May 30, 2011

Hmmm breakfast casserole..... :-)

Gross, just realized the sour cream looks like melted vanilla icecream. LOL

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I decided to make a crustless-quiche/breakfast casserole today. I wanted to make a huge dish so 1) there's enough for my big family and 2) so we would have some leftovers. Anything time-intensive I like to make enough for more than one meal.

Oh btw it looks like I'm on a casse-roll. Get it? I just posted about hashbrown casserole and now I'm posting about breakfast casserole. Never mind. LOL

Here's what you need:

15 eggs (we gots a big family)
non-dairy creamer liquified (or use milk/cream)
1 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or your favorite hot sauce
2 cups shredded cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb. turkey bacon (can use any breakfast meat you like)
1 cup frozen, chopped spinach
chopped onion; I just used 1/2 cup cause I had it already cut in the fridge. Otherwise, I'd use a full cup.

Anyway, I used a really big 11x15 casserole dish. If your family isn't so big, just half the recipe and pop it in an 8x8 or 9x13 pan. I took a pound of turkey bacon, chopped it fine and browned it til crisp but not fully cooked. Added some chopped onion in the last batch (I had to brown it in 3 batches or it sticks together like gangbustas!) I beat 15 eggs with a tablespoon of minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and about 1/2 tsp salt. Added a dash of reconstituted non-dairy creamer (feel oh-so-free to use milk or real cream!) and set aside while finishing the bacon.

I thawed about 1 cup of frozen spinach and wrung it dry. I mean just as dry as you can get it so it doens't make a soggy casserole. Then I mixed the bacon/onion combo with the squeezed spinach. Added about 2 cups of cheese, any type you prefer, shredded.

I mixed all of these in my casserole dish so the grease from the bacon (just a little, turkey bacon is pretty dry) would help the eggs to not stick on the bottom of the dish. Greased it for me. :-) Then I carefully poured the thoroughly beaten egg mixture over it.

I got to thinking (uh-oh!) and decided, after pouring the egg mixture on top, to gently stir it around. I didn't want areas without any egg. It worked out fine so anyway you wanna do it is good.

Pop it in a 350 preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes for the larger size. I do NOT eat underdone eggs so this step was critical. Just pull it out at 30 and check if the center is set and a knife comes out clean when inserted. You don't want rubbery overcooked eggs either. I have a suspicion our oven isn't spot-on so I have to play around a bit with the temps.

Anyway it turned out nicely, everyone liked it (except Yousef who is picky for no reason- I mean he eats all of these foods separately). I did serve some sour cream on the side, it was a nice contrast between the hot casserole. Oh yeah, and let it sit for about 5 minutes before dishin' it up so it cuts nicely. :-)

After making that huge pan we had about 5 pieces left, enough for A and me to have breakfast tomorrow. :-)

A word of advice: there is a bit of prep with cutting and cooking the bacon and onion so plan on taking about 45 minutes start to finish, 1 hour if you have a cute little sweetheart who just loves to help her mama cook. :-D

Ma salaama ya'll!

May 29, 2011

Do you have a recipe for...

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I'm looking for a super-yummy recipe for an eggplant-yogurt dish I had a couple of Ramadhans ago. I'll try to explain it the best I can and insha'allah I'll get a delicious fast response. :-D

It was yogurt with slices of fried eggplant and had a really tasty oil (tarka?) poured on top. The tarka was kinda spicy but complemented the creamy yogurt perfectly. A sweet Pakistani sister made it and I tried to get the recipe but some of it was lost in translation.

So if anyone has a great recipe they would be willing to share, I would love you!!! Also some suggestions on what it is normally served with; I just ate it plain the day I helped the sister clean up. ;-)

If I get the recipe I will insha'Allah post it on here with a pic AND a link-back to your blog. Jazakum Allahu khair!

May 28, 2011

Wudhu: the forgotten element of ibadah

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Sometimes I "stumble" across a gem from our deen that I feel I just have to share. For some of you, this is probably old hat :-) but for others it might be as illuminating as it was for me. For all of us, may it inspire and motivate us to improve ourselves. Amin!

A and I were discussing wudhu the other day. I had a question about a hadith I had heard that wudhu washes your sins away. A related the following hadith from RasoolAllah:

Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “When a Muslim servant (of Allah) or a believer (Mumin) washes his face (in the course of Wudhu), every sin he has committed with his eyes is washed away from his face along with the water, or with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin they wrought is erased from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin towards which his feet walked is washed away with water, or with the last drop of water, with the result that he comes out cleansed of all sins.” [Sahih Muslim]

Subhanallah, how Allah forgives us! Even in our preparation for prayer there are untold blessings. So I was curious if this holds true even if you have wudhu.

For example, you make wudhu for dhuhr and asr comes around but you still have your wudhu. If you decide to make ablution again are you ridding yourself of these sins?

The way A explained it made so much sense masha'Allah. He reminded me that ridding ourselves of physical najasa (dirt) is only a small portion of why we make wudhu. We are also cleansing ourselves spiritually of the filth that has accumulated.

Imagine your ruh (soul) as if it were a sole. The sole of a shoe, not a fish. :-D Think of  how it looks after you've been slogging through the mud and muck outside. It dries on, sticks there, and slowly, slowly, crumbles off, bit by bit. Usually on someone's white carpet or freshly mopped floor. LOL But I digress.

Anyway I can very easily envision our soul becoming soiled in that same manner. Maybe you spoke rudely about someone or lost your temper with your children. Perhaps it's something a little deeper; maybe you took that second look or had anger in your heart. All of these things build up in our ruh and need to be cleansed.

Of course, making wudhu does not absolve you from major sins such as shirk (authubillah!), murder, or zina but you get the idea. It removes all those small, daily sins that sneak up on us.

There are a few things you must do to get this blessing:

1. Have the correct niyyah (intention) to make wudhu to cleanse your ruh and please Allah.

2. Perform your ablution in the name of Allah by pronouncing "Bismillah" before you begin.

3. Correctly make wudhu with the proscribed motions in the correct order: hands, mouth, nose, face, lower arms, hair, ears, and feet.

4. Only make 3 of each motion. For example, sometimes my nose might still feel stopped up but we are only to do 3 times. Doing it more is makruh (disliked).  After we finish wudhu we can then do more if we feel it is necessary.

5. Do not stop your wudhu to speak, dry your face, etc. This is makruh to do so.

6. You can make make dua; I've found a few different examples (look here) of this so I think it depends on what madhab you follow. This step is optional but it is used to increase the hasanat (blessings for good actions) you receive.

So insha'Allah this might have helped you view wudhu in a different light. For myself, I always felt if I had wudhu I was all set and didn't bother to make it again. Insha'allah now I will be more careful to always make wudhu before salaat unless time is truly of the essence.

And with Allah lies ALL success. :-)

Awww thanks ya'll!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I discovered this morning that I was included in the Top 50 Muslim Mom Blogs for 2011. I was ranked a solid 32. I was very surprised and very happy. As I said before, I hope that my blog (besides being a creative outlet for myself) helps bring together like-minded Muslimahs and shares something of my religion with those who knew nothing before.

Obviously something is working. :-)

Anyway, I encourage you all to check out the list; there are a lot of blogs on there I already knew and many I've yet to discover. :-) A special shout out to Mama Mona and HijabiMommy for making it to the top 25. Masha'Allah and great job sisters!

I have to say, for me, one of the best things about being part of the blogging world is the companionship and support we give each other. Alhamdulillah we do not always have to agree with each other but I truly feel (on my blog at least) that all of my readers who disagree with my view are respectful in their comments. I like to think we all leave with a different perspective insha'allah.

Thanks for supporting my blog and even more, thanks for being my sister.

I love you all fi sabilillah!

May 26, 2011

Just some weird, random things...

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I felt like it was time for a more light-hearted post. :-) All work and no play makes Umm Aaminah a dull girl.

I realized today I have a "thing" about sinks and it got me to thinking about what other weird (or not so weird!) hang-ups I have. Depending on how genteel you are, this post might not be up your alley. Fair warning and all. :-D

Let's jump in, shall we?

Clean it! Clean it! For the love of Pete, just clean it!!!!

1. I realized the other day that sinks (kitchen and bathroom) gross me out. Maybe it's because of the little cracks and crevices that get so dirty. It doesn't matter if you clean it daily, there is always some gunk there. Totally disgusts me. Aaminah will share this phobia of sinks because I always tell her, "Don't let your hands (or feet) touch the bottom of the sink!".  I clean them, I just think they are gross.

2. Another thing that grosses me out is when someone gets water to drink/use for cooking from the sprayer. I saw a friend do that once and I was like, whaaaaat? Once again, I clean it but it just seems so suspicious; it stays damp/moist and is in the kitchen which tends to be warm. Ewwwwwwww...

If this is in your home, I cannot be there. :-)

3. Fake berry smells (like airfresheners, etc) give me a headache. I only like light, clean, citrus-y scents.

4. I think this is universal but... Aaminah's tears/snot/poop/pee doesn't phase me. At. All. But anyone else's is quite possibly the nastiest thing I can imagine and I don't want near it. lol

5. If I get one bite of meat with a gristly/chew-y piece, stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Example of an indented couch button. :-)

6. Once, when I was about 5, I was entranced by the way the leather of our couch puckered around the button. You know, it kinda makes an indentation around it with gathers? Anyway, I put my mouth on it and sucked. Bits of dust, crumbs and other "couch debris" swooshed into my mouth. One of my grossest memories.

I used to have a basset hound; the sweetest lil thing!

7. I love the smell of puppy breath and the way their paws smell like corn chips. Shameful, but true. :-) I only included this in the list because it's probably gross to some of you!

8. I absolutely abhor seeing a man with long fingernails. It just makes me get the shivers and NOT the good kind.
9. Before my transplant, I used to get sick to my stomach a lot. If I was someplace with older plumbing and a toilet with some of the enamel worn off I couldn't use it. I would go outside instead.
10. "Grody" grout is what really gets me nauseated. You know, when the grout gets all stained from mildew and is half-peeling off?   If you don't know the definition of the word grody you were not a teenager in the 80s and I can't help you. :-D

I have to stop cause I'm making my skin crawl. What things like this make you unhappy?

May 23, 2011

It's ok, I'm a convert

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. This is a post that's been a long time in the making. It's been in my mind, consciously and subconsciously, something I've grappled with off and on. This might step on some people's toes but you have to know, I don't judge you. That's for Allah. I judge myself and my actions against what I believe are Allah's rules for my life. We are all responsible for our own introspection. :-)

I'm a convert to Islam. (Yah, surprise huh? I thought I'd start out with a hook. :-D) I've been through a lot of changes and I've given up some things. (That isn't really the point of this post but I'm trying to set the stage.)

I think sometimes, as converts, we feel like it's a "get outta jail free" card. Not ready to wear hijab? That's ok, I'm a convert; I'm not ready for that step yet.

Only memorized a few surat? Oh that's ok, I'm a convert; I don't know Arabic.

Still celebrating non-Muslim holidays? Don't worry, I'm a convert; my family celebrates and it's not religious for us we just get together as a family to show our love.

Don't dress modestly? Oh I'm sorry, you see, I'm a CONVERT, I don't have any cultural baggage. Abayaat are for Arabs and besides I would stand out more dressed like that.

(Yes, there are other modest options but the Qur'an tells us we should wear an over garment so unless your cute 'n trendy Shukr outfit is covered by a trench coat, it's not really doing the job. Yes you might attract attention but it's not gonna be because you look so fly. lol)

Got male friends? Oh no, it's not like THAT. You see, I'm a convert. I grew up with mixed sex gatherings, ALL of my best friends were boys growing up/ these are my husband's friends/ insert whatever excuse you like here.

Non-nasheed music/haram instruments still making your play list? Ohhh that. Yeah, well you know, seeing as how Ima convert and all and I grew up listening to music, it's just such a part of my life. My life is a soundtrack and these songs take me back to such beautiful times. :-)

Still wearing perfume/make-up out of the house? Hello! Didn't you hear me? I am a convert. C O N V E R T.  I live in a non-Muslim majority country. Everyone wears it/I have bad skin/I have self-confidence issues blah blah blah.

OK I guess you get the point by now. Oh and before you type an angry comment sisters please remember: We are here to enjoin the GOOD and forbid the BAD. I have never ever ever said I didn't do any of the above things. I am fully able to see the wrong I do.

You know, many of those points are valid. Yes, wearing hijab and abayaat do cause you to stand out more. My family has never celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday. Allah never said some men and women weren't CAPABLE of just being friends. But still, it's not permissible.

I've had the same conversation with myself. I've done the wrong thing, made the wrong choice many times. I will also be judged for that so I have to really weigh what is important.

I think sometimes, we as Muslims, get so caught up in the haram/halal debate. We are so eager to find that loophole, to be able to say, "Ah-ha! So you CAN'T prove I'm wrong." Yes Islam is meant to be easy, it's meant to be beautiful and peaceful and loving.

However, as Muslims we need to look at our actions in a different light. Yes, Allah swt told us that the world He created, this beautiful, crazy, messed-up world, all in it is halal unless He tells us it's haram. This is a simple and beautiful way to view our existence.

But for the true Muslim, the one who strives to submit to Allah, we don't look simply to the black and white of halal and haram. We ask ourselves, before we think of anything else, we ask if this is something that will bring us closer to Allah.

There are many examples I could share here, but this is something (as it's not haram/halal) that I am not comfortable to list here. It's a more personal thing and deals directly with our commitment to living a life that is pleasing to our Rabb.

The few things in the "but Ima convert" list at the top aren't always clearly haram/halal. I've heard some sheikhs who have said it's ok to attend a family function as long as you satisfy requirements A, B, C, etc... Others say, absolutely not!

So how does this tie into my original rant introduction? Subhanallah, my sisters, I will tell you this, when this thought struck me, it immediately humbled me.

The sahaba, every last one of them, were converts. They all made that conscious choice, they chose Islam, they chose to follow the Prophet Muhammad saws, they chose to do the thing that was pleasing to Allah.

The sacrifices they made make ours pale in comparison. So we get a little teary-eyed when we think of not being there to cut the turkey on Thanksgiving? Many of the sahaba lost every family member; they were shunned, they were outcasts, they were pariahs.

Suddenly that phrase, "But Ima convert" rings kinda hollow, doesn't it? If we view the above list in that light none of them seem to be so hard to give up/to do. The sahaba, subhanallah, gave up EVERYTHING they had to be Muslim. They lost their homes, their families, their wealth, often, even, their life.

Imagine, if we could pose some of these "dilemmas" to Sumayyah, the first martyr fi sabilillah. I would be ashamed to do so, my sisters. She was a wife, a mother; don't you think she had so many things she wanted to live for? Can we for even a moment so blithely assume she was happy to be a shahid? That she wanted to be tortured and murdered, her life gone from her body?

No of course not. She wanted what most women want: to be a wife, a mother, to be alive. She wanted to worship Allah. Instead, she gave her life in defiance of those who would try to stop the message of Islam.

Would it have been haram for her to remain a hidden follower? No. But she chose to do what was most pleasing to Allah; she chose the sirat-al-mustaqeem, that straight path that insha'Allah can lead us to Jannah.

My sisters, when I think of the sacrifices made by our beloved Prophet saws, by his beautiful wives, the mothers of all believers, by the sahaba... I know that my "reasons" are nothing more than flimsy excuses dressed up in self-congratulation and victimization.

May Allah swt bless us and our families and give us the strength to hold ourselves up to the example of RasoolAllah and the sahaba. Amin.

May 20, 2011

Just a little jumuah joy! :-)

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! Here is a video of Aaminah being my sweet little dai'ee masha'Allah! I probably should have waited; she has a bit of a cold right now but she loves soo much to talk about Allah and His prophets and to learn about Islam. The iman of a child is such a beautiful thing. :-)


May 18, 2011

Re-purposed skirt to toddler dress

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! You might have noticed I've been on a little craftin' kick lately. It's something that is in my blood; my grandmother is known to buy a lovely wool suit, take it home, deconstruct it, cut it down, and sew it back. Masha'Allah! She also crochets, grows lovely gardens, cooks, blah blah blah. My own mother can do painting, woodwork, crocheting, macrame, cake decorating... I can't list it all. My lovely sis crochets, knits, writes fiction, and oh so much more.

I am actually the black sheep of our crafting family. I cross-stitch but have never learned any more about crocheting than making a simple chain. :-) I have done other projects here and there (some simple folksy painting on decorations, etc) but I am no where near the skill level of my family. So I'm happy to report I've stepped up to the plate and can lay claim to the family inheritance, at least a little.

I got my inspiration for this dress via one of HijabiMommy's links. It was for tutorials on a blog called Craftiness is not optional. Super talented woman, btw! I spied her re-fashioned skirt to dress here and couldn't wait to try it out! I did a little step by step, not a tutorial or anything but just so you could see what was going on.

It was 50% off Wednesday at my local Salvation Army. I picked up this awesome blue and white striped Banana Republic skirt for a cool $2.50. Yeah, read 'em and weep! I felt a pang of guilt for taking this super-cute skirt to remake into a dress for Aaminah. ONLY because as it was, it was beautifully made and that was gonna change as soon as I got my hands on it! Here it is, pre-transformation:

Skirt before I got my hands on it! Notice the chocolate wrapper on the floor. :-D

So I took Aaminah's measurements and started a-cuttin'. :-) I turned it inside-out and made my measurements. It had a nice hidden zipper on the side but because of the oh-so-pretty pleats in the front I had to cut equal amounts off both sides. I briefly considered re-inserting the fabric strip with the zipper in the back but... I just didn't. :-) It fits over her head so alhamdulillah it wasn't necessary. I might kick myself later but for now...

close-up of the pleats. How pretty! This fabric is really nice too, btw.
I ended up not cutting any length off. For one, the bottom of the skirt was sooo cute with a mock-smocking effect and 2 layers. I didn't want to cut off the top because the waist band made a perfect top to attach the straps. It ended up being about an inch too long but I am going to do pick-ups or something; I haven't figured it out yet. Here it is after cutting off the required amounts:

Hahahaha... I cut sooo straight! Alhamdulillah I sewed a bit better. lol
I like to tell where I make errors so others insha'Allah can benefit from my mess up. Here I made a couple of mistakes. One, I really need better scissors and one of those measuring/cutting boards. My scissors are $5.96 specials from Wal-Mart. I also need to invest in some pins and USE them. Notice my erratic sewing? PIN YOUR FABRIC. :-)

Also in the tutorial the lady folded her skirt in half and cut through both at one time to ensure it was symmetrical. Ummmm yeah. I didn't. :-) Like I said, end result I don't think you can see but it sure looks funny here!

After sewing the side seams, this is what we have:

Ready for me to make the straps. Now that's another issue. Honestly, I have to get a board and good scissors! I just kinda eye-balled it; alhamdulillah they were really close in size but it could have been a lot better if I would have just slowed down. I always feel rushed when I sew (the too-busy mom guilt) so I tend to hurry myself.

Anyway got the straps sewn in and then decorated the front (mostly to hide the stitching) with some hand-made yo-yos. Cute I think.

I sewed in the straps in a V-shape in the back to keep them from slipping off her shoulder. :-) They are pretty spot-on but the dress was folded a little.
Well here is the finished product. It took me about an hour but should have taken longer if I would have done a better job. However, it's cute and the fabric is so nice and has some really awesome details so it totally makes up for any shoddiness on my part. :-)

Here is the complete dress:

Notice the awesome details on the bottom of the skirt.
So here is my list of things to look for if you want to repurpose a skirt:

1. It's great to have a zipper in it but make sure it's in a place you can keep it and use it. Otherwise you might want to get a different skirt.

2. Keep any decorations (such as the center pleats) centered. Alhamdulillah I remembered that gem!!!

3. Have good equipment! Really. That includes good thread (I bought cheap cotton and it's annoying me!).

4. Take your time. If it says it takes an hour, plan on 4 so you do things exactly right.

5. Decide how to handle the skirt liner, if there is one. In my case, I went ahead and just sewed it into the dress seams but it would have been better to have take it out and done it separately.

and finally....

6. Don't forget steps! I forgot to serge/zig-zag my raw edges. I don't have a serger but I could have used the zig-zag function on my machine. I didn't remember to (novice mistake) and I just pressed my seams flat. Oh well, live and learn!

I also bought a couple of other super-cute skirts/dresses/shirt to make into clothes for her. It's really fun for me and it's much cheaper to use $2.00 items from the thrift shop than to waste fabric at $7 a yard. :-)

If you make this, please let me know! I would love to see it. :-) Ma salaama ya'll..

May 15, 2011

Don't ya'll hate...

it when a blogger writes a teaser title like "Don't ya'll hate" then only has a one or two sentence blog post?

I do; I feel cheated. :-)) Just sayin'...

Ma salaama....

May 13, 2011

The awesomeness of hashbrown casserole

OK this isn't mine, I forgot to take a pic before we scarfed it ALL down. However, ti looks just like this. :-)

A'salaamu alaiukm ya'll. Yeah, this is kinda an ode to hashbrown casserole. More specifically, the yummy one served at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores. Come on now, all my southern sisters, give them a shout out!!! :-) We actually have one up here but it's 25 minutes the wrong way down the interstate so it's really not close to us at all. Therefore, if I find myself craving the casserole, I have to get cookin'.

Alhamdulillah, 10 or so years ago I found a yummy recipe in a Taste of Home magazine. I did make a few changes, made a few tweaks, to better fit in with what I like. Even A thought this was lovely. After my addition of eggs, it even travels and serves well for a buffet or potluck. (I sent it to the kids' weekend Islamic school for a breakfast they had recently.)

Without further ado, here is my revamped Hashbrown Casserole:

*I easily doubled the recipe to serve a crowd*

2 cans condensed cream of potato soup (can use cr. of chicken if desired)
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup finely diced onions
2 lbs frozen hashbrowned potatoes (I prefer the string kind, not the cubed)
2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 beaten eggs (can be omitted; I used it to help it hold together better)
salt and pepper to taste
chipotle pepper sauce- we like it a little spicy but it's more authentic to leave it out
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.

Combine soup, sour cream, onions, hot pepper sauce and eggs; mix well. Add potatoes and cheese and pour into a greased 13x9 casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the parmesan and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until browned.

Enjoy! You could easily add chopped peppers or breakfast sausage pieces to it if you like; we just eat it this way.

May 12, 2011

A sense of accomplishment

I love the whole 50's housewife look from the lipstick to the apron. :-)

Alternate title: It doesn't take much :-))

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll and good morning! Yeah, technically it's still morning (10:22 am) but for Muslims, our day starts waaaay earlier. Say before sunrise actually. The first of our five obligatory daily prayers, Fajr, is prayed before the dawn. Masha'allah my husband stays up but after I make him some strong, milky tea (or coffee if his stomach permits!) I usually crawl back into bed.

Alhamdulillah my husband tries to implement the sunnah in his life. It is a sunnah of our beloved Prophet saws to go to bed after Isha and stay away after Fajr. Unfortunately this is one sunnah I have had trouble with. See, I like my quiet time. Alone. Completely. So I stay up til about midnight (now that Isha is closer to 10 pm) so I can have that time. Alone. Yeah. :-D

I always digress; I guess that should just be a regular feature, my introductory ramble. lol

                    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As most of ya'll know, I battle kidney disease. Yeah, I'm sounding dramatic today. BATTLING KIDNEY DISEASE. However, it really does impact my daily life, more now as I've gotten older, fatter, and had so many health issues in the past 1.5 years. One aspect of my life where I've let it take control is in home maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep.

Wow, that sounds so official: The Department of Home Maintenance, Cleaning, and Upkeep. Yeah, I know Upkeep and Maintenance are synonyms but to me, maintenance is mechanical issues and upkeep is the deep, sporadic cleaning. Sorry for the definitions, but just so we are all on the same page. :-D

As I was saying, the DHMC&U has suffered greatly. I wasn't able to hire an interim director and my subordinates balked and would have mutinied, had we been aboard ship. As it was, I am just met with whining and general refusal to do said chores.

However, the past couple of weeks I've had more energy than I had been experiencing and I'm trying to take advantage of it! The other day I cleaned all the applicances and wiped down the kitchen cabinets; I've been vacuuming twice daily (morning and after supper) and just in general trying t

Let's just do a list, looks more impressive that way! What I've accomplished extra (not dishes, cooking, shopping, doctor appointments, playing with Aaminah, chauffeuring kids to school and activities, etc. etc. etc.)

1. Cleaned outside of all appliances and wiped down kitchen cabinets

2. Vacuum twice daily on most days.

3. Keep Aaminah's toys in the correct bin. You know, Mrs. Potato Head's pieces in her heiney, all small toys in one bin, all pretend jewelry and purses in another, blocks separated by type. :-) I loooove to do those things!

4. Went through Her Highness's clothing and took out TWO GARBAGE BAGS FULL of 24mo to 3T fall/winter clothing, alhamdulillah. AND found a family in need here to pass them on to, alhamdulillah!

5. Keeping the laundry to a small hill instead of a mountain. :-D

6. Washed our propane grill we bought last year. It had a layer of pollen and dust embedded in the light sheen of grease which always seems to coat these things. A pot of soapy water and a few of clean to rinse and voila! looks brand new again. :-)

7. Polished my leather sofa and love seat (and leather footstool) with lemon oil. Polished every surface except the back of the couch because it is against a wall and I didn't want to move it. ;-)

8. Took car through super-fun power washer (Aaminah loved it almost as much as I do LOL) and then vacuumed it thoroughly. It feels great to have a shiny, pretty car. :-)

Hmmm I wish I had more to pad my list but you know what? I've really lightened up on myself. When it was just me and Aaminah, with my boys at times, life was so much easier in terms of housework. Now, to keep a family of 6 fed is a chore in itself between the cooking, the shopping, the schlepping. :-D

My wish list:

1. Clean off top of my dresser.... eek! It has clothes on top along with some various and sundry junk items. Our apartment is not large, a 3BR for 6 people. It wasn't designed very efficiently and what space is here is lost in weird hallways (3 of them!) and a strange kitchen and bath.

So closet space is non-existent almost. Our walk-in closet is designed so weird you can't really store much in it. Also I get vertigo easily and I can't look up to the (too high for me to reach) rack because I get sick. :-))

2. Go through my clothes... ya Allah. What a chore that will be! I have sooo many shalwar kameez, abayaat, etc but I'm too chub for most of them right now. Some, due to my husband's preferences, I will never wear again so boo hoo. I need to find them a new home before they are so out-of-style no one wants them. :-)

3. Clean all the baseboards. Yep, pet peeve.

4. Do summer shopping for my family. I HATE THIS! Aaminah is a breeze and cheap, A is easy unless he wants some shalwar for under his qamis (thobe). Hard to source and the last ones I bought were uber-cheap material. :-( Yousef is easy but the girls.... Oh my!!!! Almost impossible to find modest affordable clothing. I think we'll be getting them abayaat from now on; we'll see how that works.

As Muslims, our first priority is to dress them modestly. We are finding it increasingly hard, especially with our budget. I simply can't pay $40 for a long skirt and another $40 or so for a tunic top. Which aren't easy to find this season anyway.

In the past, we've done dresses as shirts with a long sleeve underneath. However, the undershirts are very snug on their arms which isn't modest. The pants they wear underneath show their legs. We are commanded by Allah not to show our shape; my stepdaughters both wear hijab and are "of age" so it's not something we take lightly. We want to have a clear conscience when we stand in front of Allah.

My husband and I both would be happy dressing them in the large legged pants like you find on Shukr but we just can't swing the cost. One outfit there is $70 to $100 easily. Just not do-able. So it's off to search online for modest, affordable clothing in the correct sizes. Insha'Allah I'm successful!!! :-)

Ma salaama....

May 11, 2011

The pot calling the kettle black

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I am pretty loathe to admit this. It is absolutely horrible, hypocrital, and uncalled for. HOWEVER, it was my gut reaction and one I am sure others have shared in, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

I judged a sister for being fat.

There, I said it. Perhaps you don't really get how ridiculous this is. I am fat. (Ewww I said it. Out loud.) Anyway I am and I am (for the most part) happy with who I am. I know I have worth, I am intelligent, funny, caring, compassionate, and well.... just plain ole ME!

So here's what happened: there was a small little conversation on facebook and a sister I don't really know made a comment. Of course, I glanced at her profile pic and saw she was overweight. I instantly (and not even consciously) regarded her comment less seriously.

No, I am not joking. :-(

Anyway, I was going to comment (what she had said wasn't quite right, I felt, and I wanted to clarify an issue) but I got too busy. I logged back on later and saw this conversation again. I thought, Oh I don't think that sister is who I thought it was. So I click on her profile.

No, it wasn't who I thought it was. It was a sister but she was rather thin and had that look of an intense academic about her. Immediately I revised my opinion of her comment. 

Then it hit me. Whaaaaaaaaaaat? I examined what had happened, how I had went from kinda ignoring what she said to immediately reconsidering her point.

One explanation, which I am sure is part of it, is that this sister is an educated person who is qualified to hold an educated opinion. However, that wasn't how I made my original assessment. I thought she was overweight and I ranked her accordingly.

Ya Allah, you don't know how this appalls me! Not only the issue that it was over being fat while I, myself, am fat. But also because as a Muslim, as a human being, I pride myself on being open, accepting, and non-judgemental.

Yah. I do. OK laugh, I can appreciate the irony too.

I really analyzed my reaction and I think I know why I was dismissive of this sister in the beginning. I might realllly annoy some people with this but I am prepared. This is my blog, and my experiences, and my thoughts. Good or bad. This just happens to be some of the bad. :-(

Islam, alhamdulillah, was brought to some of the more ignorant and arrogant people on the face of the earth: the Arabs. Pre-Islam they were steeped in ridiculous traditions and a multitude of gods and were adamantly opposed to any type of change. Subhanallah, what Allah can make transpire!

Our religion has always spoken to the downtrodden: the mistreated slave, the unwanted baby girls, the exploited and the mis-used. Alhamdulillah again.

Even today, those who are unwanted or uninvited to other religions can find a home in the masjid.

OK I'm beating around the bush. Let me just come out with it. I've met many many women, overweight, divorced, with children, with disabilities, with little to no education,  often unemployed, etc. etc., come in and ask to learn about Islam.

After I would meet with them, the majority (90% of them) would explain how they met Mr. So and So, a Muslim, online. They got their groove on, started "dating" online, and now he's coming over from (fill in any Muslim majority country here except the Gulf, it appears). She wants to learn the basics (alhamdulillah) and find out about converting.

I would spend time with them, give them hijabs, an abaya, a Qur'an, literature; send them emails, call to check on them. Be available to answer any questions and being so willing to share the beauty of Islam and my conversion story with them. Basically accepting them as a friend even though many of the things about them personally were off-putting but I did it fi sabilallah (for the sake of Allah).

I didn't hear from most of them again. They wanted to know what any non-Muslim might want to know about Islam, to have that background information. Very few of them converted and from the few that did,  they seemed content to do no more than (possibly) pray. They rarely made any effort to gain more knowledge or dress more appropriately.

It seemed the carrot of marriage dangled in front of them by some good-lookin' muslim hottie (whom they should have sensed was out of their league) enticed them change teams. And that was the extent of their interest. Unfortunately for the few who would sporadically attend the masjid or stay in contact, the "brothers" the hooked up with invariably ended up either cheating on them, already being married (without the woman's knowledge) or just out-right leaving her.

Actually one woman went to meet a so-called brother in a different state. He was surprised she didn't bring her children with her (one of whom was a cute 14 yr old girl she had allowed him to speak with!). When she questioned how upset he was, he admitted he didn't want to marry the mom at all but had anticipated her bringing her young daughter with her. He wanted to court the DAUGHTER, not the mom. Subhanallah.

(Note: she actually let her daughter marry the man at the age of 15- no I'm not joking- and now alhamdulillah that daughter is still a muslim but the mother and younger children have went back to their previous way of life. It appears the man promised his soon-to-be MIL- who used to be his fiance!- a house and car, which never transpired.)

Sorry, back to the regularly scheduled program.

So I was happy when I realized why I had this immediate and gut reaction but still very unhappy about it. I guess I should also add that the sister's' name was very obviously that of a convert so it wasn't JUST the issue of weight but also that she was a convert. Once again, yes, the irony.

Please, I don't want or need any comments about how wrong this was. Yah, I get that. I also don't need any comments from my fellow fat sisters out there being enraged. Once again, yah, I know, it was W R O N G.  Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

I have prayed, and asked Allah swt to change my attitude and change my heart in this matter.

May 7, 2011

And the winners are...

A'salaamu alaikum. It's been a (hectic) week since I announced the first-ever "Ummi of Aami" blog contest.

A whoppin' TWO people responded. LOL Yep, you read it right, two! So I've decided to be oh-so-generous and give prizes to both of my readers.

I take it that either a) the prizes I offered were too cheap or b) no one could understand the rules. Anyway if you are one of the winners please contact me with your choice of prize and your mailing address. You may send me a comment here, which I will NOT post or you may send a message to me via my blogger profile.

Thanks for reading ya'll!!!!

May 3, 2011

My two cents on the past few days...

Cover of Time magazine's special edition due this week
*** Fact: Time magazine has only done 4 such covers; 3 of those pictured are Muslims. Really, no one else deserved this? How about Slobodan Milosevic, who was responsible for the deaths of 146,000 Muslims during the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia/Herzegovnia? This number is from a CIA memo btw. I am sick of media promoting Islamophobia.

Or... how about showing the US Flag, along with President Bush's photo. The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan since the start of "Operation Enduring Freedom" in 2001 numbers over  20,000 CIVILIANS, woman and children included, were killed by Allied forces.

8 of these were schoolchildren. Inna ilayhi wa inni lillahi rajioon.

How can anyone read this and NOT be sickened by it? Because one man decided to carry out his vendetta against the US for their foreign policies, it gave a right to the US to kills THOUSANDS of innocent civilians??? These numbers are verifiable and easy to find online.

Also easy to find is how much cover-up went on. For example, a pregnant woman (among others) was killed in a botched raid. Only innocent noncombatants were in the house. The soldiers pulled the bullets out of the bodies and stated all were dead when they got there. Later, they admitted to killing them and covering up their crime.***

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I've noticed the Muslim blogging world (my little corner of it, anyway) has been pretty quiet on the recent events which have transpired. What, you-who-lives-under-a-rock, asks? I am referring to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Just like my post about islamic_rage_boy's picture, I am over it, finished, stick-a-fork-in-me done. However, just to clarify, here is my stance:

The man responsible for planning the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US is dead. I don't believe most of the hype surrounding this story and let me tell you, I am not a conspiracy theory kinda gal. However, the perfect timing of the event (re-election, the whole "birther" debate, etc) the lack of a body, the media frenzy, all of it... well it just looks awfully convenient. Allahu alim.

I disagree with how they said they treated his body. Contrary to their statement, they did NOT follow proper Islamic protocol. Even child molesters and rapists are buried in a respectable manner, according to their religious beliefs. I cannot imagine no country would have taken his body but I can imagine many reasons why the US didn't try very hard to find a place. Once again, Allah alim.

I am disgusted by the behavior of many of my fellow Americans. Unless you actually lost a loved one on 9/11 why the heck are you looking for revenge? It didn't happen to you personally, get over it.

I believe everyone is entitled to a trial and if the US's intent was to capture him but things went awry, well ok so what. But if their intent was to assassinate him I believe that is wrong. I don't think our democratic ideals should only apply to a select few. That's a slippery slope.

I believe Osama bin Laden was misguided; I believe what he did was wrong. Muslims do NOT take the lives of innocent non-combatants. He has to answer to Allah for his sins. That said, the US and its allies should also observe the Geneva Conventions and uphold UN resolutions and stop thinking they are the police, judge and jury for the entire world.

I hated seeing the demonstrations in the streets, celebrating his death. I hate seeing the demonstrations in the Middle East or Afghanistan or wherever, celebrating the death of an American solider. It isn't civlized and it isn't good Islamic manners.

Are you all aware that in the battle of Badr the Prophet Muhammad saws insisted the Muslimeen bury all of the kaffiroon who died? Who died in hand-to-hand battle with the muslimeen? And yet, they buried them, digging 80+ graves in the burning sun. They buried them respectfully and at great physical cost to themselves; battle-worn and weary.

I think that is the least the US could have done for his body. Now let's see if they will get out of Afghanistan and leave those people alone. Their country cannot take much more American "assistance" that's for sure.