Thursday, August 27, 2009

In the spirit of Ramadan

Today I am sharing some links in the spirit of this blessed month::

Captivating Ramadan images from around the world.

President Obama's Ramadan message.

Rihla 2009 quotes.

May God accept our efforts. Amin.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

one liner::

" There is no spoon"

Quote from" The Matrix" the movie.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Greetings from Canada!

It's true-- We hit the road again with the girls. This was such an unplanned, unexpected early Canada visit. I arrived yesterday to my sisters place, and plan on staying for some time. So as usual with these sort of arrangements my posts are going to be sporadic ( or maybe not, who knows?)

Why am I in Canada? Well long story-short: my sister is due very, very soon. And in-case you're confused about how casually I drop the sister excuse. You might want to know that I have three of them. Plus me-- makes four... plus more, from the other gender. So there's always a sister ( or a brother) around the corner to be helped or visited, or, or... you get the idea.

So Canada welcomed us today-- in the strongest way possible-- Twister style to be exact!
My sister lives on the twenty first floor of one of those fancy high-rise buildings, near Toronto. As we were having dinner-- We were greeted by a vertical wave of serious showers. In no time the rain switched angles and was whooping our windows horizontally. The elevated view that we had- started blinking with blinding flashes of lightening and veins that split the skies in half. The background sound complemented the scene perfectly. Thunder booms synchronized with the flashes and the whooping rain racing and knocking against our windows. The living room lights flickered in awe with this majestic spectacle. It was a scene from a movie. Complete with crashing trees at the end of our street and all.

At first I thought, what I'm seeing was magnified because of how high we were. I mean I've sure witnessed my share of thunderstorms in Madison WI and Chicago. But this-- I must say was all new to my eyes.

We were experiencing- what was revealed to be, one of the worst tornado storms this part of the country has experienced in years. The tornado(s) was only three hours away from us. The amusing part is-- I was just telling my sister how my scariest experience of strange weather when moving to America, was listening to tornado watch sirens, back when I lived in WI. And that's the one thing that I still can't ( won't) get used to.

I- for obvious reasons have no photos to share. We were all pretty much frozen in front of our windows. holding our babies along with our breaths.

You can see photage here and here, and follow the story here.

Also, yet unrelated-- Ramadan Mubarak everyone!


*Edit:: I just found out the twister was actually closer than I thought. It was just half an hour away.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Red fox

I've been meaning to introduce you to a friend of Mei's for quite some time now::

His name is "Red Fox" and he's awesome! I mean he's like the coolest friend Mei has. He usually appears unannounced. And he never likes to come inside our house-- instead, he's quite content just sitting atop an old branchy tree in our yard-- you know just hanging out. Enjoying the sun. Carefree and all...

If you know him as well as I do, you'll know that he LOVES the rain. If it ever happens to rain ( and it often does- Hello, Chicago!), you can be certain that he'll show up- most definitely- right in the middle of our yard. With his umbrella-- splashing away.

We usually like to spy on him from behind our windows. But sometimes we can't resist. We put on our rain boots and join-in. I mean, how can you resist splashing in the rain with such an awesome creature.

If this is not enough coolness for you, you might want to know that he also wanders about, with a pet snake- a blue snake to be exact- you can't let those important details slip by you- if you know what I mean .*wink*

I only have one complaint though-- Red fox can't be seen except by Mei. So you see, this can be quite challenging at times for me, especially when I am forced to *sorry cross that* I mean want to, join in the fun and play along.

...yes, my sweet little girl has an imaginary friend, and I just love it! Quite frankly, I actually encourage it. When "Red Fox" doesn't visit for an extended time, I ask about him. Sometimes he comes, and sometimes we "allow him" to have his space.

Eventually, Red fox will appear. Again...

He still won't come inside. But we sure don't mind putting our rain boots on, and joining him outside. Rain or shine, baby!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CSA :: Week... I don't know what- Lost count!

The real title for this post should be:: "how I remedied an explosive mood, with some basil, eggplant and homemade bread."

How it all began :: aka, the domino effect

Mei refused nap time today... nap time is what keeps mama sane in this house.
So since Mei didn't go down as planned; mama didn't get her mid-day break.
So Mei was grouchy for missing her nap; so mama got even more grouchy for dealing with a clingy, whinny Mei. So Mei pretty much freaked out for the rest of her waking hours, and so on and so forth...

Luckily today is a Wednesday-- which translates in my dictionary to CSA DAY!

My hero, brought the CSA box around 8:00 pm. As soon as we were done with bedtime routine, I found my face buried in the box. The first thing that came out was a giant eggplant- intruiging- I thought. A bunch of basil followed- I stuck my nose right in them and took a deep whiff (and release). I immediately glanced at our kitchen-island and saw that we still had half a loaf of bread from this morning ( woohoo!). That was it for me-- the last meal I had was 8 hours ago. Naturally, I didn't feel like a big production.
So without clearing or cleaning anything in the kitchen, I pealed and cut two garlic cloves, chopped a cup of basil, threw both in the mixer-- then threw in more things: walnuts, olive oil and Parmesan. I sliced a tomato, the bread and the eggplant. The bread went in the toaster-- The eggplant danced in a pan with some coconut oil-- The tomatoes waited patiently.

In the end everything went on top of the other. If you fancy yourself some quick, simple and a mood changing dinner- start with the above then do as follows::

Spread your pesto paste on the toasted bread( I got the pesto recipe from here and changed the quantities to make a small batch, then improvised the rest.) Top it with your jolly, dancing eggplant slice(s). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. And finally top with your very patient tomato(s).


* Save for a dark mood
**Use the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on-- Other wise this concoction won't be worth the thunderstorm forming above your head!

I see rainbows ( cheese Louise!)

Annnnd Peace!

Monday, August 10, 2009



shall we look at some bread and bread dough photos today?... shall we?

Our favorite recipe at the moment, is a mix between white, whole wheat and rye flour. They call it the peasant loaf.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Figs and Asparagus

We've been lazing about since my sister and her gang left. Picking up slowly on house work. Taking family walks and jogs in the neighborhood. Alternating naps between the four of us. Slowly but surely picking back our routine- well to be honest not really. But I feel like we're getting there.

So tonight ( since it's 10:25 pm right now) I realized I want to write about our grocery shopping trip. All four of us together. One big * sorry cross big* medium sized? Happy family!

It was already 7:30 pm. Half an hour before Mei's bedtime. The husband was contemplating doing it the "easy" way. You know I write the list, then he runs to the store, while I start bedtime routine for the girls... I ruled against that and decided to take the " less easy" route. And well Mei can go to bed a little later tonight. And she did, and it was fine. Actually as a result of being spontaneous ( I am laughing at myself as I hear my thoughts... grocery shopping is what I call spontaneous these days-- That's life after kids for ya!) I spied some local asparagus- just sitting there by one of the store corners- begging to be brought home. I complied ( It's been incredibly cool this summer, so I guess we still have asparagus. Yay for that!)
Not far away from where I spotted our friend. I saw something almost magical... I saw GREEN FIGS! I almost gasped at the sight. To complete my day, they had an offer--two small plastic crates for 5 dollars. Be still my heart! I snatched them, and didn't care for the rest of the list. I was content.


In Egypt, you can find horse carts around most corners in summer time- filled with pyramids of fresh burgundy figs. I wasn't a big fan of the smoochy fruit until I came to this country ( I started seeing fresh figs in grocery stores maybe last year or so. They're not popular around this part of the world.) Out of home sickness once, I bought 5 tiny figs from our co-op for five bucks!

I was introduced to green figs, when I visited Syria one summer. I was browsing their local farmer's market, and I spotted the green cousin of our Egyptian kind. I was ever so curious, so the farmer offered me one to try. I went back that day with two big crates. One as a gift for my hosts and the other for my mother ( I was traveling back the very next day). I carried it on the plane back to Egypt for my mother to try. Figs happen to be my mother's favorite fruit. Naturally, I couldn't deny her the taste of it's superior cousin. If you haven't tried the splendor of a green fig, now is your chance. If you happen to be a local that is!


Asparagus are foreign to Egyptians, we import them from exotic countries like yours( Assuming all my readers are American, or come from countries that grow Asparagus). After the long plane ride to Egyptian lands, they have a slight unpleasant resemblance of that delicious vegetable. They are also sold for a fortune. (If you're an Egyptian local, spare your money, save it for something better, like say figs? Just a suggestion)

Here's what we had for dinner at 10:00 pm tonight( yes we try to eat after we put the girls to bed) blanched asparagus with CSA portabella mushrooms and CSA green onions, topped with a poached egg and Parmesan cheese. for salad we had mixed greens topped with quarterly-cut green figs. For the dressing: a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I will not even comment. I'll just leave it to your imagination!

Sometimes, it pays off going a little out of your way. You can get even luckier and discover a new favorite NPR show on your ride back home. ( Radio Lab -- check it out if you don't know it already. It's quite interesting)


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


She's gone... My sister- is gone. I'll see her again (God willing) in a year. I used to share a womb with her, and now I see her once a year. This is Life, right? *sigh*

So finding myself with only two little ones to care for, and an increasingly quite house. I decided to go for a stroll-- wherever my feet take us... Several blocks later-- Lake Michigan was staring us in the face. So we decided not to be rude and go and say hello.

( This is where the photo goes: of a massive body of water glistening in the sun, surrounded by flying seagulls and a big group of splashing geese)

As I've described this was an unplanned visit, so there were no buckets to be filled with water, no shovels or rakes to disturb the beach sand, and definitely no swimwear for all three of us.

( Here's where I show you my full length black skirt half submerged in water, and Mei and Grabby covered in sand, one in her undies and the other in a diaper, the one in a diaper of course has sand all around *and inside* her mouth-- good times!)

We definitely did not manage a low profile in a beach full of well prepared beach goers. Armored with their tanning oils, towels and yes swimwear.

Not only was I in my full attire, But ( incase you still don't know) I also wear a headscarf. Plus I have a very enthusiastic toddler, ready to wail and throw a fit come time to leave. Add to that scene a huge RED double stroller, that's IMPOSSIBLE to push back uphill in deep sand with two little people strapped in.

Did the girls get messy? Yes!
Did we make a scene? Yes!
Did we all have a FANTASTIC time? Most definitely!

So, for this brief time, I was sucked in the moment. I forgot to think about my sister and her sweet little family. Aboard a plane taking them further away, as time continues to do what it does best. Fly Away...


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 4 :: a.k.a The last day

Well, that wasn't so bad. I bonded with the twins, and learned from the experience.

Lessons learned::

*When dealing with one kid, routine is important. when dealing with one kid plus a baby, routine is also very important. When dealing with twins... routine is a life saver!

**God created us as tribal people. We are meant to live in tribes. ( I totally stole that one from you Taliba!) The American nuclear family thingy doesn't really work. At least not for me.

***Having four kids means-- a whole different dimension in laundry land. Lord have mercy!

Wisdom of the day::

If you find yourself in the presence of a small audience ( literally) around say seven in the morning. Blast the stereo and DANCE! (N.B: headbanging is highly contagious around such a young crowd)



I just spoke with my sister over the phone... they missed their flight. So They'll be coming ( God willing) Tomorrow morning. I'm not so sure about the title now!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 3::

One more day to go!

One of the twins thinks I'm her mother. She follows me around, and hugs my legs when I'm doing the dishes. She also called me "mima". Which is what she calls her mother instead of "mama". I'm pretty flattered, but then again her mother IS my non-identical twin. Hmmn... *Raising an eyebrow while locking my fist on my chin*

Wisdom of the day:

Eat ice-cream. You totally deserve!



Oh, I almost (hmph!) forgot to mention... My sister, her husband, and her friend met Stevie Wonder at a restaurant in California yesterday! They exchanged phone numbers, and Stevie Wonder told her husband that he can sens he has a good soul!
Till this moment I don't know how to react. I can say this though-- I truly respect the man!