March 29, 2008

This and That

I'm drawing a blank here on blog topics, so random stuff on my mind, list form post it is!

~Everyday while waiting for the kids' bus I see this dad walking his kid to school and the kid has to keep running a bit to catch up then falls behind and runs again and falls behind..the dad never looks back. Every day.
~How cool is this?
~This just struck me as funny...When went into a flower shop to get a bouquet for my MIL , there were 3 guys , cigs hanging out of their mouths in this green house type room, with looks of such apathy on their faces.
~Dilmah tea is the superior tea!
~How do you deal with a cranky kid taking forEVER to get ready in the morning and there's no time?? Seriously, I'm asking.
~I need to do some serious spring cleaning and I'm procrastinating again. Burst of energy and motivation...where are you?
~Like my new wallet? I never bought a red wallet before...I feel so...daring!

March 24, 2008

Back...

Alhamdullilah, our trip was nice. Damanhour was good, I wandered around there and shopped for bargains on Thursday. Friday was Mother's Day here and upon walking into City Centre, in Alex, I was handed a carnation and a very nicely worded card. I was impressed.Later I got a pretty silver ring from E and the kids.

At the pyramids, the tour guides really know what they're doing. They sweep you away on this long grueling tour so you'll be so tired, you ride their over priced horse drawn carriage and you'll be so thirsty you'll buy their ridiculously priced soda. Then brown nose the whole way to ensure a hefty tip. It was fun, but our horse was really gassy, the guy kept whipping him for it! I was like 3ady!

The Zoo was like a maze, the signs don't have any relavance to the actual locations of the animals and it was 110 degrees (in MARCH) We walked a lot. The kids had fun and had their faces painted.

City Stars was sureal, It felt like a nice mall in America, as I said most of the shops were fancy, expensive places but we had lunch in the food court, (Burger King!) and Spent some time at Spinney's, which has some good deals.

Cairo.

Here are some photos from yesterday, We ended up spending the day in Cairo and visiting the Pyramids, the Giza Zoo and even got to go to City Stars, which is like only the biggest mall in Egypt. Six floors of mostly overpriced boutiques but I loved Spinney's. Cairo has lots more to do than Hurghada but it's really crowded and very polluted.

All in all a good day to end a nice weekend, Alhamdullilah.

March 18, 2008

BRB

We're going to visit the in laws for a few days,It's a long 7 hour drive but it'll be a nice change of pace, inshAllah, be back next week.

March 14, 2008

March 12, 2008

Home Made Playdough

I made some "play dough" or modeling clay that UmmLayla posted about
It was super easy and fun! I didn't have Kool Aid so I used food coloring. Kids needed to make a flower for school so I did pink and green. I'm making more colors next time.

Get this...

So Dawood brought home his Social Studies test yesterday and he lost 2 points for a particular question. It was True or False: A small family has a better life then a large family.

Dawood wrote True. Well, he got it wrong. This is is like 10 kinds of wrong. They are teaching that a family with fewer children is happier because they have more income at their disposal. This is an opinion, and they are teaching it as fact! How does that make kids like mine feel? We are a family of 6 and with 4 children we're a bit over the average around here. PLUS they are teaching that money is what makes happiness.

This isn't the first time I've noticed this. There are public service announcements about it and last year in Zayneb's math book, completely random is this:

"A small family means a better life"

What the hell?

March 9, 2008

Doll House

The kids and I have been making another doll house. We made one back in Jan05 but I think this one's better. The kids had some great ideas and we had a lot of fun making it.

This is the front. We used cellophane in the windows.

The inside, straws for curtain rods, and decor by the kiddo's.

Doll House II

The living room The "tile" is stickers. If you're familiar with Lucky Magazine they're from theose "yes, no, maybe" stickers. Clever eh? Dawood thought of that! Make shift origami chairs and Man! they have a flat screen tv!! (really flat!)
The Kitchen, toys helped and the foil fridge's supposed to be stainless steel! Ha!
The Bedroom's my favorite!, Bedspread to match the curtains, closet, real mirror Zayneb suggested , she also thought up the little "area rug" and you know I had to add the little products on the dresser!


Yea, it has no bathroom, but the doll's don't need one! I'm pretty sure it will be wrecked soon, but it was enjoyable and the kids love it!

March 6, 2008

Recipe time!



One of my favoritest things to make, an Egyptian dish, kind of a casserole, Macarona Bechamel..It's easy and comfort food.


-One bag of penne or ziti pasta, cook and drain.
-Meanwhile, dice a medium onion and saute in a tiny bit of oil and then brown 1/2 a LB of ground beef with it.
-Add one can of tomato sauce or a few table spoons of tomato paste and a little water, let it all simmer for 5-7 minutes, don't let it dry out.
-In your casserole dish (I use 9x13) brush with some butter or shortening.
-Put half the pasta on the bottom of the pan, then spread in the ground beef/sauce mixture, then layer the rest of the pasta on top.

Bechamel sauce...now they have this instant mix that I just add to the milk and wisk but here's the old school way.
3 tablespoons butter
4 heaping tablespoons flour
3 cups cold milk
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter over a low flame.
Add the flour and mix with whisk, until it becomes a yellow color.
Remove from the heat and add milk slowly while whisking.
Return to the heat and add salt and pepper to taste,
whisk constantly to prevent it from getting lumpy until it's like thick as a milkshake.

Then pour the bechamel over your casserole evenly and kinda bang it on the counter to get it in the nooks an crannies.
Bake at 350 in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes, the top should get brown, if not turn on the broiler for a minute but keep an eye on it or it'll be black.
Let it cool a bit before cutting it so it comes out in squares.

The same recipe can be used with cooked zucchini and it's really good. I hope it made sense..ask me if it doesn't?

March 3, 2008

Lovely Day

Yesterday was beautiful, warm and sunny...The kids played while I sipped cappuccino at the promenade.Here are some pictures of colorful things at the shops and the kids. Later we went to our favorite restaurant, Bulls. Yum!









March 1, 2008

Exchange student starved while in Egypt

Jonathan McCullum was in perfect health at 155 pounds when he left last summer to spend the school year as an exchange student in Egypt.
Article(click for picture and more of the story)

But when he returned home to Maine just four months later, the 5-foot-9 teenager weighed a mere 97 pounds and was so weak that he struggled to carry his baggage or climb a flight of stairs. Doctors said he was at risk for a heart attack.
McCullum says he was denied sufficient food while staying with a family of Coptic Christians, who fast for more than 200 days a year, a regimen unmatched by other Christians.

But he does not view the experience as a culture clash. Rather, he said, it reflected mean and stingy treatment by his host family, whose broken English made it difficult to communicate.

"The weight loss concerned me, but I wanted to stick out the whole year," he said in an interview at his family's home outside Augusta.......After returning to the U.S., he was hospitalized for nearly two weeks. The 17-year-old has regained about 20 pounds, but his parents say he's not the same boy he was when he left under the auspices of AFS Intercultural Programs......Jonathan McCullum's parents said the exchange program should have warned them that students placed with Coptic families would be subject to dietary restrictions.......McCullum said his host family gave him only meager amounts of food, and his condition worsened during the last seven weeks, when the family observed a fast limiting the amount of animal protein he was given.
The host family was a couple with two younger boys and a daughter who was in the U.S. on an AFS exchange. McCullum said the parents gave him the smallest food portions, hid treats in their bedroom and complained that the cost of his upkeep was more than they spent for their daughter when she was home.

The host father, Shaker Hanna, rejected McCullum's story as "a lie," suggesting that he made it up because his parents were hoping to recover some of the money they paid for his stay as compensation.

"The truth is, the boy we hosted for nearly six months was eating for an hour and a half at every meal. The amount of food he ate at each meal was equal to six people," Hanna said. He added that the boy was active, constantly exercising and playing sports.

Hanna, an engineer, said his family went out of its way to prepare special foods, including fish and chicken, for McCullum during the fast periods.

McCullum disputes that. The family served meat early in his stay, he said, but that ended during the fast period.

He said he never got breakfast and his first food of the day usually was a small piece of bread with cucumbers and cheese that he would take to school for lunch. There was a late-afternoon dinner consisting of beans, vegetables and sometimes fish, and a snack of bread later in the evening.

McCullum sometimes bought food, but at one point was reduced to stealing it from a supermarket. He was caught, but the store accepted the small amount of money he had and let him go.

Still, McCullum did not complain to his parents. His father suspects he may have fallen victim to Stockholm syndrome, in which people start to feel a sense of loyalty to those who victimize them.


So what do you think about this? I feel for the kid,really, it must have been some ordeal, but I don't understand why he didn't ask his parents for money? The host father sounds like a liar...how could he eat for 1 1/2 hours food to feed 6 people and look like that?(seriously check out the slideshow) Unless he's bulimic but that's a long shot. I'm perplexed as to what the deal is here, but he really should have said something, changed hosts, or went home...not "stuck it out". What's your take?