Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This space has served me well, it has been a constant inspiration. It connected me to wonderful people. It helped me find new passions that otherwise I would have never discovered.

Thank you for stopping by, following, reading, commenting and encouraging me everyone. And taking a peek at  a small aspect of our lives.

I think the time has come for this space to take a long rest.

Who knows maybe I'll start up again in the future, or maybe this will be it.

Again thank you all for your kindness.


And peace.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Grabby is officially one!

'Cause you can't be officially something without a celebration to mark it (yes I made this one up) which means I'm twenty or something years old. Sweet!

I can't believe a year past by so quickly! I was just waddling about, with my big fat pregnant belly. Begging for her to come out. Then she came, with a very smooth and fast entry into a tub filled with water. A calm birth and a calm baby. It's amazing how both girls carry something from their journey into this world with them.

Grabby at one is definitely spending more vertical time. It seems that she realized that upright is the way to go. She was never a speedy crawler. She took her time into mastering the horizontal world. But the vertical world called and she Answered!

We celebrated her birthday this morning. She was adorable with her snot bubbles (she has the sniffles) and her felted purple birthday crown. Happy birthday sweetheart!

And just so you know the embroidery in the middle is NOT an upside down number 2, it's actually Grabby's first letter from her "real" name in Arabic. I decorated with vintage buttons too. (yea, it only took me three weeks to finish. In my defense, my machine broke. I did everything by hand)

Speaking of buttons, and in the spirit of Halloween-- I just watched Coraline. It was everything I had imagined it to be-- wonderfully animated, twisted, dark and spectacular. A perfect Halloween Movie Indeed.

Here are some more fall photos in celebration of my sweet fall baby girl.

What was/were your or your kiddos Halloween costume(s)? and what was a favorite that you saw tonight?

My favorite was of a newborn baby we saw at the mall dressed like a Lobster. Brilliant!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Head-o-cabbage or catch that running-melting-nose...

 Yes, it's a choose your own title day!


Grabby is feverish, with *a runny nose and understandably cranky. So no birthday party for now. Seeing the cup half full, I guess! I still have some time to finish that birthday crown.

We have very special guests staying with us for the coming week, so in anticipation and also because we had a big fat  head of CSA red cabbage in the refrigerator--just lying about--waiting to be amused in some sort of way. I made this nice hot salad. It was apparently a big hit, so try it if you happen to have a red head-o-cabbage just lying about and/or you happen upon good company (only yourself counts as good company too, unless you disagree, then I can't help you there buddy!)

 That's a lot of cabbage right there-- well I did say I had a big fat cabbage. The recipe calls for a one pounder by the way. So if your lying-about-cabbage happens to be  of the likes of mine. Then you might consider a couple of steps::

1. Don't chop off all of the cabbage into thin slices( like stupid moi), only the amount you'll be needing. (this should be a given, yet still I managed to think " oh yea, this looks about right" I really need to learn my inches and my pounds *stoopid foreignor!*)
2. If you forget step number one, put the rest in a zip lock bag then,
3. consider this nice looking recipe for the left overs. ( The recipe calls for a different kind of cabbage but I can't see why in the world this kind wouldn't work, I guess I can find out the hard way!)


*Runny nose::

An English Expression-- Runny nose; Postnasal drip; Rhinorrhea ...... Nasal discharge is any mucus-like material that comes out of the nose.

Now why am I giving you a definition for something you already know? ( you do know it--right?)

My husband lived in Egypt for five years, two of which he was living under the same roof as moi( in case you're confused, we were married.) Now naturally living in a foreign country with a language you barely speak ( I'm pretending to be my husband here, are you okay with this dear? too late and I apologize in advance) you muse about why things are said in a certain way and you try out things, like-- literally translating an expression or a phrase and seeing if it works. Sometimes it works but often times...

Well this takes us to answering my( oops your) question!

Well lucky for him-- my dear beloved husband, had a wife (who happened to be a native Arabic speaker) to try out his experiments and compare things. Like how in Arabic birds don't say 'tweet tweet' and instead they say ' sew, sew' ( so 'Twitter' in Arabic should be called 'Sewer'-- which I'm not sure it would have been such a hit with such a name)

Not to waste your time any longer, here's how my husband ruined the expression "runny nose" for me FOREVER!

Runny nose DOESN'T translate in Arabic. Instead it ends up being a running nose, which is hillarious if you speak both languages. Then your twisted brain starts picturing an actaul nose running down the street. So you ask yourself: oh but in Arabic the expression actually translates in English to  'Melting nose'. Suddenly a new slide pops in your head showing 'a running nose alongside a melting nose', and that's a whole lotta mess you try to deal with, as you're wiping off you baby's nasal drip.
But then her nose starts melting and running at the same time. Then you know you have to go to sleep, because really it's not all that, it's me babbling and ending up not sleeping enough,  and having a natural high on my little daughter's nasal discharge.

Make du'a for us both, OBVIOUSLY we both need it.


Sunday, October 25, 2009


If you're a Battlestar Galactica nerd oops I mean fan, then you'll know what I mean by the title.
So you might be asking yourselves( all you Battlestar Galactica peeps) what lead this 'not-so-little-person', who is known on this family friendly space not to utter profanity, to use such a word as FRAK? Well since you asked... here goes::

1. My little baby-- whom I'm not so sure if it's still valid to call her a baby ( she's been spending more and more vertical time rather than her usual horizontal norm) went down at almost 10 pm. That's right! It took hours from a very exhausted baba to try and convince her in the 'crib' direction but not tonight, oh no-- tonight she had other plans of hording all Mei's toys, books and Mermaid tail costume just to herself-- It was too much fun to leave behind. So on went her resistance and even though I must admit it was the cutest thing ever. Yet Frak is all that came to my mind.

So frak!

2. Mei didn't eat real food today. You see I have all these carrots from our beloved CSA. But seriously how many carrots does one need? For sure not 4 full bags, but it seems for the past 4 weeks carrots is what they've been growing. So carrot cake it is-- with cheese frosting-- that had to be tested and approved by little miss Mei. That's not all, oh no, wait for it. Then Baba took Mei to meet with her best friend( yes she has a best friend at this age, so very cute!) at the park. But it rained-- so obviously the solution was to go to a favorite nearby ice-cream shop and feed the girls ice-cream ( right before dinner time!) complemented by an earlier lollipop, a gift from the best friends father. ( it wasn't the baba's idea) As a result. Mei couldn't care less about dinner. So off to bed without dinner ( this really kills me, and yes I'm absolutely over-reacting, but I can't help it!)


3. My sewing machine ( in my head the last three words were yelled) Let's try again... MY SEWING MACHINE!!! Oh so very very annoying. I am not in-love. I can not stand it!
I know it's probably me, and I know I am an amateur. But really and truly and seriously (my limited vocabulary is sparing you my annoyance) what is wrong with you machine. I thought you were fixed. Grabby's first birthday is in less than a week-- all I ask of you is a birthday crown. that's it. I didn't say no skirts or pants or nothing. just a simple felted birthday crown. Too much to ask?


Dare I say it?

Peace. ( sorry)


So as I was about to upload my poorly lit images to this post ( mind you it's 11:30 pm right now and everyone in the house is sleeping so the effect was magnified- oh by a thousand) my computer started speaking to me-- umm creepy!

Computer:* robotic voice* Blogger Muslim Hippie close tabs RIGHT NOW! ( the 'right now' was probably imagined by moi)

Me: *Yelling* HUSBAAAAAAAANNNND WAKE UP AND COME DOWN RIGHT NOW, THE COMPUTER JUST SPOKE TO ME! ( thinking of the Battlestar Galactica episode that I just watched and how my computer is turning evil on me)

And it still speaks ( I have it on mute right now)

I didn't know that Apple Mac Desktops speak. Computer wizzes ( is that how it's spelled?) how do you turn that thing off?

I have unleashed negativity on this space. I knew I shouldn't have used the "FRAK" word!

Peace? Please?

** If you're an early-bird or a late-nighter you probably noticed my not so subtle mistake(s). So all you Battlestar Galactica peeps, forgive my ignorance!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Three days...


My family is one of those families scattered all over the globe. We try to touch base every so often and when it's time to leave it's always not enough. But this time It felt like I blinked and my brother was gone.

The first day we went and saw the giant bean and strolled up and down "The magnificent mile".

The weather was gorgeous for exactly two days, one of which was spent mostly in a car, heading up to Madison WI to visit family. Today and yesterday were non-stop showers. But we did manage a hike in the rain, and saw wild turkeys and breath taking foliage. My brother was amazed at the fall colors and the fact that in a week he's not only going back to his country but also to the previous season.


What else?

Oh yea I have a current addiction: Crooked Still. Apparently they are on their third album. THIRD, REALLY? where was I? I am officially old ( oh well!)

And in case you're wondering. I haven't abandoned my love. Oh no. It was acting stubborn on me for some time, so I thought to give us some space.
So off went my sewing machine to the shop-- she came back yesterday, but my sewing room which also happens to be the guest room was-and-will be in use for some time. Which we very much enjoy around these quarters-- more space it is.

One last thing::
She decided to become a ( in her own words) "butterfly-tooth-fairy-swirly-mermaid-girl"
I couldn't resist.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To blog or not to blog?

My brother is here! yes he is physically here. With me. In the same house. Under the same roof. Occupying actual physical space. I can squeeze his hands or throw things at him. Not that I do.

He was visiting my my sister in Canada and finally after non-stop nagging, begging and continuous bombardment from both my husband and I. He finally gave in and took the 16 hour bus ride to come to Chicago. Never underestimate the power of nagging!

He'll be here for only three nights. I'll take it, and I'll be grateful.

You know what this means?


Our conversations will be resumed ( God willing) in three days.


Monday, October 19, 2009

The magnificent maple tree

We are lucky enough to live in a kid friendly neighborhood: surrounded by parks, walking distance to the beach, around the corner from a small library branch, and close enough to several schools.

In hot sticky days, lake Michigan calls us and we obey.

When the weather is cold and dreary ( which is what seems to be the norm these days) we find ourselves hugged by picture books and stuffed animals at our small library branch. Or snuggled indoors with warm woollies, hot teas, aromatic ovens and art supplies.

But then sometimes... sometimes the sun comes out from hiding, the clouds decide to give each other some space, and the sky peeks out in the perfect clear blue, undisturbed by poofs of fluffy clouds. The wind takes a break and slows down-- occasionally picking up speed to play with orange, red and yellow crisp leaves. Picking them UP UP UP, spinning them around then placing them back softly on the ground.

As I've mentioned before, we live close to many parks, but there's this one park a couple of blocks away that we really enjoy. It has a blue circular rotating contraption that Mei likes to call "the snake". She'll bombard a baffled older kid, ask him to ride the snake and lure him towards the contraption. The kid will become Mei's obedient slave for 5 or so minutes, turning and spinning the snake while trying at the same time to get a chance at riding the snake himself.

The park also has a magnificent huge oldish maple tree-- with a thick dark slightly slanted trunk, and your usual star shaped maple leaves. The tree stands in full glory showing off it's last spectacle of colors-- as it sheds slowly-but-surely it's fire shaded leaves.

The leaves then become a playground of their own. Kids and parents alike collect giant heaps of crunchy leaves, jump, hide and bath in them.

At the end of the day, everyone is exhausted from a beautiful day spent outdoors, and everyone goes right to sleep... sometimes sharing ones bed with a new (undiscovered until morning) bed-buddy. A star shaped maple leaf *smile*


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cooking a storm::

Ever since I watched "Julie and Julia" I've been inspired to try out new recipes... Hence all the food photos you'll be seeing in a couple of seconds... Shall we?

( Stuffed ground beef pastries. FYI, my rolling pin is horrible and I don't have a nice round cutter, so these took the whole day just to produce a handful-- so very disappointing, they tasted wonderful though!)

(Homemade cheese! very easy to make-- a bit on the bland side though. Next time I'll add more salt)

I crumbled some on top of the quiche-- the crust was made with left over pastry dough

(Spinach, mushroom, leeks, and celery quiche-- improvised)

(A fantabulous plum/pear crumble, with ginger and crystallized ginger-- recipe from here-- the crumble should have covered the fruits( I really need to learn my inches, I used a bigger dish) and the plums were supposed to be Italian prune plums- which I didn't find-- again, didn't help much with the crumble covering dilemma. Never-the-less, still heavenly)

Homemade pizza( I used the artisan peasant bread dough) with fire roasted hot tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese... can't get simpler than that! (my first trial came out looking and tasting more like foccacia bread-- I guess this is what happens when you let your almost three year old girl help with rolling the dough)

And this is the outcome of all this cooking!


I should stop cooking now, don't you think?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

some time off...

I'm taking a couple of days off this space. I have a bunch of books I want to finish. And a week or so of house guests.

What's on your coffee table?


Monday, October 12, 2009

No impact for a week anybody?

Most of you heard of the No Impact Man already, right?...

Anyhoo... He's starting this new no impact for a week project. And I think it's very doable... I mean it's just a week, what can possibly go wrong? well, Hopefully a lot should go "right"!

So I'm signing up, and I'll be posting about the everyday changes the project requires... Care to join? Hop over here.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Scenes from our weekend::

Our Baba went off this weekend , so off went my beloved camera on a road trip. But haha! never underestimate any device that can click in the hands of the likes of me-- I am a shutter bug after all!

It's been chilly here, the temperature falls to freezing at night time, and our upstairs has no heat vents-- so it gets pretty cold. Also we didn't put up our storm widows yet, and the AC unit is still in the window-- major drafts, I'm telling you!

Fortunately enough, I haven't been always spoiled... I managed Egyptian winters just fine- with an indoor temperature wavering on the low fifties-- all the time!

So out came the layers, and on went the oven. I baked anything and everything that could have been baked in this house: Two loaves of bread, two loaves of pumpkin bread, potatoes... I even heated some water in the oven. Hey, I was cold!

Unfortunately I have no bread photos for you today but I have cooler photos... like my own little twirling dervish. We wear our long flowy dresses, put on not-so-sufi tunes( Mei now yells "WHATCHOO SAY!" Ray Charles style) and twirl away. ( fact* Dwight style*: Did you know that if you pivot on your left foot while pushing with your right, and tilt your head to the right *twirling dervish style*. You can spin longer without getting dizzy? try it-- I did, and it works!) See how you learn new stuff by stopping here? win/win really!

So without further a due:

We also had early morning tea parties:

And enjoyed very cold park visits in late afternoons-- crunching with our feet on every pile of dry leaves we met on our way- we couldn't resist , could you?


** Edit: Apparently I wrote twirling instead of whirling dervishes. I guess it's not only little Mei whose obsessed with twirling-- Ah the subconscious and the things it reveals!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Inside :: Outside

I've been seeing these series on a few blogs and thought to try my hand at it. Here goes...

Inside ::

Outside ::

Have a delightful weekend.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A very orange post!

We've been planning to go to the pumpkin patch for over a week now, but have been facing some weathery ( not a word, but totally should be) obstacles. Sing with me: Rain rain, go away, come again some other day, mama wants to go 'pumpkin picking', rain rain go away * I know I improvised- how cool am I?* And just so you know I am typing this with a band-aid on my right index finger. I know-- pretty impressive. huh huh?

So no pumpkin patch visit was accomplished since the one sunny day we got ( excluding today) our man didn't feel so great. So guess what? Yup. I* big emphasis on the I*-- took the girls, strapped them in in their car seats, and drove all of us to a place that has pumpkins near by. That's right, 'cause you know what... Licenses are AWESOME!

Did I mention it was my first time ever to go pumpkin picking?( I thought it was very sweet to share a first time with my first born) As a matter of fact- it was my first time to do the whole shabang. From picking to carving my first ever! A very respected Mr. Jack. All that and we don't even celebrate Halloween-- It's true we don't. I figured this is going under the season celebration package.Why? Because I can ( being in charge is... SWEET!)

So while I was carving away, Mei was continuously stabbing little Mr. J, Not failing to acknowledge how poor both Jacks were. " oh mama, look, they're hurt... Poor poor!" still stabbing away. ( what a compassionate little girl I'm raising * clearing throat*)

So here's the verdict- The operation was a success! we cleaned his guts out, and even gave the poor fella a happy face.

( toasted pumpkin seeds- yum)

Seriously though--it was so much fun, even though I almost uttered profanity whilst trying to break the top free. I broke the stem and almost had a nervous breakdown... Luckily Baba came home on the right time ( and being first an American and second a man* this part needed muscles*) saved the day. We glued back the stem in case you're wondering.

How do you like them apples?


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Julie and Julia

It's 12:00 am right now( yea- don't look at publishing time, blogger is weird), and again I am not sleeping, because apparently this is more important to me than sleep!
Outside the wind is having a heated argument with the trees, and I think the wind is winning. The sky is orange and cloudy... All in all it's interesting weather. And that's that.

( what are you trying to say? you may ask...and I may answer that: I really don't know- except that I some how feel like blogging. So there, I get to type nonsense and you get to read, or not...* crazy woman* that's me talking to myself!)

I guess I wanted to blog 'cause I just came back from the Movie Theater-- in which I watched a movie about blogging and cooking, so it got my fingers twitching I suppose. I've been meaning to go see Julie and Julia ever since it's been advertised, because it's a food Movie-- only my all time favorite genre/topic. In movies and books alike.

When I first Came to this country: my 'brother-in-law's wife' ( do you have a special title for this relation?) mailed me two books-- "Home cooking" and " More home cooking" by Laurie Colwin ( thank you thank you thank you!), and I fell in love instantly. These two books are amongst my most cherished possessions, It's true. Not a month goes by without me reading at least three stories/ recipes. When I'm in a not-so-great-mood or I'm confused about what to read I'll pick one of these books and read myself until I'm satisfied or usually until one of the girls screams. That's why " A home made life " by Molly Wizenberg from Orangette was another hit with me. If you ever want to gift me, think kitchen utensils or cookbooks, or just come over for dinner and let me cook for you ( I am not a great cook, but it's one of the joy's of my life to cook for other people- so please come.)

( photo taken on the drive back)

Anyhoo, the movie was lovely, so if it's still playing at a theater near you, and you don't mind watching people cook and talk funny ( Julia Child) who was played wonderfully by Meryl Streep. Then please by all means do yourself a favor and go watch it. I have to say I had no idea who Julia Child was until tonight ( stoopid foreignor!)... So of course, when I came home- I had to watch some youtube videos to see for myself that a real person, really talked like that. And my gosh, she does!( or did) She's Fantastic. I also checked "Julie's" blog. And it does exist. It's cool that I actually watched a movie about a real person( whose not dead or anything) who I am somehow connected to, on this strange thing they call the blogosphere ( is that a word?). Neat!

Am I still rambling? and you guys are so kind, you're still here... Well, I will waste your time no more. I sleep now.