January 25, 2011

Candle Love

I don't know why but I really love it when a candle is just about to burn out.

Maybe it's because then I have an excuse to buy a new one.

January 18, 2011

Love These

How completely adorable is this!?

Awww MJ.

Melts my heart!

And you know I had to add a Lost one.

January 16, 2011

Things I Love About Egypt

I feel really bad because I've been stressing over writing this post. I've been worried I wont be able to think of many things but I think once I start the ball rolling, I'll have lots to add to the list. Feel free to add some in the comments.

  • Never feeling out of place because I'm a hijabi, a Muslim and an Arab. The same goes for my kids. They don't get made fun of at school because their name is different or when they wear hijab, or pray.  They won't be outcast or question their deen. They will fit in at the very least in that respect.
  • Living in Egypt offers the opportunity to live among Muslims. I won't use the term "Muslim country" because there's no such thing. This country, like any other has it's share of problems like teen sex, and drugs etc, but it's much less and it isn't accepted and glamorized like these things are in the West. Not to mention having mosques on every corner and athan 5 times a day.
  • Sunshine. It's sunny at least 95% of the time. Especially where I live.
  • The sea. I love the sea! It's gorgeous here and minutes away. We love to swim and really should go to the beach more often.
  • Groceries delivered to your doorstep is great. Especially when you live in a 3rd floor walk up. You just pay a few extra pounds and tip them, it's completely worth it. Most restaurants delver too. Even Mcdonalds!
  • Pedicures at home, she also does threading and colors/cuts hair. It's so convenient. You don't need to go out and have some one watch the kids or bring them with. She comes to your apartment. It's really a nice little luxury.
  • Stores open late! Most places open until midnight at least! This kind of makes up for the late opening.
  • Life here is easy going. The day is long and people are chill. No "Rat Race".
  • You can fix anything here. If your sandal rips or a zipper on a bag is broken, you can easily have it fixed for just a couple of pounds. People don't throw things away very easily and fix whatever they can to get the most use out of it.
  • Tailors are also very affordable. You can get your clothes altered or hemmed for cheap and we do this often. 
  • People are extremely hospitable and generous here. It's part of the culture. You can't enter someone's home without having something to drink or eat and they'd give you what they were going to eat if that's all they have.
  • Roast chicken, Hawawshe, Falafel, Kosharee, amazing seafood,Mah-shi, Babaganoug and a lot of other amazing Egyptian food!!
  • I never have to read food labels or worry that I'll accidentally order something with pork or alcohol in it at a restaurant. This is huge.
  • Hijabs Galore! There are so many different kinds and they are everywhere. I'll never get enough.
  • There is a lot of beauty to be found. When I look at the pictures I've posted here from Hurghada and from trips we've taken around Egypt in the past few years, I see that there is a lot of beauty in nature, and in history in this country to be seen.
  • Eids are a big holiday, everyone celebrates and there's vacation from school! That also goes for the sense of unity during Ramadan and when people are breaking the fast. If it's magrib time and you're on the road people stand out then just to give people dates and juice to break their fast for the reward from Allah. It's a beautiful thing.
  •  Family values are big here. People take care of each other and kids/teens have more respect for their parents than in the West.
  • The Makwagi!! How could I almost forget him!? There are shops everywhere that will iron and fold/hang your clothes for like half a pound a piece. I abhore ironing so this is a Godsend!!

Wow. That was really therapeutic! I was worried for nothing. As I was writing this just now, It just kept coming to me. To be honest, I've been feeling a little down lately and as the list went on I felt my heart lift. There really is a lot to love about Egypt!

January 14, 2011

Things I Miss About America

I think I need to get this out. I wanted to write a post about all the good things in Egypt, but in order for me to be honest with myself and list what is good about here, I have to acknowledge what I am missing. I need it for my sanity.  You tend to take for granted the place you are. I may or may not look back at the US with rose colored glasses. You know how you forget the bad parts? No country is perfect, I know that. But there are things you just miss.

  • Family. My immediate family I see about once a year so Alhamdulillah. I miss my extended family a lot. I suspect they don't think of me nearly as much because as my brother pointed out recently, their lives are the same, we are the ones out of the picture so we miss everything.
  • Public Libraries. It's something I think all kids should have access to. They opened one here a few years ago and within a year it was down the crapper. Books and materials stolen, playground trashed, no maintenance. Pity.
  • Clean streets. It's stuff like this that makes Egypt look so bad. 
  • Seasons. I miss the fall foliage and winter snow!
  • Parks. There aren't any public parks here. For your kids to slide down a slide or swing on a swing you have to go to a cafe and spend money on overpriced coffee or juice at only a couple of places.
  • Trees, grass and nature open to anyone. Nice grassy areas or a place to take a nice nature walk isn't available here. The only place that has those kind of things are hotel property or inside a sports club or "nadee"  that you have to pay thousands to join.
  • Sales & Clearance. Nice things cost money here. You wont find brand names on clearance or good quality things for cheap. Cheap stuff's cheap, nice stuff's expensive. No way around it.
  • Fun kid activities like Children's museums or skating rinks or Discovery Zone/Chucky Cheese type stuff is non existent. Even the Zoo here is a sad sad joke. 
  • Real donuts, bagels, good ice cream, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, Slurpees, Taco Bell, Pepperidge Farm cookies, Fruity Pebbles, Twizzlers...I could go on but I'll stop.
  • Craft stores. The Sanrio Store. Sephora. Payless. Target. The Container Store.  Dollar stores. I guess that all goes under shopping but you know what I mean. 
  • ALSO Shops open in the morning! Nothing is open until noon or later here.  While I'm at it, fair pricing! Here shop owners charge whatever they feel like or as much as they think they can get out of you, also customer service.
  • Lets just say undergarments for women here leave a lot to be desired.
  • Yard sales, flea markets and thrift shops. Although most people here could benefit from these things there are some kind of cultural stigma to it and people are too proud or something. 
  • Scotch tape get's it's own listing here. I miss scotch tape with the dispenser/cutter. 
  • Diversity. Yea here in Hurghada there are some European people but in America kids get exposed to all different races and cultures. It's not cool when your 6 year old thinks every black guy with braids is "Just Jordan".
  • Organization and rules. People in the US follow the traffic laws and line up when it's called for. If you live in the US don't take it for granted. Be glad you live in a society that can value rules, not to mention: honesty, fairness, justice, equality, work ethic, respect for the environment, and safety precautions.
Ok so now the hard part. I'm going to write a post about all the good things about Egypt. I did a pros and cons a few years ago but I want to make a revised PRO list to remind me what's great about Egypt. If you have any suggestions PLEASE email me at mom2dawood at yahoo.com. I definitely need it.

January 8, 2011

Wall Flower

I found these wall decals at one of those 3.50le shops here so I got 2. I put them in my room. They came on a big sheet, with the branches, flowers and buds all separate so you can arrange them how you like.

I like it! They look like cherry blossoms. Probably not the chicest of decor ideas but we're in this apartment temporarily inshaAllah and they make me happy.

January 7, 2011

Coming Up Roses

I had this long piece of ribbon that was just lying around, from a gift, so I thought I'd make another rose pin. I made this black one a while back and thought a cream colored one would be cute too.

I've since made a bigger black one. It was wrapped pretty tightly and only needed a few stitches at the end to hold it together.
This time, I had less ribbon so I wrapped it looser and used a glue gun along the way, an idea I got from this tutorial.

I love making stuff. I wish there was a craft store here!

January 4, 2011


I baked some cookies a few nights ago to give to some friends. I decided on Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon cookies. I wanted to make Ginger Snaps but my ambooba ran out. (Cooking gas)

One of the things I love about Egyptian culture is the friendliness of neighbors. Two friends/neighbors and I in my building often send each other plates of food and sweets via our children. We always return the plate with something of our own in return. It's really cute. I'm always introducing them to new American things like these cookies or rice crispy treats and brownies. They've sent me Egyptian favorites like stuffed vegetables and cosharee. It's a lovely little tradition.

January 3, 2011

Ages & Stages

This is something I think about often. Does raising children get harder as they get older? I often think it does. But then sometimes I think it doesn't. Let me explain. Or at least try.

FYI, My kids are 6, almost 9, almost 11 and 12 1/2.

:::Disclaimer, in case anyone didn't know, I love my kids, I've loved them at every age and I will forever, complaining about things they do is a normal part of parenting. These are just observations from my experience, not fact.:::

Babies. When I hear about people struggling with a new baby, I think to myself, Please, that part is the easiest. All they do is sleep, eat, and poop. And cry. They do tend to cry. I guess looking back it's not as fresh in my memory so I'm probably forgetting a lot of crap. Like you loose sleep, it can be physically demanding, especially if you breastfeed. You have no time to yourself. Wow. I guess it's not so easy. The good part is they are so sweet and adorable when they're happy or asleep. The first smile? Euphoria.

The toddler age is worse. When they get to the toddler stage they just get into everything. They seem to constantly be making a mess or doing something they shouldn't be like sticking a hairpin into a socket, (Happened.) or dropping eggs on the floor for fun. (Also happened. Hey I never claimed to be mother of the year.) You have to clean up their solid food poo when they have accidents during potty training, which is not cute at all.  Really, whenever I am around people who have kids at this age I'm so glad my kids are older. They tend to be snotty sometimes, and they start whining.  On the other hand, toddlers can be hilarious when they start to talk and they are still really innocent.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Kindergarten age is a great stage. The kid can wipe it's own butt , feed and dress itself, and they are still excited about school and are happy most of the time. It might help that they do go to school for several hours a day as well. Kids at 5 or 6 still listen to what you say most of the time. They aim to please. The only down side I can think of is the incessant talking. Don't shut up, that bunch.

Now kids that are from around 7-10 start to realize, Hey, I'm my own person! I have ideas and opinions! I shall assert them! This can be good and bad. They begin to challenge you just because they can. Test their limits on things like ignoring you or doing as their told, but they are still pretty sweet and try to make you happy by thinking of creative ways to show they care. Notes and helping out, it's the good side of being free thinkers.  They start having their own sense of style as well and begin to care about their appearance more. Well girls do anyway.

For the tweens (10-13) They really start in with the attitude. Eye-rolling, sighs and complaints are aplenty. They start to smell in these years so hygiene must be stressed. The boy doesn't seem to be bothered about his looks yet but Girls this age really begin experimenting with their hair, clothes, products, skin care. It's all good with me as long as they shower and the good part is they can shower on their own, of course for a while now, so you just buy them deodorant and they're good to go.  Good part, tweens are really almost young adults so you can have actual conversations about topics and enjoy some of the same movies sometimes. It's great in that respect.

After that, it's yet to be seen for me. I'm definitely worried about the teen years as most parents are. I'll let you know how it goes.

January 1, 2011

Not-So New Years Eve

New Year's eve was a fun day. It just happened to be December 31st.

Here are some photos from yesterday. In the morning the weather was beautiful. Warm with a nice breeze. We went to the promenade for a bit with a friend.

My new scarf!


In the evening we went to a birthday party at the bowling alley. Except there was no bowling involved. How odd right? They have a place for parties but bowling isn't included. There were lots of other kids there too so the kids weren't too bummed. I'll take the kids bowling after exams though inshaAllah. When we got home it was a little after 11 so I told the kids I'd let them stay up until next year. Hardy har har, got lots of laughs with that one. Kids are such an easy crowd. I miss watching the ball drop and all the crazy people in Times Square in the freezing cold on NYE. We did our own little count down though.

Safiyah & Salwa

I can't get Dawood to make a normal face for pictures. He either makes a silly face or this stiff mannequin one.

MegaMind is playing at the cinema so we might go next weekend when there's a few days off for Orthodox Christmas. It looks good.

I feel like alhamdulillah 2010 was a great year. Hoping 2011 is a wonderful year for all of you.