Wonderful people who make this blog worth updating

Thursday, December 31, 2009

More Henna

To those of you who are trying to improve your skill at something...don't despair!
Whether it is reading Arabic, or something more hands-on like applying henna, practice does help.
I have been looking at designs and watching videos of henna application. The floral designs are getting pretty easy for me. Once I get better at adding things to make designs dense, I may try some more intricate Indian designs. Believe me, when I first tried applying at henna, I sucked. I couldn't even draw a vine or a basic flower.

The middle one of my palm was about 18hr. after i removed the paste. The others were taken right after I applied it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What About Christmas?

In Western Countries, Christmas is the most widely-celebrated holiday of the year. It is not entirely either a religious or secular celebration. In fact, the secular people I know tend to celebrate it with more gusto than most observant Christians. It is a day that commercial activity comes to almost a complete standstill. People spend months saving for gifts that will be opened this day, and parents teach their children that these gifts come from an imaginary man based upon a historical figure, St. Nicholas. Food is purchased and prepared, families get together, and many people attend Church for the only time all year.

What does this celebration have to do with the historical birth of Jesus, the Messiah? Christian and secular scholars alike tend to agree that the timing of this celebration probably has no connection whatsoever to the actual birth of Jesus. The celebration of December 25th as the birth of Jesus was not widely recognized until the 4th Century.

We know that the early followers of Jesus were considered a sect of Judaism and would have celebrated the Biblical feasts such as Passover and Sukkot. The New Testament shows that these were the Holy Days that Jesus himself celebrated. The followers of Jesus were later thrown out of the synagogues and became recognized as a separate religious movement in the Roman Empire. This had many implications for the still-forming faith of the early believers. The books of the New Testament were completed and being circulated before the close of the 1st Century. During the following Century, Christians started worshiping on Sunday instead of Saturday. Most also ceased celebrating the Biblical Holy days.

Why did the birth of Jesus begin to be celebrated on December 25th?
There is evidence that this date can be traced back to the calculations of Church Fathers such as Julius Africanus, who lived around 200 C,E. He is known as the father of Christian chronography. He tried to correlate various Biblical events with actual dates. Unfortunately, his methods were faulty.

Most modern scholars would argue that Jesus was more likely born in the fall, sometime around the feast of Sukkot. One evidence of this in the Biblical text is a reference in Luke 2:8 to shepherds guarding their flocks at night. Sheep were not kept outside during the winter in Judea.We also know that Jesus was crucified during the feast of Passover, during the spring.

Do modern celebrations contain reference to pagan customs?
Unfortunately, yes. December 25th is just after the Winter Solstice. This time where the days are shortest was celebrated in many cultures as a symbolic death of the Sun, with a resurrection symbolized by the days getting longer again. The Romans celebrated a winter Solstice holiday called Saturnalia, where they used greenery to decorate in celebration of longer days and the eventual return of Spring.

So yes, the origins of Christmas a questionable at best. We know that Jesus and the disciples did not celebrate such a holiday.However, this doesn't necessarily mean that early Christians had bad intentions in creating a holiday to celebrate the birth of the Messiah. Since early historiographers had decided that he was born at this time, and it was already a Roman holiday, the celebration of Christmas probably made sense to most of the Christian populace. They could have their own religious holiday at the same time pagan Romans were worshiping Saturn.

Final conclusions?
I don't have a problem with celebrating the coming of Messiah, even if the date is wrong. I skip the obvious pagan refrences and consumerism, and pray that my honest intentions will bring glory to God.

We can celebrate the coming of Jesus by sharing what we have with others, spending time with loved ones, and praying and worshiping with others.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Somali Tea Cookies

Update: Added pic!

Yes, we do have a cup with Layla and I on it :-)
Here is a recipe I came up with based on a couple other recipes that I combined.
It is not actually a Somali recipe, but is based upon the spices used to make Somali tea.

I  made these for a cookie exchange at our ESL classes this week and they were a huge hit among the Somalis. They're really easy to make as well.

1/2 cup butter (room temp)
1/2 cup powdered sugar 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg 
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
    1. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add egg, mix all well.

    2. Stir in the spices, salt, and flour.

    3. Form dough into a cylindrical shape and refrigerate until firm. It can be wrapped in plastic wrap so it doesn't get dry.
    When your dough is ready, preheat your oven to 350F

    4. Cut cookies into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 10 min., or until lightly browned.
    They don't need much space, because they don't spread out much.

    You can dust them with powdered sugar when they cool to create a nice look.

    I'm planning to make some more, so I will post a pic of the finished product.

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009


    So I am not very good at drawing in general, but I love henna so much. I've been trying to get better at drawing basic shapes and lines, so here is some recent henna work I did on myself and Layla. One benefit of being kind of ambidexterious is that i can draw on both of my own hands! The last solid flower design on my left hand came out with the darkest color. I got the henna from a local shop that sells spices and produce. It seems to be pretty fresh and doesn't require extra sifting before you mix it.

    Needless to say, Layla's didn't get very dark because it barely stayed on  long enough to even dry :-)

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Shame on Saudi

    Most of my readers have probably heard about the flooding that occurred all over Saudi during the Hajj. It seems that the worst of the flooding was in the western part of the country around Jeddah.

    Although Saudi Arabia is the largest oil exporter in the world, Jeddah has no sewer system. I'm sure the Saudi government could have afforded to build the infrastructure of this city of 4 million, yet it didn't. To the shame of the Saudi government, there have been at least 500 deaths from flood-related causes.

    According to the Guardian UK:
    "Hundreds of bodies were swept in the current and up to 11,000 people may be missing in the sea, according to a report two days ago by the Saudi newspaper al-Yaum. This figure may be inflated but the number of the missing and dead surely ranks in the hundreds, and could turn out to exceed a thousand. For comparison, hurricane Katrina in the US killed about 1,800 people."

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    My little Somali

    Here is a picture of Layla and a little update:

    She's wearing the garbasaar (huge scarf) that came with one of my baati (Somali dress). She said it was ugly a few days before, then she wanted to wear it. Maybe I'm rubbing off on her a little bit :-)

    We're trying to instill more discipline into our lives these days. A lot of other bloggers have posted about goals that they have for learning and doing things. I have shared that I would love to start grad. school in Semitic languages and religion next year, but I have been slacking big time.

    I have decided to start actually tracking what I do each day in terms of language study, so I am more accountable for my time. My hubby is helping with the accountability, especially when it comes to the Biblical Hebrew and Somali. Otherwise, I will never be good enough to work as a medical translator or teach at a university.

    Here's my dilemma though, I have far too many interests. I love Somali the most, followed by Biblical Hebrew, then Arabic. For some reason though, I have almost no interest in studying Modern Hebrew (The two types of Hebrew are actually quite different). If I get into grad school next year, I will be focusing primarily on Biblical Hebrew and comparative Semitic language, so the Arabic will help me out there. Somali is my love, but is really only useful on the community level. Plus, I'm already pretty busy with Layla at home. What to do?

    Right now I am going through Lambdin's Biblical Hebrew Grammar. I plan to do 2 lessons a week and am currently working on #29. There are 55 lessons in total. It is primarily a review for me, but he goes in to more detail on the grammar than any of my Profs did in my undergrad studies.

    I would also love to start going through Simple Arabic again. My hubby and I used this book a few years ago when an Egyptian friend was tutoring us with Arabic. We didn't make it through that much though because he moved back to Egypt a few months later.  I can read fine and my pronunciation is pretty good, but I have forgotten most of the vocab and grammar.

    For Somali I can keep up and learn vocab by reading news sites and listening to music and news online or chatting with friends on the phone, etc. 

    I really plan to stick with things this time, but how can I make myself accountable for my time? I think I should do a journal of sorts or even start another blog. Suggestions are welcome!

    Saturday, November 28, 2009

    Fahiima Speaks Somali #2

    While I was at my friend's house tonight her husband decided to do an impromptu interview with me in Somali.
    If you understand Somali, enjoy! Otherwise, have fun listening to us speak gibberish language together.

    This is the first half of the interview, hopefully the 2nd half will be up sometime tomorrow :-)

    Here is the 2nd half:

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Eid Party!

    I just got invited to an Eid party on Saturday! I'm excited, but neither my friend or I know what to wear. The girls having the party are Somali, but we don't think that they will be wearing traditional Somali clothes. Basically we don't want to look like weirdos showing up in a dira' while everyone else is wearing formal dresses or something else. We don't think they'll be wearing abaya either since its a ladies-only party.

    Any suggestions?

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Out of the Abundance of the Heart the Mouth Speaks...

    There has been a lot of chat about a blogger who has publicly left Islam. There have been a lot of people supporting her and showing her love, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

    However, there have also been people leaving comments that will probably cement her reasons to leave Islam. 

    She started a new YouTube channel and I noticed this comment on it:

    User: HanbaliMuslim

    ResulAllaah (alehi selam) said "kill the one that changes his religion"
    so to the retarded Muslims who claim its only a personal choice and we should leave her alone.. ResulAllaah (As) commanded the killing of Apostates. you left islam because of your retarded dog? to hell with your dog. may allaah guide you or curse you! Amin

    I don't even know how to respond to this, it just breaks my heart.

    Basically, I will confidently say that any person who says things like this is not a worshiper of God. They are filled with anger and hatred, which do not come from God, because God is love.

    May the God of peace bless you all, especially my dear sister KimDonesia

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    How To Eat a Pomegranate

    It's Pomegranante season! I just got 8 of them for $2 at this great bargain grocery place near my house.

    I thought I would share this great fruit with my readers along with an easier way of opening them.
    Some people cut the pomegranate in half to remove the seeds. Don't.
    Its messy and destroys a lot of the seeds in the process.
    Instead, score the blossom end like a plus sign (+), but only go as deep as the outer skin.

    You can see the lines if you look closely
    Next, pull the top of each section, and it will begin to split along the membranes. After you pull a few of the seeds away, you will able to break it in pieces from the outside with very little pressure. When it breaks this way you will be able to brush off the seeds section by section into a bowl very easily.

     This is where it starts to split easily
    Notice some of the seeds are brown, maybe thats why they were so cheap!

    If you find that there are little pieces of the membrane stuck to the seeds, you can rinse them in a bowl of water and the membranes will float away.

    Do you eat the whole seed? Of course!
    I think its wasteful to just suck the juice out and throw the seeds away. Plus, the seeds give you all the vitamins and fiber too!


    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Food Diary Day (In progress)

    After reading this post on Steve and Paula Runyan's blog about the food pyramid, I was curious to see how many calories I consume in a normal day, as well as the ratios of certain nutrients, and servings of various types of food. Of course, the actual things I eat vary from day to day, so some days I probably eat healthier, and I do occasionally eat some junk.

     According to the USDA my pyramid site, I should be eating about 2200 calories a day for my activity level.

    Here's what I actually ate, with individual numbers provided for calories, fat,  protein, and carbohydrate grams.

    Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 low-carb toast slices with about 1 Tb. real butter, weak coffee with whole milk and sweetened with stevia (didn't count the coffee as anything though.)

    Calories: 280
    Fat: 15g
    Protein: 17g
    Carbohydrate: 18g

    Snack: 1 mozarella cheese stick and cheese-filled pretzels

    Calories: 220
    Fat: 13g
    Protein: 9g
    Carb: 17g

    Lunch: 1 turkey corndog with mustard, 2 cups salad greens with 1/2 avocado and 1 Tbsp dressing.(I don't like much dressing and think ketchup is gross on hotdogs.)

    Calories: 400
    Fat: 27g
    Protein: 15g
    Carb: 33g

    Snack: 1 crunchy granola bar, Somali tea with milk, sweetened with stevia

    Calories: 95
    Fat: 3.5g
    Protein:: 2.5g
    Carb: 13.5g

    Totals so far before dinner: 
    Calories: 995
    Fat: 58.5g
    Protein: 43.5
    Carb: 81.5

    Dinner: Beef chili with beans (2 cups) and 1/4 cup shredded cheese
    I didn't have an exact calorie count of my chile recipe because I didn't really use one. I am using the calorie information for this recipe from Fit Day that has almost the same ingredients. 
    Calories: 730
    Fat: 35g
    Protein: 50g
    Carb: 55g

    After Dinner totals:
    Calories: 1725
    Fat: 93.5
    Protein 93.5
    Carb: 135.5

    Snack: 2 cups fresh cranberry salad, 4 dates
    Fat: 0
    Carb: 55

    Final Totals: 
    Calories: 2025
    Protein: 95.5

    Carb: 190 (prob. about 40 of this was fiber)

    Well, that was fun wasn't it? This is something that would get really tedious if I had to do it every day, but I was always curious about how many calories I eat in an avg. day. Its a little less than the 2200, but I think I eat like this most days, then on occasion eat more when I'm out to eat or buy something I really like.

    Fall Leaves

    I don't know about you guys, but fall is one of my favorite seasons.
    I just wish it lasted longer. . .
    If we were to eventually move to the Middle East, I think fall would be one of the things I miss most.

    Layla had fun the last week or so playing in the leaves just outside our apartment. We've also been getting lots of time outside for walks and playing in the cool weather. The rain has just started here, so now we enjoy every bit of sunlight we can soak up.

    I am still teaching the kids and translating Somali 1 day a week during the ESL classes. I would love to add another day, but the school is on the opposite side of the city from where we live. I also met another guy at my friend Leila's restaurant who wants me to volunteer for another organization called Africa House.
    I would love to do it, but I'm just trying to make sure I still put Layla and my hubby first. I feel like I'm lazy sometimes, but I just don't think its a good idea to be running back and forth doing different committments every single day.

    My hubby is still looking for a full-time job, so once he gets that it will be a little easier to invite friends over to the house and such. I would love to have some ladies over for tea, but its a little strange when your hubby is sitting there working on the computer doing his homework all day. It has been really wonderful being able to spend so much time with him though.

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    Young Women Discuss Hijab

    This video was made for the Minnesota Historical Society in 2004. You will see a lot of the girls aren't wearing what is technically proper hijab, but more the cultural versions that are popular among Somalils.
    I think it gives good insight into the variety of factors that influence a girl's decision to cover, as well as to what extent she covers.

    Some of the terminology they use is Somali too.

    shuuko=long slip-over khimar or sometimes an open abaya

    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Somali Women Flogged for Not Wearing Socks?

    More lovely Al-Shabaab nonsense out of Mogadishu:

    (CNN) -- Militants who control parts of Somalia's capital city are beating women in broad daylight for violating their radical brand of Islamic law, according to local officials and witnesses in Mogadishu.

    "Just today, Al-Shabaab dispatched men with whips to the streets around Bakara market and they are flogging any woman who is found not wearing socks," according to a female maize trader at the Mogadishu market, who spoke Thursday.

    She did not want to be named for security reasons.

    In the past two days, more than 130 people, including women who were not wearing headscarves and men chewing dried khat leaves, have been detained for violating Al-Shabaab's interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, according to witnesses and officials.

    Hooded Al-Shabaab gunmen rounded up 50 women on Wednesday from Mogadishu's Bakara market for not wearing the veil that is required for women under some interpretations of Islamic law, according to the maize trader.

    "Most of these women were vegetable traders, so they are poor and can't afford to buy veils for 600,000 shillings [about $23 U.S.]," she said.

    Does anyone know how much money $23 US is for a Somali in Mogadishu? You can feed a whole family for a month on less than $100. Do they thing the women can afford these? Being forced to wear socks? Socks aren't really practical or affordable for most of the year in Somalia. Most people can only afford sandals or flip-flops, so not such a good combo with socks.

    I am so frustrated just reading this...

    Women are the backbone of the Somali economy. If these pathetic so-called fighters would get off their lazy rears and fix their country, maybe their mothers and sisters wouldn't be selling vegetables and khat in the market for a pittance.

    Their actions remind me of these words of Jesus:

    "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness". 

    These guys see no problem with beating and shaming women and public executions, yet I'm sure they are quick to run into the masjid when its time to pray. If fact, they also have flogged people for not praying on time. 

    These guys are mostly young men who have seen and been scarred by a lot of bad things in their childhood.They are following misguided leaders and have their priorities really screwed up.

    Pray for the peace of Somalia.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Potty Training Progress!

    The closest thing to a pic of my husband that I can get away with

    I am so happy to say that Layla is almost potty trained!

    For the last few days she has been having very few accidents, and most of those have been while we were out. Yesterday I started to realize that she was having a breakthrough. While we were at preschool  she said "potty pants" a couple times and I told her to wait a few minutes until I could change her. You see, usually when she would say something, that meant that she had already had an accident.
    I laid her down to change her, and realized that she was still dry. She went inside and used the bathroom, but then wet her pants on the way back home. Last night about an hour after I put her to bed she woke up saying "momma, potty pants," so I took her and she went to the bathroom. She did go in her diaper again during the night, but hasn't had a single accident all day.

    I think we're gonna be completely done within another month and she just turned 2 on the 14th!

    So here's the basic plan I used to train her:

    1. We started putting her on the potty whenever she had a dry diaper after an hour or two when she was about 14 mos. old. Sometimes she would go on the potty and be surprised at the result.

    2. After we moved to Portland and were a little settled in, we stared really working on the training. I would put her in either cloth training pants or a cloth diaper when she was at home, and try to take her at least about each hour when she was awake. She got to the point where she could empty her bladder when it had something in it. We also introduced the reward of giving her a date whenever she went. This worked really well for awhile, but then the novelty wore off. She still kept going on the potty most of the time though.

    If I lost track of the time or she had a lot to drink though, she would just go in her pants. This is why cloth is more useful for training. They feel the moisture more in the cloth more than with a disposable diaper or trainer, so they realize that the wet feeling isn't a good thing.

    3. The final stage is your baby being able to realize the feeling of a full bladder, or the feeling that they need to poop. The poop is actually easier because you usually see them straining and hiding in the corner somewhere :-0

    We are just seeing the beginning of this stage now, like yesterday when Layla actually asked to go at school before she wet her pants.

    The last step of this stage is night-training. This is the hardest because they will have a hard time waking up fully during the night to ask for the bathroom. I am totally fine with Layla sleeping in it for now .

    Why is early training better? Babies seem to be less stubborn about learning than older toddlers. Plus, you will save tons of time and money not buying diapers and washing loads of them.

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    The Evil that is Al-Shabaab


     Is this style of long khimaar not modest enough? 

    The links provided lets you access the full article

    "MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia's hardline Islamist group al Shabaab has publicly whipped women for wearing bras they say violate Islam by constituting a deception, north Mogadishu residents said Friday.
    The insurgent group, which seeks to impose a strict form of sharia Islamic law throughout Somalia, amputated a foot and a hand each from two young men accused of robbery earlier this month. They have also banned movies, musical ringtones, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching soccer."

    So apparently it is ok to touch an unrelated woman to forcibly remove her undergarments because they constitute a "deception" by making her breasts firm. Personally, I don't think they should have been looking that closely at women's chests in the first place. Anyone ever heard of lowering the gaze?

    Now we have another article demonstrating Al-Shabaab's increasingly perverted view of religion.

    "KISMAYU, Somalia (Reuters) - The 17-year-old winner of a Koran recital and general knowledge competition organised by al Shabaab rebels in Southern Somalia got an AK-47 gun, two hand grenades, a computer and an anti-tank mine as prizes."

    The greatest impediment to Somalia ever experiencing peace and safety again isn't a force outside of Somalia, it is Somalis being recruited to this so-called Islamist movement. They used the presence of Ethiopian troops inside Somalia to recruit young men into their ranks. Now they are encroaching further into the interior of the country. They even have huge amounts of supporters in Europe and the U.S. 

    East Africa has been in the midst of major drought for several years now. Is Al-Shabaab working to bring relief supplies into the country? Are they providing medical care in the villages? Are they bringing useful health training to young Somalis? The answer to all these questions is an emphatic No. They are wasting time punishing people for playing soccer, listening to music, not having beards, wearing bras,  and having the wrong type or color of khimaars.

    They are promoting evil in their agenda and do not reflect the values of the Kingdom of God.

    I am going to suggest something radical though, let's pray for them.
    Only God himself can change the human heart from reflecting something dark and evil to reflecting his light.

    In the words of Jesus,

    You have heard it said: Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. However, I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who abuse you. (Matthew 5:44)

    Oh God, change the hearts and minds of the men and women of Al-Shabaab who support this evil agenda that is destroying their people.I know that you love each human being that you created, please reveal yourself to them, show them that they are not following the path that leads to Jannah. Bring peace back to Somalia in our lifetime.

    Amiin, InshaAllah

    Soomaalieey waan idiin jeclahay.

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    Chicken Korma Recipe

    I got a facebook request to post this, so here it is! 

    This is a recipe that I make fairly often at home. It is really easy and is pretty fool-proof. You can vary the spiciness by adding more red chili powder and ginger. The garbanzo beans are not a part of an authentic korma recipe, but I think they add a nice texture and some fiber. I usually serve this with rice and chapatti. You can make your own chapatti pretty easily, or another option I use is toasting some plain flour tortillas in butter on a skillet. If the sauce needs thickened you can always add 1 or 2 tbsp. or cornstarch mixed in cold water.

    1 1/2 pound boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces.
    1 cup of yogurt
    1 finely chopped onion
    1 clove of garlic, chopped finely or ground
    1 tsp grated ginger
    1 can coconut milk
    1 can or 16 oz. cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
    1 tsp Garam Masala
    1 tsp sweet yellow curry powder
    2 tsp hot red chili powder, or to taste
    tsp ground coriander powder
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp ground cardamom
    salt to taste
    oil for sauteing 

    1. Marinate the chicken with one cup of yogurt for at least an hour or two.

    2. In a big frying pan heat oil, then fry the onions until they turn golden brown.

    3. Now add the garlic paste and ginger paste. After a minute or so add the cardamom powder, stir and then add the cumin powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, salt and the coriander powder.

    4.Add the chicken and yogurt mixture and stir-fry the until it has become fairly dry and the chicken is cooked through
    5. Add the coconut milk and garbanzo beans, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce is not thick enough, add a 1 or 2 tbsp. of cornstarch mixed with cold water while the curry is still boiling.

    Serve with naan, chapatis, or basmati rice.
    You can also garnish the curry with some fresh cilantro.

    Saturday, October 17, 2009

    East Essence Abaya

    I was desparately in need of a decent abaya after giving all of mine away last year. I saw this recent post by NoortheNinjabi about her obsession with abaya shopping, so I decided to trust her opinion. I placed an order for this abaya from East Essence.

    Here is my actual abaya that I received yesterday. I love it!  I placed the order on Oct 4th and received confirmation that my order had been completed on Thursday the 15th. I got the package from DHL the following day. I think that they custom make each order before shipping, and this is why it takes a few days. I still think its really fast considering that the items come from India.

    As for the sizing and quality, I am really impressed with both. I ordered the longest standard length, which is a 57. My only complaint is that the sleeves could be a tad longer, but I have ridiculously long skinny arms. I think they use standard size charts, so if you know your measurements it will be a really accurate fit. Pre-made garments usually fit me really well because I am about 5'6"/7 (170cm) and thin with a small chest and hips. If you look at their size chart before ordering you can decide whether you want a looser fit based on the size as well as if you need a custom length.

    I wore it out today (in the rain too) and was really happy with the fabric. It is pretty light, but not stiff like some lower cost abayas that I have owned. It was comparable to some that I had bought at Somali shops for around $40, but I think this one has nicer detail stitching. It also has buttons at the top where the top layer closes. They don't allow it to be opened all the way for nursing, but it could be easily altered on the underneath layer. I think the snaps are there so that if the fabric is pulled it will unsnap rather than rip at the seam.

    It also came with a hijab to match the tan layer of the abaya. It has the same black thread stitching going around 2 sides. I think it was also a good deal for $7. I plan on ordering from them again in the future for sure. I would even love to open a little place and sell them, but I don't think we have the collateral for something like that at the moment.

    Let me know if anyone else decides to order from them and how your experience goes!

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Birthday Girl!

    Well, I knew it would happen someday, but its hard to believe that Layla is 2 already. Her actual birthday isn't until tomorrow, but we had the party on Sunday. It was great! My friend Amanda and I picked out her gaudy outfit and accessories, and we ordered this cake from Coldstone creamery.


    It was chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate cake and a chocolate ganache topping.
    Definitely a huge hit!

    We also got some of the cupcakes so Layla could have one all to herself! She had a great time.

    Her favorite gifts were her block set from our neighbor downstairs and her rocking horse. Don't tell her, but we got it used on Craigslist! Its neighs and wags its tail when you press its ears.
    The Hello Kitty pajamas were a mail-in gift from my mom in Illinois.

    I was just excited that we actually know enough people now to even have a party!

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    DIY Khaleeji Flower Clip

    So today I had a brilliant idea. After seeing other bloggers post about the flower clips that are available in the UAE and elsewhere, I started to want one.
    My hair doesn't hold scarves on really well because its pretty slick. Plus, I like the way a hijab looks with a little more lift in back.

    I thought about going to a craft store to get some flowers, but then I remembered that they had flowers and clips at the $1 store right by my house. The flowers were pretty easy to take apart and each one had a hole with a little piece of plastic running through the middle. I don't have a hot glue gun, so I planned to use the gorilla glue you see in the first picture.However, I didn't do that and ended up first stringing the flowers together 3 by 3 on some wire twist-ties, then used yarn to tie them onto the clip. You can't see the yarn or the twist-ties on the finished product.

    Here is how the clip looked in my hair after I took the hijab off.

    And here is my pashmina with a little lift:

    And there is Layla in her pyjamas in the background :)

    I think I'll wear it tomorrow when I volunteer for the ESL class.

    Where has the time gone?!

    As some have noticed, I've been pretty lazy with posting lately. We've been more busy, but still not really that busy overall. Its just an excuse!

    I did start doing some new volunteer work with some Somalis in the area!! The group I volunteer with does ESL classes and driving lessons that are all covered by donations. They do men's and women's classes for new immigrants on alternating days. There are a decent number of Somalis, but they and the classes are basically on the complete opposite side of the city from me ;-(
    That's really the only downside though.

    At this point I am only volunteering one day a week because of the distance issue. I helped teach at the preschool during the women's classes, and translated for the Somali women afterward as they set up their driving appointments. Its also great because I get to have Layla with me the whole time. I am really excited about what this may lead to! New friendships, Somalis, helping people. All my favorite things in one place.

    One of the main teachers is basically the Swahili-speaking version of me. She is white and American but grew up for a number of years in Kenya and speaks Swahili fluently. Most of the Somalis here are Bajuni, from the Southern coastal area, and so they speak Swahili. They speak Somali too, but the dialect I learned is the northern variety. We can understand each other, but they were telling Jeanette in Swahili that I speak "professional" Somali, as the dialect I speak is the one used in Radio, TV and newspapers for the most part ;-) Its actually the best one to know because everyone understands you and you understand almost everything the others say.

    Now that I'm doing this, I am obsessed with Somali everything again at the moment. I am trying to read the BBC Somali news each day and also listen to radio broadcasts, etc just to keep myself learning. You can begin to forget things so quickly when you don't use them.

    We're also planning Layla's 2nd Birthday party for Sunday, but I'll leave that for another post.

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Harun Yahya and Joel Richardson Interview

    Harun Yahya is one of the most popular Muslim apologists and lecturers today. I really appreciate the work that he has done in regard to Creationism and his interfaith work with Christian leaders and Rabbis.
    In this interview by Joel Richardson, he discusses some of the issues regarding the end of days and the coming of the Mahdi. Joel also asks him several questions regarding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, as well as issues related to his second coming.
    They are both very kind and gracious instead of attacking one another personally. I would love to see more interviews like this one. The two men have obviously different faith and very different views on eschatology, yet they are both open to learning from one another.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    Why Circumcise me?- A film

    This health issue is something that has existed, mostly in Africa, for about 4000 years. The type of circumcision that is more problematic is Pharaonic, which removes the clitoris, inner, and some of the outer labia. The area is then stitched shut except for a tiny hole. Most of the girls with this procedure have trouble urinating and menstruating. They also endure a lot of pain on their wedding nights and during childbirth.

    I don't want to be too graphic, but just want to give examples of some of the pain my friends have endured. One friend used to have to urinate a single drop at a time, it would take her several minutes to empty her bladder. Another's husband was not able to open her fully for 5 days after marrying. During childbirth, she had to be cut open in all four directions (like a plus sign) to allow the baby's head to pass. She also bled a lot and had to receive several units of blood. Some women die after being circumcised, or when giving birth in primitive conditions.

    This practice is still way too common and we need to make sure it doesn't continue to happen to the next generation. I have seen my own friends suffer, but I know that it doesn't have to be that way for their daughters. It is also mostly the women in these cultures who do the circumcisions and insist on continuing the tradition.

    The film is in Somali with English subtitles. It also goes into some of the social issues regarding circumcision. It is not only a Somali issue though. It also occurs all through populations in North and East Africa.

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

    Hope everyone had a wonderful Eid and Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets). I think there's something special going on when the Biblical and Muslim calendars correspond. We didn't end up doing a whole lot for either, but we had some good food and a nice day. I didn't end up going to Minneapolis or San Diego, so we didn't have a lot to do here.

    UPDATE: Idil gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Zaher, at about 1:45 am, mashallah.
    If anyone gets a chance, please pray for my friend Idil, who should be giving birth to a baby girl tonight or tomorrow God-willing.

    It is amazing just to contemplate the incredible power that goes into creating a child in the mother's womb. Even beyond our planet, look at all the millions of stars and planets that God created all over the universe. We can't even understand why he created all that, yet he cares about us too.

    I think that's a good thought to go to sleep on.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    The New Addition

    So we weren't really planning on getting a cat right away, but...

    Layla and I were walking behind our apartments the other day and came upon some really cute kittens playing on someone's patio. I was in love!

    The next day I we were checking the mail when I saw the woman that I thought lived there. I asked her if the cats were hers. Yes. Ok well was she looking to give any of them away...Yes! :)

    All that was keeping me from getting one of them was a $300 pet deposit. Its all refundable, but we just didn't have the money. I went to talk to our apartment manager, who is really nice. She also happened to have given the mother cat to the other lady last year when her cat had kittens. She hooked us up. We just have to pay the deposit in $50 increments until its paid in full.

    So now I present, Sable, our new 8 wk old adorable kitten:

    The only downside is that he has fleas. We already got some drops for them and they seem to be almost gone after bath, combing, and then the drops. I'm planning to vacuum the floor to get rid of their dead carcasses.

    So I guess this is Layla's Yom Teruah, Eid, and early birthday gift all rolled into one :)

    She's a lucky girl!

    Saturday, September 12, 2009


    Steve and Paula Runyan: LAB ORIGINS OF THE 2009 NOVEL SWINE FLU

    Check out the video. This is a contrived pandemic that was created in a lab. Why? I'm not exactly sure, but I would definitely not get a vaccine. Pandemics like this one can be used to create mass-hysteria and gain more effective control of a populace.

    Check out this other one about a swine flu conference in Wash. DC that wasn't discussed in the major media.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    The Arrivals

    I just found out about these videos from Kim Donesia. I have been following information related to the NWO and other "conspiracy theories" for some time now, and I think that there is definitely some truth to the madness. What is interesting now is that there are a lot of Christians and Muslims teaming up and getting the same types of information out there to the public. I would also recommend that you check out http://infowars.com and the films The Obama Deception, and Endgame which are also available online. You can also get some information from Texe Marrs, who is a Christian who writes about a lot of the same topics.
    They even have a blog where the films can be accessed.
    I definitely think that you have to take these topics with a "grain of salt." But I also think that there is more going on in this world than meets the eye.

    Monday, September 7, 2009

    Seek and You Shall Find

    Behold, the days are coming,” declares the God, the Eternal One
    “when I will send hunger on the land—
     not a hunger of bread, nor a thirst for water,
    but of hearing the words of the Eternal One.

    Seek the Eternal One while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;

    Let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

    Let him return to the Eternal One, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Eternal One..

    For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    *The Eternal One is my translation of the Hebrew name for God, Yahweh, which is derived from the verb "to be." It is usually translated as the LORD in English Bibles.
    From Amos 8:11 and Isaiah 55

    Friday, September 4, 2009

    Half empty or half full?

    Random picture, Layla and the tomato plants
    Wow, the month is half over already? It has gone by so quickly! The last few days have been great here. I'm keeping up with my reading schedule, Al hamdulillah, and I have been absorbing a lot of material.
    I have split up the Bible reading a little bit so I don't get burned our while reading the longer books. I have been reading 5 Psalms and 1 chapter of Proverbs each day, and I'm reading all the Pre-exilic prophetic books before I read Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Post-exilic prophets.

    When I get to the gospels, I may read using this Synopsis of the 4 Gospels that I have. It has the text in parallel columns for each pericope that the Gospels have in common. If something is only in 1 of the Gospels, it just appears by itself. I think that might help me absorb more material rather that just reading through all 4 in a row.

    There has been a lot of material that I felt like I grasped better than other times I have read through the Bible, but since I'm reading through so fast, its hard to apply the information. I have a few scribbled notes though, so some of them may turn into posts in the future.

    The Quran is also going well. I have just been reading the Juz for each day, which really isn't that much.
    I also skipped ahead and read some of the shortest surahs already. I also have some notes on passages in the Quran that spoke to me as well.

    On Tuesday, I went to an amazing Iftar dinner with some new friends here in Portland. My friend Erin was having some of her friends from the Masjid and the Islamic school where she teaches over. We have just been friends online for awhile, so this was our first time meeting in person. She has two young daughters, and is married to a Somali. Her SIL Rooda was there and is also going to help me get connected with some Somali translators here. We are also planning to take the kids together to an Eid party at their Masjid.

    Layla had fun playing with the kids and their goat, Baraka, who lives in the backyard. There were lots of kids to keep her busy, so I actually got to spend lots of time talking with all the ladies. There were so many ethnicities; Pakistani, Korean, Indonesian, American, Somali. There was such a peaceful feeling when everyone prayed Maghrib together too. I got to talk to Tasnim, one of the Pakistani ladies for awhile. She was very knowledgable about Islam and just had a joy and peace about her. I got to talk to her about how I was first introduced to Islam, and that although I am not officially a Muslim, Islam will always be a part of me.  She seemed to understand what is really important in the diin and what really matters in life. She is the kind of Muslim who keeps drawing me towards the community.

    Ramadan has been a really beautiful month so far. I am feeling better connected now that I have my best friend Amanda here, and a new group of friends here. I will be going to a Sabbath service tomorrow at a Messianic church and bringing a book about Islam to a friend there. It is called Miniskirts, Mothers, and Muslims: A Christian Woman in a Muslim Land. I would definitely recommend it. The author is remarkably sensitive to Islam, and I can see how she too, has become a better person and Christian by being around Muslims. I liked it because even though the author sees herself as a missionary to Muslims, she had to change her own worldview of Islam after truly experiencing it.

    I wish that more Christians weren't afraid of and biased against Muslims. I think that it just takes building a lot of relationships, one at a time.

    Hope the fasting is still going well for everyone and don't forget to make lots of dua too!

    JazakAllah khayr.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Ramadhan Tag!

    I got tagged by Hajar Zamzam Ismail at Tales from an American Nomad.

    So here is the deal for this tag:

    1.) Link five people who have written Ramadhan posts that inspired you, and explain why.

    2.) Leave them a comment to let them know you gave them "link love," and that they are now tagged.

    3.) Link back to the person who tagged you.

    This is actually a pretty hard one. I think that there have been some really great and inspiring posts this Ramadan by a lot of different blogger ladies.

    I am really glad that some have been inspired by my posts as well. So, let's continue showing the love this Ramadan.

    1.) My Hijab did a really awesome post today about how her husband inspires her to fast and be a better Muslim. I love to see husbands being an encouragement to their wives, and families encouraging each other to be faithful and love God.

    2. Modest Justice wrote one about getting back in to the masjid and forgiving someone she had a grudge against for a long time. This is so hard for us as humans to do. She shows a lot more maturity that some people twice her age. She is also Somali, so I would love her either way! Waan ku jeclahay macaanto.

    3. Cecilia at My Life My Story did a post on how she was having a hard time during Ramadan. This wasn't because she had trouble fasting, but because her family sometimes has negative reactions about Islam. I applaud her for sharing the hard things in her life and pray that she will be able to tell them everything someday.

    4. Organica did a post of serving at Iftar for a local mosque. I liked her post because it showed what is good and bad in the community. When Muslims are considerate of each other and are at the mosque only to worship, the Muslim community is beautiful. When people come with selfish concerns only to get enough food and space for themselves, with no consideration for the people who have to clean up the mess, things can get ugly. Its important to remember that the Ummah is a community.

    5. Candice at Exploring Life and Islam posted on how she's really been able to embrace her new identity as a Muslim and speaks about how she's been changing to be a better person. I am also impressed with her involvement in Ramadan and getting to know her local Muslim community better while her husband and daughter and in Egypt. I don't know if I would be able to do it!

    I look forward to posting and reading more inspiring posts!

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Prominent Christian Leader Fasting for Ramadan

    I'm not sure how many of you have heard of Brian McLaren. He is a pretty prominent leader in a sort of post-Modern Christian movement known by some as the Emergent Church. He and some other Christians are fasting for Ramadan, along with Muslim friends of theirs.
    Here is an excerpt from his blog explaining the purpose of the fast.

    "We, as Christians, humbly seek to join Muslims in this observance of Ramadan as a God-honoring expression of peace, fellowship, and neighborliness. Each of us will have at least one Muslim friend who will serve as our partner in the fast. These friends welcome us in the same spirit of peace, fellowship, and neighborliness.
    We will seek to avoid being disrespectful or unfaithful to our own faith tradition in our desire to be respectful to the faith tradition of our friends. For example, since the Bible teaches us the importance of fasting and being generous to the poor, we can participate as Christians in fidelity to the Bible as our Muslim friends do so in fidelity to the Quran.
    Among the core values of Ramadan are self control, expressing kindness, and resolving conflicts. For this reason, if we are criticized or misunderstood by Christians, Muslims, or others for this endeavor, we will avoid defending ourselves or engaging in arguments. Instead, we will seek to explain ourselves humbly, simply, and briefly when necessary, connecting with empathy to the needs and feelings of others as we express our own.
    Our main purpose for participating will be our own spiritual growth, health, learning, and maturity, but we also hope that our experience will inspire others to pray and work for peace and the common good, together with people of other faith traditions.
    May God bless all people, and teach us to love God and love one another, and so fulfill our calling as human beings."

    Another pastor, Ben Ries has written an article about his experience of fasting Ramadan. 

    I think that fasting Ramadan, even for the non-Muslim, can have lasting spiritual implications. There are some days that Christians traditionally fast, or observe partial fasts, such as Catholics during lent. There is also the Bible fast of Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, which is a 24 hour total fast observed by Jews and certain Christian groups today. However, there are very few other times that Christians undertake fasts as a community. I think that Christians and Muslims both can use the time of Ramadan as a time of introspection into our own communities. By humbling ourselves and fasting, God can reveal to each of us what we are doing right and wrong in our own faith.

    Some conservative Christian organizations have blasted McLaren and others for undertaking a Ramadan fast. For me, it makes a lot of sense. Fasting Ramadan was something I started doing quite a few years ago when I first started looking into Islam. I think that those who criticize people like McLaren have probably never had a close Muslim friend or neighbor who was a good example of Islam to them.

    I hope that all of us who are spending more time in prayer and introspection during this month will be drawn close to our Creator. Amin.

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    Forced Vaccinations and Quarantine In Massachusetts?

    Check out what is happening right here in the United States.

    Massachusetts is trying to pass a bill that would force people to be vaccinated, quarantined, or "decontaminated" if suspected of harboring a dangerous infection.

    Link on Natural Health News

    This means that government health workers would be able to have the right of search and seizure within private homes, and that citizens could be fined and jailed for not following the demands of the government.

    Wake up people! The government doesn't know what is best for our health and shouldn't be able to force medical fascism on us and our children.

    This excerpt from the article basically outlines what I feel about this:

    "Some might argue these are necessary actions to save a nation from a deadly pandemic. And yet they forget that the pandemic has been intentionally allowed to worsen by censoring information about vitamin D and natural remedies that could stop it. Somebody at the top, in other words, wants this pandemic to get really bad, perhaps because it allows them to invoke precisely the draconian response I've outlined in this article. Seizing power in a Democracy cannot be accomplished by simply declaring war on the rights of the People. Rather, a situation must be engineered where the People are so desperate that they beg to be controlled. Releasing a pandemic into the wild is the perfect way to accomplish precisely that."

    This just sickens and scares me. We need to make sure that this doesn't stand in MA and that other states and countries don't follow suit.

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    More Books!

    We went to the Portland Central Library downtown today. Its a nice library in a really cool old building. Layla and I had fun browsing around as she knocked books off the shelves.
    I let her play in the kids books for awhile and do a puzzle, then we went to mommy's favorite sections, Languages and religion.
    They didn't have a lot of Somali books at the downtown branch, but I guess there are more at some of the other neighborhood libraries. They have an awesome religion section though. That is, they actually have scholarly books about Islam and Biblical studies and not just negative propaganda type books. The Islam section was pretty heavy on Sufism books. Makes sense for Portland though. There is a big Sufi organization here, and Buddhism is also pretty big in the area.

    Here's what we got:

    The book about Ramadan fasting looks really good. It is more scholarly that a lot of the Islamic books I've seen. It has information on the history of fasting, fasts in Christianity, Judaism, and other religions. Effects of fasting on health and its benefits, as well as a lot of information on what things are considered to invalidate one's fast.
    I plan on starting it right away even though I still have a lot of reading to keep up on. I'm actually still ahead on the Bible reading, and have already finished my Juz of the Quran for today. I'll probably be making another post tonight on one of the ayat that really stuck out to me.

    The other book, "The God of Old," focuses on the narrative accounts in the Bible where people had encounters with God. From what I can tell, he focuses on studying how the ancient Israelites perceived God as we can best discern from the texts and archaeology. The author, James Kugel, has another book called "How to Read The Bible, A Guide to Scripture Then and Now" that I also highly recommend. All of his books focus more upon the ancient period of Biblical history that we know the least about from the texts. This time period extends roughly from the Patriarchs to the time of Solomon.

    This is the kind of stuff I do for fun :)

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Layla's Best Friend

    We came into the room last night to this cute sight. Layla cuddling her doll the same way I used to sleep with her when she was tiny. She's starting to want to take her places when we leave too.

    They're so cute when they're sleeping :)

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Who ate all the Sambusa?

    Layla ate all the sambusa!
    Well, I guess that's not completely true. Layla, Dave and I ate all the sambusa, and wow they were really good. Probably shouldn't be looking at this if you're fasting and faint of heart. I
    If you're looking for something fun to make for iftar, sambusa are the best.
    Check out Tammy's Somali Home on my side bar for sambusa recipes because I didn't really use one.
    Basically, I wrapped them in egg roll wrappers that I had cut diagonally, they are filled with ground beef, garlic, lots of onion, Anaheim peppers, cumin, curry powder, chili powder, salt, and ancho chile powder.

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Teachings about Marriage in An-Nisa

    As you may know, I have started reading through a Juz of the Quran each day of Ramadan. I've been reading through An-Nisa, and have come across a few things that I don't quite understand.
    Here are some of the problematic passages:

    1. If any of your women is guilty of unnatural offense, bring four of your witnesses to give evidence; if they testify against them, regain them in the houses until death, or until God provide some other way for them. (An-Nisa 15)

    a.) What is the unnatural offense? It seems to suggest homosexual behavior in the context of the next verses.
    b.) What would the witnesses have to say that they had witnessed for this to be prosecuted?
    c.) What is meant by until God provide some other way for them?

    The passage continues:
    But if two men among you are guilty of such acts then punish both of them. But if they repent and reform, let them be, for God accepts such repentance and is merciful. (An-Nisa 16)

    b.) What is the required amount of witnesses for the men? The text doesn't say, and what is the punishment for them?
    c.) Let them be?! So men don't have ANY punishment if they just promise to never do it again?
    It just isn't setting well with me at this point.

    2. Unlawful to you are your mothers and daughters...(other list of women prohibited for marriage) and the daughters of the wives you have slept with who are under your charge; but in case you have not slept with them there is no offense (if you marry their daughters);
    (An-Nisa 23)

    a.) So the text seems to be saying that you can marry the daughter of your wife (who is not presumably your own daughter), but only if you hadn't slept with that particular wife yet. Why would one have a wife with whom he hadn't yet consummated the marriage yet?

    While we're on this topic let's head back to Surah al Baqarah's teaching on divorce in v. 230:

    If a man divorces her again ( a third time), she becomes unlawful for him (and he cannot remarry her) until she has married another man.
    Then if he divorces her there is no harm if hte two unite again if they think they will keep within the bounds set by God and made clear for those who understand.

    a.) So a man is allowed to fully divorce his wife 3 times and yet take her back to him as a wife. However if he has divorced her a third time, she has to marry and divorce another man in order for them to re-unite again!

    This one is problematic to me for 2 reasons. First, it seems to condone easy divorces, which are not socially positive in any culture. The woman might already know that she wants her husband back, but she has to find another man, marry him, have sex with him, and they have to be divorced in order to get her husband back. She would have to wait the obligatory 4 mos, and then she could marry her original husband. What if the husband wanted her back and they arranged the marriage to the other man basically as a sham so they could marry again. Is that not immoral?

    The second reason it bothers me is that it directly contradicts this teaching about divorce from the Torah:

    When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hands and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her and and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, for she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD, you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. (Deut 24:1-4)

    You see, even if the 2nd husband died of natural causes, she could never marry the first man again.

    Jesus set a higher standard for divorce in the Gospels:

    It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality , makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matt. 5: 31-32)

    What do you guys think about divorce in general? I think that it can be necessary, even in cases where one party is not necessarily unfaithful. What if the husband is abusive or prone to anger? What if he is lazy and refuses to provide for the family? What if the woman is abusive to her children or endangers them? I think those types of cases are definitely enough reason to divorce. People can change, but the sad truth is that sometimes they don't.

    Is Jesus teaching on divorce too strict? I don't think that he's saying that there is never a case where remarriage can happen (although some churches do teach this). I think that he was using harsh language because divorce was too common and easy in the Judean culture of the 1st Century A.D. We're leaning back that direction again. My parents are one of the few their age I know who are still married. I don't think that marriages should be rushed into or out of unless there is a reason of someone's safety or sanity.

    I will add to this if I come across anything else confusing in my reading.

    And please, I welcome comments of all kinds as well as links to good sources of commentary.

    May God be with all of you each and every hour!

    Sunday, August 23, 2009

    Breaking the potty training code

    Layla and her Grandma (my mom)

    I think we may have figured something out to motivate Layla for potty training!
    Lately she had been hardly ever going in the potty. I would put her on and the she would go in the diaper less than 10 minutes later. Frustrating.

    Yesterday I was feeling the Ramadan spirit and went out and bought some nice dates. I let Layla have one and she got really excited about it. She kept asking for more...

    Then my husband got a good idea. We didn't want to give her candy or junk food as a reward for using the potty because it could add up to a lot of junk over the course of a day. He thought maybe we could give her a date every time she went.

    It works! So far she has gone 2x today and 1 last night. :)
    Who knows maybe this might work for some other little ones.
    That is, if they like dates!

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    My Duas for Ramadan

    What better time is there than Ramadan to make duas? Here are global concerns I will be concentrating during this month:


    The song is titled Hevinu Shalom 3Aleinu, Ma3na Ajmal Min Salaam
    Let there be peace among us, With us is nothing more beautiful than peace.

    The next song is for my dear beloved Somalia, how I would love to visit you someday.
    Also dedicated to Omar who is like a brother to me and is living back in Hargeisa.
    Aniga iyo Da'uud waanu ku jecelynahay walaal. Waana ku xiisey.

    The song is called Baaqii Nabadda-Proclaim Peace

    Doonayaayo doonayaayo doonaya nabad nabad nabadda doonaya
    O' We want, o' we want, we want peace, peace, peace is what we want

    Da'iimow Allahayow,noo daryeelo, dalkeenu, dadkeenu, nabadda
    O' Eternal one, O' Allah, take care of us, our country, our people, peace

    Dadow, dadow, dhul Allahayow soo duceeya, Aamiin, aamiin
    O' People, 'o people, Pray to Allah for your land, amin, amin

    Nalada cadeeddo lagu wada dega baan
    By the lights of the sun let us reside together

    dadow dadow dhul adoo soo duceeya aamiin aamiin
    O' people, o' people pray for your land, amin, amin

    Qabiilka dhabar go'ynoo dankugu lagu dadaal
    Cut off tribalism from our backs, let our effort be united

    dadow, dadow, dhul dalool soo duceeya
    'o people, o' people, pray for a broken land (lit. with holes)

    Please, any Somali sisters who know better than I do, let me know any words I missed or problems with the translation. This song was a lot easier than most Somali songs, but I still had a little trouble getting all the words.

    Ramadan Kariim everyone!

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    What? Another Award?!

    Wow, so I am feeling surprised and blessed. These awards are circulating like crazy on. It still surprises me that my blog has been awarded for anything other than Layla's cuteness.

    I got the Freakin Fabulous Award from 3 Ladies who are all fabulous themselves:
    Skye, Nazia, and Tiffany Nicole :)

    Here are the rules:
    The rules of this award are:
    •List five current obsessions.
    •Pass the award on to five more fabulous blogs.
    •On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them.
    •When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well.
    Don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by leaving a comment on their blog.

    I know I was awarded thrice, but I am still only listing 5 obsessions because Layla is attention-starved and I'm lazy :)

    1. Coldstone Creamery
    This one is not a good obsession for the long term. Hubby and I have been going here at least once a week lately. It is expensive and filled with empty calories, but it tastes so good! The second part of my obsession here is that I always have to get cookie dough in my ice cream. Yesterday Layla and I shared mint with cookie dough.

    2. Books
    I have way too many books already, but who doesn't like more. We are always looking for used bookstores, regular bookstores, and buying books online. My favorite genres are religion, history, cultural studies, and languages.

    3. Thai Food
    I've been making Pad Thai or Thai red curry at least once a week for awhile now. Its spicy, tasty, and easy to make. There are a lot of asian groceries close to us, so I can get the curry paste really cheap. Layla already eats spicier than most American adults.

    4. Somali
    This is an ongoing obsession for sure. Oh Somali, why do I love thee so much? I seriously think Somali is the most beautiful language in the world. To me it's even more beautiful than Arabic and Hebrew combined. My husband just thinks I'm weird. This means I read Somali kids books, do crossword puzzles in Somali, and speak Somali on the phone. I just need to get back to updating my Somali blog and all will be good.

    5. Everyday Deals
    So there is this weird store just down the road from my house, I've written about it before. They sell damaged, almost expired, and discontinued or overstock merchandise. Now I go there almost every day. Last week they had cantaloupes 2/1.00 and both the ones I picked were perfectly good. I also have like 10 boxes of cereal in the pantry now. I just can't resist the urge to go in there and see what new things they have each day.

    So yes, I'm weird just like the rest of you :) Let's enjoy our differences and weird obsessions.

    In turn I am awarding:
    1.Tuttie at Trying to Take Over The World
    2. Maryanne at Cairo/Giza Daily Photo
    3. Aalia at Chasing Jannah
    4. Never Ever at Finding Guidance
    5. Cairo, Lusaka, Amsterdam

    Monday, August 17, 2009


    My husband and I always joked that we would dress our kids in Togas for the first few years of their life to save money. It turns out that a toga can be pretty cute.
    This is just actually a towel that I wrapped around Layla, then tied at the shoulder. I think its pretty cute! It gets a little cold in Portland for year-round togas though.