May 24, 2005

How to make Origami Lucky Stars

Origami Lucky stars are fun to make and really beautiful. It might look kind of hard, but after a few tries, they are easy. You can get the paper at any of those Asian stationary stores at the mall. A simple Google search will show you what they look like packaged. The result is 3 dimensional paper stars that you can put in a decorative jar or bottle for a gift or to decorate your place.

You start with a strip of origami star paper. You can find packages of these in Asian stationary stores that sell Sanrio products and the like.Origami Lucky stars are fun to make and really beautiful. It might look kind of hard, but after a few tries, they are easy. You can get the paper at any of those Asian stationary stores at the mall. A simple Google search will show you what they look like packaged. The result is 3 dimensional paper stars that you can put in a decorative jar or bottle for a gift or to decorate your place.



Make a perfect knot on one end of the strip, creating a pentagon shape.

Keep folding/wrapping the strip around the pentagon knot. The key is NOT to crease your folds. This is how the star ends up puffy-looking.


There will be a length of the strip leftover that you tuck into the folds.


Pinch the corners of the pentagon gently to make the star shape.


One finished "Lucky Star".


Here are the finished stars. They come in pastel, shiny foil finish, glow in the dark, and even transparent colored cellophane strips.


You can display them in jars.They make a thoughtful handmade, decorative gift. Here are 2 small ones jars of stars. They look a lot better in a bigger jar, with say, a ribbon tied on. Have fun!

May 23, 2005

A few of my favorite things (ie., addictions)

Now, I like snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes as much as the next girl, but they're pretty hard to come by here. I'm a simple girl. The little things make me oh so happy. I can't get enough:

  • Magazines. I will read anything printed on glossy paper.
  • Mechanical pencils. Always sharp, and nerdy, in a good way.
  • Lip Balms. It's an addiction, really.
  • Iced tea. A can of Lipton here is freaking LE, so I brew it. Sometimes with mint, sometimes without. Always with plenty of sugar.
  • Nescafe. It's Egypt's excuse for coffee, for those of us without a coffee maker. (most people here I think) It's the instant stuff, but it's my sweet elixer of life that gets my day going.
  • Chocolate. Need I say more?
  • Makeup/Skincare stuff- I'm a sucker for the next new product, although living here has weaned me off that habit, somewhat.
  • Notebooks. I am a list-aholic (why, I'm making one now!). I love me a new "Mead Fat Lil Notebook"
  • Hello Kitty stuff. That little cat is so darn cute, I like to cover said notebooks with Hello Kitty stickers!
Wow, I guess that's a pretty long list there. Mostly harmless, good clean fun!

May 19, 2005


MashaAllah! Tiger's are my favorite animal!
Shinta, a Bengal tiger, sits with her one-week old cub inside a cage at the Taman Safari Park in Cisarua, Bogor, West Java on May 3, 2005.


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May 17, 2005

Housework

Let's talk a bit about Housework. I have, over the years, come to appreciate certain tasks, while others remain on my hate list.

In the states, when we had wall to wall carpeting, I loved to vacuum. It's that save the best for last job that is almost magically easy, with the gratifying sound of debris being sucked up. Not to mention the satisfaction of dumping the evidence from the canister.

Nowadays, not unlike many Egyptian homes, we have tile. Sweeping isn't much fun, but mopping with bleach water afterwards is pleasing. Note that I do this after the kids' bedtime in order to take pleasure in a few hours of clean, crumb free floors. Same goes for the bathroom. Picking up toys, laundry, and other general tidying up is done throughout the day.

The one job I really find insufferable? Dishes. Washing dishes. It's the worst. I'd rather scrub the toilet. It doesn't help when your sink faces a wall and the kitchen window cannot be opened due to neighbors being RIGHT THERE. I always say I'll wash stuff as I go, throughout the day. That seems like the smart thing to do. Nothing is stuck on and the sink isn't laden with a day's worth heap of cups, plates, flatware, pots, pans, bottles etc. Unfortunately, I usually end up letting them pile up.

Dishwashers here are quite expensive and small, so we're talking hand washing dishes here for those of you spoiled by a Whirlpool. (I can't believe I used to complain about washing dishes at my parent’s house when there was a dishwasher!)

Whoever said that trying to keep a clean and orderly home while bringing up kids is like trying to shovel snow during a snowstorm was right. It never ends, but I have them help. Their room is almost always in disarray. I tell them, if you contributed to the mess, and then contribute to the clean up. Doesn't always work but although they whine and try to get out of it, they realize that it's not my job to constantly pick up after them.


Sometime I set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes and the kid's and I go crazy, tidying up, etc, until the timer goes off. It always surprises me how much gets done. Most of the time I keep going, having gotten into a cleaning groove.

Procrastination is really the enemy here. It's always the getting started part that's the hardest. Once begun, cleaning jobs are rewarding and even fun sometimes.

Hmm, my keyboard needs a good cleaning; I suppose that requires shutting the computer off!

May 13, 2005

Exam time

Yeah, the amount of pressure or the "big deal factor", if you will, of final exams is insane. Seriously, Dawood has final exams in a couple of weeks and they are doing final review from now. This is 1st grade folks. The exams are over a course of 4 days. We get an exam schedule. They note the date, subject, and time and allotted exam time for each test. Hour and hour and a half Exams for 7 year olds! It's not just me right? This is kind of intense no?

Part of me wants to just take it easy and let the kid be a kid. But I can't completely do that. There is just this atmosphere of exams stress that I used to associate with..um..College? Yeah, just relax and don't spend hours studying with him and testing him. That just won't do. The fact is that to make it at least average here you have to submit to this. You have to expect him to come in the top ten of his class (Yes, they rank them)

Thankfully Zayneb had her last day of school yesterday, after just 3 days of exams! KG1!! We have to go pick up her report card in a week, you know, 'cause her whole future depends on this, right?

May 7, 2005


Salwa Posted by Hello

ButterBall


ButterBall Posted by Hello

Also Known As: Safiyah Posted by Hello

May 6, 2005

Just a little vent on litterbugs

I hate litterbugs! Why can't people just throw their trash in a trash can?

Oh! There isn't one around? Not an excuse to just throw it on the street! You keep it, (stay with me now I realize this is complex) until there IS a trash can around! What a novel idea! The street is not a trash can. A planter, although it might confuse you, being so similar and all, is NOT a garbage can. You can always tell the difference because there's a PLANT in this thing! The circle in the sidewalk in which there is a tree growing from...Also not for rubbish. Again, the tree should tip you off.

People just open up a pack of chips or whatnot and without a care, release the wrapper on to the ground. Not even trying to pretend they dropped it! (not that that's excusable, but the sheer audacity!) I have witnessed a man unwrap an ice cream cone in the super market for his whining daughter and just throw the sticky ice cream wrapper on the FLOOR! Right there in the Carrefour!! This is besides the fact that he is probably not going to pay for it. (How could he?)

Do they do this in their homes? I doubt it. This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves!

May 4, 2005

Attacks in Cairo

The recent terrorist attacks have just really made me angry. The ignorance of the people carrying out the bombing and shooting is just unbelievable. It really saddens me to know that this crap is going on again here.

The idiot who bombed/jumped off of a bridge, does he think Allah will reward him? The two morons that opened fire on a bus, could they really be under the impression that their actions could secure them a place in paradise? Who by the way were niquab (face veil) wearing women. Yea, way to dispel the fear that there's a bazooka under there.

We KNOW murder is haram (forbidden) as is suicide. I just cannot fathom the thought process here. I realize that it's a really complex issue, but it's just basic Islamic knowledge: Killing-bad.

April 28, 2005

Sleep

I haven’t blogged in a while, not much going on. I'm still on the "diet" and it's surprisingly easier than I thought. Of course I have moments of weakness, but 95% of the time I'm able to step away from the chocolate.

The kid's have a few days off school for Easter, so it’s nice to be able to sleep in a bit. I hate alarm clocks. I swear, EVERY DAY, when the alarm rings, I'm always like "huh...what the?...what's that noise?" (In my head, I don't actually say that) I never hear it and think "oh, the alarm."

I guess I'm kind of a deep sleeper. It has its good points and bad. The good thing is I can sleep through the neighbors fighting, and the loud music outside. The bad, on the other hand has gotten better over the years with the responsibility of hungry children and what not. Years ago when I lived in my parent's house my brother woke me up from a mid afternoon nap because, apparently he broke his finger playing basket ball. Me, half asleep brushed off his swollen blue digit and rolled over. I still feel so bad about that. (Don't worry my mom came home and he went to the hospital) I'm surprised he forgave me for that. His sleep is a whole other level of deep. Comatose deep. We have a little habit of calling him Arabic for corpse. But again, when there's something to be done he is up and Adam. (What does that figure of speech mean anyway?) (edited in '08 to add that I realize now that the phrase is "Up and at'em, duh)

Even when I feel there aren’t enough hours in the day, sweet slumber usually takes priority. When I'm really tired I fall asleep within a minute of hitting the pillow, and if at some point during the night I regain partial consciousness only to change positions, I revel in how delicious this sleep is. Sleep is, in fact a blessing from Allah, so Alhamdullilah.



April 23, 2005

Go Me!

So I am actually sticking to a diet, almost a week now. I don't really like the word "diet". To me it implies that it's temporary, and I really don't want to go back to the "all you can eat" mentality. I don't have a scale, so I can't really tell how I'm doing until it's actually visually noticeable, InshaAllah.

I have cut out sweets, other than the sugar in my coffee or tea. I'm not snacking at all. I have a big breakfast, a light lunch and dinner and don't eat at night anymore. That was a huge problem for me. I already feel better even if just mentally. We'll see how it goes, but I feel good about this and resisting the sweets/snacks/carbs (somewhat) is getting easier each day.

Now to implement some kind of exercise...

You Can Not Resist

Yesterday we went to the beach with some friends. My kids were meant to play on the sand but ended up halfway into the water anyway. It was very nice. The water looked so inviting.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Zayneb chillin in the sand


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D & Z wading, stepping on dead jelly fish


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Salwa kept going back in to wash off the sand, then sat in the sand again


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Insert witty caption here


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April 17, 2005

April 16, 2005

Braille

My friend brought me some very nice night cream from Poland, I love it.

I can't understand anything on the label, as it's in Polish, but included was some info in Braille. Dawood was absolutely fascinated by this. He sat with his eyes closed moving his finger over it, as if somehow it would just come to him.

April 10, 2005


 Posted by Hello

Is this normal?

Should this bother me? I'm not used this, In the US, men usually don't go gaga over a cute baby or little girl. Here It's constant. Whenever men pass by Zayneb while she is waiting for the bus, or out anywhere, they have to say "Ezayak ya gameel" (How are you, beautiful) or something like that. Most even touch her face or hair. She is just a 5 year old, so it doesn't phase her, she likes the attention. Me, on the other hand, while watching her, waiting for the bus, I just fume! I want to yell "GET AWAY FROM MY LITTLE GIRL YOU CREEPY WEIRDO MAN!" But I don't.

Part of me says, that this is just normal here, but it still REALLY bothers me. What do you think?

SafSaf Posted by Hello

The Safiyah Update

Safiyah is 6 months old today. It flew by! She now rolls over to her stomach and back, in one direction. She's on the move! She eats rice cereal and had a mashed up banana the other day. Loved it! She also gnaws on a hard toast like biscuit but I'll only give it to her if I am watching her. It's hilarious to see her smacking her gums, in awe this new way to eat. She is, mashaAllah, a happy, content baby. Safiyah does this cute thing when her dad smiles at her, she will smile and then look away, all shy like! We love it! She loves watching her sisters and brother playing and often laughs out loud when they run about, and laugh themselves. She has a great little giggle and a hearty, can't catch her breath all out laugh. She uses them appropriately, depending on what's going on and her mood. She also says funny stuff like dadadadadada and lalalalalala. So articulate, this one. I love you Safiyah!

Zayneboo Posted by Hello

A shout out to Z to the A to the YNEB.

Zayneb is wonderful. For over a month now she has been talking about a "hafla" or recital her class was having. It was today, they memorized songs for it and were to perform on stage. They required us to get a pink dress, white tights and white shoes. Ok, we figured we can find a simple summer dress she can use again. Then we got the invite, it was 5le each, which was ok, but written on it was: No children and no photography.

UGH, What?? What is the point. She wanted Dawood and Salwa to see her. We wanted to video tape her and take pictures to share with grandparents and such. When we talked to her about it, she simply said. Ok, I'll just be absent. (Although the recital was in the evening, she though of it as school) I knew how much this meant to her, but being the selfless, kind child that she is, she immediately, and without hesitation, opted out. She said she wanted us all to be there, so it wasn't going to work out. "Next time" she said, giving us hugs. MashaAllah. Zayneb, you rock!

Sickiepoo

I have been feeling crappy, 'cause I have strep throat. It sucks. My right tonsil is swollen, painful and I can barely eat. Can one elect to have their tonsils taken out? Surely the pain of this simple surgery can't be worse than chronic strep throat. Plus I hear there is ice cream involved.

I cleaned out my closet today. By the way, closets here are not like, in the US, not little rooms in the wall. No, they are furniture, like a big cabinet. I don't know the word. Anyway I cleaned ours out today. Took out all the winter stuff, stuff we never use that takes up space, folded everything back in and now the doors actually close. It is a pretty sight. Now to tackle the kids' closet. It used to lock. This was great because it prevented Salwa from constantly taking everything out, and changing clothes, again and again. The key broke though. Now, I strategically wedge a piece of clothing in the door so she can't open it easily. She will out-smart me on that pretty soon, no doubt.

March 30, 2005

Adventures in Shopping....

with 4 kids. I doubt I will be doing that again very soon.

Ok so on a trip to Carrefour, which by the way is the biggest, best superstore in Egypt, I had a little situation. E was elsewhere and I thought It would be nice to do some shopping and I wanted the kids with me so they could choose stuff. All good right? Before we left I made sure no one drank too much and they all used the bathroom. When we got to the mall,(45 mins later) I asked if anyone had to go before we went into the store. Nope! Ok so we're shopping, we get some stuff, our carts getting filled up, having fun...Then Dawood all of a sudden, starts doing a little dance and says he has to go to the bathroom. I didn't plan on that one. What could I do. I'm like, can it wait? (when it obviously can't) He said, no. Then Zayneb's like I wanna go too. Now mind you. Dawood is not yet 7 and the store/mall was really crowded and It was impossible to consider sending him alone. The bathroom is outside of the store in the mall, quiet far away. One lady overheard and offered to take them to the bathroom and comeback. I thought that was weird and while she seemed like a normal person, I wasn't having it. SO, I parked my shopping cart by the entrance, LUGGED the carseat/carrier/Safiyah, threw my massive diaperbag/purse/messenger bag over my shoulder, held Salwas hand, made Dawood and Zayneb hold hands and walk in front of me, and weaved my way through the huge Mother's day crowd. (it's in March here?) to the restrooms, all the while trying not to lose the kids. It was an ordeal, but looking back, I don't know why I freaked out.

Speaking of public bathrooms, I still take Dawood with me to the ladies room and I don't know how long that will go on. I'm scared to let him go in the men's alone, but I think the other women might not like him in there much longer. What to do?

Anyway, next time I go shopping with the 4 in tow, I will have someone else with me. Or put diapers on 'em all!

What A Pity

Ok, If you are an Arab, you probably know who Ahmed Zaki is, and you probably know that he passed away a few days ago, Allahyerhamo (may god have mercy on him). He was an Egyptian actor, probably the best.

Anyway, They televised his ganaza, or funeral. It really made me sad. Not because he died. We are all gonna die and he was a man just like any other. What made me sad was the way the public mourners were acting. A ganaza is a solemn, serious event. MANY people were behaving as if they were attending a soccer match! It was ridiculous. People were Yelling and screaming and cheering his name DURING THE ATHAN AND PRAYERS OF GANAZA AND ZDUHR! (funeral/noon prayers) They were pushing and shoving to get close and try to touch his casket and go into the burial area!! That really angered me. It was pathetic. Anyone else see this? It was really disappointing as an Egyptian.

Back to Life... Back to reality...

But its a good thing. I missed my daily routines. Home is where the heart is, where you hang your hat (or hijab) and all that great stuff.

A few things I wanted to comment on about the town my inlaws live in. It's called Damanhour, its about an hour from Alexandria. It's pretty nice, and stuff is way cheaper than here. Get this: High speed internet connection in your home...40LE a month! That's like $6US! An hour of dial up here costs 1.50LE so you can do the math. The town is really quaint and not too rural or too city like. One thing I love is watching people from the balacona or balcony. Everyday people put out their blankets, comforters and pillows out to sun and air out. They beat their rugs that way too. Not too pleasant if your below them though. Also, there's this really cool thing people have in Egyptian balconies. A sabat or basket is a wicker or plastic basket on a rope that you lower to the street to buy stuff! It's awesome! The kids LOVED this because we could buy cotton candy from the horn blowing, balloon selling cotton candy guy that came by everyday at 2:30 this way without running downstairs. You can buy produce, newspaper and other stuff this way from these moving street vendors. Is that cool or what?? I'm really asking.

Balconies do freak me out though. Little kids want to peer over and its REALLY scary. Thankfully I don't have one in my apartment but if I ever do, which is more than likely since most apartments have them here, I will put a lock on the door up high. Call me paranoid but the thought of a kid peering just a little to far gives me nightmares.

March 29, 2005

Internet...How I have missed you.

It's good to be home! I have been at my inlaws for the past 11 days, in case anyone noticed I was gone! I have much to blog about but we just got back this morning and I'm just sorting things out, deleting junk e-mails, unpacking and all that fun stuff. Later!

March 13, 2005

Warning:This label causes great laughter


This is from a package of rulers and pencil that came free in a cereal box. The Warning is too funny. This picture is really blurry, but it says:


  • This product was easy to burning, aloof the high temperature, please.because maybe beget any danger and the product's definition distort.
  • The product have some keenness part, so need to prevent bruise.
  • The product only befit measure and study, unable to do other definition's mensure.
  • Needed the paterfamilias accompany. if the children haven't 3 years.
HA! WHY even have a warning if you cannot even understand it?
If you're like me and find this type of stuff hilarious, check out engrish.com.

Aloof the high temperature. PLEASE!!!!
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March 11, 2005

Same old, Same old....

Just blogging to say What's up. Nothing new here. I just wanted to post and say Salams. InshaAllah you are all well.

March 9, 2005


Dawood, after many silly faces settled on posing with the KFC menu. Posted by Hello

Zayneb, It was kinda hot yesterday, that's why she's a bit sweaty. Posted by Hello

Here is Salwa 3 yrs now, this was taken yesterday. Posted by Hello

March 6, 2005


A typical day at our house. Zayneb and her fake smile, Salwa's napping on the couch, and Safiyah in the carrier. Dawood was still at school. Posted by Hello

March 5, 2005

By the way....

I didn't mean for the last post to sound snotty, to those who ask me that, or whatever. I just don't feel comfortable taking more credit than I deserve. Like when someone says, "How do you handle them all" or "You must have no time to yourself", I don't know what to say, you know? Not to say that it isn't hard, because it IS hard. Very hard sometimes, but it's not REALLY hard on a daily basis. Just wanted to clarify. As you were.

It's Under Control, InshaAllah

Ok, so I have 4 kids ages 5 months through 6 1/2, alhamdullilah. I am constantly being asked "How do you do it?" Really, it's not that hard.

Somehow there are enough hours in the day to tend to the children, fix breakfast, pack lunches, cook dinner, bake desserts, nurse/feed the baby, oversee homework, change diapers, wipe butts, iron clothes, wash dishes, general cleaning, do laundry, play with kids, spend time with husband, keep in touch with friends and family, and news and deen on the internet, watch some TV, and sleep (well some sleep).

The thing is, I enjoy most of those things. (I like having a clean apt. and clean clothes, but the actual task is not one that I particularly LIKE to do) Most of the time I am not running around like a chicken without it's head. It's a pleasure and a blessing to have the responsibility of caring for my family. Besides the rewards are far greater than the effort.

Yesterday the kids and I went to a lovely birthday party at a friend's house and it was great. The kids were great. Not one fight over a toy, not one whine, not one bathroom accident, not even any spilled food/spoiled clothes. It was wonderful to just enjoy myself, converse, and meet new people. Alhamdullilah. I made a point to praise them for their good behavior, 'cause you know I call them on the bad behavior. I could see they were proud of themselves, and that was a good feeling.



March 2, 2005


All together now..."AAAWW" Posted by Hello

LYLAS (Love ya like a sister)

I just have to say a shout out to D, my bestest friend in the universe, EVER. You know who you are. I got to talk to her, last night after many months of Yahoo messenger tag. This made me think of all kinds of crazy, funny, silly stuff we used to do. Reminiscing about our BFF antics at around ages 12 through 19, I found my self laughing out loud. (Truly LOL, I mean how many times do people type LOL and they are not actually laughing out loud? People should just write: "I find that mildly amusing") We were SO cool, and it feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time. Good times.

March 1, 2005

"More quotations than you can shake a stick at!"

We have this new satellite channel here, mbc4, (not to be confused with mbc1 Arabic , mbc 2 English movies, also awesome and mbc 3 cartoons) and Its wonderful. Full of wonder.

Well for here, it is. They have ABC, and CBS news (not that it's great, but interesting to watch) and "Good Morning America" (in the afternoon), "Oprah"(ain't she looking great?), "Law and Order", "WHEEL....OF....FORTUNE!", and "Jeopardy"! All I need now is "The Price is Right", and it would be perfect! (A NEW CAR!!!) Then again the game, being about prices in the US, would be kind of irrelevant.
(mbc4 has a domain but it's not up yet)

Other cool shows are "Seinfeld", "Friends", "Third Rock", "Monk", and "20/20". They also do show some dumb stuff too like "Joe Millionaire" (foolish girls), " I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here", Days of our Lives", "Angel", "Buffy", "X-Files" (sorry cult-followings, just my opinion).

The other good channel is Onetv. They show cool programs like "The Amazing Race", "Survivor", (old seasons, still new to me) "Gilmore Girls", (YAY!),"Extreme Make-over" (yikes), "CSI", "Alias", "Punk'd", "Blues Clues", and "Pinky and the Brain", in ENGLISH!! Some other channels show it dubbed in Arabic, but its just not the same!


EXTREME CLOSE UP Posted by Hello

February 28, 2005

Oscar Madness

The Oscars were on here, live, in the middle of the night. So I did what any normal, rational person would do. I set my alarm to 3 am so I could wake up and push record. (No timer) I woke up again later, to get Dawood up and ready and I caught the last few awards.

Someone told me that some of the Oscars were awarded in the audience?? What the? How lame. The whole exitement of the moment of winning an Oscar is to go UP THERE! BLAH!

I havn't seen any of these movies, so what do I know, but I was glad Jamie Foxx won. I still picture him as "Wanda" from "In Living Color", ("I'm ret to go!") Hee!

I thought the stage set was ugly this year, but there were lotsa purdy dresses.

I'll post more about this once I actually WATCH the show.

February 25, 2005



Last night I made Banana Cake . (Shut up. Bananas are healthy)
Everyone loved it.

NO more mushy, over ripe bananas on the counter! Goodbye fruit flies!
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