Thursday, May 28, 2009

Call me stubborn!

It's 2:30 am right now!
I started around 11:30 pm... and that's how stubborn I am!

A backpack it is!

A special thanks to Robyn. Check out her awesome blog.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In the works

Mei's been interested in bags lately. Backpacks to be specific. She finds any of our grown up sized backpacks and drags it across the room all the way to where I'm at. With a puppy face she looks up and exclaims: " Ayza werd did" Which translates in our normal human language into" I want to wear it"
*Ayza- Arabic for I want*

So I place the straps on her wee little shoulders and she continues the journey( this time struggling even more as she carrys baba's huge bag on her shoulders) all the way to the front door ( our place is tiny btw, it just seems like a journey for her I assume. Talk about child labor), and says: "Yalla lets go to Geddo!"
*Yalla- Arabic for C'mon, and Geddo- Arabic for grandpa*

So tonight I decided to make her a back pack. Inspired by this ( Also a wonderful informative blog for parents). I made the bag part from my old maternity jeans, I also saved the elastic for another project.( I'm always short of elastic) Sweet, two birds with one stone!

Unlike the tutorial I want to add straps in the style of a backpack for my sweet little Mei. She deserves a backpack too... don't you agree? I added a flap for the top of the bag and I'm waiting to figure out how to add the strap in the backpack style... Hmph ( any ideas? or links you guys care to share?)

Anyhoo, not to leave you picture-less. God knows how long it'll take me to figure out the strap part. Here's what I have thus far... And in the works...

Yea, disregard the flashcards- I either clean up or make a cool re-purposed half done backpack. I choose the latter.


Added part:

I was checking my blog this morning and realized the crookedness of the bag from the photos. So I went and checked the real life bag and guess what? it's also crooked! Oh well... more character, don't you think? Anyhoo Mei will hopefully soon have something to take for our Geddo visits!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weendend list check:

I have a picture of paint smothered all over Mei's face. If I showed pictures of my girls I'd show this one. It was quite funny. You'll just have to take my word for it.

This little number was a special request. the stuff coming out of his mouth is supposed to be flames in case you're wondering. Yea I know it's a little bit tricky. I try!

More beach. Some kids took Mei's rake and shovel (amongst other stuff that we recovered) from our yard. I really hope they're having a wonderful time with it. We'll get her some more soon inshaAllah ( god willing).

Technically the weekend is not over yet ( what's traditon for memorial day?)
But we pretty much did everything on the list (A major highlight on number 7. Mei sprayed flour all over the kitchen floor, and I'm pretty sure she ate some window paint. Nice! I mean oh no!)
Plus I cleaned our floors ( in retrospect floors shouldn't be cleaned in summer. We go to the beach a lot and come back with a ton of sand. ) and add some spring cleaning.
All in all I would call it a massive success ( the secret... did you see my list? easy peasy, lemon squeezy)

Also I have sort of a truce ( for now!) with my computer, so here are some beach photos from before and spider photos to gross you out ( I try to act excited and keep my cool in front of Mei, but I really freak out from bugs, I'm a screamer in case you don't know. Ask my rescuer*hubby*)
( did I mention that the spider comes under finding cool things. Cool things can be gross too. No?)


I am directing your attention to my new Summer banner( I downloaded Picasa in case you're wondering about my fancy shmancy collage. I'm still playing with it)

Also I update my Changing list of awesome-ness side bar, so make sure to check it out.
In case you still wont check it. At least listen to her. I get serious goosebumps. She sings old poems from our *The Arab* heritage. Her singing style and body language is so old school like "Umm Kalthoom" but her approach at tackling the song is done in a beautiful modern jazzy style. I'll try to find the English translation to the poem and post it in the future. ( need more convincing?) Let me know through comments or email. Or just listen and enjoy.( I hope!)

Whoops, I almost forgot...Peace!

Friday, May 22, 2009

To do weekend list::

1. Play

2. Create

3. Laugh

4. Build

5. Connect

6. Dance

7. Make a mess!

8. Fill your eyes and nose with early summer colors and smells

9. Find cool things

10. Eat something sweet

11. Or just find a sweet set of stairs and doze off:) ( our neighbor's dog, Mei LOVES him!)

All images courtesy of my desktop. He( I know it's a he! no "she" would do this to me!), currently allows me to use preexisting photos. We are trying to work out a truce so I can upload new photos. We'll see!


Unrelated: I got my salt dough recipe from this book, which is highly recommended by the way. But you can find a ton of links if you Google it. Here's one to get you started.

Have a fantabulous ( hee hee... I'll find whatever reason to use that word!) weekend!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Children' s books we love


Today I don't have any photos to share, and it's not because it's one of those photo-less blog posts. Umm... nope! The reason for me declaring this, is because the time has come for my computer to be taken to a professional.
After years and years of messing around with no experience and little organizing. My computer gave a clear statement of it not being happy with me. And, that is an understatement. I actually censored the real version to keep this blog reader friendly. (Sorry pal, you got sold to a lousy owner, it's your luck what can I say? Wait... Am I talking to a computer? Well I have officially lost it. Not that you guys haven't noticed from say yesterday's blog post or maybe this one? or... never mind)

Moving on...

Today I am sharing some of my favorite children' s books. What brought this about is:
The lack of computer cooperation to share photos ( I originally was going to share some beach photos from our trip to the beach the other day, which is by the way a fake beach. I say that because it's a great lake, not the ocean. Plus how come you guys * meaning all you lucky Americans* have so much fresh water? My Iraqi baby sitter whose been in this country for almost a year now, was stunned to learn just yesterday that what she's looking at is a great lake. Coming from a place with lots of deserts and just the one Nile...hehee just the one. I'm ever so amazed! Yes, I did it again, a very long stray thought. Sorry!)

(re-read the third sentence from the last paragraph just to refresh your memory and come back to this line. Good now read on) Also 'cause we just received this book by mail today and we love it or anything by Amy Krouse for that matter. She's wonderful. Here's another book we love by her. The illustrations in the latter is by far my favorite children' s book illustration ever.

We also love anything by Eric Carl. I love his collage style illustrations.
Illustrations in any book but especially in a children 's books is a big factor for us buying or checking it out from the library.

Mei really loved this book. If you happen to read it. look out for the cat pooping in the street (sorry for using the "P" word in this Post, but lets face it. A blog post about children, it was bound to come up). Mei always points out to the cat and says:" no, cat don't poop on the floor. The poop goes... in the POTTY! * insert mama and baba's voices joining in the last part* This book was read a lot during... (you guessed it) potty training time. I'm glad that's done for now. Again, Fantabulous ( currently my favorite word. The irony is it's not a word. Also just so you know,borrowed from Eddie Izzard. Thank you husband for introducing me) Illustrations.

Anything by Dr. Sues. Some of my favorites are The Sneeches, Oh the places you'll go, The Lorax... Mei is just getting interested in elaborate Dr. Sues books, it's really fun to read them to her.

And finally we got this book as a gift and it was Mei's favorite for a long time. She has it learned by heart. The illustration is so lively and the dialect used is super fun.

I don't need to mention the obvious classics. Do I?

Before I end this. Two questions:
What's your favorite list? And how do you truly understand any of my blog posts and come back for more? It's a mystery! The latter is rhetorical just so you know!

Wait for it... Peace *wink*

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New life

When I first moved to America, * taking a deep breath* my significant other took me to our local and just across the street (from where we lived at the time) thrift store, to buy our new, empty, rented place some cheap used furniture. * and release*

Needless to say I was shocked. ( I cried my eyes out actually!)

A little back ground about me and about where I come from in case you just happened to drop by here today, or if you happen to be amongst the rare few readers who don't know me on a personal level.

I am an upper middle class Egyptian, born and raised in the country. ( Unfortunately, and realistically speaking, class does matter in Egypt. It's almost an entire different culture between one class and the other, even the dialect is different, hence the mentioning of this particular matter. Believe me, all this stuff is going to be relevant, so bear with my annoying details)

In the social class I come from. People never go thrift-ing (if such a place exists to begin with. You do find whole neighborhoods dedicated to second hand stuff but even fanatic thrifters would raise their eyebrows if they go there, interesting cultural experience though) It's really looked down upon, it's viewed as just for people who can't afford to buy new stuff. Add to that that I was relatively a newly wed. Which in my culture even the poorest of the poor go in massive debt to buy their bride or daughter brand new things( not that I agree), probably custom made( which by the way is incredibly cheaper than ready made mass produced stuff in Egypt) * Hmm, this is taking longer than I had in my simple head*

What I'm trying to say or portray to all of you here is, how this ( meaning buying furniture for my new place at the thrift store) was like a slap on the face. And that's if you've successfully deciphered any of the poorly constructed sentences, random ramblings and unorganized thoughts written by a person who doesn't know why she's still wasting precious sleep time writing this very strange and probably disturbing to some(all?) post. Hmph!

Why am I typing all this nonsense you might ask? are you asking? are you? are you?
Well, since you asked! I wanted to share with you how I've really come along way. ( yes I'm totally praising myself. No modesty here. Sorry)

I proudly declare that I am no longer a wimp and that I am now an official thrift goer and lover. And I even re-purpose, re-cycle and give new life to old fraying things.

A couple of months back I entered a thrift store and came out with an old fraying hand made quilt. It had about at least a dozen tiny little holes... I loved it. I loved it because I knew someone spent long nights and days making it for loved ones. I knew that this piece of material carries memories. Memories of maybe little bodies huddled under it for warmth. Or maybe memories of marks and stains from grass and dirt while being spread out in a warm sunny day for a picnic. whatever it may be. Its there. And now I have a little piece of this old life too.

My husband once bought a century old Islamic style rosary for a good some of money. At the time I was so confused. Why would he want worm out prayer beads? I examined it for a while to see whats so special and I could clearly see how some of the beads were thinned from a certain angle from all the use( dhikr) during the years. He was so happy when the salesman dropped it in his palm. He started using it immediately, and he uses it to this day.
This Sibha ( rosary) carries the baraka( good energy) of a century's use. It's value can not be measured by money.

Let me try to end this while I still can...

New/old ( re-purposed and full of life) floor mat for in front of my sink. For all those hours spent washing those precious dishes. I added some batting for heel support.

Thank you for listening (reading).


Btw, I discovered I can set the time on my post and it publishes itself accordingly. So from now on look out for my posts in the morning.

Monday, May 18, 2009


For real:

Pizza dough made by mama and Mei

For fun:

Salt dough crafting

And that's why I am not a potter...


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Incredible Bone-Eating Girl :: A Play

Scene I:

It's raining outside. The sound of rain trickling on the windows can be heard from the dinning room. The table is set with two big bowls of reheated, leftover, lentil chicken stew, a small plate of broccoli mixed with mac-n-cheese, and a very small glass bowl half filled with mashed bananas. A family of four is gathered around the table, ready for lunch.

Main (all) characters:

Mei (the eldest daughter, 2.5 yrs old)
And last but not least baby Graby (the youngest daughter and family member, 6 months old)

Act I:

Mama (juggling between feeding herself and placing a spoon in Graby's mouth): Can you pass the buttered toast?
Baba (promptly reaching out for the toast): Sure!
Mei: I want some butter from the fire dishes ( A butter dish with a red flower petals shaped handle resembling "in Mei's head" the shape of flames, hence the name)
Mama: No, Mei... How about some Mac-n-cheese? Mmm Yummy mac-n-cheese!
Mei: No, I want the fire dishes.
Mama (trying to scoop up Graby's banana spit from her chin and carefully placing it back in her mouth): How about some soup ( Referring to the stew).
Graby at this point breaks the argument with an ear piercing squeal followed by some elaborate banana spit flying everywhere.
Mama (Looking at baba, and pointing hysterically at the wipes: WIPES!
Baba grabs the wet wipes box and pulls a couple of wipes with one swift move.
Mei, uninterested in all the commotion: How about the fire dishes...

End of Act I.

Act II:: Scene I:

Two minutes later...
After cleaning Graby's mess mama looks at mei and says in the most reasonable tone she can manage: Mei sweetie, how about some CHICKEN! You loooooove chicken.
Mei eying the bones plate in the middle of the table says:
Nope... How about bones...
Mei by this point is starting to reach out for the bones.

Baba looks at mama waiting...
Mama helpless and tired and still trying to feed Graby whose still spitting her bananas all over her bib and highchair, Looks at baba and says jokingly( not really!): Well they have calcium, no?
Baba: Alright...
Mei Crunching away.
The family continues eating in a relatively quite manner ( if you delete Mei bone crunching sounds and Graby's spitting noises)
Five Minutes later Mei breaks "the silence" asking:
How about some Bambi Bones?

The sound of silverware dropping on the hard wood floors, then a close up on an open wide mouthed Baba, Mama, and even little Graby...

The End!

I was going to take pictures of the half eaten bones, but decided to protect my poor readers eyes!

She did love this book. You think...?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just take a deep breath...

I've been enjoying this little space of mine a little bit more each day, and quite frankly I've grown so accustomed to it, that I feel something missing when I miss several days in a row without checking in.

I started off this blog for completely different reasons than what this blog resembles to me now. If you've been following me from the beginning, you'll know that I started this blog based on the suggestion of one of my friends... I mistakenly believed that there are a scarce number of Muslims interested in green living, and making a connection between our religious teachings and duties and sustainable living. ( boy was I mistaken!) So I felt a need to bring awareness and provide recipes and ideas about the topic.

I slowly moved away from that place though. I realized not only that I was wrong( there's an admirable growing number of fellow Muslims all over the world who are green and active about it in different impressive ways. I thankfully got the opportunity to get in touch with some of them through this blog), but also it wasn't my passion to write about.

So here I am one year later( I think!). Still a blogger, sitting almost every night typing away. Thinking about my day, remembering the good moments. Listing my blessings, my favorite things. Sharing memories. Showing off homemade bread, a new learned skill, a simple dinner recipe or just a regular morning. Connecting...

I am a stay at home mom, away from a land I grew up, went to school and made friendships at. I don't drive ( I did drive in Egypt for many years, but for some reason It hasn't worked out here yet.) and with two little ones; the mobility and alone times tend to be sparse.

So this space has found it's place in my heart. It continues to help me find my sanity and feeds my spirits with positive energy. It connects me with wonderful inspiring people (It really amazes me how a small effort like this one builds groups, friendships and communities) and inspires me to appreciate life as it is.

As cheesy as this post is sounding to me before any of you right now, it's true. I needed to let my cheesiness out in the open! Cause yes that's another thing that this space brings to me. It crystallizes thoughts and makes them real. So I believe... I now truly believe I am capable of doing this. It's not so hard. Just take a deep breath!

(Btw I scattered some photos to lighten things up a little. Two serious posts in a row is not like me. Bear with me, I'm pretty emotional these days.)


FYI, all the photos are scenes from our yard and home.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Right now!

We live in a day and age where we are just one click away from loved ones. I understand its definitely not the same as being in physical presence and contact with loved ones, but it definitely makes life a little bit easier and distances a little more bearable.
I see my mother as often as three times a week, depending... She lives between Egypt and U.A.E, and I currently live in the good ol' U. S. of A. as you all should know by now. ( really you didn't know, well now you know... read my profile. It's like two lines, c'mon!)

I definitely still miss her, I still yearn for curling up next to her under a thick blanket ( in winter!) on our living room couch, in-front of a TV screen that's never off, yet never watched( Egyptians have this tendency to keep TV's on forever. If you ask them why they'll say, to feel there are people around, or for company. It's true!)

I miss her cooking which, I always ask about in our conversations. Sometimes I make her bring the dish up to the web-cam so I could see it up close.( there's nothing like your mother's food, even if she's not a great cook. Though my mom is definitely a great cook) I miss her smell, I miss her hand squeezes, I even miss her tears. Happy tears to share and sad ones to wipe out and comfort.
I don't think I could've lived away from her if we weren't living in this day and age. My husband told me they used to have a wake for Irish people when they left to America in the olden times.
God I'm so grateful.
I do listen to this song from time to time ( I can't listen to it often though, I start bawling whenever I listen to it, sometimes it's good to cry your eyes out though, if you know what I mean, and that's when I need to listen to it... No worries it doesn't happen a lot)

Wow, look at my stray thought... I was actually blogging to tell you about this:

For some time now I started doing this thing where I send right now pictures of the girls and special "nows" ( I know it's not a word!) in our lives to loved ones.
So for what it's worth I am sharing a right now with you from this morning, after all, you are loved ones, aren't you? *wink*

Have lovely mornings, evenings and afternoons.


A few hours later... right now::

My first attempt at a no knead bread.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Note to self::

Stop wasting time on the computer and go straight to sleep.
( It was just 11 pm) I blinked and now it's 12:13.

Inspired by this. But obviously not even close to a grain of the wise poetic words he captured.
( when will I learn?)

The irony is I am spending more time on the computer typing this...

This was originally meant to be a one liner!

I need serious help.


Added Part::

So I guess you all noticed my earlier typo and were kind enough "note" to say anything (Hee hee..get it?). In my defense I was pretty exhausted last night...
So Note to self: Don't blog when you're cross eyed and tired.
Title fixed, no worries!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Dryer!

Yes, It's true! Our land lord who luckily also happens to be our next door neighbor saw our line of air drying laundry and felt sorry for us! So he decided to order the dryer earlier than scheduled ( what a good man). The Dryer arrived about two days ago. But since we have been so behind on laundry we had to prioritize. So my sad and lonely new fabric sat two more days waiting. Until this afternoon...

I couldn't wait, as soon as our fantastic, super fast, new dryer, buzzed the end signal, I jumped...

The result, a new pseudo finished new Mei skirt with my new super cute Japanese fabric (bought for half price at a going out of business sale, woohoo!)

I used the lazy skirt free pattern found on the oliver + s blog. The pattern uses a ribbon to finish the hem but I didn't have a wide ribbon on hand. So instead I used lace I had bought also on super sale. I was pretty pleased with the final look.

The skirt is actually not completely finished, I still need to buy elastic. So to show the end result I just fed the waistband casing with a ribbon and pulled it through (hence the term pseudo finished). My sweet girl will have to wait to wear this skirt until her mama is not so lazy... Sorry sweet pea!

I have to go sleep now, it's 1:30 am and tomorrow ( technically today) is mother's day.
Happy mother's day everyone!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

I love spring!

Behold there's going to be lots of photos in this one...

Marge Simpson Giant Plants ( As called by my observant other half)

Eroded riverbank showing off some serious giant tree roots.

All I want is a book and to be left alone on that inviting bench.

Sunshine. The perfect Breeze. Seventy degree, bug free weather. Naturally results in the fastest out of the door time we ever made as a family! And a great place to be at for this kind of weather... The Botanic Gardens, which we are officially members of as of today ( Woohoo!)
And I couldn't resist sharing some eye candy with the rest of you:)
Yes the last photo is more bread shared by loved ones. And I really need to get my hands on this book. Seriously!


Also Peace...