wondering about the birthday cake, we had that earlier last week at geddo's(grandpa's) place, a very yummy carrot cake may I add.

So all in all it was a pretty fun day, except did anyone notice the disappearance of our winter snow? where did it go? or as my officially two year old girl would say " It is COMPLETELY GONE!" ( with an intense British accent, thank you Charlie and Lola!)

Btw I'll hopefully add the roller coaster Photo sometime tomorrow.

Have a good one.


Monday, December 29, 2008

A prayer

I have been deliberately not reading the news lately because it's too much for me. Obviously I can't shut my eyes from whats happening in Palestine. I know I usually don't talk politics in this space. But really all I'm asking is please don't forget to pray for the Palestinians in these horrific days.

Small things

As you might have noticed I'm into taking pictures these days. So I thought of sharing small things that bring happiness to my eyes and heart . The deep red in this winter berry branch, along with the cranberry beads I hung up yesterday morning.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

White and sparkly

Winter is a time spent mostly indoors for me, especially with the new one's arrival, but every once and a while I will peek out of my cocoon and see all this beauty around me and think to myself" why don't I go out more often?"
So why don't I? really I should!

Hope you're enjoying this special season indoors and out!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Green gifting, Literally

My girls received the greenest gift yet, their super sweet Aunt planted two rain forest trees in their names. It's part of NRDC's new Revive a Rain forest campaign. Here's what you need to do if you want to send someone you love the greenest gift this season.

you go to this link pay 10$/tree and they'll send the person you're gifting a beautiful online Certificate of Rainforest Restoration that
can be printed and framed, you can also add a personal message along with it. How cool is that!

So if any of you are thinking of a last minute gift idea , or a green gift, here's your chance.

Happy holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ten things I am loving right now!

Here's my cheering me up plus grateful for things in my life post, I am suspecting it wont be the last this winter, winters are hard here, so I need to remind myself more in this chilly season.

Here goes nothing:

1. Holding my new love, smelling her hair, skin, and listening to her little cute squeaky noises. And oh did I mention she started giving me those very cute toothless smiles about three days ago.. a total bliss:)

2. Listening to "This American life" on the i pod at bedtime.

3. Reading these books when my 7 week old has one of her many," mommy I'm up for the night" nights.

4. Looking at our lovely winter wreath hung in our living room door (nontraditional I know!)

5. Dancing with my two year old before her bedtime.

6. Etsy's hand made goodness(I like to support small businesses, they're greener and have so much baraka; good energy)

7. Looking forward to my hubby's winter break and Oh all the things we'll be doing, inshaAllah!

8. This blog entry, and how it inspired me.

9. My seal skins khuf. How can any Muslim live without a pair in winter?!

10. Chocolate chip cookies, my unfortunate addiction!

So feel free to share 10 or 5 or less, things you're loving right now, spread the good energy, it helps people like me:)


Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Solstice

One of the things I enjoy about living in this part of the globe are the changing seasons. Where I come from we don't have drastic changes between seasons, so we don't make a big deal of it.
Here on the other hand I noticed people celebrate seasons in all sort of ways. They put out pumpkins on their door steps, not just for Halloween, but to mark the arrival of fall. They plant flowers in their yards to greet spring, have cook outs and inflatable pools to cool off those hot summer days, and finally I noticed other than the festive Christmas trees and holiday lights. I noticed the different wreaths people hang on their front doors. I think wreaths bring warmth and beauty to the cold winter landscape, which is what a plain front door reminds me of in this stark season.

I was given this beautiful wreath to celebrate winter and I just can't stop looking at it(thank you Ana!). I think I have just made up a new winter family tradition.

The winter solstice is coming up soon, I am really looking forward to the days getting longer again, it's nicer to spread those prayers out a bit huh! And get some more day in our day!

Stay warm everyone & happy hibernation.

BTW my new display picture was taken a day before our first sticky snow, my lil' pumpkin loves to instruct me of what to draw.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Simpsons

I wasn't going to post today, but I just finished watching the latest Simpsons episode and was very excited to see Muslim characters in it.
The episode is also very funny, so if you haven't seen it yet, check it out.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Olive oil

Is probably an ingredient every household has. It's wonderful on so many levels. I use it pretty much in everything, from rubbing it on my baby's bum to polishing my wooden furniture (If I get a chance that is, with two kids under two, a squeaky clean house becomes less than a priority!).

Olives are one of the foods sworn by in the Quraan. It's a very special fruit with many worldly and spiritual benefits. I'll leave the spiritual benefit part to the scholars.

Here are some worldly benefits/recipes:

For skin care:


Olive oil

Rub some olive oil on your hands. Benefits: Protects hands from dry winter weather.

I can also swear by olive oil on my baby's bum, I rub it in the diaper rash area once spotting a start of a rash. The rash usually disappears by the second diaper change (or if it's too intense, the third).

For wooden furniture polish:


1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
20-30 drops lemon essential oil

Shake well before using
(2 teaspoons lemon juice may be substituted for lemon oil but then must be stored in refrigerator)

Dip a clean, dry cloth into the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Use a soft brush to work the polish into corners or tight places.

For cooking:


Olive oil
2 eggs

Are you serious? Do I really need to tell you how to cook 2 eggs with olive oil?!!

If you have an olive oil recipe feel free to share:)


Saturday, November 29, 2008


And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

These poetic words from Khalil Gibrans Prophet collection are dedicated to all you mommies out there. Mom's with yet to be born children, mom's with young children, moms with far away children and mom's who have lost their children.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Listening: Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

Wanderers this morning came by
Where did they go
Graceful in the morning light
To banner fair
To follow you softly
In the cold mountain air

Through the forest
Down to your grave
Where the birds wait
And the tall grasses wave
They do not
know you anymore

Dear shadow alive and well
How can the body die
You tell me everything
Anything true

In the town one morning I went
Staggering through premonitions of my death
I don't see anybody that dear to me

Dear shadow alive and well
How can the body die
You tell me everything
Anything true

I don't know what I have done
I'm turning myself to a demon
I don't know what I have done
I'm turning myself to a demon

I love love love this song cover on you tube. Here's the original. And here's another cover with a ukulele that I love just as much.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An abundance

As the days get shorter and nights grow longer and colder, I start freaking out about how to keep my little ones warm and toasty.
With a new born it seems simpler, baby wear in the day time, and co-sleep at night time, no problem!
With my toddler, I feel less confident. Especially that I suffered all my life from cold feet. I have a blood circulation problem, so growing up in Egypt, (even though our winters are pretty mild) was tough on my feet. It's not common to have central heating in Egypt, the temperature in winter is pretty much in the fifties all the time, indoor and outdoor. Plus our windows aren't well sealed, so it gets quite drafty. I had to wear two pairs of socks over one another, cuddle under a blanket and blast our space heater on my feet.

As a result I have a foot fetish, anything that goes on the feet I love. From socks to you name it. So naturally when the girls grandparents ask to get something for the winter, I never hesitate to ask for house booties.

We have an abundance this winter, thank you guys:)

Monday, November 10, 2008

This lawn is your lawn

Both my munchkins are sleeping, which should give me time to clean, organize, or rest. Instead, I stayed up reading news and surfing blogs, so I came across this neat video and thought to share.

This Lawn is Your Lawn from roger doiron on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My fall baby fell right out:)

November 4th was my official due date and what a great day in history it has turned out to be. Congratulations to everyone on a great Obama victory!
It feels great to be living in Chicago right now.

Baby number 2: born Wednesday October 29th . An October baby after all. Pushed her out in 15 minutes. She really just fell right out. birthed in water with a great midwife, nurse and the loving nail printed hands of a smiling father waiting to meet his second daughter.

Baby number 1: loves her baby sister and smothers her in hugs n kisses.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Ungreen, Green blog!

I realize that my blog has taken a non green turn and has been recently focused on.. Well, me, pregnant me, and then some more of that.

Its a bit challenging to post about green recipes when all I want is to pop.
I ask all of you to be patient, I do absolutely promise that there'll be more green topics once my pumpkin is cooked and out.

There'll probably be more sharing of baby stuff, hopefully green baby insights.
We'll see though, won't we.

I also want to try and share more photos, when I get a chance.
for now all I have are my complaints, hopes, and your patience.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thirty eight weeks and counting

Me: I think I'm way passed my due date.
Midwife laughing: You are thirty eight weeks today, you are definitely not passed your due date.
Me: But I gave birth with my first one a little over thirty seven. I thought I was going to do the same thing this time.
Midwife still smiling: Did we tell you that.
Me: Nope, but I think I convinced myself, you even told me its not a rule.
Midwife smiling:....

So I am thirty eight weeks and counting. Maybe this will be a November baby after all.
November is a good month, so is October! ( am I making any sense!)

Here's what I'm doing in life at the moment:

Yesterday I went apple picking with my toddler, a friend and her toddler.

Today I made apple pie.

Tomorrow We'll have apple pie for breakfast. (inshaAllah)

And I'm still waiting.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Still Gone!

We all had high hopes for the full moon, since it can stir things up with 9 months pregnant women. I guess not this one.
Still waiting I suppose, and yes getting bigger by the minute, I don't know if its even conceivable that I can stretch further, but I guess its still going.

So meanwhile Geddo( Granpa) Made lil'monkey a cardboard house that we're saving until the new baby's arrival( something to distract her, she was jumping on one of her baby toys the other day,a pretty disturbing image!). Mama surprisingly enough made her a "Charlie and Lola" paintings to decorate the house with( this neat British kids show she loves), and then later maybe her room. I didn't think I had it in me to be so crafty but I'll share the paintings with you once I capture them on camera.
Meanwhile, we'll be doing a lot of waiting, praying and I guess it won't hurt to try and finish my hypno babies program.

Keep making du'a.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Gone until furthur notice

I will be currently out of posts for.. well who knows. I'm due pretty soon, so we're getting ready. I'll be staying with my in laws to be close to my birth center.
I'm pretty excited, to be getting close, I'm ready to meet the new baby, and it's always a plus to be able to see your toes again.

Till then keep me in your Du'a, I'll let you know as soon as I pop.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sheikh Hamza'a Eid Sermon

Here's a wonderful talk by our Gem Sheikh Hamza Yusuf to summon up the benefits of Ramadan.
For those of you who don't speak Arabic be patient he starts his talk in Arabic,the rest of the talk is in English. Its a pretty long talk, but totally worth checking out.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bouncy Castle Yay!

I've been dragging myself to post about our cool Eid party, but finally decided I had to share.
We had a bouncy castle, a cookout, and fresh CSA red cabbage coleslaw. I also made a last minute mac and cheese for the kids, and we had one of those big nasty delicious chemical infested party cakes from Jewel Osco or something. I wanted to make a homemade dessert, but figured to spare my 8 months pregnant feet the trouble. I am guilt free, foot relieved and happy alhamdulilah.

Here's the bouncy castle 3 part story:

Part one
The delivery people came and set it up, Munchkin strolls in sees it gives me a confused look, then I tell her, Bouncy Castle Yay! so she gets the idea jumps and squeals from excitement all through the party, never failing to say " Bouncy Castle, YAY!"
Part Two
After the party was over we deflated it for the delivery people to pick it up in the morning. Munchkin wakes up in the morning saying Bouncy Castle Yay! Then she runs to where it was set and sees it's all deflated, gives me the same confused look she had when she first laid eyes on it. So I tell her " Bouncy Castle sleeping" so she says with a sad sad voice" Bouncy castle sleeping:("
Ready for the suspense of part three, good:)
This time "Baba" comes back from work, Munchkin greets him and has him take her out to see the sleeping bouncy castle( apparently it was picked up and there was no bouncy castle, when we were inside) so baba says "Bouncy Castle gone!" Munchkin cries with tears and says" Bouncy Castle gone!"

Moral of the story: C'est la vie:) "kol man alayha fan.."

Hope everyone had a great Eid party, or if you're not celebrating Eid I hope you had a wonderful day.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eid Mubarak!

There's excitement in the air, have a fun blessed Eid everyone.
We spent about an hour blowing up something like 20 balloons or a little more in preparation for our small Eid party tomorrow. Our little monkey spent the evening chasing balloons, screaming and jumping.

We also rented a bouncy castle for the Eid party, it's pretty exciting.
Maybe I'll post some pics of our little celebration.

Wishing everyone a blessed Eid.

Have a great fun day everyone.

Anyone making Eid cookies? Any recipes to share?
Let me know, I have no energy to make anything this Eid but maybe next one.


Friday, September 26, 2008

My mom's easy trifle recipe

For those of you who don't know it. Trifle is this English desert that consists of several layers of cake fruit and whatever you have on hand to add, usually custard.

My mom makes it in a very simple way, and it was always a family favorite and a hit at any dinner party.

I decided to make trifle yesterday at a spur of the moment.. Yup it's that simple. My significant other likes lots of deserts in Ramadan, and we had finished eating our last cookie batch, so I offered to make him a fruit salad.
While cutting the fruit I realized we had everything to make a quick trifle dish and I had already cut the fruit.
So I layered a Pyrex dish with plain biscuits, added the fruit, coverd it with some more biscuits and poured jello over it until it covered it.
Left it in the fridge to firm up over night, then topped it with some home made whipped cream.
How easy is that!
I left some fruit for the fruit salad in case you were wondering, we ate the trifle today, and it was everything I'd imagined it to be, just wonderful.
BTW( my mom topped the trifle with custard instead of whipped cream, but Its just as good with the whipped cream, and the traditional recipe I think has cake instead of biscuits)

My mom's easy trifle recipe:

1 orange peeled and chopped
1 apple peeled and chopped
1 cup grapes, cut into halves
2 bananas, diced
1 cup strawberries diced
(you can use any seasonal fruits, these are fruit suggestions)
My mom used pomegranate a lot.
you can also add chopped toasted walnuts( optional)
1 Pack plain sugar free biscuits( we used this brand called Mary biscuits, and luckily I found the same exact brand at the halal store)any other plain kind will work.
2 or 3 packs instant strawberry flavored jello (I used pineapple this time coz I was out of strawberry, it was almost as good)
Home made whipped cream, or if you have time, make some custard.

Layer the bottom of a deep Pyrex dish( I like it to be rectangular) with biscuits, mix the fruits and add them, then cover with more biscuits and add jello to cover.
Leave in the fridge until the jello firms up, or over night, then top with cream or custard.

Make du'a for my mom while you're eating it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Etsy benefit sale

Just a note.

Visit the Soule Mama blog for details about a benefit sale in support of a blogging family that went through a recent tragedy.
Keep them in your prayers.

Our free Microwave

I don't know if you heard of this group called freecycle, if you didn't check it out, its awesome. It's aimed at reducing waste going to land fills by cycling your unwanted stuff.
Kind of a garage sale without the sale part. It's like giving gifts to people you've never met only that the gift isn't new, its something you don't want but they do.

That's the story of the title of this post. I've been wanting to buy a microwave for over a year now. I don't use the microwave for cooking, but its really convenient for warming up food without having to dirty a couple of pots and pans in the process.
Do I absolutely need a microwave? No. Can I live without it? yes and I have for many many years. It's just nice to not have to worry about washing those two extra pots, when you have a 20 months old running around and helping you cook by throwing potato peel all over the floor (which I happily clean).

Anywho that's my story, I needed a microwave, I posted a wanted post on the freecycle group and I received one in perfect condition.
The moral of the story: Pass along your unwanted items and spread the love, I make du'aa for that woman whenever I'm spared another pot to wash. She made a pregnant woman very happy:)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Uncomfortably numb

The last days in pregnancy are quite challenging, you can't sleep anymore. You constantly feel heavy, the space inside gets two crowded for the both of you, that the baby makes intense movements like its going to come out, only through your belly.
And if you stand sit or lie for longer than 10 minutes your limbs go numb.

I have to prop my self with at least three pillows when i go to sleep, and I still wake up achy and my arms and legs have fallen asleep, not to mention the cramp attacks.

What I'm trying to say is I am ready, I've been more than ready for the past 2 weeks, so let the show begin.

Hello baby, I can't wait to meet you.

Monday, September 15, 2008


The weather has been quite chilly for the past couple of days, and tonight is supposed to go down to 45 degrees. Fall crept in on us so fast.
We just got a new crib and a new heavy cover for the little one and she's all bundled up in it right now, talk about good timing.

Fall is my heavy pregnancy season it seems like, I was about 7 months with My first and I am 8 months with this one.
The result, Lots of pasta for dinner/iftar, and a whole lot of sleeping when I get a chance.

I am sprouting some more beans for soup, and thinking about a hearty meal for tomorrows Iftar. Mashed potatoes, steamed dark greens and roasted chicken? Maybe If I still have energy after my very early Yoga class. I do like hearty meals for cold weather though, we'll see.

Please Keep this heavy pregnant woman in your prayers this month, I really do need it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eat Broccoli

I am not very chatty today, I did come across this article about the wonderful broccoli, so read the article or not but do eat broccoli!
Maybe I'll post a broccoli soup recipe later when I'm more chatty.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ramadan desert recipe

The theme this month is Ramadan, in case you guys haven't noticed. That's why I gave up my cool hippie butterfly logo and am pleased with the crescent moon photo instead, well for this month at least. In celebration of this month and our wonderful CSA boxes I'll be posting some tried out recipes to share.

Since I joined the CSA I failed to mention all the goodies I've been getting in my boxes.
Even though this hasn't been a very kind spring/summer for our precious Midwestern farmers, with the delayed season and all the floods. They still strive to deliver a fresh variety of produce, not to mention the yummy eggs.

This weeks box included apples and crab apples that frankly I had no idea what to do with them. The apples were tiny, and I didn't dare bite into one of them. they looked so strange, we also received some tiny(yet delicious) plums and rhubarb along other things.
I am mentioning the fruits coz I made this delicious desert with all the weird looking apples, and it turned out to be wonderful. The recipe is from the CSA newsletter( thank god for that, some times I receive stuff, and I have no idea what It is and what to make of it)

So here's Aunt Bessie's summer fruit crisp:

2 OR 3 Cups chopped or sliced fruits( apples, crab apples, plums, rhubarb)

1/2 Cup Brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

5 tbsp cold butter cut into small bits.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, sift dry ingredients together.
Cut in butter and mix until crumbly. In a seperate bowl toss the fruit togther.
Butter an 8 by 8 baking dish. Pat down half of the crumble mixture to the bottom.
Add the fruit then add the remaining crumbly mixture on top. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is bwon and fruit is bubbly.
Serve warm with ice cream, or home made whipped cream.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fanoos Ramadan

Ramamadaaaaan, Ramamadaaaaaaan. Sing this with a deep melodic almost opera like voice, and you'll have an idea of our two lined cool Ramadan song.

My little one got her Ramadan lantern this year from some cool ghetto place under some bridge in Egypt. The lantern is fuchsia, comes with two buttons. One makes thunderstorm sounds(don't ask for the logic behind this) and the second button makes the Fanoos glow like a disco dance floor. How awesome is that! a very special thanks to a very special friend who picked it up on her last day of her trip to Egypt:)
My little girl holds it and says "Fanoos Daaan, Fanoos Daan. Look at dat!".

It's fun to have a Ramadan Tradition for the kids, Next year I might go all out and make the small colored flags that are hung between alleys in Egypt. Americans will probably confuse them with Buddhist prayer flags. We'll see what happens then.

For now just keep us in your prayers.

Ramadan Kareem

Thursday, August 28, 2008


The spiritual washing up before prayer "wudu" is a natural part of every Muslims life. We pray 5 times a day, and ideally would do the washing up also 5 times a day.
Its refreshing, mood changing and just wonderful. Water "Mayyah in Egyptian Arabic" brings life, Allah mentions in the Quraan that anything alive comes from water. I experienced this myself recently when I was sprouting the fava beans, All I did was soak them in water and cover them in a damp towel for a couple of days, and miraculously the dry lifeless bean became alive and vibrant and started sprouting subhanAllah. Farmers experience this everyday, its just a miracle.

Why am I writing so much about water, is because water is a great blessing, and we waste this blessing everyday when cooking, washing and specially when making wudu, which is something us Muslims do several times everyday.

The sunnah way of washing up before prayer is to use as little water as possible.
I saw a video once of the great scholar Sheikh Murabat Al Hajj making his ablution. I was shocked at how little water he used and how abundant the water seemed and sufficed washing up most of his body. He used maybe half a pitcher filled with water, and that was sufficient. I tried to follow his footsteps which is originally the footsteps of the prophet but I was lazy and just did what most Muslim do. Took the easy way and splashed water all over from the tap, It seems more convenient, I don't have to go fill a pitcher and a plastic tub under me and wash myself that way 5 times a day, it just seemed like too much work. My lower self is weak. what can I say.
But here's a suggestion, Instead of turning on the tap all the way, just turn it to the minimum, and turn it off when there's a big gap between washing body parts, like when washing the face or washing the feet. some people even leave the water on while taking off their socks and then bring their feet up to the basin, what a waste. the least we can do it prepare ourselves for washing up before we head to the basin and turn on the water to waste.

Here are other tips for saving water:

*When showering turn off the shower head when soaping up, or lathering up your hair.
*When washing dishes, rinse the gunk off the dishes first, then turn off the water while soaping the dishes up, then turn it back on for rinsing.

Any more ideas on how to save water are welcome.

This is a good month to start a new habit, and definitely a good month to appreciate water, I am quite thirsty now, and am savoring every drop of water I wasted.

May god forgive our sins.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Greetings of peace everyone.
We are back from our short visit to the east coast. It was wonderful, and as expected our new niece is beyond adorable, she loves listening to music played by her dad on the piano, and is hugged by her parents in the sling all day long, what a great life:)

I really loved the east coast, it was lush and mysterious since you can't see much from all the giant trees, but every once in a while you pass a spot where you can peak more into whats beyond the trees. It's also very special being by the ocean. The water is freezing but rejuvenating, it makes you feel truly alive. My little girl was shivering with excitement when we went swimming, as soon as her tiny body would hit the cold water she'd scream with laughter and say cold, pointing out the obvious, I would then agree and scream with her as we plunge deeper into the water.

We also went for a short hike like walk and picked wild blueberries and ate them off the shrubs, all in all it was very special and peaceful. Allah is truly the most beautiful.

On a different note, here's the promised bean memory soup. I checked with mom, and she said it was exactly how I made it, good memory taste buds:)

boil the desired amount of sprouted beans in water with salt, pepper, cumin, olive oil, and 1 table spoon lemon juice.
Serve hot with pita bread and enjoy.

Have a great end of summer everyone.


This was written as soon as I came back from Maine but I only had time to post it now.

I just wanted to add to this and wish everyone a blessed month of Ramadan, May Allah accept our fasting and prayers.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A sprouted bean update

I checked early on the beans coz I couldn't wait, plus was super curious. The good news is YAY it worked! I have successfully sprouted some beans. The bad news( well for me, great news for my mom) is my mom left for Omra" the small pilgrimage" and I forgot to ask for the recipe.

So here's what I am going to do.

I am going to make the soup dish from my memory, I mean how hard can it be.

Here's what I'll do InshaAllah:

Boil beans in a little bit of water with salt, pepper,cumin and olive oil. Squeeze lemon juice when serving along with whole wheat pita bread.

Tom I'll let you know how it turned out.

Lets all make a group prayer. I waited a long time for this.

( Btw: did you know that fava beans are really good for menopause,They are the most estrogen-dense food known. When sprouted, they become far more so, 3-30 times more, they're great for hormone replacement).

Ok I am off now, will maybe update how the memory soup turned out when I come back from the east coast.
Oh yea we're off for a short family visit to meet a very special new person (My daughters newest cousin) and then off to Maine for a short vacation.

Have a great week every one.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Sprout and the bean

The weather in Chicago these days is unseasonably pleasant, I am so thankful for this blessing especially with the extra load I'm carrying.

This post is about a childhood memory that I am currently trying to recreate in my kitchen.

My mom used to make us sprouted fava beans soup, which I really loved when I was a kid. For some reason my mom never made it for years. So naturally I totally forgot about it until about a couple of days ago. I got this (I'm going to call it a pregnancy craving just 'cause I can) for sprouted fava bean soup, just like my mom used to make us.

I checked my pantry and found that I had bought dried fava beans about a million years ago( which makes it in my dictionary of time about one year old)
So I figured, why not sprout some beans and get the recipe from mom.

So I caught mom online, had a nice chit chat, and brought the soup memory up, for my luck Umm Ahmad ( our old doorman's wife) and currently my friend was over and told me how to sprout some beans.
To make the story even longer and I'm totally blaming it on my placenta brain, I forgot how to sprout the beans, so I looked it up online because I am so cool and modern that way.
and here's what I came up with.

Its a song by Joanne Newsom called sprout and the bean, love it.

But really here's the recipe for how to sprout some beans:
Soak beans in water for a day.
after it has absorbed most of the water and doubled in size drain, rinse and cover for 3 days in a wet breathable cloth in a dark room.
Supposedly when you open it, the beans should have sprouted.
I'm still in day one of the cloth cover so I'll update you.

My next post should be the sprouted fava bean soup recipe.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

News and Updates

Salam everyone,

I just came back from a three week trip to desert steaming hot weather land, it was great. I traveled to the U.A.E to visit family and meet my new twin niece and nephew. They're sooo cute.
I also am recovering from a bad cold and jet lag.
Its always fun to travel, but then you come back and realize there's no place like home.

I've been missing posting entries in this little space, and today I am sharing a late discovery that most of you probably already know of.
I was as usual blog hopping to catch up with a few of my favorite bloggers and what they've been doing for summer. A lot of them are currently working on one of our gods beneficial but rather stinky gifts SWEAT!

So here's my belated discovery, I was excited to read about the crystal rock deodorant a natural alternative for all the natural mild ( which means they don't really work) deodorants out there.
When I mentioned my great discovery to my Husband, he was like oh yea, I know it, It's been around for years! oh really then why didn't you tell me about it or try it?
I guess he was reluctant, but then when I told him about this blogger( you have to read her deodorant post its hilarious) and how its magical we both decided to give it a try.

I also came across a deodorant recipe that I'll also be trying and comparing with the crystal and posting about my experience.
Meanwhile I wish everyone a stink free summer.


Thursday, May 29, 2008


No book Summary yet. We packed most of our books including the Vaccination book, and things are a little crazy right now for a book summary.

The good news is I got some interest from a Blogger who wants to write something for my blog. The not so good news is I am still figuring out how to change my password so I can start giving out a new password for guest bloggers, If anyone knows how to do it please let me know, I am not so good with this stuff!

On a different note here's a little story of how I wake up every morning:

I open my eyes to a small face with a giant smile saying hi with a wave, then darkness.
A couple of seconds later.. another Hi with a big smile and the same wave, more darkness.. then the distinct word that I hear so many times through out the day "Bok..Bok" then a cardboard book is shoved in my face, and the small body next to me starts adjusting herself in a proper sitting position and waits impatiently.
With a big yawn I take the book and start lifting my head and shoulders enough trying to make up the blurry letters on the "bok". My cracked voice reads:" Panda bear, Panda bear what do you see?" Then I read the book again, and again, and...well by then I'm pretty awake:)

( There are some variations to my story, either reading a different book, or getting poked in the eye when I am more stubborn in waking up than usual).

Have a good morning everyone:)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

10 things I love about America

My next post for the book summary is coming up soon inshaAllah.
But today I am feeling a little bit down, so here's what I am doing to lift my mood up a little, I am listing 10 things I love about America.

1. Farmer's markets

2. Thrift stores

3. The Madison birth center

4. American's who speak English with a thicker accent than I do( a nation of immigrants). I actually remember this cool story. about 4 years ago I was visiting my husbands family before I moved here, and I was buying a sandwich from a food stand , the sales guy asked me for something I didn't quite get, I made him repeat himself about three times until he finally rolled his eyes at me and whispered to himself "stoopeed fooreignooor". It's true I am the foreigner, that spoke better English than he did. But he was the American so, he won:)

5. Online shopping.

6. Recycling

7. Netflix ( we currently don't have it and I am trying to convince the husband to renew our membership, any suggestions?)

8. Museums

9. Sidewalks( we don't have them in Egypt)

10. The 4 Seasons ( same as the above)

Wow I think there are more things I can think of, but I'll leave you with these for now.

If interested, you too can join. List from 5 to 10 things you like about America, either if you're an American or like me, A Stoopeed fooreignoor:)

Btw, this actually worked I feel a lot better.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I cook everything from scratch

This is my second year in the U.S, and Alhamdulilah I am adjusting well.
We found a good mosque with a small community that we enjoy. We have a support network both from my husbands wonderful family( now my family too) and from the ever growing group of friends I am meeting.
I am adapting to being a minority and enjoy the new insights this sort of life brings. I am on my way to having my second baby inshaAllah and I started this tiny little online space with your encouragement and support.

Recently I have been reading lots of blogs of similar mindset. People who are interested in living simply with sustainable choices and raising their children in this kind of awareness, while trying to avoid being bombarded by mass consumerism and negative media messages.
Most of these people tend to read the same books, try to plant their own food, raise their own poultry and just do things from scratch.

Whenever I read any of those wonderful blogs, the blogger seems to emphasize on how cooking everything from scratch is a good thing.
I was somewhat confused on why they're stressing on making things from scratch, and almost having a political stand when it comes to food, and making stuff on your own.
But then it hit me, I was raised in Egypt, and to Egyptians cooking everything from scratch is the default setting of most families. We don't have all this canned food, and microwavable stuff, we recently got introduced to these things in our market, and most Egyptian still don't know what to think of it.
I remember I was pretty excited when Mac Donald's opened in Egypt, I was in my final year of my IGCSE's . So to most American's thats pretty recent.

My husband was pretty impressed when he was sick one time and asked for chicken noodle soup( his comfort food when sick) And I started boiling a chicken to make the broth for the soup, he was like wait a minute I thought all chicken noodle soups came from a can.
We were in Egypt then so I didn't understand what he meant by that, until I came here.

You can literally cook a whole meal in 5 minutes, everything from a can, how wonderful I thought, how easy. I still didn't do it coz it was too weird and too alien for me, it's just simply not how I was raised. Eventually I realized how blessed I was to have been raised in a third world country with minimal access to packaged foods. I just do it coz thats how its done, there is no stand or political statement , its just how things are done.

So to all you Americans out there who were raised with packaged food and are trying to switch back to the norm...I salute you:)

This post is to simply appreciate what we have, and the choices that we make in life that affect us and our brothers and sisters on this planet.


Bathroom deodorizer Recipe

Bathroom deodorizer recipe, aka Marriage saver bathroom scent:)

What you'll need:

1 small spray bottle

An essential oil scent you like( I mix jasmine and lavender)


Mix water with 15 drops of preferred essential oil, and refill water as needed without adding new oil until the scent starts fading( the oil lasts long in the bottle).

Let me know how your significant other feels, I'm curious:)

Btw, check out my new poll on the right.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Vaccinations, Book Summary and Commentary

Sorry I took so long. Before anything I have exciting news to share with everyone. For those of you who still don't know I am currently pregnant with my second:) Please keep our little growing family in your prayers.
For some reason I get nauseous when I sit in front of the screen for long, so it's been challenging entering posts as often as I used to, so bear with me.

Second, I recently sent a group email about this new book I bought that discusses Vaccinations, and I got a lot of attention regarding the topic.

So without further a due, today I am Summarizing the introduction and first chapter of the book.

The book I am reviewing is : Vaccinations, a thoughtful parents guide( How to make safe, sensible decisions about the risks, benefits, and alternatives) By Aviva Jill Romm.
I chose this particular book after researching a couple of sources to buy the best book currently in the market that discusses the topic in an objective informed way.
My decision was greatly based on book reviews and finally Peggy O'Mara's review( publisher of mothering magazine) "The best book I've seen on the subject. Its commonsense, nonhysterical approach assures legitimate informed consent."

First a note about the author, Aviva Jill Romm .
It's important to know the background of the author of any book, to know where he/she is coming from, their inclinations and the like. Aviva Jill Romm is a Midwife, herbalist, and mother of four, she's also the executive director of the American Herbalist Guild.
She lives with her Family in Georgia.


Vaccines were controversial from the start from as early as the first half of the nineteenth century. In England there was horror of Injecting "filthy material" into humans to prevent disease.
Then vaccines campaigns gained public acceptance for the remaining of the twentieth century. The new millennium brings about new concerns about vaccine safety from professionals and parents of vaccine injured children. The national childhood vaccine injury act of 1986 was brought about by Barbara Loe Fisher, mother of a vaccine injured child.
The matter has turned into an emotional debate from both vaccine advocates and opponents, turning into a hysterical unclear argument on both sides.
This is increased by political forces making it very difficult for those who are unwilling to conform to vaccinations. Like having litigations and school regulations against parents and unvaccinated children.
The Author argues, that being a midwife and a health care provider she's a staunch supporter of
public health measures, she has seen what disease can do to the human body, and she knows that healthy living and alternative medicine is not always sufficient. Nonetheless there should also be individual freedom in health care, "particularly when it comes to injecting the body with substances that are known to cause adverse reaction and that may cause long term chronic disorders."
Her approach through out the book is find balance and help parents find an informed choice. She also goes further to providing the reader with options for promoting optimal child health through nutrition, hygiene, common sense, stress management, and herbal medicine, whether or not one chooses to vaccinate.

Chapter One: A Curious History
This chapter Like it's title gives a quick history of how vaccines started, mainly looking at it through the small pox disease.

In the fifth century a plague in Greece eliminated nearly 1/4 of the population. The people that survived the infections lived never again to be infected by the disease. Current vaccine practices are built upon the knowledge that a person who survives an exposure is protected against that disease.
The chapter goes about talking about the history of the small pox disease and the early attempts of inoculation by taking scabs and introducing them to healthy individuals, to protect them against the disease by exposure. The early attempts were documented by the Chinese.
Among these methods was taking 20 to 30 old day scabs from mild cases that had a few pustules, drying them, pulverize them with plants then blowing them in the nostrils of those net yet ill. Different methods based on the same idea were used in China, the middle east and India. Then later in Constantinople by cutting a cross in the flesh and applying smallpox exudate to the fresh wound.

Small pox was brought to the west from Africa, Asia and the middle east by crusaders and from slave ships brought to America. it flourished with unhygienic, overcrowded cities, and poor living conditions.

The concept of Immunity from naturally occurring disease was recognized, families understood the value of letting the disease run its course through the family so they would be protected against the next epidemic.

Jenner an English physician's work arose from this concept in the 1700's( considered as the father of Vaccines).
He came across a young farmer and cattle breeder who became immune to smallpox after contracting it from his cattle.He intentionally inoculated his wife and two young children with cowpox to protect them from small pox epidemics. The family was immune for 15 years.
This is where the term vaccine came from which is derived from "vacca" the Latin word for "cow". Jenner attempted to prove his theory of the cow pox vaccine by eposing an 8 year old with the cow pox then forty eight days later injecting small pox to the same boy.

he had some successful experiments but later his claims were disputed and it was found that some cases still contracted small pox after receiving the vaccine, he tried several other methods which were all a failure.
Later another esteemed physician published the benefits of vaccines which led to the endorsement of Jenner and his vaccines by the parliament. The public readily accepted it and the practice became common through out Europe to give vaccines to all infants. However there were numerous cases that still contracted the disease after getting vaccinated.
Then the death rate rose with the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike, so multiple vaccination(given at once) solutions were proposed. Revaccination was also suggested.
In the early 1800's compulsory mass vaccination was introduced ( because vaccinated patients easily transmitted the disease to others).

The rest of the chapter gives numerous statistics of continued epidemics even after the introduction of mass vaccinations.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Crunchy Thoughts

I haven't been checking on Crunchy Chicken for a while( This cool blog I follow) But I was browsing through her posts and this one caught my eye.

Let me hear your thoughts people.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My aunt the Palm tree

I know I promised to post a book summary this week, But the first chapter has a lot of juicy information that it's hard to leave stuff out, if I do I would distort the big picture, so I am taking my time with that.

Meanwhile I am sharing our latest exciting news.
We are moving to ( censored due to Husband's request) by June 1st( let me take a breath) to this vintage nicely renovated coach house, with a tiny everything, but a very cozy, peaceful energy, and what it seems like a sweet enthusiastic landlord, whose also our neighbor (always a plus). and release breath:) I am very excited.

Also this week we decided to join a CSA (community supported agriculture) which is a great way to get fresh, local organic farm produce among other stuff. I was inspired by this very special blogger. So we'll try it out and let you guys know.

The thing that I do know is it's really environmentally friendly and there's always a benefit to be connected with your food, knowing who grows your food, the farmers involved and going to events on coop farms on your CSA is a great way to connect back to earth. I am looking forward to this nice summer with all the fresh produce and most of all, having my little one play out in the sun, and experience our sacred earth. A friend of my husband told me this hadith"(prophetic saying) which I am not sure how it goes exactly but something along the lines of take care of your aunt the palm tree. We're all family after all.

(Btw, for curious ones, the top pic was taken on our Siwa oasis vacation in Egypt, oh how I loved it)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guest Bloggers


For those of you still hanging on and checking on me ( my blog) every once in a while, sorry for the prolonged disappearances.
I am currently working on summarizing and commenting on a very interesting book I bought called Vaccinations A thoughtful Parents Guide By Aviva Jill Romm.

InshaAllah I'll be posting the summary of the first two chapters sometime this week.

But here's what I'd like to do with your help. I would like to host a guest blog. So for those of you interested in writing a little something in my humble little blog. Please contact me on my Email(, or leave a comment with your details and I'll contact you and we can work some sort of agreement:)

Here are some quick Rules I just made up:

1. The topic needs to be relevant to what this blog has been offering so far ( green Muslim related stuff, parenting stuff, interesting books you've read..and the like).

2.The guest blogger needs to be decent in his /her language ( no swear words and the like ).

3. Rule number three you do not talk about fight club, hehehe, I had to say it sorry!

Ok I'm excited.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

No Impact Man's What am I?

I've been putting off posting an entry for a while. I've been quite exhausted recently, why? Well my daughter is teething, and not any kind of teething, its the heavy stuff, she's getting all her molars in at once. So she's pretty much, clingy, naggy, weepy, sleepless, and above all nursing all the time, which results, in me being all the above except I am the one nursing and add exhausted to the above list, phew.
I figured this could go on from a week to a couple of months, so I decided to make a simple entry every once in a while, in the bad periods, and go back to my normal posts once this situation passes.

So here's my simple post, actually its not really my post, it's a No Impact Man post, a first of a series that he's posting titled LV GRN.
I am particularly sharing this post with you coz of two reason:
First, my hubby suggested it( Gotta please the hubby).
Second, This particular post is very spiritual and it sums up why religions tend to go hand in hand with sustainable living, looking at the big picture. Mind you this is written by a secular person which makes it even more interesting.

So here it is: LV GRN: What am I?
I hope you like it. Let me know what you think?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cloth Vs Disposable Diapers

I've been meaning to write about cloth diapers vs disposable diapers for a while now, but haven't had the time. Why? It's metaphorically and literally a very juicy topic (I know ewww but its a fact!) so the time has come to break my silence and share my short experience of using both cloth and disposable diapers. Bear with me this is a long post. Warning: Not for the faint of heart!

There are some facts one needs to know when first considering the topic.
Most parents want something easy and reliable for their baby, so they opt for disposables which tend to give dryness, and ease of use, but there are several considerations neglected in this line of thought. As a parent I want something easy to use, consumes less time but also hazard free and doesn't compromise my child's health.
Here are some things one needs to know about disposable diapers:

*All disposable diapers have chlorine ( which is a very harsh toxic chemical that produces toxic fumes) unless they clearly state they are chlorine free.
*All disposable diapers contain super absorbent jell which results in the nice dry feeling your baby feels( there is no scientific proof that its hazardous in any way).
*Disposable diapers are less porous, so they don't air your baby's bum which often times result in diaper rashes.
*Disposables are very easy to use, won't need washing or rinsing even though its preferable to flush the poop in the toilet before disposing. ( Human remains react with the diaper in land fills and produce toxic fumes and disease).
*1/3 of landfills are produced by disposable diapers.

In the early days I used disposables for my newborn, it made more sense as I was recovering and my husband and my mother in law where the ones doing all the diaper changing. I didn't know about the chlorine free diapers so we used Pampers. I noticed all the jell residue on my baby's bum, and she had a long lasting diaper rash, that I didn't know of. I just assumed that this was her natural bum color, until a nurse friend of mine visited and recommended some diaper ointment!

I got interested in cloth diapers and used them for about 6 months, until I moved ( and still currently live) to a building that had one old washer/ one old dryer. Our clothes actually come out dirtier than when we first put them. I also am living in the third and last floor, which meant I had to carry a 9 months old plus a heavy load of wet dirty diapers down 4 flights of stairs. I finally had a nervous breakdown and switched back to disposables ( this time I used and still use the chlorine free brand). I will give my recommendations in a second, but first I need to clarify that I have a diaper fetish. I like to try all the brands out there, from disposables to cloth diapers. Especially cloth diapers.

So here's the scoop for both disposables and cloth:

First disposables:

I tried two chlorine free brands, the 7th generation disposables which were very cute in there unusual tan color, I was pretty pleased with them but I still noticed my little baby's bum was covered in the absorbent jell, I didn't like that even though the jell is nontoxic. I just didn't feel comfortable, so I tried the whole foods chlorine free disposables, which came in the traditional white, but plain color, and left no jell residue on my munchkins bum, mommy and baby happy yipee:)

Second Cloth diapers:

I first bought my complete set( 35 diapers are the ideal number for a complete set) which was a mix, 20 cloth diapers from the brand "Under the Nile", which is made from Egyptian organic cotton, and 15 diapers from the regular non organic cotton kind. I also got them in different sizes for my growing baby. Plus about 6 plastic covers, and snappis ( cool safe thingys that hold the diaper in place instead of pins). I also got hemp liners in different sizes. Looked for wool covers but never got the chance to get one. ( Wool covers are ideal coz they are porous so your baby's bum is less likely to get a rash, plus its cool in summer and warm in winter).
I loved the Under the Nile brand, it came with its own cotton filling in the middle of the diaper so I didn't need any liners, plus they're organic, so no panic:)

Cloth diapers were definitely more work, especially the traditional kind which I used, My husband couldn't help with cloth diaper changing, so I had to do it myself. You soak the diapers in baking soda and a drop or tea tree for two days, then wash them with mild soap, then rinse in the rinse cycle with a bit of vinegar. Line dry them coz its cleaner and healthier than the dryer( takes care of any bacteria). definitely more work, and less dryness for baby. but My baby had less rashes with cloth diapers.

I eventually tried the 'Bum Genius ", which was a one size fits all, came in wonderful colors and was a all in one diaper, so the changing was much easier more like the disposables, except you had to wash it when it got poopy. You didn't need to soak it in water for two days it requires saving in a dry diaper pail( I think so the Velcro doesn't get ruined) so it definitely was smellier than the traditional kind, but much easier. I would recommend the Bum Genius for new mommies who are interested in using cloth diapers for their baby's and our precious earths sake. We definitely reap what we saw and I am totally switching back inshaAllah when we move to a new place. Hopefully this time with and in unit washer/ dryer.

And lastly here's why I didn't use the diaper service.
They wash their diapers in chlorine( defeats the purpose of the extra effort)
They use gas to transport the diapers back and forth ( pollution).
They come once a week, ( smelly diapers kept in house for a week, BIG YUCK)
I am not comfortable using diapers used by other babies pooping in them left and right. It just doesn't sit well with me.

If you choose the service though its a personal choice, its just me no likey!

Sorry for the smelly post, someone had to say this.
Have a good one.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Long time no posts!

Salaam everyone,

I know I've been gone for a while, but I have my reasons and I'll discuss them later when I'm ready. Right now I have a new post for you and hopefully I wont disappear longer than a couple of days inshaAllah.

Updates on the mosque: Right now they are using the green carpet deodorizer I make, I refill it for them when needed, but thats about it for now. I learned to be more patient and take it slowly, things don't change over night, so like my cleaning recipes I just need some patience.

Other than the Mosque situation I did make a yummy sweet potatoes soup from a cook book I had for ages. So I am sharing the recipe with you.

1 medium onion cut coarsely
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 medium sweet potatoes cut coarsely
2 medium potatoes cut coarsely
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup white grape juice, or apple juice ( the recipe calls for dry white wine) so for all of you non Muslims reading this you can use the original ingredient.
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup cream.
fresh rosemary leaves

Heat a medium sauce pan add butter, onions, garlic and stir until onions are soft. Add potatoes sweet potatoes with the white grape juice, let cook for 2 minutes, then add broth water and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
blend the vegetables in a blender or a hand blender then return to pot, reheat with rosemary leaves and cream.
The recipe can be altered for sensitive people. You can skip the garlic and the cream if desired.

Let me know what you think if you try it.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

A cocktail is in our drinking water

The following information was fwd to me earlier today, it's quite scary.

Drugs in Water: A cocktail is in our drinking water 13 March 2008
A cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs – including antibiotics, anti-convulsants and mood stabilizers – is in the public water supply in the USA and the UK. Up to 100 different drugs have been detected in our water supply, and in reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

While the amounts are very low, scientists are worried that they may still
have a detrimental effect. "These are chemicals that are designed to have very specific effects at very low concentrations. That's what pharmaceuticals do. So when they get out to the environment, it should not be a shock to people that they have effects," says zoologist John Sumpter at Brunel University in London.

The drugs are getting into the water supply from human waste and from people who are throwing away the drugs unused. Anabolic steroids, which are put into cattle to pump them up, are also getting into our drinking water.

Scientists are concerned that the drugs could be made more toxic by the
chlorine that is increasingly being introduced into the public water supply.

A new report in America has discovered that at least 41 million homes
throughout the States are regularly drinking water that is laced with a vast cocktail of drugs. The water supply in 24 metropolitan areas, including Southern California, Northern New Jersey, Detroit and Louisville, has been contaminated.

None of the existing filtration plants has been designed to eliminate drugs, and the same may also go for the standard home filter systems. Reverse osmosis is the only technology that can remove traces of pharmaceuticals, but it is too expensive for water companies to install for large-scale filtration.

(Source: Associated Press, March 9, 2008).

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A little thank you goes a long way

Today is international women's day, so in honor of this day I am dedicating this post to all you women out there, specially to all the women in my life. I love you girls. Hey men is there a day for you too?

I was thinking about something today. I was thinking about appreciation.
We tend to appreciate and thank people we never shared a roof with for more than a couple of days (maybe). But when it comes to our immediate family or our spouses, the appreciation goes down a notch, well maybe a couple of notches!( I am not saying everyone does that) but its definitely a human thing. We tend to forget the person closest to us the most. It's easy to be nice and make a good impression on someone we see a couple of hours a day, but when it comes to people we live with well it can be an annoyance.
How about we thank our spouse when he takes the trash out even when he forgets to take it out and the house stinks of trash for a couple of days. Maybe if we thank "the spouse" often enough he'll make an effort to remember to take it out next time as soon as he's asked. How about we thank our mother for preparing that not so tasty meal even though we didn't like it, even though it was emptied from a can, she still made an effort.
How about we thank our wife for keeping the house nice and clean, keeping a hot meal on the table, even if it was a couple of hours late.
And how about we thank our father for being over protective coz he cares, for giving you a hard time about your grades, he's loving you in his own way.
A little thank you goes along way, Lets say thank you whenever we can, it's always nice to hear, even if there's no need for it at all.
Thank you guys for listening.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Green Madrassas

I came across this very interesting article about green madrassas in Indonesia. I know Green Madrassa doesn't sound right when it hits the ears right? (Or in this case eyes!).
Thanks to the western media Madrassas are immediately associated with Muslim terrorists graduating from these evil madrassas.
A madrassa actually translates to school from the Arabic language. Hopefully it doesn't sound that scary when we understand what the word means. Madrassas are usually normal schools, the only thing is, in Muslim lands kids learn The Holy Quran and Arabic language in their Madrassas. Something I aspire to have my little girl learn at the right age inshaAllah.

So whats the deal with Indonesia's green madrassa. Here's a summary of the article.
The article is titled environment: Indonesia’s green madrassas. By Dr. Saleem H Ali.

The article opens with this paragraph: "In a remote part of Central Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, there is a rather unusual form of environmentalism taking root. Shadowed by the great Merapi volcano and surrounded by fertile fields of rice and sugarcane, a small school is graduating environmentalists whose commitment to the earth is not based on Western conservation texts but rather predicated in values derived from Islam. The head of the school, Nasruddin Anshari, frequently uses the refrain “one earth, for all”, just as much as he does the usual Islamic invocation of Allah-u Akbar (God is Great).

Children in this madrassa are learning to make the connection that preserving their environment is a vital part of observing their religion. The article also mentions numerous efforts Including a UN workshop on peace education in an Islamic context held also in Indonesia "Scholars from numerous Muslim countries gathered to consider various dimensions of peace education and to develop lesson plans for implementation in Islamic schools".

In Birmingham, UK. The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, is developing numerous programmes for religious institutions in Muslim countries.
Even Iran is taking steps, in 2004 former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami stated during his tenure that “pollution poses an even greater threat than war and suggested that the fight to preserve the environment might be the most positive issue for bringing the Gulf neighbours together”.

Speaking of gulf countries "Abu Dhabi has committed itself to establish the world’s first carbon neutral city of 40,000 residents by 2012. Masdar city (which means the source in Arabic) will have at its core an educational institution and numerous environmental technology firms to support a sustainable economy."

Nevertheless Dr Saleem H Ali mentions in the article some challenges he faced when he was asked to develop ideas on how to use environmental issues within an Islamic context as an instrumental means of peace-building. You can check out the whole article, his challenges and how he plans to solve them here

On a lighter note, here's what we had for breakfast this morning

I got the baked Donut recipe from here. It were a great success:)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Crafting 101

I realized I like self taught stuff. When I was pregnant with my baby. I ordered the self taught hypno-babies program. I didn't think I'd commit, but to my surprise I did, it worked and I had my lovely drug free, pain free baby. (Btw highly recommended to any mommy to be reading this blog).
My second try at the self taught stuff is an embroidery kit that I ordered from here. I sent My husband to the children's museum with our tiny little one, so I could decipher this great mystery.
Turns out, it doesn't need deciphering!
Embroidering as it turns out is one of the simplest crafting hobbies one can ever embark on.
If you know how to use a needle and a thread, you'll know how to master this elegant skill.
So here's a picture of my first project.

I also bought one of those little girls or boys (what they're allowed!) sewing machines to try my luck. Will let you guys know how it turns out.
Who knows maybe one of these days I'll be able to dress pumpkin in stylish hand made dresses decorated with some fancy embroidery. InshaAllah:)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Mosque Goer Noses Might Need Stronger Stuff!

Today was officially the first try out of my green recipes, for the 51st street mosque.
The result...ummm a failure, well not really. Alright, just read on!

For the past weeks the mosque has been using a carpet scent that I made. They haven't been too ecstatic about the not too strong scent, in comparison with the chemical stuff...well da!
Sorry ( here's me trying to be nicer and more understanding: "Nermine"( As my thinking more reasonable brain calls me) "they're used to the strong chemical scents, give them a chance, you needed some time to adjust when you first stopped using the scented laundry fabric softener a couple of years ago".. Angry me: "well, alright if you put it that way ( meaning super smart and witty) I'll be more patient..grrr")

So today I gave the people that are in charge of cleaning the mosque these home made products:
Scented vinegar rinse spray
Scented Baking soda shaker
Air freshener spray for the toilet, along with a note explaining how to make each and every recipe and how to clean with it.
I arrived today a little before everyone at the Friday Khutba ( sermon). My nose at once started burning from the smell of the chemical stuff mixed with a faint residue of some vinegar scent.
Hmm.... I walked in and saw the person in charge of cleaning, spraying away with the chemical stuff.
I felt a bit frustrated. After all the effort I put into explaining the hazards and making the products! I guess the main reason was my ego( whats not to like? then I remembered my conversation with my self earlier).

What happened was the cleaning person decided the smell was too vinegary and wanted to cover the smell up by using the "good old strong stuff".

I am sharing this experience with you guys so we can all learn from it( specially those of you who are trying to switch their mosques).
What I'll try to do next time is:

1.Post on the mosque wall (in large print) a list of all the hazardous effects from cleaning with this stuff. ( people forget and won't believe it unless they see it with their own eyes. Also a reliable source helps!)
2. Modify my recipes by using stronger scents for mosque goer noses.
3. have more patience.
4. stop talking to myself publicly.

Make du'a:)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not Chatty

I was about to write a list of never ending Hazardous ingredients found store bought unnatural cleaners and their effects, But then I came across this web site and saved my self hours of typing.
Today I'm not in a very chatty mood so I'm leaving you with the top link, also this link for a halal organic meat Business here in Chicago IL called Taqwa Eco-Food, and last but not least a smile.

Have a good day.

Monday, February 25, 2008

So long..Farewell

The month of February is about to bid us farewell. This year February felt like the longest month of the year. How is it the shortest month on the calendar? Remind me please. Well I guess time is relative after all. Its a creation like the rest of us. So this year February decided to be long and cccc..cold.
I have to admit it. It was a challenging month for me.

So in honor of this month I am dedicating this post to February. Thank you February for everything that you are.

Here's a list of things that I am grateful for this month:* The many sunless days reminding us to appreciate sunlight.
* The Sunny days that come after those gloomy days.
* Walks to the park with the sun blinding my eyes, and my baby digging her face in my back trying to hide from the sun( I carry her on my back these days, she's getting heavy masha Allah).
*Stepping on hollow ice and breaking it into tiny little pieces like broken glass.
*Baking something hot for the cold.
*The smell of this baked something filling the air.
*Hot chocolate.
*Little peanuts ducky feet fleece slippers.( Thank you Grand ma).
*Little peanuts golden streaks glowing in the sunlight gracing us through the window.
* Snow on the trees.
* Mountains of yucky slushy scarped snow.
* Cruising along lake shore drive.
*Icicles on rooftops, and on the outside of our living room windows.
*Bare trees. Frozen lakes. The sound of branches against our glass windows.
The sound of flying geese passing by, and of course Squirrels ( I love them every month of the year):)
*My favorite one is My baby's waking up sounds" tsss..tsss..laughter, more tsss..tsss... and finally bye ya baba" (bye dad in Arabic).

( This post is inspired by a fellow blogger)

It's a good reminder for us all. Be Grateful for your blessings. Alhamdulilah for February:)

What are you Grateful for this month? Feel free to share.

(Btw, Some of the pics are from last years February in Wisconsin, My first love)


Friday, February 22, 2008

Historic Friends

I was hanging out with two of my girlfriends and our little ones tonight. What fun. A nice treat to hang out and catch up. One of them is a relatively new mom and a PhD student, so you can only imagine how often I see her( not much). Anywho, it was getting late so she decided to put her little peanut (who, by the way, is sooo adorable) into her pj's. She had these super cute fleece pj's with little yellow chicks, and a big fat hole in the material.
"What happened?" Was my natural inquiry.
She had no idea, she said she just found it that way one day. I carefully studied the hole, and it hit me. "Could it be from a mouse?"
Her eyes lit with realization and disgust. "Yes, we actually do have a mouse in our apartment." She mentioned how she hears its scurrying at night.
Here's the thing: I know I'm supposed to be nature loving, and appreciate all forms of life. But ask my husband what I do when I see an insect crawling in the house. Now imagine a mouse! My theory is: appreciate them, but from far far...far away.
I live in an historic building, found in an historic neighborhood, located in an historic city (as historic as an American city can get, I suppose). Great, but with all these historic elements comes our good ol' historic rodent friends, who find ways in these historic pipes and walls to pop up and leave their remains behind. "Yuck." Not a very hygienic thing for a 14 month old to play with. I don't think she can appreciate history yet, and hopefully not in this form.
I woke up my husband last summer with a glass breaking shriek. The reason: I met our historic friend. EWWWW.

I shared the recipe I'm about to post with my friend after it worked with me last summer. I found it in one of the books I posted earlier.

Mouse repellent recipe:

What you'll need:
Fresh mint leaves.
Your vinegar rinse scented with mint essential oil.

We all learned from movies (unfortunately) that vampires resent the smell of garlic, well mint is our rodent friends garlic. They hate it. Just leave some mint leaves around areas with a vent or a hole. (My mouse came from the stove wall opening, so I left the leaves on and around the stove) and spray the vinegar mint rinse in the same places. Your friend shouldn't come again. If he does you can always buy one of those mouse traps (the one that only traps the mouse and doesn't kill it). Make sure to set the trap on a high surface, away from those cute little hands.
Enjoy your historic, toxin free, mouse free house.