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Snow Day

WI Closed

We are in the middle of a snowstorm and it has a name– Draco, finally a “He”.

contrast trees

My husband declared today one of the best days he’s had in a while. The whole family and maybe street concurs. Our sleep was interrupted last night by our happy, laughing, chatty neighbors at two in the morning. When we woke up to this…

Giant snow man

… we forgave them. This dude is, yes featureless but he’s one storey tall I kid you not. Yes, yes we forgave them I said.

It’s not safe driving and some families lost their power and or internet tonight, but other than the gusty winds and sometimes thunder sounds, it’s not too cold. During the day it was just freezing and at night it goes down to the twenties. Very mild temperatures for this kind of storm. Although I have been told many a time that if it gets too cold, snow won’t fall down.

walking in snow tunnel Snow line sled shovel Grabby shovel

We spent today sledding, building forts and tunnels and shoveling (really the man did the last three and we happily watched and sledded) and I got to be out for more than ten minutes at a time without my toes freezing and going purple. How did I live without those chemical heat pouches all my life. You can not begin to perceive the amount of happiness I’m experiencing right now. I can hang out with my kids in freezing temperatures in the snow without being miserable! Hooray for chemicals!

sunken boot snow dump sidewalk fort boot line

We got from sixteen to eighteen inches. West of us got up to twenty inches.

Fun times.

I get to go to work tomorrow but our schools, shops and libraries are closed again tomorrow.

Happy Snow Day Wisconsin. And Happy Winter Solstice Everyone!


For the brave and innocent souls of Newtown CT


Bismillaah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem
Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen
Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Maaliki yaumid Deen
Iyyaaka na’abudu wa iyyaaka nasta’een
Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem
Siraatal ladheena an ‘amta’ alaihim
Ghairil maghduubi’ alaihim waladaaleen

In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.


IMG_2393 IMG_2391 hot cocoa

It is not unheard of in Madison to get snow right after thanksgiving, and when I say snow I mean the kind that sticks and stays on the ground for at least a day. The kind  you can form into snow balls and throw at each other or at the side of your house to stick. Snow that’ll put a smile on your face because it’s the first snow of the season and you are still nostalgic from last year and haven’t grown tired from yet. That kind of snow made an appearance this very early morning, the morning of december 9th… late by Wisconsin’s standards, but hey we’ll take it, and we’ll play with it and make our muddiest, dirtiest snowmen yet, and it’ll make us rush to the kitchen to prepare a very special first sticky snow of the season breakfast with hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup. It will stop us from thinking about death until later tonight (right now) and make us remember witnessing three deaths that caused three clocks to stop working at the time of death. Google had no answers for the phenomenon but has lots of similar stories to share. 

I just watched Life of Pi, maybe that’s why I thought about death and things that baffle the mind.


On a shameless self promoting note, I started a new tumblr photo blog, you can follow me there as well.

Wishing you a wonderful start of your week!


Food and such

I have week long food photos from different parts of the day. I had them on my phone and thought to share. Also I feel slightly self conscious because what I eat is personal. And I’m not giving you a recipe or anything I’m just showing you my food because I took the photos already and someone should look at them. So since we’re doing this (although I’ve been doing it for years, but am suddenly self conscious about it) you should know that I only take the–in my mind– healthier food choices I make. Meaning you won’t see my pre-bedtime chocolate or potato chips snacking. I don’t do it all the time, but my food choices aren’t always fabulous. Just keeping things real… and awkward.


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:: fava beans with a poached egg, chopped parsely, radishes and pita bread :: smoked trout, tortilla chips, half an avocado, half a grape fruit and figs :: Bratwurst, kale, carrot soup :: stir fried kale, onions, mushrooms, topped with an omelet, with a side of arugula, olives, and a spoon on humus.


White people food. My husband made us one of his childhood casseroles: Mac n cheese with veggies and canned salmon subbed for canned tuna. He bears with my weird Egyptian food like Molokheya I figure, I can handle a casserole, also he’s awesome!




Acorns and panda puff balls are what I’ve been stepping on these days in our apartment– says a lot about the kind of people we are. It says that we are parents of nature collectors, and panda puff devourers who skip the milk and go straight for the crunch. It also says that we haven’t vacuumed in a while.


I have five draft posts that I have written and never published, after re-reading them I thought “umm, better not”. They were all different forms of whining about a week long sickness that is currently breathing it’s final breaths. The result: I sound like an old man whose been smoking most of his life. My youngest declared me unfit for reading books with her. I concur.

Tomorrow I am supposed to get my final fit test to see how much I’ve progressed in the past two months of gym going. I am still super weak from the sickness and I lost I a lot of muscle during my rest (lost five pounds) so I’m not sure what I’ll be testing tomorrow other than fatigue. I still plan to go because I promised my instructor I’d go.

Can you tell I’m lame and blank these days. I am just writing this post to get things out of the way and break the spell. Hopefully this should do it. Also my man found my camera charger, so here’s something to look forward to.

On a less lame note, I finished a book during my sickness, because when you have conjunctivitis in both eyes, and have consumed the capacity of your eye tolerance to stare at a screen for long periods of time, you figure: maybe you should start reading that book you’ve been meaning to read a while back, and so I did. It was a very good book. I had consulted a while back with twitter of which book to start me off with Neil Gaiman. Twitter gave its word: American Gods. And so it was (after I got sick and was forced to sit–or rather lay– and read) The story was set in different parts of America, but mainly in America’s Midwest. My kind of place (wink) so now I want to go visit The House On The Rock because it sounds ridiculous, entertaining, and creepy all at once, or at least that’s what the book suggests. Also the story is set in winter, and it spoke of harsh temperatures, several feet of snow and numbing cold winds. So now I have gone completely mad and actually missed real, bone-penetrating cold, winters. We have sunshine and forty degree weather these days, and i’m thinking lame (lameness is apparently my theme tonight). So instead of being thankful I am wishing for snow. Also my man bought me a box of these. Prepared is how I’m feeling right now.

Before I had read anything by Neil Gaiman I started following him on twitter because I was already following a lot of his followers and so Twitter suggested him on my list of people to follow. So like the good girl that I am I took twitter’s advice and followed the man. So when I started reading his book I somehow subliminally heard his voice narrating his story to me, and I even saw his avatar picture speaking to me without moving it’s mouth. Just like it has tweeted to me before without moving it’s mouth, so we became friends. Just like that. It’s strange how people will connect with you and identify with you through a voiceless medium. It’s also a little creepy because we really don’t know each other at all (I am including you dear reader in this epiphany, yes, I don’t know you, except if I do) but he sat in that little corner in my head and spoke to me in a friendly way, and so I decided that he’s alright. You know? Yet for all I know he could be a wife beater in real life. I could be connecting on a personal level (’cause you know reading is very personal, and I was very sick and vulnerable) with a wife beater. Just a thought that popped in my head that I thought to share with you.

… and reader, I am not a wife beater. Feel free to connect with me on a personal level.


Right now I am:

Listening to my youngest cough in her sleep. It breaks my heart every time I hear it.

Praying Grabby’s  “pink eye” doesn’t spread to the rest of the household but especially Mei. She’s terrified of eye drops.

Dreaming about pumpkin pies and giant birds with their big edible organs. (Heart and liver)

Contemplating shutting down this website, it’s becoming more and more challenging to write about my self and my family.

Scratching my noggin in hope of some memory stimulation of where I could’ve possibly put my DSLR’s charger.

Waiting for my exam results. It’s a long wait (8 weeks!), thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers, they were definitely felt.

Enjoying a very generous gift from the-best-gift-giver-ever. Thank You!

Grateful for not having to wait a year to purchase necessities on a Black Friday. Probably most people just go to grab steals but I’m pretty sure there are some of the others too. Alhamdulilah.

Praying for the impoverished.

Feeling confused, sad and sometimes really really angry about the middle east. God protect and have mercy on your people.

Trying  hard to remember how angry I was at Hamas and their stupid attacks three weeks ago against the murder of innocent civilians, yet finding it very hard to remember after the flattening of the highly populated Gaza strip.

Thinking this is how Radicals are born.

Missing my mom.


I have no title in mind so I’ll just type this: Vote!

I have a confession to make. I am kind of scared… of winter. It’s coming you know. I know that because all our maple trees and the other trees I cannot name stand tall and bare, we also wake up to a white dusting of frost covering our grass, oh that and the daylight saving hours–sundown is at 4:44 pm– Pretty solid affirmations of the season to come. Also November kindda gives it away don’t you think?

The good news is I am excited about spending longer hours in the kitchen again, I have high hopes. I borrowed this book from the library to get excited about kitchen affairs again. I’ve been burned out for sometime. Homemade granola, bread, and pies remember me? Homemade crackers, sauerkraut, and pasta here I come (didn’t I mention my high hopes?) Also, here’s one more reason to get excited about kitchen affairs (listen up family, and lurking readers wherever you may be) my dear Egyptian friend Yasmine just started her own food blog (awesome blog name right? ‘mumkin’ translates to ‘maybe’). Just to give you a back story about my friend, she hails from the same neighborhood in Cairo as your humble slave, she is the one who suggested that I meet her husband’s roommate– who happens to currently be my dah-ling husband. So yeah, we’re pretty tight despite the distance. She currently resides in the west coast with her wonderful family.

Yasmine was once known to use tomato paste for american recipes calling for salsa (the word salsa means tomato paste in Arabic, you get the confusion right?)She’s come a long way since, one thing you should know about Yasmine before you commit to her blog. She’s a perfectionist, if she gets into something she’ll research it until her eyes pop out. She’s recently (well not so recently, has it been almost a year now?) joined the cross fit band and adopted their healthy eating habits (a trick for flour devouring ol’ moi) the Paleo diet. What gives me hope is she has a sweet tooth and three males in her life who are known to devour anything edible that comes their way. The girl manages to make paleo friendly cakes, cupcakes, granola, and desserts, how about that? If you’re still not impressed then you’ve probably wasted precious time over here, hop over there and see for yourself.


In other news I have my oral exam tomorrow, so all prayers, thoughts, energy (whatever you have I’ll take it) are much appreciated!

I announced on FB (because that’s what people do on Facebook) that the current challenge facing me in my new job is meeting all these people I am interpreting for. I mentioned that it’s a challenge because I’m an introvert, which was received by shocked responses from some of my closest friends. I guess I do a good job hiding it. Also, I’m not sure some of my friends understand introversion very well. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy people, I really do, and I like crowded places, and sometimes I’ll go to the farmer’s market just to get shoved by people, I mean I did grow up in Egypt. But it’s a lot of work for me, it consumes all of me to do so, and I need to just be alone for some time to recharge and then I’m good to go. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’re one of us. Watch this, it might help. Also introverts are awesome!


We carved our pumpkins the day after halloween, and guess what? they’re just as fun and they didn’t protest at all. We possibly have the friendliest jack o lanterns in the neighborhood. I think it gives away the presence of little girls in our household.

One of our night time routines are bargaining about the number of books to be read for bedtime. Tonight Grabby pushed this pile all the way from her bedroom, we settled on three: This, this and this. It’s very hard to say no to books, but someone’s gotta do it, or we’ll be up all night. If Mei is not super tired, she’ll linger in her bunk with a flashlight and a book.

And with that I wish you a good night filled with good reads.


A witch and her cat

We don’t do trick or treating because we don’t. There is some debate about celebrating Halloween, and we try to avoid debates if possible. Instead we figured a way to avoid breaking our daughter’s hearts with all the fuss that is Halloween (who doesn’t like spookiness, dressing up AND CANDY… c’mon?) So to be courteous to our cute wee neighbors and avoid having our girls view religion as an oppressive force, we resolved to dressing in costume while greeting the trick or treaters with candy. I say a pretty good compromise, and it eliminates the extra sugar from the equation. A win win really!

Mei went to school dressed as (according to her) a “demon fairy” in a red tutu covered in skulls, with a skull wand, and skull wrist bands. When she came home she wanted to dress up like The Green Wicked Witch of The West from The Wizard of Oz “Grabby, you can be my cat!” in which she received an excited “Meow!”

It was a crazy fun day, and the girls got to eat some candy from the leftovers.



Grabby has always been independent. She likes to feed herself, zip her own coats, buckle her own car seat (if she could) and if she could get away with it, cook her own meals. They would probably entail lots of chocolate and crackers. Grabby is not a talker unless she’s in the mood, and if she’s in the mood then you’d better fasten your seat belt ’cause you’ll be in for a long bumpy ride. The bumpiness comes from concentrating really hard, she tends to gobble up a few letters–which make her story telling skills highly entertaining and giggle inducing. She’ll get frustrated with you though if you have her repeat a word that your untrained ears have missed several times “I’ve said it already!”. She uses perfect sentence structure if you can decipher her sentences.

The girl wants what she wants. She’s known to shed a few tears when the respond to her requests are not met with “fine”. Because this is the expected reply that she awaits usually from her mama. It’s been tricky to refuse those big brown pleading eyes of hers, and even trickier to not feel your heart leap with her up and down leaps when you agree. This mama has been less generous with her “fines” these days. Which is insanely heart breaking but hopefully rewarding at the end of the road. Oh Grabby what are we going to do with you?  

Sarah the rainbow fairy has been Grabby’s alter ego for some time now. With her never ending obsession she has managed to acquire several fairy costumes, a few wings–which she prefers wearing two at a time– and recently about a dozen wands. Wands are a super important fairy accessory!

Grabby’s favorite animal is a panda, her favorite color is still yellow (all praise to the Lord) and her favorite number is four. Incidentally she just turned four a day ago (which you probably already know from my previous posts) and a feisty one at that.

Did you ever witness Grabby dance?  

Grabby’s best moments in life I’m pretty sure are spent dancing. She LOVES music, and she knows how to dance to the beat. She hops, jumps, runs, flutters, twirls, spins… you name it she does it but add to that an ear to ear smile and giggles. When this girl dances, I’m quite sure the world gets a little better. Her energy is capable of it I’m sure.

Happy Birthday Love,


Special Request

Grabby turns Four tomorrow but we had the celebration today, which is a good thing ’cause I don’t think she could’ve taken another day of anticipation. She almost had a nervous breakdown from the excitement. While waiting for her party and sitting down for lunch, she requested the song below (our family’s current favorite).

I took a few pictures with my fancy camera, but they need to be uploaded and edited. So instead you get to watch our favorite song, come later for random photos from our week long festivities. How about that?

If you’re in an area that is preparing for Sandy know that you’re in our thoughts.