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Finally…

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.

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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!

Peace.

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.

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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!

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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.

Peace.

Bulk Festivities!

I’ve been having busy weeks these weeks. I started a contract interpreting job and I’m studying for a second try at an oral interpreting exam that I need to pass before the end of this year. My first born turned six lunar years today– How I know this? She was born the day before Eid Al Adha also known as Yaom ‘Arafa (the day of ‘Arafa). “If you had a son you would traditionally name him ‘Arafa” I had a baby girl lying next to me. I was exhausted, wanted to sleep and eat Fattah. I received a platter of fattah the next evening from two Egyptian friends. My baby suckled milk made from that same meal eight hours later. My second and youngest born turns four “sun years” this Monday, she’s been anticipating her party since October’s arrival. Time is a tricky business at this young age, she’s been VERY patient!

Tomorrow if you haven’t guessed it from the previous paragraph is Eid Al Adha (the one where we traditionally sacrifice a sheep, yet any animal that is permissible to eat would suffice) there are a number of festivities that somehow crept up on us without us being fully prepared.

We wish you all blessed Eid days, fall days, birth days, and spooky days.

I’ll be hopefully coming tomorrow to show off our traditional Eid getup.

Peace.

Fall links

I catch myself smiling while driving the girls to school every morning. The magnificent season is what fall should be called. My mother once told me that she would’ve probably become an artist if she was raised amongst such beauty. She was only talking about Canada Spring. “You need To come and see Fall in the midwest” is what I always tell her.

On with the links:

This made me happy this morning.

Did you watch this show yet. It’s really well made and very informative, ( not for young eyes.)

This song has been stuck in head for a while now. Love it.

Nathan Fillion is prepared for the zombie apocalipse. Are you?

“Don’t you feel like you’ve–For lack of a better word and bordering on sounding cheesy– summoned the inner warrior during your work out?” “I feel terrible during the work out, did you see my face?” My gym instructor was noticing my increased strength at class today. Also, I managed to lift the kettle ball without bruising my wrist, says something right there! This video is at the gym I go to. Tough tough tough! This guy would be handy when the zombie apocalypse hits.

Warrior.

I’ve been making different sides for our meals lately. I made grits tonight, I’ve also been making bulgar, lentils, and wild rice. I might pick up baking bread again now that the weather has cooled off enough to make my toes complain. What sides are you into these days? I ‘m always looking for inspiration.

I used to add a lot of bands and thing to my headscarf before marriage and motherhood. I’m thinking of re-adopting my funk after spotting this. We’ll see if I have any patience left in me.

That’s it!

Peace.

 

Random Links

I’m starting with this one because it’s the most link worth your time. Really! If you’re a non-Muslim and would like to listen to a true man speak about Islam’s true stance regarding women’s rights, you should consider clicking on this link. If you’re a Muslim, I feel like this is a must watch.

Did you catch this? Apparently google earth can find lost pyramids too. Well not quite, but it’s also true.

Doppelganger is a fun word to say. Here’s a reason for you to say it. Also, this is insanely funny.

Epic escape!

How cute are these?

Massaged kale salad has been a staple at our house, in case you missed the earlier link, here it is again!

Kata’if, a middle eastern traditional Ramadan dessert. I remembered to take a picture too late.

This one is insanely good and super simple, a true taste of summer.

The last ten days are upon us, in these last days of the month it’s recommended to make this supplication:

Allahumma Innaka ‘afuwun Kareemun tuhibu al ‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni

اللْهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’

Peace.

Ramadan Links!

photo from our drive to higher grounds to try and spot the new moon of Ramadan. We failed–it was cloudy.

Did you know that Muslims in Norway break fast at 10:03pm and stop eating at 2:40 am, they have less than five hours for eating and drinking. Their ‘isha (night prayer) is at 11:54pm–those are some serious taraweeh prayers they’re doing over there. The moral of the story is: arentcha glad you don’t live in Norway?

I couldn’t help but think if I had this little time for sustenance and imagined that I also worked forty hours/week during (which I don’t). I thought definitely squeeze in a couple of the green smoothies that my girl and I have been enjoying on a daily basis, and possibly throw in a protein powder to jazz things up. Here’s what I put in the smoothie: A handful of mixed greens (kale, arugula, spinach, chard), a handful of blueberries, three strawberries, a banana, one table spoon peanut butter, a squeeze of raw honey, a squeeze of organic chocolate syrup, and one cup of almond milk plus 4 ice cubes. Mix them up in a powerful blender, and enjoy with the your adventurous kid that is willing to try things. You can stick out your tongue to the other fussy one (’cause what else can you do?)

Apparently there’s a new wave of our Arab youth that is experimenting with new ideologies in the aftermath of the Arab spring and the wake of free speech and social media websites that promote and help the exchange of new ideas. Socialism, anarchy, atheism to mention a few. These are all reactions to years of oppression and suppression of  logical questions that were considered a taboo to even think about. A reasonable well learned religious speaker is doing an impressive effort to try and bridge the gap between the old ways of thinking and addressing real questions and the new way of accepting and understanding the need to question and where our belief system stands with these questions. ‘Even the angels asked questions’ was one of the many examples he mentions to promote that questioning is natural and should be done. The show is mainly a crash course in Islamic creed, done in a way that is understandable to anyone and everyone. If you speak Arabic I highly recommend it. This link is to episode five talking about Darwin and his problem with the existence of God and the evolution theory (which is not contradictory to Islam by any means).

Lucky for you that I am communicating to you through a written medium, otherwise my high pitched excited voice might have damaged your eardrums permanently for this one. First thing’s first: If you’re a bachelor or a lazy student you are in for a treat… Whole foods now carries healthy-halal-ready-made-frozen-meals. I should’ve waited until I’ve tried the four boxes that are currently getting well acquainted with my other freezer-related articles, but I am just too EXCITED! Also, they’re getting good reviews on Facebook, then they must be good then right? Do check them out! EEEK! (if you don’t have a facebook account and can’t access the page, just google Saffron Road/Whole Foods Market)

I made this because that’s what you do when you’re fasting, you dream about the perfect dessert and you make it. Then your stomach can’t handle it. It was good… I hope you have a tougher stomach than mine.

And lastly there is this: I’ve been asked to promote this offer from Halal Consumer’s Magazine (which is an online magazine that has impressive writers and articles that I’ve previously browsed and enjoyed) You can click on the image for a bigger view.

Peace and Blessings Friends!

Hot Summer Days Links.

We had a summer house in Alexandria/Egypt when I was growing up. We spent our entire summer vacation there until I became too cool to spend summers with my parents (teenage years what do you hold in stock for me), my cousins and friends from school did the same thing. “It’s what you do” I grew up thinking. I was wrong, as is usually the case. But I still have it engrained in me that summer is not worthy of being called summer without a beach.

We currently live near very sad, toxic, pseudo beaches that are infested with algae and smell like the sewage. So when the beach bug bites, we drive out of the city. Which is not at all that bad, especially for our family–we are by now very seasoned road trippers. Thank you Canada!

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Links:

Did you know that we are currently amidst a week long of one hundred plus temperatures? We’ve also been denied rain this season. On the plus side, no bugs, but our farmers are struggling and my headscarf wearing self  is not particulary ecstatic right now. How I keep cool? Maxi dresses (want) and skirts ofcourse! Also, Willis Carrier, I thank thee! (Yes, I googled him)

Not soup weather, but this looks insanely YUM.

Cuuuuuute!

Covet!

Tom waits calls her one of the best five living musicians of our time.

Too hot to cook out for the fourth. Cook in!

GoT lovers. This one is for you. Season two spoiler alert though.

My link button freaked out and won’t let me link anything else, so that’s it folks.

Peace.