Where this Blog started.......
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
You'll notice that Safa and Hamza are completely absent in this post. That's because Safa never stepped foot in the water park, and Hamza was off riding some crazy water ride called the 'Upsurge' with his friends.
Needless to say, it takes Bilal quite a while to warm up to new activities. Once he was in the groove it was hard to keep sight of him. He loved it!
Monday, September 28, 2009
After weeks of rain the sun finally broke through the clouds on Sunday. A perfect day for our trip to Alabama Adventure. The temperature stayed in the upper 70s to low 80s, with very few clouds in the sky.
We also spent a couple of hours at the Splash Beach Water park, but I'll share that experience in another post. Overall the kids had a great time; Safa spent most of the day with her friends, and Hamza rode the same water rides over and over again with his buddies. Bilal had a blast hanging out with his two favorite people, Baba and Mama. For me, the rides will have to wait. Maybe next time, sigh.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I came across an amazing looking cake on McMama's blog, which inspired me to try and bake one myself. So a google search for 'rainbow cake' led me to this site. Considering I don't have six round cake pans to bake six layers of cake consecutively, I opted for this idea. I also liked the fact that the recipe called for using packaged cake mix, and diet Sprite instead of eggs, water and oil, so I figured I'd be cutting a some calories in the process. Plus the fat-free and low sugar icing sounded good. Two reasons to celebrate: a pretty, colorful cake, and a few calories less than a conventional one! Sounded great. That is, until I cut a few corners.
I bought a box of white cake mix (a real steal at 'buy one, get one free') and a bottle of diet Sprite. Except it wasn't diet Sprite (a.k.a. Sprite Zero). I had the choice between a $1.49 bottle of the brand name stuff, and the Publix brand at $0.50 a bottle. No brainer, right? That's 99 cents more I can put towards my kids' college education. So I went with the Publix brand. What I didn't realize (until after I baked the cake) was that it was sweetened with Splenda, not aspartame. Now anyone who knows anything about baking knows that Splenda is NOT a good substitute for sugar when it comes to baking. It tends to get, shall we say, a tad bit gummy?
OK, that's not the only corner I cut; I also only went with four colors of gel food coloring instead of six (so the effect was a couple of colors short of a rainbow). Well they all came in one box, and I was in too much of a hurry to mix them to come up with the perfect shade of violet and orange.
To add to this, I tried to ice the cake while it was not quite cool. I was in a hurry! You can't blame me for wanting to get Bilal in bed on time, heck, he skipped his nap today again! Since it was getting quite late in the evening I finished preparing the cake while Zakir bathed the little guy. So we all managed to get a slice of cake in before bed time. Is it possible for a cake to be both moist and slightly gummy in consistency? Well, this one really was. It wasn't too bad, but next time I'll make sure I'll have the correct ingredients before I try to bake. I am also still trying to get used to the difference in cooking times in my new oven. I'll get the hang of it eventually, I'm sure.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
So after about a month of living without a functional oven we finally got our new stove installed. It took a lot more work than we had first expected. Our builder came out and had to move the set of drawers several inches across. That entailed cutting some of the hardwood floorboards and replacing them later in the process. of course, before moving the drawer unit across he had to remove our quartz counter top. While he worked on the wooden aspect of things another guy (the counter dude) came and took off the back splash. He cut and re-finished this to make space for the stove to slide in. Then our builder replaced the 220 volt outlet with a 120 volt one, needed for the new gas stove.
After everything was back in place our installer brought the appliance, but before he could install it he went into our crawl space and ran a gas line to the site. Then finally when everything was ready he installed the stove and was out of there. Of course that left a lot of clean-up, so by the time everything was in its correct place it was nearly 6pm. By then I was in no mood to try and cook, so we had Chinese take-out. But after dinner, to celebrate our new, fully functioning oven, we made Ghirardelli double fudge brownies. Yum!
I have thoroughly enjoyed cooking since getting our new stove. It's nothing fancy, just a simple white gas convection stove, that matches our other old appliances pretty well. In fact, it was one of the lower-end stoves at Lowes. But anything would have been an upgrade from the old electric range we just retired. The one thing is that baking times are quite different than a predictable electric oven, so I am having to monitor things more closely, until I can get used to baking with gas.
In order to widen the space the fridge had to be pulled out from its regular spot, so of course I got to clean up years of dust bunnies from underneath it. We also discovered that there must be a leak somewhere inside the fridge that is corroding the back of it. We don't know how long this has been going on for, but it means that we will have to replace our (otherwise normally functioning) refrigerator within the next few months. It's only a matter of time before we have a huge gaping hole in the back of it. Ugh! I guess we should appreciate that it has worked well without needing any repairs for about 10 years, maybe it's just wearing out. So we'll be shopping for a new fridge soon.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Just because I haven't shared many new pics in a while.......
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Bilal and I didn't get a lot accomplished today, considering Tuesday is usually our errand day, but we did spend a lot of the day playing 'firefighters', his second passion after construction games.
The sun finally peeked through today after more than 2 weeks of almost non-stop rain. It's still too wet in the back yard to mow the lawn, but at least Bilal and I managed to hang out in the gravel around the swing set for a while. We would probably have been out there for longer, but Bilal happened to point out a partially decomposing 'squirtle' under the tree next to the playset, so I insisted on cutting our play time short. Ugh! Zakir came home and removed the said squirrel, so maybe if it doesn't rain we'll venture out into the yard again tomorrow.
I used a new recipe for okra curry today, and it was delicious. Even Hamza, who usually doesn't eat a lot of veggies, loved it. Credit goes to Sadia, who cooked it when we were visiting Little Rock. This recipe is definitely a keeper. In fact, I might use it when I have a few families over for dinner on October 10th, for a long overdue get-together. Now that Ramadan is over we're kind of on a rebound, and these days it's all about food!
I also cut Bilal's hair today, and once again I could almost stuff a small pillow with his hair if I tried. So much of it! I am still waiting for the day when he doesn't cry when he gets his hair cut. It turned out pretty good today, but it would be so much better if only he cooperated! I haven't taken the camera out today, but I'll share some pics tomorrow.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
A conversation with Bilal this morning:
Mama: Drink your sippy cup, Bilal.
Bilal: But, but, I feel hungry of cake!
Mama: No hon, you haven't had your milk yet.
Bilal: Actually, can I just have ice cream? It's got milk in it too!
Bilal was ecstatic with his goody bag full of candy and cookies he got on the way out from Eid prayers this morning.
More Eid photos to follow soon!
Friday, September 18, 2009
It is three years today since Bilal had his open heart surgery, the result being a very successful repair of tetralogy of fallot. He still doesn't understand the significance of the day, but some day soon he will. We will continue to thank God for blessing us and for the health that our family enjoys today, with special mention of Bilal's heart, of course.
We are blessed that Bilal was cared for by excellent doctors, who were guided by Allah's hand in treating him. We couldn't have imagined having anyone more competent and compassionate than our surgeon Dr. Christopher Knott-Craig (who since then has moved on to Memphis), and the amazing team of cardiologists at UAB, particularly Dr. Colvin and Dr. Lau. Each one of these doctors have been a blessing in our lives.
I can never express enough gratitude to our family and friends who have traveled this journey with us.
I wanted to share this pic, not because it's a particularly flattering photo of me (ugh, they never are!), but because it was taken by my three year old. He's getting pretty good with our little 'point and shoot' camera! I think I'll let him run around one day and snap photos to see what the world looks like from the eyes of a three year old.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Last night was probably the closest I have ever got to taking one of my children to the ER. I have seen Bilal intubated, and hooked up to several wires and tubes, and of course that was very hard. But in some ways it was a controlled setting. Last night I felt that there wasn't anything I could do for my baby except comfort him.
So I grabbed a spare quilt and pillow and crashed on the floor next to his bed, with a bucket within reach, just in case. It's not like I really got much sleep. True to a mommy's nature I was leaning over him every few minutes to make sure he was still breathing. About 1am he woke up and asked for water. Then he asked for some more. So after some water, and sounding a lot more cheerful he fell asleep, and I finally relaxed to get a bit of sleep myself. This morning he had two more episodes of diarrhea, but no more throwing up. Appetite is crummy, but he is acting his usual energetic self, thank God! I think it may have been food poisoning from a tomato he was eating earlier, although I really try and clean everything so thoroughly. The little guy has his hands in everything, and with so much stagnant water outside these days he could have touched something bad while he was playing outdoors. I have to keep chasing after him to wash his hands when he comes inside. Well it seems that as soon as it started, the bug has gone.
So this morning he woke to a (relatively) happy tummy and mismatched jammies but ended up with a bad hair day.
This, we can handle!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
These are some action shots taken of the kids while they were performing in the recent intramural tournament. Makes me want to invest in a nicer camera. But then I still think I couldn't make photos look as good as the person taking these, sigh.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
And Imaan relaxing at home. We all did a lot of that too, as you can see:
Monday, September 7, 2009
We had a terrific weekend in Little Rock, catching up with friends we've known from medical school. I'll be sharing some details later, but first I wanted to share some pics of Bilal and his buddy Ayaan. They are about five months apart in age (Ayaan is older), and after they got over the "It's MY toy!!" stage, they had a blast.