Bye bye August!

I think this will be my last post in August! I was looking at my archive and I found that I have posted 9 times in August, and so this post will be my 10th. I guess it was a productive month (on the blogging side only)!! Talking about productivity, I will start working on my research tomorrow. I have to finish the big paper I have been working on for a while now. I'm trying to get as much done as possible between now and the baby's arrival. 

Tomorrow, the last day in August, is the first day of school for my older daughter. She is going to second grade. My younger one is starting pre-K on Wednesday. With Ramadan and pregnancy, I'm not sure if I'm ready for school yet. But it's okay, the girls will have fun and no need to think about how to entertain them during the weekdays any more.

End of August means summer is about to end too. This summer was the hottest one for me here in PA. Summer is usually nice here but it was not this year with those several heat waves that hit our area. But subahan Allah the weather turned to be nice and wet with the first day of Ramadan!!

My husband left to Belgium on a work trip yesterday. He'll come back on Thursday inshallah. The girls and I miss him so much and can't wait to have him back. The good thing that we are able to talk to him face to face all the time. Thanks to my iPhone :)

Still in August, my friends came back from vacation last week. They spent most of the summer back in their countries. We had a gathering last Friday and I got a chance to see two of them. I was so glad to see them because I missed them so much. Today I got the chance to see my lovely friend Zika again and we spent most of the day together. The kids had too much fun and we had too much to talk about.

I'm working on the baby favors these days. I have almost everything ready for the baby shower including the baby registry. I'm so excited! I'll post pictures for everything soon.

Today is the first day of the last ten days of Ramadan. May Allah give all of us the chance to observe Laylat Al-Qadr and give us all the reward of worshiping this night.


Random thoughts!!

Today I couldn't stop thinking about my dissertation. I just feel overwhelmed and kind of confused! I'm one of those who believes that there is a light at the end of tunnel, no matter how long the tunnel is, but I just can't handle the frustration sometimes!

More than 1/2 of Ramadan is already over! Subhan Allah time flies by so fast. Talking a bout Ramadan, I'm really shocked of this attack against practicing Muslims and hijab by some of the Arabic TV series aired this Ramadan. I just wonder if those series writers or actors/actresses are the right ones to judge practicing Muslims. Why are they trying to make every practicing Muslim a terrorist? And since when was the hijab a matter of choice in Islam?! No Muslim can deny that it's a command from Allah! On the other hand, who said that hijab is locking Muslim woman in a cage. Most of the successful, high educated, classy Muslim women I know are wearing hijab!!!!

Note that I'm not judging Muslim sisters who are not wearing hijab. I have many close friends who are not wearing hijab, but they all believe that hijab is a mandatory "fard" and that they have to do it sometime. And here is the point, not wearing hijab but believing it is a command from Allah and that not doing it is a fault "haram" is so different than denying it. PERIOD! 

Last time I was at the ultrasound place I got some cool 3D pictures for my baby. It was really amazing!

That's it for now. Have a good weekend :)


Bold if true!

I am a cuddler.
I am a morning person.
I am an only child.
I am currently in my pajamas.
I am currently pregnant.
I am currently single.
I am currently suffering from a broken heart.
I am left handed.
I am married.
I am addicted to my myspace.
I am online 24/7, even as an away message.
I am a little shy around the opposite gender at first.
I bite my nails.
I can be paranoid at times.
I don’t like anyone.
I enjoy country music.
I enjoy jazz music.
I enjoy smoothies.
I enjoy talking on the phone.
I have a car.
I have a cell phone.
I have/had a hard time paying attention at school.
I have a hidden talent
I have a lot to learn
I have a pet.
I have a tendency to fall for the “wrong” guy/girl
I have all my grandparents
I have at least one brother
I have been to another country 
I have been told that I am smart 
I have been told that I have an unusual sense of humor
I have OR HAD broken a bone 
I have Caller I.D. on my phone
I have changed a diaper
I have changed a lot over the past year. 
I have done something illegal. 
I have friends who have never seen my natural hair color 
I have killed another person
I have had my hair cut within the last week.
I have mood swings 
I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life
I have rejected someone before.
I have seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
I have seen the television show The O.C.
I like Shakespeare.
I like the taste of blood.
I love to cook.
I like to sing.
I love Michael Jackson
I love sleeping.
I love to play computer games.
I love to shop. 
I miss someone right now.
I own 100 CDs or more
I own and use a library card 
I read books for pleasure in my spare time. 
I sleep a lot during the day.
I strongly dislike math
I watch soap operas on a regular basis.
I will try almost anything once.
I work at a job that I enjoy.
I would classify myself as ghetto.
I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
I am currently wearing socks. 
I am tired.
I love to paint/draw/sketch/sculpt.
I have had/have a broken heart
Graduated High School. 
Smoked cigarettes.
Rode every ride at an amusement park.
Collected something really stupid.
Gone to a rock concert. 
Helped someone.
Gone fishing.
Watched four movies in one night.
Gone long periods of time with out sleep. 
Lied to someone.
Been dumped.
Taken a college level course. 
Been in a car accident.
Been in a tornado.
Watched someone die.
Been to a funeral.
Burned yourself. (accidentally)
Ran a marathon.
Your parents got divorced.
Cried yourself to sleep. 
Spent over $200 in one day. 
Flown on a plane.
 Cheated on someone.
Been cheated on.
Written a 10 page letter.
Gone skiing.
Been sailing.
Cut yourself. 
Had a best friend. 
Lost someone you loved. 
Shoplifted something. 
Been to jail.
Had detention.
Skipped school.
Got in trouble for something you didn’t do. 
Stolen books from the library.
Gone to a different country.
Dropped out of school.
Been in a mental hospital.
Watched the “Harry Potter” movies. 
Had an online diary. 
Fired a gun.
Gambled in a casino.
Had a yard sale.
Been in a school play.
Been fired from a job.
Taken a lie detector test.
Swam with dolphins.
Gone to sea world.
Attempted suicide.
Voted for Pop Idol.(Arabic Super Star or Star Academy) 
Written poetry. 
Read more than 20 books a year. 
Gone to Europe.
Loved someone you couldn’t have.
Had a surgery
Had stitches.
Taken a taxi.
Seen the Washington Monument. 
Had more than 5 IM’s/online conversations going at once.
Had a drug or alcohol problem.
Been in a fist fight.
Had a hamster.
Petted a wild animal.
Used a credit card.
Gone surfing in California. 
Dyed your hair.
Got a tattoo.
Had something pierced.
Got straight A’s.
Your parents sent you to a shrink
Been handcuffed.
Known someone with HIV or AIDS.
Taken pictures with a webcam. 
Started a fire.
Had a party while your parents weren’t home.
Gotten caught having a party while they were gone.


Oven baked okra (طاجن بامية)

You will need:

2 pounds lamb meat, cut in medium chunks
1 pound fresh okra (or frozen)
3 big fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic gloves, finely minced
6 tablespoon veg. oil
salt and pepper
4 cups water

  • Prepare okra by cutting the tops off. Rinse well and set aside. 
  • Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan (if you have an oven/stove top pan that will better) over medium high heat. Add chopped onions and saute for few minutes until they are gold. 
  • Add meat to the pan and brown them, turning constantly, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. You do not need to cook it thoroughly because it will cook further in the oven. Transfer the meat to a baking pot. 
  • In the same saucepan that contains the remaining onions and fat from meat, add okra and saute for few minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add water, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Let it boil for few minutes. Add to the meat in the baking dish.
  • Add 2 tablespoon to a small frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until they are gold. Add immediately to the okra and cover the baking pot right away so the mix absorbs all the garlic smell and put the pot in the oven.
  • Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, until meat is fully cooked.
  • Serve with rice.


Ramadan at our house!

As six days have past, my Ramadan has been overwhelming so far. I was just able to fast for one day (the first day). I tried to fast again but I was so exhausted and I couldn't do it. 
The experience of my daughters has been interesting though! We are trying to make them fast as much as we can. In the last few days, my older one was able to fast for about six to seven hours a day which I think is not bad at all. My little one was able to fast for about 4 hours a day. However, whenever you ask her if she is fasting she will say "YES", even if her mouth is full of food :)

 Ramadan lights!

 Our Iftar on the first day of Ramadan


Qatayef (قطايف)

Qatayef is an Arab dessert commonly served in the holy month of Ramadan. They are sort of sweet crepe filled with cheese or nuts. They are similar to pancakes, except only one side is cooked, then folded. Here is the recipe I use to make qatayef.

You will need:

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3 drops lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon rose water

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon powder milk (optional)
2 cups warm water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Vegetable oil for frying

Cheese filling:
1 cup sweet cheese 

Nuts filling:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup grated coconuts
1/4 cups raisins
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Prepare the syrup by combining sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil add and then add the lemon juice drops and rose water. Stir well and set aside to cool down.
  • In a deep bowl mix all qatayef dry ingredients well and then add water.
  • Put the mix in a blender and blend for few minutes until you get a smooth batter.
  • Let the batter rest for a bout an hour.
  • Preheat a pancake griddle to 350 degrees (or you can use a frying pan on the stove top).
  • Add the lemon juice to the batter and blend it really well.
  • Using a ladle pour the batter in small pancakes size (around 3") on the hot griddle (don't flip them like pancakes). Let them cook until top is spongy and the bottom side is lightly brown.
  • Put the cooked pancakes between towels to keep them moist. While the pancakes are cooling down prepare the filling.
  • Fill the qatayef with cheese or nuts filling. Fold in half and pinch closed along the edge with fingers.
  • In a frying pan preheat the oil and then fry the filled qatayef until they are gold (you can also spray them with butter and bake them in the oven until they are gold).
  • Submerge the fried qatayef directly in the syrup and enjoy them.


    Eggplant Gratin (منزلة او مسقعة باذنجان)

    Ramadan mubarak everyone! I know that some of you have already Iftar, so may Allah accept your fasting and worship on the first day. It's still mid day here and we still have about 7 hours till Iftar. And by the way, I'm fasting today (so far), YAY! Inshallah I will be able to finish the day :)

    Yesterday I cooked eggplant gratin. This dish is one of my favorite. You can cook it by itself or as a second dish when you have some people for lunch/dinner (or Iftar). Here is the recipe I used.

    You will need:

    2 big eggplants (about 1.5 pounds), unpeeled and cut in slices
    1/2 pound lean ground beef
    1 small onion, chopped  
    3 big tomatoes, cut in cubes
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 cup of water
    1 cup mozzarella cheese
    oil for frying
    1/2 teaspoon all spices


    • Heat the oil in a big frying pan and then fry the eggplants until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through. Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain.
    • In another frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and then add chopped onions and fry until they are gold. Add ground meat and cook until well browned. Add tomatoes, water, and tomato paste and cover the pan over a medium heat until the tomatoes are cooked. And then add spices and salt and stir well.
    • Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
    • Arrange half of the eggplants in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    • Spread the meat sauce over the eggplants, and then arrange the second half of the eggplant over the sauce.
    • Spread the mozzarella cheese on the top until it covers the whole pan.
    • Bake it for 20-30 minutes uncovered in the oven.
    • Serve with pita bread or rice.


    It is Ramadan in the air!

    Ramadan is about to start, and inshallah it will be a blessed month to all Muslims. I'm so excited about the holy month, I'm not sure if I will be able to fast though! I started my third trimester couple of weeks ago, and as my belly gets bigger as I need to eat more frequent. I barely can survive two hours without a food or my whole body will start shaking so bad. Last time when I was pregnant, I was about 9 weeks pregnant when Ramadan started and elhamdulillah I fasted the whole month. However, I was so sick and not feeling to eat at all. This Ramadan, I will try to fast on the first day to see if I can do it or not, if it doesn't work I will make it up in winter, inshallah.

    Last week we went to Paterson, NJ and did some grocery shopping for Ramadan. We bought yummy dates, Arabic cheese (too many kinds), dried apricot, spices, and too many other things. I just love Ramadan grocery shopping because it puts you in Ramadan atmosphere. Since Ramadan doesn't feel here in US the same way it does in Arab countries, we're trying to create this atmosphere ourselves so my kids and we enjoy it. I'm kind of worried though because of the long hours of fasting and the short sleep nights. It would be really hard on my husband and us, and I'm not sure if we can keep organized and productive as we hope to. Ramadan is all about fasting, praying, reading Quran, doing tahajud, and being too close to Allah, and I just hope we can perform well in this month. May Allah accept our worship in the holy month.

    Now back to the food :) I haven't decided what to cook on the first day yet! Any suggestions?! My sister insisted on us to go to NYC and break our fast with them, but I don't think we will be able to do so because my husband will be working on that day, and it's gonna be hard to drive for 90 minutes for just having Iftar and then coming back on the same day.

    It was the 10th anniversary for our official marriage (katb kitab) yesterday. This day is much important to me than the wedding day itself because it's the day on which we both became tied to each other and officially married. Time flies by so fast; it feels like yesterday and I remember all the details, the smallest ones. It is the best thing that ever happened to me. I'll be always not able to thank Allah enough for his blessings on me and my family.

    Ramadan Kareem!


    7 things I hate about myself!!

    I don't know where did I get this post's idea from or why did I choose number 7! I just thought maybe confessing some of my weaknesses will make me feel better.
    1. I get nervous so easily and this affects my performance badly sometimes.
    2. I sometimes can't handle criticizing people no matter how close to me they are.  
    3. I get emotional fast and sometimes cry in front of other people when I really don't want to.
    4. I regret a lot and it takes me too long to get over stuff.
    5. I get sick (REALLY sick) whenever my husband travels.
    6. I can't get over fear of getting old and I get freaked out when I see any signs of this!
    7. I can't be as good/strong Muslim as I wish to be.

    I'm tagging you all to list the 7 things you hate about yourself. 


    I'm in pain :(

    I've been having a sore and tender gum for more than two weeks now. It's really bad that I bleed everytime I brush/floss my teeth or eat dry food. Besides the sore gum I started to have toothache one week ago. As soon as I felt the pain I decided to go to the dentist, I though was not happy to go because I know dental visits during pregnancy are not recommended but I had no other choice with all that pain.

    I went to the dentist last week, and she told me that I have pregnancy gingivitis, which is very common during pregnancy. It is caused by the hormonal changes that increase the blood flow to the gum tissue and cause the gum to be more sensitive, irritable and swollen. She recommended scaling (deep cleaning), but she wanted a referral from my gynecologist first. For the toothache she told me that I need x-rays to tell what's wrong with my tooth, and that she doesn't recommend it unless the pain is really bad. She wanted a referral for the x-rays and any treatment I will need for that tooth.  I decided to get a referral for the scaling because I read online that gingivitis can cause preterm babies, and it should be treated during pregnancy. However, I decided to take the pain caused by my tooth and wait until I give birth. 

    Unfortunately, the tooth pain is getting really bad that I can't stand it anymore. It's getting really bad that I can't even drink or eat. I don't think I will be able to wait on it nor ignore it, so the first thing I will do tomorrow is calling the women clinic to get a referral.

    I just pray it won't be harmful to the baby.
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