December 31, 2008

YUM!

The other day, I made the always yummy macarona beshamel, but with the addition of mozzarella that Ange uses, and it was SO good. Very Lasagna like.


Then I was making some plain old yellow cake and thought I'd make it special...The kids' mouths were agape! It tasted really good too, I was so proud of myself. I shared with my neighbor who's always sending over stuff. Check out the "M" silverware my mom got me.

Don't you just want a slice?
Edited to add the cake recipe:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softens (I use shortening)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C, Grease and flour baking pan(s).
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt...stir together well with a whisk
In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs, beating well after each (this helps it come out fluffy) Blend in flour mixture alternately with milk, mixing on medium all the while (this is easier if you have a stand mixer, I have a hand held one so it's a bit harder, but it's worth it) Pour into baking pan(s) and bake for around 30 mins or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Keep an eye on it, my oven temp is wonky so I could be off on the time. It also depends on the size of your baking pan(s).

To frost, Depending on where you are, you can use ready made frosting or make do with what is available like me. I use a combination of whipping cream and confectioners sugar and a few drops of food coloring to make the frosting. Then I just put sprinkles on the sides (sprinkles or chopped nuts are always a good easy way to make your cake look good cause the sides are hard to frost perfectly) and strawberry fans on top. Easy Peasy.

December 30, 2008

In the AM

This morning I forgot to put Safiyah's lunch in her bag so we went to drop it off at school and the Sister (nun) in charge of the preschool/KG section asked me twice if I was really Safiyah's mom. She said she though the kids' mom was "ajnabaya" (foreign) so I didn't look the part, whatever that annoyed me. We went to get a quick breakfast at Mcd's and had sausage Mcmuffins for the first time! In the US of course we never did but since here it's beef, and halal, we were all over it. Quite tasty and the orange juice was good too. We walked a little bit after that and I drooled at the shoes at Charles and Keith and took a few pictures...



Beggars

If you've ever been to Egypt, you know about the beggars. They follow you down the street, child in tow, or a group of children will surround you. They will come up to your car window. Statistics conducted by the National Center for Researches show that there are around two million beggars in Egypt. It's really quite a problem and they used to have a lot of sympathy from me.

Recently we were privy to quite a show. From that window above Burger King. A couple of women begging in the street here on a very busy touristy road. One had a tiny baby, probably not even hers. In no more than 2 minutes one collected over 100LE. Imagine what they make in a day. The beggars often make a very good living, more than most people make working full time jobs.

The foreigners often don't realize how much they're giving, handing over euros and large Egyptian bills. When a someone gives them money, they tag team and the other woman follows the guy, you know cause he's a giver. Silly me, when I first got here, I'd hand these women a few pounds thinking....she's poor, she can get a sandwich or something...little did I know they were probably thinking "chump change, lady"

It's a shame because a lot of handicapped people beg, because here in Egypt there is a lack of awareness and regulations to assist the disabled, but that's a whole other post.

I really don't want to generalize because there are probably some who are truly in need, but most of them are scam artists. It's really sad because you don't know who you can believe so what are we to do? They often say prayers for you and your children when begging, I pray for them in return.

December 29, 2008

December 28, 2008

OH, Baby It's Cold In Here



So it's gotten kinda cold here lately. Cold is relative, I suppose, I type this as family and friends in the US are literally freezing. Yea, the houses here are not heated nor are the insulated so it's often colder inside these stone walls than out. I use the oven a lot in the winter to warm up the place. The kids will go off to school early in the morning in sweaters and jackets, then come home with both in their backpacks. Plus we have some wind here, that will always get you. I don't want to complain too much, It's very mild in comparison to other places, and during the day the sun is warm outside. I do get relief from my fuzzy slippers and the space heater made it's debut this week.

On My Mind...

Sorry I haven't posted much lately, been feeling kinda blah and nothing to write about. The kids have mid-year exams now, (yea I know..grade school...it's too intense) Anyone who's had kids go to school or they themselves go to school in Egypt, know what I mean. The last one Dawood has will be Jan 22 so, ew. I hate nagging them to stop dillydallying and study, but it has to be done. They are always inventing new ways to waste time. Spend half an hour in the bathroom. Drink of water in slow motion. I have to sharpen my pencil...again. But it's not studying all the time..just a few hours a day. Most parents here sit at the table with the kid(s) and spoon feed them all the answers, but I want them to learn to study on their own. I'll test them and answer questions, sure, but none of that drill it into their brains stuff. Anyway after all the exams are done, we'll have a break till Feb 14, so that will be good.

I'm so over cooking these days. Every day that same old question....What to make for dinner? I really am tired of it. I need some inspiration. I think I'll turn on Fatafeat, the middle east's version of The Food Network.

Finally, my heart is heavy after waking up to the news about what is going on in Palestine. What can I say that hasn't already been said? May Allah end the occupation and free Palestine.

December 25, 2008

Desktop Backgrounds

I'm always curious as to what people use as their desktop background. I switch mine up every few days, and I always unclick "view desktop icons" so I don't have to look at all those all the time. Right now it's this:

So beautiful...right now he looks like he's staring at my Yahoo Messenger saying "Look who's on..."

These are some of the ones I use a lot ...

My orange roses I used in the blog header.

They're in LOVE!

Pretty.

So cute.

Consider this a tag if you wish...Post your desktop background.

December 24, 2008

Yay!

I met a fellow blogger today! UmmTravis of Tea Break Thoughts is in town for a few days and we met for a while this morning! E was kind enough to stay with the three older kids and I brought Safiyah along. She was very good alhamdullilah. Umm Travis is very sweet and great to talk to. We went to Cinnabon and me not being so coffee savvy, I ordered some bitter little cup of coffee when I thought a Machiato was a taller coffe with milk...anyway, I still drank it and I'm feeling the caffine now! We talked about life here compared to North America and it was great to talk to somone who understands both sides. It was great meeting you UmmTravis!

December 21, 2008

Look What I Have


Hey so the net is bearable this morning...maybe most people are sleeping. Anyway E found Snapple at the supermarket! Kiwi Strawberry was one of my faves, along with Mint Tea. It tastes so familiar and refreshing. I'm drinking it slow cause it was 11.50 LE! The cap tells me "Your eye expands up to 45% when looking at something pleasing" Good to know.

December 18, 2008

Pigs


Ok. As Muslims we are forbidden to eat pork. Allah commanded that, but why is it that a lot of Muslims just hate pigs. I mean no one's asking you to put it on a spitfire and chow down. I have an acquaintance who would not accept a piglet doll for her daughter! An Islamic school had the ABC cards over the black board and when P was for Pig, they took it down! A neighbor was over when we were watching Charlotte's Web, and she was just disgusted by cute little Wilbur! It's just downright psycho. There's nothing to fear, why demonize pigs? Pigs are one of Allah's perfect creatures that he put on earth. Please relax.

December 17, 2008

M

Another Tag, tagged by Ms.Unique & UmmTravis

Rules:
Use the 1st Letter of your name to answer each question. Real answers, nothing made up. Try to use different answers than the person who tagged you did, if they have the same initial. You can't use your own name in the boy/girl name question.

  1. What is your name: Mona
  2. A 4 Letter word: More
  3. A Boys Name: Mazin
  4. A Girls Name: Manal
  5. An Occupation: Model
  6. A Color: Maroon
  7. Something you wear: Make-up!
  8. A Beverage: Mint Iced Tea
  9. A Food: Mashed Potatoes
  10. Something found in the bathroom: Mirror
  11. A place: Minsk
  12. A Reason for being late: My kids made me do it.
  13. Something you shout: MOMMY! (well, that's what I hear all day)
I tag anyone who wants to do this and hasn't already been tagged.

December 16, 2008

LOST


Any Lost fans out there? If you live under a rock, I'm talking about the hit abc drama. I am the biggest Lost fan, (some might say Lost FREAK) that I know. I have been hooked ever since I saw the pilot episode. You are always realizing new connections and figuring out story lines. It is the most intelligently written, wonderfully acted, adventure/mystery/action show ever. It leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat every time. I'm suffering withdrawals but I catch some reruns on tv. I watch the new episodes online at sidereel.com I'll be blogging about each episode on my other blog Lost in Lost, when season 5 starts in January. I've posted a few things so far. I've never been so into a show before but this is quality entertainment. Anyone watch Lost?

December 15, 2008

Favorite Chocolate Ever

I love this chocolate so much. It is the perfect mix of dark and mint. It costs a bit more than regular chocolate bars here, but it's so worth it.

What's your favorite chocolate?

December 14, 2008

Funnies

So Alhamdulillah, I'm feeling better, not 100%, but better, thank God. I was just thinking of a funny story about when I was sick with a chest cold and was coughing so much my abs got a work out. I was sitting there, reading blogs and I kept hearing this noise, over and over. I muted the tv. There it goes again. and again. I start to try to follow the noise but it doesn't seem to get any louder or lower as I listen across the room. I finally figured out what it was and ended up in a fit of laughter/coughing. It was my lungs! I was wheezing with every breath! AH, you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Another funny illness related story was when the kids recently had colds on and off so they were taking these vitamin C fizzy tablets that you drop into water and drink. So anyway Safiyah was sitting there about to take it, when I asked her, are you going to drink it? She says "It's still loading" HAHA loading! like on a computer game. She was waiting for it to finish fizzing and decided "loading" was a good way to describe that. I love it!

Here's a poster Zayneb got free in the weekly Mickey magazine. It's so cute but I thought it was really funny too. We decided you know these are the Egyptian version of Mickey and his gang cause they brought their picnic in the pots! Classic Egyptian move. People here bring pots of stuffed grape leaves to the beach and park and stuff!

December 12, 2008

Update

Hey, been a while since my last post, sorry. We were busy during Eid, and then I got sick-er. Again. Strep throat. I really just want to get these tonsils removed A.S.A.P. We're looking into it. Really, I just want them out. I can't take another bout with strep again. Swallowing has been so painful, I'd cry. I wanted to just swallow my tonsils away. UGH...Anyway...

Check out these pics of the set up before the Eid prayer. The womens' area's pretty much a cage. Like, those same ladies these guys saw walking to and from the prayer and on the street every day, yea, gotta keep 'em under wraps huh? Duh. Plus, check it out, yea pray right next to the big pile o' trash? Oh yea. I'm rolling my eyes really hard now but you can't see it, use your imagination.



SO, Eid was good, Alhamdulillah. First day, we went out to dinner and had coffee and walked at the promenade. My pretty shoes were hurting me so I've deemed them sitting only shoes from now on.

Here, the kids pose like they're not crazy or anything. Zayneb has silver shoes and wants everyone to know it.

Second day we went to El Gouna, it's a small town nearby, really pretty, the weather was perfect. Some pics...


We ended up having the kids party on the third day. It was good, lots of people came, and the party bags were a hit with the kiddos.

Boys. Dawood enjoys ruining pictures with silly faces. I wonder what that's about.
Girls. Mine are Zayneb&Salwa with their heads together in red and Safiyah on the left in front.

Me & my friend, I'm on the left. Various kids running amok.

It's been a good week, even with the tonsil troubles, I should put things in perspective for myself, I mean come on. I complain a lot. So, I have a tonne of blogs to catch up on, so later peeps.

December 8, 2008

December 7, 2008

Train Of Thought.....

Last night we were about to have suhoor but the ambooba finished, so what did we do? What any normal family does. Go to McDonald's at 3 am for the predawn meal before fasting, of course. It was so funny, the kids were really amused by the whole thing, as were we, to be honest.

I don't know what we'll do for dinner because the ambooba hasn't yet been replaced but, I'm sure we'll eat whatever when the time comes.

The landline phone isnt working for some reason, might need a new wire or something but it's annoying because I should call people tonight to say Eid Mubarak. I hope we can figure out what the problem is, inshaAllah.

Now my friend want to change the party till the day after, so that way her MIL will have left...I can understand, but you know kids and there hopes, a day feels like a week to them. This is how life is here, people change plans on you last minute. I have been invited to parties the day of, several times. Its weird.

There was a big ole sheep in our stair well earlier. Why they had it there is weird. My neighbor said so her kids can look at him a while...I don't know. but I'd rather not meet my food before it's dinner time.

Ugh, I still have to go exchange Safiyahs shoes tonight, don't really feel like it. Hope everyone's having a good day today inshaAllah. Later peeps.

December 6, 2008

What's Up

Alhamdulillah I'm feeling a whole lot better now and can function like normal person. I was able to take my abayas to the tailor but they wont be done till tomorrow, the day before Eid. Hey whatever as long as the one I want to wear Monday is ready for Eid inshaAllah.

My friend and I went out to buy supplies for the Eid party bags. Here they are, for 20 kids. Hopefully put a smile on their faces. It's not a huge deal, each one has a small toy, stickers, snacks and sweets and a juice box.

The kids and I went to our favorite gift shop tonight where they spent their saved up cash on toys. I got cute ballet flats for the girls, but it looks like I'll have to exchange Safiyah's for a bigger size. I picked up this bag and bag charm for my friend, I really hope she likes it. Best part is, I almost filled up another one of their free gift cards on this trip alone! Shopping does have it's perks.


We played toys when we got home and watched Mr. Magorium's Wonder Imporium for the second time today. It's a fun movie and the kids loved the imagery. They're probably dreaming of it now.

InshaAllah we'll be fasting tomorrow, the day of 'Arafa, so we'll get them up to eat before fajr inshaAllah.

Eid Mubarak Everyone!