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.