Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Review: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I picked it up for several reasons. It was an Oprah book pick. And I had a baby coming due and enjoy reading while nursing. At Christmas I received a Kindle Fire... so I find it simply odd that this is perhaps the last actual book I will purchase (until I have one of my own in print of course!). I enjoyed the book until it's last pages. The story of a boy who cannot speak but can communicate with pigeon sign was fascinating. The love the dog has for the boy is heartfelt. The author's ability to write from multiple perspectives including the dog's was great. Just wish I'd known going in to it that this was a recreation of the Shakespearean Tragedies. Once I finished the book in bafflement (the end is.... weird...) I did some research. Seems to me that this book was in part a bfa project for the author. It is Shakespear-- set in rural Wisconsin. And the main character is unable to speak. The premiss works. The author did well with the story telling, don't get me wrong. Its just that I am left thinking: How did he come up with the change in the scenery, and characters? Did he spin a wheel? Did he try to come up with the most unlikely combination of instances and make them work as a story? Did he just take the favorite moments from all the plays and mush them together to make one story? It works. Which says something of this writer. But... What the? I just wish I'd known it would end a tragedy-- s'all I'm sayin'

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First Snow!

Today has been a funny little day but on the whole a great first snow! One baby or another has been having hard nights with this cold that they've all got (including the biggest baby-- Baba!) so we've been playing musical beds at night have been rocking and cuddling several people at different times each night. Babu especially has been having a hard time. So after a rough night, we all woke up (a bit late) to snow!! Big sloppy flakes and about 4 inches accumulation! Aapi was super excited to see all the white stuff and set out to organize all the hats and mittens to get out the door in proper gear today. When I opened the garage today to get the snow scrapers out, I guess a squirrel got in-- and not only into the garage but into the attic above the house! As I dropped off Aapi, Baba and Babu heard the tell-tale scampering above their heads. Then although we made it out of the house without drama today, Aapi did forget her shoes, so I had to turn right around and drop those off. I had the weirdest feeling of happiness as I dropped off the shoes this morning. I am grateful that I can just hop in the car and drop something off so easily to her-- when I was little, my mom worked and because she was a teacher, she could never get away to do something like this. On the other hand, my dad could and often did. We were very lucky to have him. After dropping off the shoes... I got my requisite cup of coffee from McDonald's. And they gave me two today! What a great mistake! When I got home I spent much of the day doing essentially nothing. I investigated the sounds upstairs and playing around on the computer but mostly I just snuggled one baby and then snuggling another. It was a cuddly day all around

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My family is sick...

Nothing gets done when the family is sick...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak Everyone! Today's Eid is a celebration to commemorate the sacrifice that Abraham made when he attempted to give his son Ishmael over to sacrifice and a goat or fatted calf was given to him instead. This is the same story Christian's hold to be true with one exception. Christian's believe it was Isaac that God was asking to be given and Muslims believe the son was Ishmael. This Eid also marks an important step for those on the Hajj (the holy pilgrimage). The men shave their heads and then sacrifice a goat. In this right, today we are shaving Imran's head for the first time. This is a wajib (obligatory) act we have for newborns. Generally it is done on the fifth day of life. For my family we've always done it a bit later to coincide with something where lots of family members are present.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Typical Sunday-- even away from home

Are you READY for some FOOT BALLLLLL? That is what I hear at my house-- or wherever I am on Sunday. If we can get out of the house before 11 am it is a blessed thing because once that time rolls around we are home bound for the rest of the day. Baba is a Cowboys fan. I am a Packers fan. We both play fantasy football although he much more fastidiously than I. Today we are in Chicago visiting my in-laws for the first time in 4 months. It has been a great visit but I was curious how Sunday would be spent here. Surprise, surprise.... we went to the park to run the kiddos in the morning, got me some coffee and then headed back to the house to watch.... you guessed it.... FOOTBALL! Baba settles in to the games and I begin the musical chair rendition of "lets juggle the babies and keep them happy." If all goes well, his teams win, my teams win and the babies are dry, fed and content. Sometimes there is a pot of chili thrown in as well. Happy Sunday everyone.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Birthday to Babu!

Two years ago today, my dreams came true. I became a parent to my second child-- a boy-- a hard fought and unbelievably successful pregnancy. Ilyaas Ali came screaming in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces and in under three hours of labor (first cramp to last push!). My dreams came true not because he was a boy and not because he was healthy although both made me so very happy. My dreams came true because with his birth, I had ended almost four and a half years of unexplained infertility and two miscarriages. I don't think I slept much those first months-- so grateful to Allah was I that I was given this huge gift. All I could do was gaze at him, his fingers, his toes, and murmur surrahs and wishes into his soft hair. Thank you Allah for Ilyaas Ali. He is the gift from God I did not believe I would ever receive. His birth restored my hope and belief that I would again bear more children. And he is the reason I had the courage and expectation that future children would be born just as easily-- He is essentially the reason Imran is here today. We are so blessed with our babies. A special place exists for our little Ilyaas Ali

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Hands are not my Own Today

So much to do with so little time.... Lots of this...
and this....
today. Hope the 4 hour drive I'm not prepared for goes alright tonight.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Cider Drizzle (and why I love Pinterest so much!)

** Special Thanks to Mommy's Kitchen for this recipe!  And Pinterest for having this yummy recipe on my search!**

Aapi in the Kitchen!
Pumpkin Cake W/Caramel Cider Sauce

1 1/2 - cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 - cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 - tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 - tsp. baking soda
1/2 - teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
3/4 - cup oil
1 -15 oz can pumpkin
                                                                                    2 - eggs

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add oil, pumpkin and eggs. Whisk or use and electric mixer until blended. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool cake completely and top with the cider sauce before serving.

Caramel Cider Sauce1/2 - cup brown sugar
1 - tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 - cup apple cider
2 - tablespoon heavy cream
1 - tablespoon butter (not margarine)
salt to taste
In a saucepan, whisk brown sugar and cornstarch. Add cider and stir in the cream, butter and salt. Cook over med-hi heat, whisking constantly, until large bubbles form around the edge of the saucepan, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and allow to thicken, about 2 minutes. Top with vanilla ice cream if you want and drizzle sauce over it.

Measuring out the salt (outside of the bowl!)
And the oil (should have been outside of the bowl!)

Smoothing the cake into the pan.

Baking at 325 for half an hour

Working closely with Mama making the Caramel Cider Sauce-- REALLY YUMMY!

 This cake was wonderful!  We brought it with us to a potluck that night and although Baba's contribution went over better (Tendoori Chicken Wings on the Grill) the cake was well received.  We brought the rest home and I think I may have eaten all but 4 pieces over the rest of the weekend.

And finally a shout out to Pinterest-- my new favorite past time haha!  When the little boys are napping, Pinterest and a cup of coffee from McDonald's make my afternoon blissful!  I have bulletin boards for my dream house, home organization, favorite recipes, children play stuff, and all sorts of stuff.  You can see my boards by clicking here! And keeping all things in one place enables me to actually go through and learn more about what I've pinned.   LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Being a Better Muslim--- November Calendar of Auspicious Days

                                            November, 2011    Dhu al Hajjah, 1432  

November/ Dhu al Hajjah
2/5-  Wafat: Hazrat Abu Zur Ghaffari (RA)
3/6-  Listen to Dua Khumail
4/7-  Martyrdom: Imam Mohammad Baqir (AS)
5/8-  Imam Hussain (AS) left Makkah towards Karbala
6/9-  Martyrdom: Hazrat Muslim Ibne Aqeel (AS) / Yaum-e-Arafat
7/10-  Eid-ul-Azha (click here for more information)
10/13Listen to Dua Khumail
12/15-  Wiladat: Imam Ali-an-Naqi (AS)
15/18-  Eid Al-Ghadir
17/20 Listen to Dua Khumail
24/27 Listen to Dua Khumail
27/1-  1 Muharram, 1433
28/2-  Imam Hussain (AS) reached Karbala

For listening pleasure, please listen to this speech by Moulana Syed Asad Jafri entitled "The Internal Battle of Islam"  Thanks to my cousin for this suggestion for speakers.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo...Here we Go!

Blogging at least one post each day in November.  Can I do it?  A challenge!...  I love a challenge!  And a chance to impart some information on the "lucky lady" who happens to read my posts. ;)  I am FILLED with information to impart!  And prizes!!  ahh...  who am I kidding, I never win the prizes.   That's okay!  I'm in!  You had me at nablopomo!  

Some of the topics I hope to include this month:

Islamic Calendar of Auspicious Dates and links to frequently used sites for easy access

Menu Plan Monday

Review of the book The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (I am on page 365 of 562 right now.)

Reactions to life as I know it

My first attempts at providing tutorials on making certain dishes I enjoy (including family recipes as well as internet finds)

A (more) regular update on my crafting life....  not much to that I'm afraid

A riotous anecdote here and there about me getting back into to groove since baby number 3 has come on the scene.

....  can you dig it?  My life-- in a nutshell.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday Oct. 31- Nov. 6, 2011

Here is what we are eating this week!

Cereal and Milk
Cinnamon Toast
Peanut Butter Toast or English Muffins
Cream of Wheat
Apple Muffins

PB and J Sandwiches
Hot Dogs
Split Pea Soup

Monday-  Pan fried fish and French Fries

Tuesday-  Lasagna and Garlic Bread

Wednesday-  Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Thursday-  Leftovers and Frozen Pizza if needed

Friday-  Eat on the Road to Chicago

Saturday-  Chicago

Sunday-  Chicago

Monday-  Eid al Adha (drive back from Chicago and eat on the way)

For more menus, check out Menu Plan Monday by Organizing Junkie

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Better Muslim...

                                 We are trying to be better Muslims....

Here are the proposed changes:

Daily- Pray and Daily Duas
     Thursday-  Dua Khumail
     Friday-  Jummat Khutbah
Monthly-  View calendar and bring historic topics up at dinner time (Martyrdom, Birthdays and Marriages of auspicious people)
                Monthly visit to Chicago masjids
Occasional-  Extended visits during important times of the year (Moharram and Ramadan)

This week's Calendar:  Dhu l Qa'dah 25- Dhu al Hajjah 3 (Oct 23-Oct 31 2011)

10/23 (Dhu l Qa'dah 25)-  Wiladat Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Isa
10/27 (Dhu l Qa'dah 29)-  Martyrdom of Imam Mohammad Taqi
10/29 (Dhu al Hajjah 1)-  Wedding:  Imam Ali to Bibi Fatima Zehra
10/31 (Dhu al Hajjah 3)-  Allah accepted Hazrat Adam's dua (God Always Answers Prayers)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday Oct.24-30, 2011

Sausage and Egg Biscuits
Cereal and Milk
Cream of Wheat
Cinnamon Toast

Uncle Davey's Special (recipe coming) with Pumpkin Caramel Cake
Hot Dogs and Chips
Split Pea Soup and Crackers
Frozen Pizza

Monday-  Lamb Curry and Rice

Tuesday-  Baked Tortellini and Garlic Bread

Wednesday-  Green Bean Casserole and Stuffing (recipe coming) with Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Thursday-  Leftovers (Eat Down the House)

Friday-  Eat on the Road or once in Chicago

Saturday-  Chicago

Sunday-  Politos Pizza

For more great menu ideas head over to Menu Planning Monday at Organizing Junkie

Monday-  Taco Casserole

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: October 17, 2011

Menu Plan for Monday Oct. 17- Sunday Oct. 23, 2011

Eggs served to order with toast
Cream of Wheat with Honey or Pure Maple Syrup
Honey Bunches of Oats with Milk
Peanut Butter Toast

Shaved Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches
Brown Bag Burritos (from Amy's Finer Things)
Summer Sausage and Mustard Sandwiches

Monday:  Roasted Chicken, roasted acorn squash and Steamed broccoli

Tuesday:  Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Wednesday:  Chicken Basil Ranch Pizza with Raw Veggies

Thursday:  Leftovers and Frozen Pizza

Friday:  Lamb Curry with Rice

Saturday:  Chicken Wings and KFC cole slaw (lunch:  Baked Tortellini and Garlic Bread)

Sunday:  Green Bean Casserole, Stuffing and Sweet Potatoes (large breakfast:  French Toast, Bacon and coffee/ choc. milk)

View more menu plans at Menu Plan Monday on Organizing Junkie

Its a BOY!

Welcome to the world baby- Imran Ali!  Already we love you.  We love your cuddles and soft skin and brown beautiful hair and pink skin.  Mama and Baba are so blessed to have you and Babu and Aapi cannot WAIT to meet you!  You were born after an induction, and around 3 hours of contractions.  You could barely wait for the doctor to get his delivery clothes on before you came out to see the world and meet us!  You were born at 1:06 pm after 2 pushes and 11 minutes of active labor.  You were 7 lbs 5.8 oz. and 20 inches long.  We love you so much sweet boy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Baba's First Day Back...

:(   and :)
This is how I feel today.  Baba went back to work a couple hours ago.  Babu has only asked for his Baba around 500 times so far this morning... grumble...  Baba gave extra hugs and kisses today to both Babu and me but he still did have a little spring in his step.  But truth be told, I have a little spring in my step too.  I am very anxious to get back into my routine (meal planning, house cleaning, general house-wifery type stuff).  And of course I get to type this out with a warm sleeping bundle nestled right in on my lap.  I love the tiny baby stage....  now if only I can wrangle the almost 2 year old simultaneously!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Too Much Information Alert!

I just had a doctor's appointment yesterday and here is what I know about Miracle Baby #3!

  • The baby probably weighs 7 lbs 10 oz as of yesterday.
  • The baby's heart rate was 146 yesterday... was in the 140's last week and was 130 the two visits before that.
  • I am 3 cm dilated!
  • I am 80% effaced
  • If I make it until Thursday next week (9/29/11) I am to report to the birth center at 8:00 am to get things going!!!  
I can't wait!!  I am so excited!  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday:

Cereal with Milk
Whole Wheat Toast with Cinnamon and Sugar
French Toast with Maple Brown Sugar Loaf
Eggs and Toast

Bento Style lunch (corned beef roll-ups, cheese curds, sliced red pepper, dried apple, pretzels)
Brown Bag Burritos
Frozen Pizza

Monday:  Leftovers (lamb curry and rice, buffalo chicken chili, shaved turkey sandwiches and cheese factory cheese)
Tuesday:  Chicken Ranch Pizza with Sundried Tomatoes and Steamed Broccoli
Wednesday:  Blackened Crab and Pasta with Asiago Cream Sauce (adapted from Happy Housewife)
Thursday:  Tuna Casserole and Roasted Acorn Squash
Friday:  Baba's Spicy Chicken Wings with Baked Potatoes
Saturday:  Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Homemade Bread (no bacon-- from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures)
Sunday:  Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup/ Fast Food Meal

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I am back on the Menu Planning on the blog... we'll see how long it lasts since Miracle Baby #3 is due any day!

Breakfast List:

Oatmeal and Cinnamon Toast
Cereal with Milk
Peanut Butter Toast

Lunch List:

Brown Bag Burritos (recipe from Amy's Finer Things)
Leftover Hot and Sour Soup
Cold Cut Sandwich with Dried Apple Chips
Bento Style:  Crackers, Cheese Cubes, Fruit Leather, Sliced Bell Pepper, Popcorn/Cookie

Monday:  Leftovers and/or Frozen Pizza (Mama is out to dinner with the girls)

Tuesday:  Burgers Corn and Baked Beans

Wednesday:  Walking Tacos

Thursday:  Uncle Davey's Special (shells and cheese made with mushroom soup and diced hot dogs) with Steamed Veggies from the Garden

Friday:  Chicken Wings and Baked Potatoes

Saturday:  Lamb Kabobs and Homemade Roti (recipe from Happy Housewife)

Sunday:  Buffalo Chicken Chili, Nachos and Apple Pie

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's Foolery: Shopping with the Babu

This morning, Babu and I headed out to do a few errands.  It was a day I'd been worried he be pushed around in one cart after the next only to transfer to a stroller in other places.  So, I took special care to keep him walking wherever he could.

Enter store #2:  Groceries...  this shop has small kid-sized carts and although I had tried and failed miserably with Aapi and the cart when she was a toddler, I figured what better time to see how things go???  Afterall, he is a totally different kid from his big sister, and we only had 4 items to pick up!  What could go wrong?

Famous last words!

Babu handled the card like a champ as it turns out!  He would push it nicely, stopped when I told him, turned where/when I told him and felt so proud to put our 4 items inside.  He marveled at pictures on the food items down on his level... noticing for the first time: a  Tigoo (tiger) on a tea box,  cartoon pictures on greeting cards, an Oownie Banoon (Ernie balloon)  and his favorite of course-  Sweeeeee Torn (sweet corn)!

All was well with the world... so I decided to lengthen our stay and browse the store... (hmmm... what was I thinking?)  I of course ran into someone to chat with as per usual in our small town and even then Babu just did awesome!  Pushed the cart around me in a pretty safe size area to where I could get if need be!

Unfortunately, another shopper needed to pass by.  Babu with his cart had half my attention and my friend had the other half.  So, me in my full 36 week "she knows not how huge she really is" glory I swung around and stepped back....  and I... the Mama with nothing in her hands... Not the Babu with a kiddie cart full of corn, ice cream, mushrooms and tofu...

...Knocked over an entire cardboard endcap of plasticware, straws and paper plates.

"Uh oh Mama!  Biiiiig Mess!" said Babu.  Yes.  I thought.  Biiiiig Mess indeed!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's New Wednesday: Autumn Temperatures Outside = Crocheting

Every week I get a wonderful email from Lion's Brand Yarn (the Weekly Stitch:  )  filled with season appropriate yarn crafting ideas.  To date I have mostly enjoyed this site but only worked on a few projects.  This week I found a "throw" pattern which would teach me various forms of the Tunisian stitch.  Click HERE for the pattern.

This is the Youtube tutorial I used to learn the basic Tunisian stitch.  It came from Crochet Geek-- I find her lessons to be clear and slow enough for me to follow haha!

My goal is to get 8 squares done by next Wednesday and then I will post the next stitch.

Amendment:  After crocheting one square in Red Heart "Cherry Cola," using the basic Tunisian stitch, I've decided to only crochet 4 in this color and pattern.  They other patterns of this throw are too neat to pass up and the "cherry cola" color variation is cool but too dark for the direction I wanted to take this project.

So far I have 2 squares complete.  If things continue to go quickly I will post my second stitch before Wednesday!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Confession #1: I am not the parent I'd hoped I'd be...

I have a confession to make:

I do not consider myself to be an awesome parent.  And I definitely do not parent the way I thought I would before I actually had children.

I try to be a healthy mommy.  I try to be a listening mommy.  I try to be a present mommy.  I try to be a creative, laughing and cuddling mommy.

Lately I feel like a McDonald's drive thru mommy.  I feel like I am a mommy who only half listens to my kids and then murmurs... "hmmm?" making my kids repeat what they are saying/ asking a few times.  I feel like I am "in my head" too much.  Always thinking about things and not looking my children in the eye or staying in the moment long enough to register what they need or want from me.  I feel like I am a "no" mommy...  mommy can I watch tv?  No.  Can we play school and you're the teacher?  No.  Can Babu and I go play outside/ go to the park/ take a bike ride?  No. No. No.  I am failing at being a "yes" mommy.

I could excuse myself by saying:  I am 36 weeks pregnant.  My legs are swollen, I can't bend down, I can't pick up, I am tired...
I could excuse myself by saying:  I am trying to process all these apples... or peppers... or tomatoes... etc. from the garden.
I could just own up to it.  I don't play with my kids like I should.  I don't interact with them the way I wish I did.  I can get a few good days together and then I'm exhausted by everything and I fall back on passive parenting.  I am just not the parent I pictured myself to be.  I am sad about this.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 31, my seemingly monthly update is due! Eid Mubarak!

Wow!  The last time I blogged, Ramadan was just about to start.  I guess it is appropo that I am blogging once again-- exactly a month later and Ramadan just passed.  Today was Eid.  Yay!  Eid Mubarak to you all.  So much has happened in the last month.  Where to start....
  • Shabbar's mom is doing well with the cancer.  She has zipped through 2 rounds of chemo and tomorrow is round number 3.  Shabbar and Aaliyah are there to be with her and to celebrate Eid.
  • We have harvested 20 pounds of tomatoes and I don't see signs of that letting up.
  • We have harvested many peppers (both Hungarian Wax and Jalepeno's)
  • We have pickled green beans and pickled peppers.
  • We have preserved 4 quarts of tomato juice and 9 pints of crushed tomatoes.
  • We have dehydrated one gallon of apples and have three gallons sitting on my counter and MANY more in the yard ready to process (I'm thinking cider, applesauce and dehydrated rings)
  • I have had two rounds to date of false labor.  I am just hoping I make it to Sept. 29 at this point.
  • I have read 1 1/2 books on home organization and have thoroughly enjoyed making my system and going through the exercises.  These are the books I've used thus far:
    • Side Tracked Home Executives by Pam Young and Peggy
    • The Happiness File also by Pam Young and Peggy
  • We have started Aaliyah in Quranic classes with the kind Moulana Taqi out of Jaipur India.  He meets with her 3 mornings a week via Skype.  It is going well, and has been a learning experience for us all so far ;)
  • Tonight I met Aapi's first grade teacher-- a sweet, kind, soft spoken teacher whom I can't wait to find out more about-- but alas will have to wait until Tuesday since she will be missing her first and second day of school due to Eid and celebrations in Chicago.
  • Babu is talking more and more and getting cuter and cuter.  He got his first big boy haircut a few weeks ago and is getting closer to his terrible two's by the second!  Restaurants are out of the question without some type of crying and removal from said restaurant these days. 
Life is zooming right along and I can't wait for our next adventure!  The induction for miracle baby #3 has been set to Sept. 29... so less than a month to go!  Hope I make it and hope all goes well!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nearly 31 weeks and home alone...

This weekend I shipped my dear family out to Chicago for one last pre-chemo visit to Aami Jaan.  These last 30 weeks have been a whirlwind.  Aami Jaan has been in and out of the dr. office and hospital since May with a diagnosis of breast cancer and a left only radical mastectomy.  She is healed now and will begin Chemotherapy this week.  The family has rallied and she has been well taken care of so far.  They made a schedule of post-chemo care beginning with AamiJaan's sister and followed by Baba.  He will be gone from August 16-21... including his birthday :( .  The next 4 sessions will be completed by other family members.  On top of this, I just finished camp last Friday ending a three week intense session organizing 21 campers, 3 teachers, 5 counselors and my family.  It was fun!  I had a great camp!  But I ended up firing one counselor two days before the end... Miserable.  And I have officially hit 30 weeks as of last Wednesday beginning my travel restriction making me stay within one hours travel to a Level 3 NICU just in case miracle baby #3 decides to enter the world early (like Aapi) or quickly (like Babu).  Tomorrow (inshAllah) begins Ramadan and with only Shabbar fasting inside the house, it'll prove difficult I am sure.  The days are long and hot....  and the rest of us are either too young or pregnant making fasting not only not required but not accepted.  Perhaps we'll get up for Zaahari each morning to see him off.  SOOO many things going on right now. 

This weekend I was by myself-- it was nice but I was lonely.  I realized I only lived in our bedroom for most of it- haha!  I really like my bed.  I read, I watched hulu, I slept, I ate...  all from the comfort of my cozy spot.  I did venture out each day-- to the farmer's market yesterday and to goodwill/ big lots today.  And I need to get into Mama-mode again as my lovelies will be with me again at some point (all I know is that it'll be at least 4 more hours). 

Time to menu plan again.  Time to declutter.  Time to prepare for miracle baby #3. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Reading List for Aapi... lets see how far we get

Babu and Miracle Baby #3 woke me up at 3am this morning for a potty break, diaper change and bottle...  and here I sit at 3:42 still awake.  Why not get a little summer vacation planning done!  This is the summer reading list I found on a random site geared to incoming 1st graders.  I plan on doing weekly library visits this summer so I think we'll print this list and see how much we can read together.  I have highlighted the books we've already read and plan to check in as the summer progresses to see where this takes us...


Read Aloud Books:  ALL children can benefit from being read to. Any book lends itself to being a read aloud. Please read fairy tales and folk tales to your children whenever possible. They are a rich and beneficial part of our literary heritage, and enhance the cultural literacy of our children. Children love to hear adults read to them. It creates a special time between adult and child. Choose a book that is at least 2-3 grade levels above your child's reading level. Children can listen to language at a higher level than they can read. The grade levels here are suggestions - let your child's interests and maturity guide you in selecting an appropriate book. It only takes 20 minutes a day!
TITLE                        AUTHOR

AMAZON ALPHABET Martin & Tanis Jordan
COLOR ZOO Lois Ehlert
FIRST THE EGG Laura Vaccaro Seeger
FROG AND TOAD (other titles) Arnold Lobel
IS YOUR MAMA A LLAMA? Deborah Guarino
LON PO PO Ed Young
MY FATHER'S DRAGON Ruth Stiles Gannett
SHY CHARLES Rosemary Wells
THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH Patrick Skene Catling
THE LIBRARY Sarah Steward
THE RUNAWAY BUNNY Margaret Wise Brown
THE SNOWMAN Raymond Briggs
THE SNOWY DAY (and other titles) Ezra J. Keats

Have Your Child Read to You:  For children who are just learning to read, there are many excellent wordless books on the market also (such as the GOOD DOG, CARL series). Have your child "read" these to you by telling the story of the pictures. ABC and number books (such as ANNO'S ALPHABET and ALPHABATICS) are also excellent selections for this age group. Other children are already picking up books and reading them aloud to you. If this is your child, here are some book recommendations they may want to read to you.
•Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
•Biscuit (other titles) by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
•City Dog by Karla Kuskin
•Freight Train by Donald Crews
•I Love Trucks! by Philemon Sturges
•If You Give a Moose a Muffin (other titles) by Laura Numeroff
•My Very First Mother Goose by Rosemary Wells and Iona Opie
•No David! (other titles) by David Shannon
•Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (other titles) by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
•Sheep in a Jeep (other titles) by Nancy Shaw and Margot Apple
•The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
•Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
•Where’s Spot? (other titles) by Eric Hill
•The I CAN READ books by the following authors: Arnold Lobel, Kay Chorao, Majorie W. Sharmat, Doug Cushman, Clyde Bulla, Ida Luttrell

Try these titles from the Virginia Young Readers list:
•Chester by Melanie West
•Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
•Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
•Hansel and Gretel by Rachel Isadora
•I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont
•I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
•Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman
•Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
•Too Many Toys by David Shannon
•Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story From Africa by Jeanette Winter

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: May 2- May 8, 2011

This week I am feeling some of that "Second Trimester Energy" we all love!  I am 18 weeks on Wednesday and enjoying the greening of the earth and the rounding of my belly.  Both yesterday and tonight we had dinner that screamed summer so I am hoping that Mother Nature gets the hint and starts bringing our temps into the 60's instead of the 30's!  But, the seeds are in the greenhouse and the compost is in the driveway so spring projects must surely be upon us no matter the weather...  so must our diet be wistful of the warm days to come.

Monday May 2:  Burgers, Steamed Asparagus and Corn on the Cob (followed by a trip to Menard's for fencing supplies)

Tuesday May 3:  Tangy Baked Chicken Breast, Oven Roasted Broccoli, Rice and Slow-Cooker Rhubarb Strawberry Pan dowdy

Wednesday May 4:  Steak, Baked Potatoes, Salad w/ Cucumber

Thursday May 5:  Happy Cinco de Mayo!!  Walking Tacos w/ all the fixins'

Friday May 6:  Leftovers or Turkey Soup (using the carcass in the freezer and frozen veggies)

Saturday May 7:  Portage County Cultural Festival!  Bring cash and eat all the wonderful food this event promises!!!  Bring extra food home for dinner???

Sunday May 8:  Hot dogs, Hashed Brown Patties and finish the Leftover Soup

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Try the 30- Day Organizing Wizard Challenge!

What a perfect time of year to get organized!  This is April in Wisconsin and we vasilate each day between rain, snow (yuck!), and sunny 60 degree days.  The days I can be outside, I am...  just yesterday Baba and I spent our lunch hour constructing a green house for our seedlings... but today Babu and I are stuck inside watching the rain and wind sweep over the land.  (at least the lawn will finally green up!)

Today was the perfect day to focus a little more on this latest gem I found!  It is the 30-Day Organize-athon sent out by the Get Organized Wizard.  I receive a daily email that provides 5 minute organizing challenges.  This challenge has staightened out my dresser drawers, closets, goals, and paperwork just to name a few.  And all could be done in 5 minutes I wasn't getting into the spirit and spending more time on each task.  She gives us permission to toss or donate items and lets face it... I sometimes need permission to do that! 

Follow the link above, give this challenge a try and then when you have time, find out all the other wonderful freebies that this site offers!  There are lots of goodies there!

Happy Spring Cleaning!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: April 25-May 1

Monday:  Taco casserole

Tuesday:  Leg o Lamb and Rice with Steamed frozen veggies

Wednesday:  Dinner at Erika's

Thursday:  Hamburgers or Sloppy Joes and oven fries

Friday:  Aapi and Baba special night together and Babu and Mama at Grammy's house for whatever they seruve

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday:  Eat down the house or Out to Eat!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Feb. 7-13

Monday 2/7:  Lasagna

Tuesday 2/8:  Shrimp and string cheese

Wednesday 2/9:  Chicken curry with potatoes

Thursday 2/10:  Baba's choice... frozen pizza?

Friday 2/11:  Dinner at the Pirate's Princess Dance

Saturday 2/12:  Whatever we eat at my parents house

Sunday 2/13:  Leftovers


As of today I am 6 weeks and days pregnant.  I am surprised and thrilled and scared and already in love with this baby. 
I had a spotting issue last night (during the Superbowl) and have been worried since then and taking it easy and drinking lots of water.  Last night in the middle of  the night, I got up to change Babu's diaper and nearly fainted while doing so.  I don't know what that was about... but I do remember that fainting was how Shabbar's mom knew she was pregnant...  maybe that wasn't such a bad omen afterall.

Putting the sale of the house on hold until this baby comes.  Thinking of planting a garden this spring in our front yard which will put us here for at least another 2 growing seasons...  There are so many 'maybes' that just taking things one step at a time is what seems best right now.

We are so blessed with this pregnancy.  I am so happy to welcome a little baby into our fold!  I can't imagine a better brother or sister than Babu or Aapi... 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Better Day...

Its still cold.  Its still gloomy.  I'm still coughing.  And I'm still late.  BUT... today was better.  And TOMORROW is FRIDAY!!!  YAY!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trying to Fight the Blahs...

Since I'm pretty sure no one reads this, I'm going to just put it all out there...

My period is 6 days late.  But, I do not feel pregnant.  I took a test last night with either SUPER light positive or too much pee on the stick.  I know it doesn't pay to take another test...  for atleast a week... and I LIGHTLY spotted yesterday.

I have a bad cough that doesn't seem to be getting better.

Its cold!  And murky.  I can't seem to get enough sunshine and feel needy and whiney for it.  I'm HUNGRY for sunshine.  I'm sad.  I miss my friends.  But seem to inflict grouchiness in some of them.

I am starting to worry that "something" is wrong with me again.  I am upset with myself for not being satisfied with two kids.  Or my house. 

I say I want to go places and do stuff but then am not sure if I really want to go and do. 

I NEED to get outta this funk!  Help!  HELP!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday's Wandering: Babu's First Time Sledding

What a WONDERFUL time.  We live around the corner from the best sledding hill in town... yet tonight was the  first sledding this season for me, and the first time in Babu's life!  Aapi, Babu and I went and took turns heading down the hill.  Babu is a natural!  He sits still the whole time, lets me just wipe his face at the bottom and then waits for his turn again. Aapi is an old pro.  She pushes herself down the hill, then carries her own sled back up all by herself.  What an awesome night!  We all three hit the hill a few times and of course had hot cocoa to sip on in the warming house.  I was sad that Baba missed out on the fun, but alas, his bowling night is a little bit sacred... and there will be other times. 

The kids got a couple hours of activity.  We all came home tired and happy.  The Babu fell asleep in my arms tonight and transitioned to crib so sweetly.  Aapi was asleep by the time I went to check on her.  I enjoyed a little ice cream and a tv show in my flannel jammies.  All in all a great night!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Crying it Out Advice

Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows that if I have a parenting style it is "attachment." So here is ALL I have to say...

DO NOT wait to transfer your Babu to the crib until he is 14 months old.

Not a good idea. :(

Menu Planning Monday: Week 2 (Jan. 10-17, 2011)

Monday Jan. 10, 2011
Breakfast: Egg Bagels
Dinner: Noodles (out to eat with cousins while Baba is out of town)

Tuesday Jan. 11, 2011
Breakfast: Cereal
Dinner: Salmon and Asparagus

Wednesday Jan. 12, 2011
Breakfast: Toast
Dinner: Walking Tacos

Thursday Jan. 13, 2011
Breakfast: Bagels and cream cheese
Dinner: Spaghetti

Friday Jan. 14, 2011
Breakfast: Cereal
Dinner: "Burgers" and Fries

Saturday Jan. 15, 2011
Breakfast: Egg Sandwiches
Dinner: Chicken Stirfry and Rice

Sunday Jan. 16, 2011
Breakfast: Waffles with Syrup
Dinner: Popcorn Plus

Monday Jan. 17, 2011
Dinner: Homemade Pizza

Friday's Foolery: Laughter this week...

Things we laughed at this week:
Babu's current favorite toy is anything resembling a phone-- actual phones will do the trick but has also used remote controls, cucumbers, candy bars etc. His one-way conversation goes like this:
Lo? Ya. Bah. and then he SLAMS down the phone.

All week I was hitting the gym and running what I thought to be a 5k. And feeling really good about it. On Friday night, I put a 5k trail into the elliptical machine I was using only to find out that a 5k translates to 3.1 miles..........................not 2.1 miles. One third the distance shorter! So much for my fitness.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Gratitude for Sweet Husbands circumstances

This week during a family art session,Baba (Sweet husband) drew a picture of his home in Bahrain, where he grew up. Then he got out the photo album and began sharing stories about things that happened in and near his home over the course of his 15 years there.

I've heard the stories of happiness and silliness. How one sister ran into a wall while making faces and sticking her tongue out at Baba or how another sister stumbled after running through the whole house and while trying to drum up dramatic tears, farted three times and couldn't cry for the wild laughter she was siezed by.

But this time I heard stories about the time his bike was stolen from within the compound. And how, while visiting a friend, a tear gas bomb was tossed into the house and they had to escape and cover their mouths with wet cloths. There was a time that a tire and gas tank was set on fire just outside their back window. It didn't explode by some miracle. There was a time that men came with sticks and broke the light so they could attack Baba's family in darkness. Baba's father convinced them to leave.

I was struck by these stories. I've been so cavalier about his transition to America and how easy it all seemed for him to acclimate. Surely his life must have been easy and modern in Bahrain. Not that things were terrible, but I was wrong!

This story telling time really got me thinking. And I am so grateful for Baba's grace. For his ability to slip into my type of life and my type of lifestyle and my type of eating habits and ... you get the picture. I used to believe that I was the one who bent over backwards to become flexible to his culture, his family, his lifestyle. Now I see things differently.

I have always been a wife that sees the bounty in her husband. I have always felt that I received the better end of the deal when we married. But today I am more humbled.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday's Wandering: Not How I Expected Things to Go...

Today I thought I'd be writing about my Sunday morning walk with Aapi (big girl).. But today was worth a post.

This is how my day was going to go in my head:
Get up, Drive Aapi to school.
Go to the Y, Drop Babu (baby boy) off in childcare room.
Run a 5K
Shower, dress, pick Babu up and start shopping.
Hit all three stores, SAVE money, pay with cash.
Get home, eat steak lunch with Baba (sweet husband) while Babu sleeps.
Wake Babu, pick up Aapi and head home for dinner, tubby and stories.

Here is the reality of my wandering:
I was feelig especially proud of myself today because I had both babies dressed, school and y bags packed, and Aapi dropped off with enough time to play outside for a few minutes before school started.
So far so good.
Then Babu and I did make it to the y only to find the communicable disease report showing strep in the room. Uh oh, I think, maybe we shouldn't play today. Nah, I think... let's DO this! I drop Babu off, introduce him to the worker, mention that this is time number 2 for him and that he was a little sad last time. Then I leave.
I begin my run. 5 minutes of walking, then jogging at 6 miles an hour. 1.74 miles in, I am surprised to see the childcare worker in the fitness center. "He hasn't stopped crying." she says. Okay, I say, I'll go get him.
Dripping with sweat, I grab my stuff from the locker room, head to the baby room and pick up Babu. He is sobbing and staring out the window. :(
With no shower, I head home only to find him sleeping. But he wakes in transition to the crib and I go change. I proceed to attempt to get him to sleep for the next 3 hours (give or take.)

Baba comes home. Makes an awesome steak. We eat a plate of meat for lunch. Babu watches... doesn't like steak yet I guess.

babu falls asleep after Baba goes back to work. HAAA--LLLAAAY-LOOO-YAAAH!

Babu sleeps until it is time to pick up Aapi. I laid down at this point. Yes I know... I should have showered.

With shopping left to do, I pack up Babu, pick up Aapi and head to store number 1. Smooth. My original bill was $36.00 and I paid $11.00 due to deals and coupons. Stor number 2. Pretty smooth. My original bill was $50.00 and I paid $26.00 due to coupons and sales... but I bought more than as on my list. FATAL ERROR. Store number 3. Still pretty good considering I have two kids with me... save the end.
At check out... I think to myself... well, I bought more than I thought I would but couldn't pass the deals up. It will help in the long run. PLUS, I have my wallet. I can use my allowance to pay any leftover amount. Ultimately I spent $68.00 for a $100.00 bill. Awesome savings...but I was $9 DOLLARS SHORT. Okay I think... just pay with your personal cash....

Uh oh... where's my personal cash?

So, I realize then, that when I brought my y bag into the house, with it I brought my wallet. Hadn't missed it because I was using my cash envelope on the grocery trip.
Suspend Sale. Call Baba.
Baba brings money, I go in to pay.

Come out with most of my pride. But, I'm already out of cash for the week... and it' only Wednesday. Nice.

The rest of the night goes smoothly enough. But I'm perplexed. This cash only system is going to be a LOT tougher than I thought.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Cash System and Food Savings Tips

As taken from my facebook page: (Gotta love all my friends for weighing in on this topic!)

ME: Okay folks, we're going without credit cards in 2011... any shopping tips for saving money without eating mac-n-cheese/ ramen every day?
1. Aldis is a great place to save money when grocery shopping.

2. Lentils, rice, homemade pasta (super easy!), garden, canning. :)

3. Oh yeah gardening and canning for sure!

4. Make sure that you use your freezer! We save a ton on food by buying larger quantities of things when they are on sale and freezing what we are not going to use right away.

ME: I'm trying the coupon clipping thing for the first time... advice please?!?!

5. Go to eBay u can buy them. check it out!

6. COUPONS! I use alot. Also, something I've been doing recently is going to websites of products I use alot (especially like health & beauty stuff) and see if they have any coupons you can print. I recently got $2 any Clean & Clear products...sometimes you have to sign up to get them but definitely worth it!

7. I hardly ever use coupons but I buy generic all the time! Just make sure the generic isn't higher in salt and sugar :) I only use coupons for things I refuse up but generic like cheerios. Also totally agree with eating beans...we eat vegetarian 3-4 times a week and my 2 year old loves it!

8. re: beans, don't be afraid of dry beans. They are way cheaper than canned beans and are super easy if you own a crock pot. Truthfully, I don't use coupons, but I do buy a lot of generic brands if they look comparable. Be wary of the high fructose corn syrup, though - that ingredient does NOT make something a bargain, in my opinion.

9. 1. Aldi. 2. Aldi. 3. Aldi. :)

10. We are on the Dave Ramsey plan for has been almost a year now...overall, working pretty well. We work out of an envelope system budget.

11. coupons around here are hard since there isn't much grocery competition and they hardly do the double coupons. but i agree with patty and do use coupons for the things you always use - go to the product website.

12. just don't go too much to the "evil empire" of Wal-Mart. I will be the first to admit however....sometimes saving a buck means saving a buck!!!

13. This was our 2010 resolution. We just celebrated 1 year using no plastic. I stockpile when sales hit, that helps.And by stockpile I mean if an item is on sale for a really great price, I buy one or two more than normal. Helps and saves on "emergency" runs to the store for that one item that turns into ten.

14. We have not used plastic or credit in over two years. Buy Dave Ramsey's book "Total Money Makeover" . We took his class in August 2008 and haven't looked back. And of course I use coupons but only if the item is on sale too! Also you have to have a budget with every cent going somewhere. Start emergency fund also so ur not tempted with those cards.

15. We also use the envelope cash system. One tip - be sure to give yourselves one envelope of "fun" money - doesn't matter how much, or what you spend it on, but you need to have a little bit of discretionary funds to play with.

16. I now buy all of our bread products at Gardner's Bakery in town. It helps to save some cost.

17. We have several friends in Atlanta who follow Dave Ramsey and they actually get to "live" life! We're only buying the "needs" this year. Our goal is to move back to Texas permanently within the next five years. Life is less expensive in every way, in Texas. I guess my point is we've made short term goals and long term goals and we're starting "small" and hoping to move to a life without plastic within the next two years. Finally, by year five, hopefully we've not just committed to make a lifestyle change, but actually living the lifestyle and living life!

18. Oh, and we're doing Dave as well. Nothing empowers you like making a major purchase using cash.....unless it's saving it and watching it grow. Good luck! First 8 weeks are the hardest, and then it becomes habit.

19. I always ask whether it's a "need" or a "want" - that goes for food, material items, and even leisure activities. Been doing it for at least 5 years and really heavy since economic collapse of 2008. We were able to not only pay off debt but establish a *very* healthy investment savings since then. Just find what works best for your family because then you will stick to it!!

Happy new year!


My menu plan for the week!
Sunday Jan. 2
Breakfast: Hot Cereal (Red Mill 7 Grain)
Dinner: Popcorn Plus (on Sunday Nights we eat Popcorn, cheese, fruit, cookies)and Chicken Wings

Monday Jan. 3
Breakfast: Egg in the Hole
Dinner: Kids get Instant Noodles, Apples and Cookies (Shabbar and I are celebrating 8 years together with a sitter and a date!)

Tuesday Jan. 4
Breakfast: Cereal
Dinner: Turkey Barley Soup with Fresh Bread

Wednesday Jan. 5
Breakfast: Cereal/ Oatmeal
Dinner: Beef Roast with Potatoes and Carrots and Roasted Squash

Thursday Jan. 6
Breakfast: Egg Sandwiches
Dinner: "Chicken" Parmigiana

Friday Jan. 7
Breakfast: Bagels and Cream Cheese
Dinner: Shrimp, String Cheese, Fruit, Cocktail Sauce, Snackies

Saturday Jan. 8
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Dinner: Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Sunday Jan. 9
Breakfast: Fried Potatoes and Eggs
Lunch: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Dinner: Popcorn Plus