Family time

My weekend was relaxing and at the same time full of visitors and fun! Fridays are my favorite because they signal the weekend and possible visits from the older kids.

Saleeha and a friend came over Saturday morning, they brought me a coffee and we sat chatting for a few hours. I had help putting tables and chairs off to the side of the deck, the umbrella was taken down and Grampa Adolph’s bench was put under cover. A couple of walks around the neighborhood and then it was time to start dinner.


Fattima came over and brought company along, the kids played cards and the usual chatter, arguing and laughing rang out, reminding me that they really are still kids! We made Kufta, greek bread and yogurt sauce which turned out nicely. The kids ended the day with a monopoly game and Fattima went home.

Sunday we made Maclube and yogurt salad.


Fattima arrived with more company and a delicious huckleberry cheesecake. She will write out the recipe and it will be shared on the blog later this week.


The ever-changing Palouse still rolls, giving me a new and enchanting view each day and more reasons to count my blessings.


Weekly review

This was my week in case you missed anything! Have a great Sunday.





homemade loaf bread


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Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters

I had to share this, so lovely!

Myths of the Mirror

My first children’s book is out in print. During my writing break over the summer, I tried my hand at illustration. It was hard and I learned a lot. I have a whole new respect for professional illustrators! You are amazing.

Thank you to all the authors who offered their feedback on the text (a simpler print and no italics). I realize it looks small in these images, but I did order proofs of the book (twice) and the actual size works fine.

I published this through Createspace, and it was a (grizzly) bear dealing with the images. Took me days and days and days to get the dpi right.

I was never going to subject myself to the agent-seeking process again, but I did, rather lamely, send queries to 7 agents in August. No takers, naturally, and I didn’t care a whit. This book was written for fun, illustrated for fun, and published for fun.


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Weed Whacking woes


I wanted to be a jazz singer. I went to University to please my parents but ultimately I was just biding my time so that I could find a few musicians, form some sort of ensemble and hit the road! I had little interest in having a family, could not see myself as a mother, go figure 9 kids later!

When I had my first child Osama, I found out what unconditional and true love really meant. I could not imagine doing anything besides being a mom. I then could not imagine ever loving any person like I loved him, until Yusuf came along and I fell in love all over again.

I adore this big family and these amazing children, each one unique and special. Thank God I never went on the road and instead became a mom! I guess you could say I found my calling or it found me. I love all of the antics that play out in our family and so I had to share one today.

My little Soos who is pictured in the photo below, is quite the student, artsy, stylish and tenacious woman. She never lets her five brothers forget that she is a formidable force! This summer endless arguements ensued regarding household chores and time expended on helping out. Soos eagerly explained that she could do any outdoor job as well as they could, but could they cook the same as she did each day?

The boys had a good chuckle and insisted that she would not be able to do this hard work, of course this fueled her motivation further until weed whacking time.  Soos ran outside and grabbed the weed whacker trying to start it but it was clearly too heavy. The boys stood snickering at this tiny girl trying to show off her muscles, feeling quite vindicated in the process.

Grampa heard of  the incident and secretly bought her a gift, a battery operated weed whacker! She proudly started in with her trimming unaware of her attire! We all looked on in amazement as she trimmed and sculpted while wearing her baby doll dress (my nickname for it)  and sandals. This picture remains one of my favorites! Go Soos!



Cooking blog

I have just started back to cooking but as I mentioned my children have really grown in that area. It is so much fun seeing them experiment and then pass new ideas on to me! My daughter Fattima has agreed to take some photos and do a few posts for me on the blog of new things she has tried. Here are some of her favorites!

Update on the book

I have been working on my book for almost a year. I started last Fall and then dropped it for a long while. I am now back to working on it most days. I am not sure what to do or how to write a book but I am trying. I added posts from the blog, edited them and now am writing more stories to put this together in a logical order. It is a huge task but I am now motivated to get it done so wish me luck!

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Typical park in Riyadh

Happy Wednesday

This is a little blip of a story about the first time I walked to pick my boys up from school.

Noon call to prayer echoed through the villa, it was a signal to worship God and a reminder for the pious. The unabating desert swirled never ceasing, spewing dust and sand yet somehow tamed by these impassioned phrases of devotion. This ritual proclamation kept my day on track and in order, alerting me that school was almost done for the day.

The time had come to don my abaya, cart the two little ones and the double stroller down the stairs and head out into the neighborhood streets of Riyadh.  It would be the first time we left the villa without a mahram (male relative or guardian) giving me a chance at independence and a meted freedom. The boy’s school was just 2 blocks away and my eagerness to explore the area was at last reality.

The street looked much like it had the night we drove from the airport but in the noon heat it was eerily vacant. No men in tattered clothing rag and bucket in hand, no boys raucously kicking footballs. I made a mental note of how many streets we passed and any landmark that might guide us back to Abu Abdullah’s little white pickup parked just outside the doors.

Garbage dumpster in a vacant lot, remnants of litter whisked into rumpled mounds where feral cats skulked poised and ready for a skirmish. Two streets had passed no signs or names to plant inside my mind only houses, cars and random writing sprayed on walls. A metal appliance complete with faucet and a cup attached stood on the sidewalk in front of a large white home, blue metal gate. A nearby park emerged and just beyond it the road that lead to the boys only school.

I stood to one side looking for a crosswalk, glancing left and right, back and forth waiting for a break in traffic. Workers rode bikes narrowly missing cars that jammed the street, blocking vehicles from passing. Honking and screeching tires collided with the sounds of a school bell. Men crowded near the school gate waving hands and arms to gather up their passengers. Fathers, drivers and passersby stared and surveyed us as we made numerous attempts at crossing. The school let out and panic rose inside me, my son would soon emerge and I had to be there as I had promised. I stepped out into the street only to be rebuked by honking and endless cars that showed no sign of relenting. Moving back and forth looking for a gap to make my move, I checked on the girls both secured in the brightly colored stroller. At last I saw a break and took the opportunity to sprint moving to and fro until I reached the other side.

It seemed as if all eyes were narrowly focused on my gallant show of force running boldly past everyone and taking charge of my own passage. A surge of reality took hold when I realized no other females were present at the school or on the streets that had taken me there. Inching towards the gate I felt I had become an anomaly, a spectacle.