Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mauritania Boy reciting Quran


Now let me explain what has surprised me... Well my in-laws always have long-term guests in their home here in Jeddah. The majority are from Mauritania, these are people who need a place to stay while they are here for whatever reason that may be. They go and go as they want and have a special room for guys and one for the girls that they can stay in as long as they want. Anyways as Hajj has just finished there are still lots of Mauritanian pilgrims who have not yet left. About 10 ten people are staying with my in-laws as of now.

Tonight my husband brought over the son of one of them. I opened the door when they came home and found my kids with a boy. He was small I guessed that he was about 5 years old maybe 6. wearing a torn and dirty thobe with the shoes we usually refer to as bathroom slippers. I told them to come inside, I didn't know who he was but my husband was close behind. The boy, Muhammad is his name has this amazing contagious smile, he was shy and didn't want to come in but in the end we were able to persuade him. After my husband came in and sat down he told me that this boy has memorized the ENTIRE Quran! I was shocked I came to find out that he is 9 years old. I immediately went to find and thobe of my son's and asked if he would like to change, he did. When he came back we asked him to recite some verses for us and I recorded them to share with all of you.

It was so moving his voice beautiful and he was completely undistracted by the kids and us watching him. Towards the end you notice him focusing on something, the tv was on and he was watching cartoons and reciting at he same time.

When he was leaving we gave him some of aboodis sandals and I gave him a big hug and kiss. He's such a sweet boy, my husband tells me he is from a very poor family, may allah make things easy on them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yay! Cream Puffs!

Well I tried something new and it seems to have been worth the effort. My husband loves cream puffs you know the kind drizzled with chocolate sauce, so I decided to try to make them at home. They took a few tries to get them right but I succeded alhamdullilah. So let me share the recipe with you.

Cream Puffs

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter

1 cup of flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

Heat oven to 220 C. Boil the water and flour in a medium sized saucepan until boiling and the butter has melted. add the flour and salt mix with a wooden spoon constantly until it all sticks together like a ball. Place in mixer with the paddle attachment and beat for a couple of minute until there is no more steam. Add eggs one at a time making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill cup with water and take a tablespoon and dip it in, shake off a little of the water and scoop up a spoon full of the batter slide onto baking sheet should be roundish. Space about a centimeter apart. Bake for 20-25 min it should be golden brown and sound completely hallow when tapped at the bottom. remove from the oven and quickly poke a hole in the top or side with a toothpick and let cool. If they were left long enough in the oven they should be perfect, however if they were removed early they will fall.

Pastry Cream

2 cups of whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened

In a 2 quart heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar to a boil.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, eggs, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.

Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture whisking continuously until well combined.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and just comes to a boil, cook for one minute more.

Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and stir in the butter. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

Pipe into hole made in the bottoms of puffs until heavy.

Chocolate Sauce

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

Cook together until chocolate is completely melted.

I know it looks like a lot of work but it goes by quickly and is soooooo worth it everyone loves them! Give it a try.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Eid!

I Hope everyone out there had a wonderful Eid. Ours was nice mashallah but as always this time of year a bit hectic mashallah. I want to share this cute pic of the kids from Eid, I hope you enjoy it as much as me. As you can tell they are looking right past me, who cares about mom when the tv is on after all! These are my little angels!!!! I know I am a crazy proud mom but who cares. Tomorrow we are having a congressman from the states over for dinner at my FIL house so I am starting the desserts tonight which are: sweet potato pie, lemon meringue pie, cream puffs with chocolate sauce and fruit pudding. How does that sound? The next night we are having a US senator now mind you they are both muslim so its really cool. Followed by a night of oh let me remeber yes thats right 50 guests god help me get through these next few days!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

English Muffins

I don't know if anyone out there is as crazy about English muffins as I am, but I was very dissapointed when I couldn't find them out here. Lucky for me I found a recipe for them, you may know them as crumpets. Anyways I had everything I needed already except for the instant mashed potatoes which I found at Panda they are also available at Danube (along with everything else!). You can freeze them for later use or store them in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!

English Muffins

1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) lukewarm milk

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) melted butter

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/3 cup instant mashed potato flakes

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour

2 teaspoons instant yeast

semolina, for dry frying

Combine all of the ingredients except the semolina in a mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix till everything is combined, then beat at high speed (using the flat beater paddle, if you’re using a stand mixer) for 5 minutes. The dough will be soft, sticky, and glossy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover it, and allow the dough to rise for about 90 minutes, till it’s just about doubled in bulk.

Heat an ungreased frying pan or griddle over very low heat; a griddle with a thermostat should be set at 300°F. You may want to make one test muffin first, as follows:When the griddle or pan is up to heat, place one well greased 3 3/4” English muffin ring in the pan, and sprinkle a little semolina inside the ring.

If you don’t have muffin rings, fashion them from tuna cans, top and bottom removed, washed, and greased. Scoop a scant 1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) of sticky dough out of the bowl; it’s easiest if you rinse your measuring cup and wet your fingers before adding the dough to the cup. Use your wet fingers to shape the dough into a circle about the size of the ring (don’t stress about being too exact), lay it into the ring, and sprinkle the top lightly with semolina. After 7 minutes, check the bottom of the muffin; it should be a medium-golden brown. If it’s not, turn up the heat; if it’s too brown, turn down the heat. Cook for another 10 minutes, then use a pair of tongs to grab each side of the ring. It might lift right off; if it does, lift it off, set it aside, and use a spatula to gently turn the muffin over. If it doesn’t, flip the muffin over, ring and all; then gently wiggle the ring around till it comes off. Cook the second side for about 15 to 18 minutes, till it’s a deep golden brown. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the interior temperature will be about 200°F. Remove the muffin from the griddle, and gently split it open. If it appears to be done inside, cook the remaining muffins the same way. If it’s still gummy or wet, turn the heat down a bit and cook the remaining muffins a bit longer on each side.When the muffins are brown on both sides, transfer them to a rack to cool. When completely cool, store in a plastic bag.

Yield: about a dozen muffins.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independent days...

I've noticed something with the children here, they are very independant. The other day I was watching a father walk with his son...they were walking outside some outdoor shops at night the stores are lined along the street so you can get the picture. Well dad was walking in front of his son a good yard or so between them he didn't even look to make sure his son was still there he just knew he was and the little soldier was marching right along never detouring along the way ok so maybe this doesnt seem like that big of a deal, but the boy must have been like 1 1/2 years old he was TINY! I was really in shock the way he just stayed with his dad I know my 2 1/2 year old would have been long gone if tried that heck even my 6 year old would have left.

I wonder how the parents raise them in this way my kids don't listen to me when we are out! I also see many young boys maybe 8-14 who accompany mom when shes shopping; yes sometimes he is driving her but thats something else. They are really responsible with their moms, walking with them, helping them carry stuff, paying once they get to the cashier. It makes me wonder if we baby our kids too much? Is that why they aren't able to take on bigger responsibilies as they grow. Or is it better that way?

I went out the other day and my 6 year old was playing with his friends outside he wanted to go with me but I was running late and he was a mess. So I said no. He started whining a bit and the little 3 year old brother of his friend told him Khaleek rajul! Be a man! It was so funny. This little boy saying that and he was dead serious.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Well I went the other day to buy some furniture for the spare bedroom at Ikea. Everytime I come back I remember why I don't go often. Sure the prices are good and there are some cute things but the customer service is NON EXISTANT! I know this is how they "keep their low prices"but come on does it really cost that much just be courteous with customers?

I guess we have it a little better off here because in the states they dont even bag your purchases here, and you can also have someone push your stuff down to the car and load it up for you. The problem I have is when I am trying to find my selections upstairs the tag says one thing and when you go to the coresponding aisle and section big surprise! Its not there.

So it makes sense to go to the guys working at the counters right? Wrong! It takes like 5 minutes to get their attention once you do you dont get more than a nod to the general location of what you are looking for.
And God forbid you actually ask someone to help load something heavy into the cart they look at you like, you dare to ask me to help YOU? and walk away. Thanks to this mindset I dropped this incredibly heavy but deceivingly small box on my foot I was sure that my big toe would fall off due to lack of blood circulation!

At least I had the driver to help with the loading of the carts, yes carts I ended up pushing a full size mattress on one of those stupid carts it was incredibly akward especially in this society where just walking normally elicites stares from everyone imagine the american girl trying to manuever a huge mattress through the maze to get to the checkout.

Another nice thing here is that instead of hiring the ridiculously priced in house deliveryis that there are guys outside with trucks who deliver for about $30 to your home and load everything into the house, they will also put things together for you but I was like I am notforking over $100 for that even though the driver was like WHAT? you are going to put everything together yourself????? I was like ya dats right!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I can't believe the end of the school year has finally arrived. It was Aboodis first year in real school. I think it was actually harder for me and my husband than him. Waking up and getting him out the door by 6:45 for me waking up at 11:30 is early so you can imagine. Plus it was really hard on him to get home at like 3:30 only to go to the mosque at 4:00 for his quran lessons. Alhamdullilah we made no more homework YAYAYAY!!!! I feel like I was the one in school not him... what with the homework and everything.

Summer plans are still not finalized but my dad and bro are coming next month which should be great now I spend my days planning all the places I need to take them, and things they need to see. The only small detail in my plans is this heat! It was 5ْcelsius today which is 122 fahrenheit is that even possible??? What I would give for some nice bay area weather if you know what I mean.

Anyways my plan is to keep the kids busy this summer so that they don't drive eachother (or me) crazy we'll see how that goes though.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


About a year ago I bought a new comp while I was in the states and I bought insurance with it just to be safe. A few months after I returned it stopped working so I thought it was the best idea to send it back to my mom to get fixed. That was about 9 months ago and I just got it back tonight, since we have been waiting for someone to come out here to bring it to me. Yaaaaaaaay!!!!!! So now I have no excuses to not post more often.

Abdellah had his 7th birthday last week so I took him to Mekkah just the two of us to pray maghrib and eat dinner it was a lot of fun to explain things to him and to spend one on one time with him. After Cheikha came back from Kuwait we took all the kids and some of his friends out to a small water park for kids it was fun for them but sooooo hot for us even the cake was sweating (ewww).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Last night I took the kids out with two of Abdellah's friends on the way I picked up my niece in law. We decided to go to chuck e cheese. I bought a bunch of tokens and sent the kids on their ways. Then it was time for me and NIL to get our game on :p. We played quite a few rounds of air hockey then some mini basketball and some of the other games, it was a blast. Of course we tired waaaay before the kids and decided to sit down and chat for a bit. Soon before going Khadija wanted to get her face painted like a pink cat it was soooo cute! We left and rode home with nancy ajrams kids cd LOUD!! But thank god no fighting. My daughter told me to stop at the store and get her cat food since shes a cat now!

Khadija said the cutest thing when we were going to bed. Since my husband is out of town all 3 of the kids sleep in my bed with me my eldest son likes to hold on to someones ears when we go to bed he tried to hold onto his 2 yr old bros ears but he said no then his sis said you can hold onto my ears. I told her that she was nice and she responded- yes, I is... It made me laugh out loud.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jewellery for sale at an artisans market in Mauritania

I've been so lazy about doing this, but I have plenty of excuses as always :p I went to Mauritania with my husband and kids for a few weeks. It was a great trip and I was just soooo happy to be able to drive as silly as it sounds but I missed it

I just got back from my in laws house sometimes I walk there with my older kids its about a 20 min walk its good to get out in the daylight and move around a bit. I had a interesting discussion where I tried to convince my sil that the sun is a star and the moon a moon she was convinced that both are planets I don't know if she was convinced by the end of our talk. This all started because I went there to get help with my sons arabic homework even though he is only in the first grade I still dont understand all of it. My husband left for a business trip last night sooo its worth the walk to get the help.

Anyways the kids are calling...

Here are pics of the henna I had done in Mauritania It takes about 7 hours with two women working non stop!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Due to technical difficulties (kids turning off the computer) I was not able to make my post yest.

So We decided to take the kids to mekkah yest. It was my first time back since hajj time. It was such a relief not to deal with that kind of traffic. On the way we saw tons of people and cars in this really rugged deserty area (this could be anywhere in saudi I know) but they go there to show off their skills with climping the steep hills and rocky areas with their cars. It looked like fun to watch and Cheikhna promised we will go back another time to watch (but I think he might participate :p). We got there after maghrib and prayed on arrival. Then he went to make Umrah me and the kids didn't. So we waited in the womens section. Before Isha there was a commotion in the walkway and I looked to see them carrying a corpse may allah have mercy on them. It was a good reminder that all of us will one day be the one being carried.

During Isha prayer I gave Abdellah who is 6 responsibility of Yusuf who is 2 so that he doesn't run off. During the prayer he started screaming and ran back to me crying uncontrollably. Afterwards Abdellah told me that one of the ladies who work there (the one wearing all black like thats supposed to help) had hit his bro for playing with water... I was shocked but there was nothing I could do about it cause she had fled the scene. Then we decided to go and find Cheikhna who was probably in the sa'ee. We went to find that it was completely diff due to construction and there was not place to sit down. On the way back Khadija (3) was hit in the nose by a rowdy child causing crying of course and a severe nose bleed which ended up on my scarf and face but other than that she was fine. We returned to find Cheikhna and proceeded to leave, buy dinner and ice cream and pick up our car from the garage.

The return home was uneventful except for the usual cry to go in the baqala (store). It was quite a relief to get home to a clean house and jump into bed.

Where we begin

Bismillahir Rahman ar-Rahim

This marks the beginning of what I hope to be a fruitful and fun experience in the world of blogging for me. I am a self proclaimed non-writer so we shall see how long this lasts for.

Lets start with a bit of backround. I'm from California daughter of convert parents 2 bros and 2 sis. I moved here (jeddah) 4 years ago with my husband Cheikhna (8 years married) and eldest son Abdellah (now 6) . My daughter Khadija 3 was born in Mauritania on a trip there and son Yusuf 2 was born here in jeddah. All wildy different experiences I can assure you.

My Husband is from Mauritania and I met him when he came to the states to study english. Some of his immediate family lives here in Jeddah that why we came.

Soooo Let's get started