May 26, 2010

Moments we never forget

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. We all have those moments in life, that seem common-place at the time, that we never forget.

Once in the 7th grade (25 yrs ago I think) I was sitting in my classroom. It was an old part of the school with worn wooden floors and high ceilings. The sun was shining through the window, the door was open to let in a breeze, and I was reading Jean Auel's "Clan of the Cave Bear". I remember thinking how exquisitely perfect that day was and suddently thought, will I remember this day, this feeling?

I did. :-)

With Zachary, my oldest, I can see as clearly as if it were yesterday, playing outside our apartment with him, laying on the green grass and singing the "Baby Zachary" song to him that I had made up. I can feel the sun and smell the fresh-cut grass.

My memories for Alex are different, muddled. I had a stroke when he was 3 months old and had alot of personal upheaval at the time. I don't have as many specific moments but I can recall vividly his spirit. So kind, so loving, gentle with anything smaller or weaker than himself. However when he was 2 I remember him collecting an entire quart-size ziploc bag of acorns. He always loved little treasures; leaves, feathers, shiny rocks. A collector of all things that are precious to a small child. :-)

I had another moment today. I was playing with Aaminah and she was laying down and I was over her, tickling her little baby-fat belly. She looked up at me and said, "I like you". Masha'allah. Then she said, "I love you". Really I have tears in my eyes now as I recount it. Insha'Allah this will be one of those moments I never forget.

May 24, 2010

Oh crockpot, how I love thee!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! It's recipe time again. I try to find foods to make that my entire family enjoys. Alhamdulillah A isn't picky but like everyone else, he has his likes and dislikes. So I devised a yummy chicken-taco type dish that cooks in the slowcooker and tastes fantabulous. Here goes:

4-5 large chicken breasts (can use thighs if you prefer)
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chili powder (Amreekan kind :-) not pure ground chilis!)
1 tsp salt (to taste) and black pepper
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Tabasco brand Chipotle pepper hot sauce (my fave condiment)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (this lowers the sodium content)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
7 slices turkey bacon, finely chopped

Okey dokey, here goes. Slice the chicken breasts into uniform strips so they cook evenly. Pour the vinegar over it, there should be enough to coat them. Liberally sprinkle with the cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper. Toss well with the oil and Tabasco sauce; add the choppd onion at this point also. To be honest, I didn't measure these ingredients but these are close approximations. Set chicken aside.

Place diced bacon on bottom of preheated slowcooker. Layer chicken on top of it and place your lid snugly on the crock. Cook on high for at least 5 hours and do NOT lift the lid. The chicken makes it's own juice, it won't burn insha'allah. You can also spray your crock with non-stick cooking spray first but I didn't.

After 5 hours of cooking, add your drained and rinsed beans and the tomatoes. Mix thoroughly and cook 1-2 hours more. Really cooking is not a science, it'a about using your senses. So just do what feels right. If you forget it for 3-4 hours, no harm no foul. If you need to be gone all day long, put it on low setting and add the last two ingredients just long enough to warm up.

I served this with sauteed green peppers, vidalia onion, and thinly sliced cubano peppers. We prefer it with syrian bread, pulled in half, instead of tortillas. Chop some fresh tomato and put out the sour cream. Really this was too yummy!

The smokiness from the bacon and the chipotle hot sauce was incredibly delicious and this is so easy it's almost a no brainer.

This yields enough for a family of 6 to eat twice. Let's see, 4 of us ate the first night then tonight all 6 and still enough leftovers for 3 more people to dine. So masha'allah this was a success on all fronts! I love to cook once, eat 3 times. :-)

Alright I am waaay past my beauty sleepin' time (nod to the "Mulan" script!)so I'll go on to bed. I wanted to paste a photo but didn't take one tonight. Sorry, my laziness knows no bounds!

Take care ya'll and happy eating! Ma salaama...

May 23, 2010

Online yard sale of sorts

*I know alot of sisters laugh how anytime a Muslimah is mentioned there is a rose or a pearl. However the analogy is correct I feel so... it's my blog and I'm using it! lol*

Salaam ya'll!!! As you know, I just recently moved here to Massachussets. Well in February but still not unpacked fully! haha In trying to get things straightened and fit all our belongings into one smallish sized, 3 bedroom apartment, I realize I need to downsize a wee bit. Mainly in the area of clothing.

Really I feel it's bordering on haram, how many clothes I have. I started my "career" as a Muslimah with a mix and match, pieced together wardrobe of things that didn't quite go. Insha'allah I get hasanat for some of the things I had to wear to be modest! ;-) Anyway, I would get a hijab here, another there, maybe a sister would give away some abayaat, and then I discovered online shopping. Woe is me! lol Plus I went to India in 2006 and bought many shalwar kameez.(I was married to an Indian at the time, enjoyed the look of them, and did it to please my husband.)

Now however I wear an abaya when I am out of my home. I did this before marrying my Arab husband as I just felt it was the most modest way to fulfill the requirements of Allah swt. (No judging going on here!) So, to make this loooong story short I got lots and lots clothes ya'll! (Imagine a toned-down Paula Deen accent saying that!)

So I want to know if you all would be interested in me posting some of my excess clothing: some abayaat, shalwar kameez, and maybe some modest western clothing. All would be plus size. Smallest chest size maybe 46 on a few but more likely 50 to 54 inch chest. I'm not a small girl. ;-) I was telling my friend yesterday, I know I passed the "cute 'n chubby" stage a few pounds ago. lol

Just leave a comment if you are interested. I would need you to pay shipping and would like to ask a small fee for the clothing; maybe $10 to $15 or the most part. However, if there is ANY sister there (or that you know) who has a real need for modest clothes, please let me know; insha'allah if you can just pay shipping for the items we'd be set.

OK a big jazakumallahu khair to ya'll and don't be shy to leave a comment pleaseeeee.

Ma salaama...

"Together we read"

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! Umm an'Numan has started a neat project on her blog "A Muslim Child is Born". It's called "Together we read" and is designed to encourage parents to spend time reading aloud to their child and also insha'allah engage in related learning activities.

Alhamdulillah reading aloud with Aaminah (and my boys when they were little!) has always been an easy thing for me to do. We enjoy it so much and truly it is a great bonding experience and has helped my kids tremendously. My boys had large vocabularies from the time they were small and it helped foster a love of reading in them that lasts to this day.

Aaminah loooooves to read masha'Allah! One, two, three, four a night... that isn't enough. Even when she was tiny (just a year old) I would (I am ashamed to say!) hide her books after I had read them 3 times each! Really I would have had no rest. lol Now she has her favorites and I will "review" them here insha'Allah. :-)

She really loves "Kitty Up" by Elizabeth Wojtusik (illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa).

It is a pretty simple book with lots of repetition (great for little minds!). Here is an excerpt:

"Kitty up, kitty down. Kitty square, kitty round." Catchy rhymes, brightly colored pictures, lots of action; this makes a toddler classic! To be honest, when I first read this book I thought, um yeah kinda simple. Like my daughter needs to read the encyclopedia. haha Anyway it was an instant hit and its part of our daily repetoire now masha'Allah.

I would recommend this book for anyone with an infant/toddler, especially if that loves animals and really, what little person doesn't?

We haven't done any related activities yet for this; unfortunately I am not as creative as some of my other sisters and am still acclimating to being an insta-mom of 6 so bear with me insha'Allah!

Happy reading and ma salaama...

May 14, 2010

Busy, oh so busy

*Ain't she just the purtiest little thang you ever did see?*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! I've been meaning to do a post for while but you know, life gets in the way. :-) First I'll update everyone on my famiy, then get to the meat of the posting!

I finally had my i.v. pulled. Alhamdulillah! It was in for SIX WEEKS this time subhanallah. I pray the infection is gone but Allahu alim, time will tell. I have an appointment with a uro-gynecologist to have a little look-see (southernism!) at my hoo-haa (immature word for my "you know whats".) Wait, that's immature too! lol ANYWAY glad to be infection-free insha'allah. Uh, infection in my urinary tract for those of you thinking otherwise. :-)

I always like to keep up with the other sisters out there in the virtual world. Some make me smile, some make me think, others make me think, "what the..." lol. But I enjoy them all. I was reading on this Muslim Mama's blog the other day (she had a little rant) and really some of it was just too funny. Especially the part about personal hygiene. Sis, wanna hear my "dirty" secret? Once a friend and  I had a VH1's "Behind the Music" fest and did nothing but watch it the entire weekend. I mean we didn't change out of our pajamas, we didn't cook, and no, we didn't shower. Nice. Oh, and that has never been repeated again btw. :-)

I am still not feeling my new masjid. I know I could do more to feel a part. I think it's kinda like when your dog dies and you feel guilty petting the new puppy. I miss my old masjid and sisters there so much I can't feel too good at the new one. And, yeah, it's realllly different here. At least this Jumah I got 3 salaams. Woo-hoo! ;-) New record. In my previous masjid, which I still think of as MY masjid, I went out of my way to be involved, volunteer, work for the masjid and school, etc. Now I have no time for volunteering. I know and believe my place is in the home, that I should care for my husband, family, and home first. I firmly believe this but I do miss being involved in my local community. Insha'allah as the kids grow a bit (really meaning Aaminah!) I can do so again.

Ohhhhhhh I gotta share this with you all! My brother is currently a mandatory guest at one of the state of Tennessee's finer establishments. Um, prison, yeah. Not a violent crime but repeat offeneder. ANYWHO... I got a letter from him. Nice, telling me how he is working on his education, has gained 30 lbs (good for him, he is small), blah blah blah. Nice no talk about dropped soap and near misses. LOL Alhamdulillah.

However, before I could even read the letter, as I drew it out from the envelope, my eyes fell on his p.s. which was written on the back page. All it said was this:

"P.S. Is there any ladies who would like to correspond? Please have them write."

WTHeck? Are you serious? My brother, and let's forget even the fact I am Muslim and don't do anything like that nor do my friends, but my elder brother asking me to be his pimp. Authubillah! Toooooo funny and really just set the tone for me to read the rest of his letter. I didn't even mention it in my return reply; I'll put in a few pamphlets on Islam though and insha'allah he might read them.

OK this has been a crazy, all-over-the-place kinda post. I'll end it here now before my brain just goes completely out.

Ya'll have a great weekend! Ma salaama.....

May 8, 2010

Old post, still generating excitement, masha'allah!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I did a post back in Aug. 09 and one of my "anonymous" friends left a comment. They just now came back, MONTHS later, and felt compelled to leave another.

Please, if you all feel interested, go here and read the original posts and the messages. One from the brave "anon", one from me, one from another reader, "anon" again, and lastly myself. Please feel free to join in the fun if you like! :-)

Ma salaama...