Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I figured some sort of update was in order....

so you get pictures summarizing these past few weeks. Still in the process of moving and bouncing back and forth between corporate housing (stinks) and our house (lovely). But here's a few things we've been up to...

learning the weather...

made a clown pop up puppet...

ate wonderful pita, hummus and olive oil (i did in fact eat the olive oil :-)

saw this strange sign in NJ. Can anyone tell me what car pooja is all about? There was a whole line of these parking spots at a hindu temple. (found an article:

Drove to the Georgia coast and St Simon's Island...saw this itty bitty church on the way...

and this cute little bench in a cemetery on St. Simon's...

and then down to a small to little marina town in Northern Florida...

and then through Savannah (this is the church from Forrest Gump btw) on the way home...

played in a playground back home and then went for a walk in the nearby woods...

and one day we went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens...

LD and I visited his cousins, grandparents, etc... He learned from his cousin how to ride a horse...

and jump rope...

we also went to the Georgia mountains to say goodbye to the Chatahoochee River...

How's that for an update?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Been travelling...

Just got back from visiting my inlaws and sil. So much going on lately...will catch up with blogging soon. Have lots to show and tell...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

How i do it...

People are always asking me how i do so much stuff with a toddler around. Here's how:

* I never take naps, not even when LD was a baby, i take advantage of that time to do things for me. I never ever (will lately i do and occassionally i will) do housework or stuff like that when LD naps. That is MY time and HIS time. I pray, read, craft. I'll do a few odds and ends things for the house but most days it's for me and i get quite crabby when I don't get it.

* I stay up late. I've always been a night owl and i rarely go to bed before 11 - if that early.

* So how do i get housework done? I have LD help me. His chest gets all puffed up when he helps me. It takes twice as long and sometimes creates twice the mess but he likes to do things with me like that. When i cook, he is always on my hip or on the counter next to me. When i clean i let him spray the the bottle (i use natural homemade cleaners now that are safe instead of those toxic ones from the store).

* I don't chat on the phone a lot. This is probably why i only have a few close friends.

* The biggest contributing factor is that my husband was out of town most weeks so that left my nights free after LD went to bed. With his new job he doesn't travel at all so i probably won't have as much crafting time. Same as when a new baby comes.

But that's how i do it. I find for my family to be happy, momma needs to be happy. Having useful creative hands is what makes me happy. How do you other moms find time for yourself?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Must craft soon.

I'm going crazy not being able to have any projects going, not even one. I've got some cloth that is waiting for me to stitch, yarn waiting for me to crochet and knit. Paper waiting for me to make cards and a scrapbook on the way to well, scrapbook. My fingers are itching to get stiching. We thought we had the house sold but it didn't happen. For that split second, i was so excited to pull out some stuff and make a big ole crafting mess but in an optimistic two, pessimistic three weeks i'll be crafting again. On a good note, i've read a few books. A couple i had to review and a couple for fun.

What's first on my list:

1. Wooden blocks painted by yours truly for mine truly.
2. A quilt. I'm determined to learn to quilt before my next kid.
3. Get back into knitting. I've already forgotten how to fix mistakes (again) but i'm visiting my mil soon and will relearn and on return will begin making dishcloths and bibs to keep me in practice until i get something big going. Also have some baby blankets to make for all the moms to be (seems to be in the water) i know.
4. Scrapbook - again, gotta get this going before next kid.
5. Prayer garments that i'll be selling on Ebay.

Groovy knitting!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007


LD just doesn't like sleep anymore. He prolongs bedtime as long as he can and refuses to sleep in his crib which is fine but he is waking up every day around 5:30 and is wide awake at that time. The first word out of his mouth is usually train - wanting to go downstairs to play with his train. The kid is a freak about trains. He lines up all his cars and then says train. He does the same with food. The other thing is obsesses about is "tinkle, tinkle, star" :-) He loves that rhyme and does the finger motions with it. But at 5:30 the stars are still twinkling for me. How can i get him to sleep longer???? This is about the 2nd month of it and i'm trying to be gentle with him and not make him cry in his crib etc because over the last few months he's gone through some big changes and then he's about to move into a new house which i'm sure is scary to a kid. But i really need some sleep. I haven't been able to get any work done during his nap because i'm just too exhausted to think and write. Anybody else ever have this problem? How did you fix it?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Quoted again

It's always interesting to me when I find myself quoted somewhere....little ole me. I ordered a book from Amazon by an author I recently reviewed. There I was....the only quote on the back talking about her previous novel. It makes me feel somehow exposed lol but it's also a very cool feeling when you see your name unexpectedly in print.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


My husband won't let me buy this.

I have always wanted to open a used book store that boasts a great coffee and snack shop. If you don't make the money on the books, you still make it on the coffee.

This would be a great way to start an inventory. I'm whining and calling him the dreamcrusher because he nix's all my business ideas.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Little Dude is very attached to one of his cuddle toys and I really need to find another one but they no longer sell it. His is bald in spots from much love and cuddling. Thank God he got attached to a washable one. If anyone ever sees this Ty kuddlekitty anywhere please buy him. I'll pay you double.

He's been hard to find. His fur is 100% tyhair (silk i think) and he has a rattle inside his head.

Little dude would be most appreciative and so would i. He lost him in NJ and wouldn't sleep. We had to track him down the next day. It's his buddy. He reads to him and everything. :-)

Nice surprise

I bought a used book the other day for 50 cents. I already have a copy but it's an excellent book so I got it to pass along or sell. I looked on amazon and ebay about the book and whoa, the hardcover edition was selling for hundreds of dollars, in mint condition, first edition it goes for thousands. Shocked, i looked at what the paperback copies were bringing in and it varied greatly. I couldn't decipher what the difference was but I listed it on Ebay and with only two days of bidding it's already at $20. It has 5 days left and I'm really curious where it's going to end up. This is another reason thrifting can be so fun - finding a diamond in a haystack. I'll keep you posted on what the final amount is. I may just list the other copy I have lol. My new career is looking for this book in all forms.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Islam and environmentalism

Islam is a perfect system and God has given every living thing rights. The Earth too has rights. There are more than 700 verses in the Quran that tell us to reflect on nature, that this is the proof of God's existence and perfect plan. It repeatedly say that those who can't see that are basically ignorant. How true that is. How can one look at a peacock or a delicately decorated bird or fish and not be amazed by God? How can one look at the way the Earth systems work together. How delicate it all is. If one can put this beauty in the hands of cold science, they haven't reflected enough. Just look at how it all works together. Take a seemingly simple thing like rain and look at the entire system and how it relies on land, air, water to work. That is no accident.

"And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in that there are Signs indeed for those who reflect." Qur'an, 45:13

"Do you not see that God has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth. And has made His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, (both) seen and unseen?" Qur'an, 31:20

"He has made subject to you the Night and the Day; the Sun and the Moon; and the Stars are in subjection by His command: verily in this are Signs for people who are wise." Qur'an, 16:12.

"…He has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law)! Each one runs (its course) for a term appointed. He does regulate all affairs, explaining the Signs in detail, that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord." Qur'an, 13:2

"It is He who has made the sea subject, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender., and that you may extract therefrom ornaments to wear; and you see the ships therein that plough the waves, that you may seek (thus) of the bounty of God and that you may be grateful." Qur'an, 16:14.

"It is God who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down rain from the skies, and with it brings out fruits wherewith to feed you; it is He who has made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers (also) has He made subject to you." Qur'an, 14:32

"Then We subjected the Wind to his power, to flow gently to his order, whithersoever he willed …" Qur'an, 38:36

Qur'an and nature

"…they have hearts wherewith they fail to comprehend, and eyes wherewith they fail to see, and ears wherewith they fail to hear….Such (humans) are far astray from the right path. (Qur'an 7:179).

"And be not like those who say, 'we have heard', while they do not hearken. Verily, the vilest of all creatures, in the sight of Allah, are those deaf and dumb ones who do not use their rationality." (Qur'an 8:21,22).

In the Quran, we are told we are God's vicegerents on Earth. (2:30, 35:39). God created nature in a balance and we are to maintain His fragile creation.

Believing men and women are described as those who "walk on the Earth in humility." (25:63).

"There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings, but they are communities like you…". (Qur'an 6:38).

Every being celebrates the praises of Allah. Each one has his own mode of prayer and praise. It is not necessarily with words, because language is peculiar to man only, but other beings celebrate the glory of Allah through other modes of self-expression. Unto Allah is the ultimate return of all. Qur'an 24:41

The seven heavens and the earth and all things therein declare His glory. There is not a thing but celebrates His adoration; and yet ye mankind! ye understand not how do they declare His glory…(Qur'an 17:44).

For example, the Quran states: "And it is He who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm and (flowing) rivers; and fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two; He draweth the night as a veil over the Day. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who consider." (13:3)

Further, God compels Muslims in the Quran to respect and revere the environment when He says, "Greater indeed than the creation of man is the creation of the heavens and the earth." (40:57)

"Make not mischief on the earth" 2:11.

"And He taught Adam the nature of all things…" Qur'an, 2:31

"And the earth We have spread out; set thereon mountains firm and immovable; and produced therein all kinds of things in due balance." Qur'an, 15:19

"Violate not the sanctity of the symbols of God" 5:3.

"…And make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for God loveth those who do good." Qur'an, 2:195

Verily in the heavens and the earth, are Signs for those who believe. And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that animals are scattered (throughout the earth), are Signs for those of assured Faith. And the alteration of Night and Day, and the fact that God sends down Sustenance from the sky, and revives therewith the earth after its death, and in the change of the winds,-are Signs for those that are wise." Qur'an, 45:3-5

And don't forget, we come from the Earth and we return to it (our bodies). Man was created from clay, and so a part of nature.


Imam Ali said "O Ammar, grieve not if the pleasures of this world are kept away from you. Honey, the best and sweetest food, is the saliva of an insect, the bee. The nicest dress is made of silk which is the refuse of a small worm. The most refreshing scent, musk, is the blood of an animal, the deer. The best drink is water which is also used by animals to quench their thirst. The most passionate act is cohabiting in which urinative organs are used."

Imam Ali said "Be like a bee; anything he heats is clean, anything he drops is sweet and any branch he sits upon does not break."

The Holy Prophet Muhammad(s) puts it in these words: "All creatures are like a family (Ayal) of God: and he loves the most those who are the most beneficent to His family. Bukhari

The Holy Prophet(s) used to say: "Whoever is kind to the creatures of God, is kind to himself."

Abu Huraira reported the Prophet(s) as telling of an incident that happened to another prophet in the past. This prophet was stung by an ant and, in anger, he ordered the whole of the ants' nest to be burned. At this, God reprimanded this prophet in these words: 'because one ant stung you, you have burned a whole community which glorified Me'. (Bukhari and Muslim).

Prophet Muhammad said: "If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity." (Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad said "If the Hour (Judgment Day) is about to be established and one of you is holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it."

“The earth has been created for me as a mosque and as a means of purification.” Bukhari

Prophet said" “Whoever brings dead land to life, that is, cultivates wasteland, for him is a reward therein.”

Bukhari said: “The men of science disapprove of exaggeration and also of exceeding the number of ablutions of the Prophet.” and the Prophet warned against water pollution by forbidding urination in stagnant water.

“If anyone wrongfully kills even a sparrow, let alone anything greater, he will face God’s interrogation”

Prophet said "Would like to it to die twice? Why didn't you sharpen your blade before laying it down?"

" If you kill a sparrow senselessly, it will hasten to God on the Day of Judgment saying : O Lord! So and So killed me for play and not for use!"

"There is reward in [caring for] every living being."

"Then We made you heirs in the land after them, to see how you would behave!" Qur'an, 10:14

This is us. Let us behave....

"I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me." Qur'an, 51:56

How can we ruin Earth, God's possession. You wouldn't purposely ruin a neighbor's possession, why ruin God's?

I compiled this quickly and it sure isn't exhaustive...i'm probably missing tons of info but it's what I could do at the moment...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

a few easy changes to be more green...

Choose 2 or 3 of these to do a week or month, whatever you can manage. Some are easy and some are hard but they'll make a difference to the planet and your life.

1. Buy or make (i did both) these grocery bags. Use them for various reasons. Use them for library books, groceries, dry cleaning, laundry, typical shopping, etc. Those fabric book bags are also very handy. Buy them from the dollar store or thrift store, decorate them and make them your own. I love all of these. I use paper bags from the stores for mailing packages. I'm trying to avoid all plastic ones.
2. Sign up for curb recycling or take your stuff in for recycling at participating stores. It may cost $15-$30 a year, that's a dollar a month. It's worth it.
3. Buy what you can used. Books, clothes, toys...all these can be found for cheap at thrift stores, garage sales, consignment stores etc. I know some people have issues with used things. Get over it. There is so much waste. How many of us have given brand new never worn things to thrift stores? That's what i've mostly given. Things that i've worn once or twice. Don't you think other people are doing the same thing? Recycling includes using stuff that just might end up in a landfill. I'll share some of my best finds from thrift stores. And don't worry about status. We don't "need" to shop thrift, i do it because i "want" to help the environment and because it's actually fun too. I'll dedicate an entire post to this.
4. Walk when you can. It'll save fuel, and increase your health. Most green things do.
5. Use less electricity. Air dry clothes, air dry dishes, use power saving cycles. Most important turn off lights when you aren't using them and turn off the tv when you aren't using it.
6. When you brush your teeth, turn off water between spitting. You save a couple gallons of water right there.
7. Quit buying processed foods (boxed, canned, etc).
8. Buy organic when you can and always buy organic for the Deadly Dozen
9. Use natural cleaning products. An entire post will be up shortly on this.
10. Get on the no junk mail list. Also unsubscribe from anything you don't use or need.
11. Set your thermostat 1 or 2 degrees lower or higher than you would prefer.
12. Make some clothes or something to see how much better you care and wear it. Notice how much waste goes on with just clothing.
13. Use glass jars for food storage etc. Or recyle. But reusing them is better. Plastics aren't healthy, glass is.
14. Get rid of teflon, it pollutes the air.
15. Grow your own herbs.
16. Plant a tree.

more coming...

Make a list and have a plan.

One of the most important things for frugal shopping and reducing waste is to plan. Write out what you want to make that week, pull out recipes and write a list of all ingredients and how much you need if it's something you don't usually buy. If you are going to buy basil and you don't usually buy basil, you don't want to buy a big bunch, you may just need a small one. On a sidenote, if you know you won't use the whole amount, look for another recipe that uses basil. Or make tomato sauce and add the basil there, freeze the sauce in cubes. You can also freeze basil by chopping it and filling an ice cube tray with water and putting it in there. Cover, freeze, and then put into baggies. When you want to use it, thaw it out and add to whatever it is. Saves waste.

I wish i could show you my 2 week plan that i normally do but with the move and all i'm trying to just use up what's in my fridge and freezer before moving. Once we move though i will chart this out and make my grocery list and show pricing too. Until then, i'll give some other tips.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Baby food

Baby food: LD is past this stage but don't buy the jars of food...well buy some for outings or other times that it's not convenient to carry fresh food but in most cases it is. Those jars are expensive. Here's what I did. I bought organic fruits and vegetables and pureed them myself. This ensures good healthy food and you know everything that's in it. No additives. In addition, do you know that one organic sweet potato costs around $1. That one sweet potato will make 24 jars of baby food. One jar of baby food costs around 40 cents. If you made your food you would save $9.60. That's just one item! I pureed 1 thing a day in a food processor and spent less than 30 minutes doing so. I pureed them and poured them into ice cube trays, covered and froze them. Once frozen, i popped them out and stored in freezer bags. They last about 3 months. You can make better foods too. Baby food is limited. I fed my kiddo eggplant, beets, leek and potatos, all sorts of good stuff and he's one healthy kid because of it and is still an adventurous eater. If you want more tips on this, there's tons of books on the subject or ask me too. I highly recommend the book "Super Baby Food" by Ruth has tons of tips for everything including making and storing baby food, health and nutrition, crafts and other household tips. I love this book and carried it everywhere with me until little dude was 9 months old or so and i had it basically memorized.

Don't forget that nursing your baby is one of the best ways to feed your child and it's completely free. You save $5,000 a year by nursing...

What to always have on hand:

Dried beans and legumes: lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas and other dried legumes are high in protein and very healthy for you. They also do not spoil and are easy to prepare.

Meat: I buy meat once a month and spend about $50. I try to fix fish once a week and a vegetarian dish once a week. I also try to make most meals have meat and vegetables. You'll use less meat this way too. I'm trying to eat less meat in general is why I do this.

Fruit and vegetables: I shop weekly for these. I buy what's on sale and what is in season - they usually go hand in hand.

Bread/Grains: I buy bread but want to start making it for freshness. Buy whole grains. Each month I buy oatmeal and whole wheat flour. I also buy whole grain pastas.

and every couple of months i buy: millet, barley, soy flour, wheat germ, flaxseed, and other grains. Oatmeal is one of the best breakfasts you can have. I try to give little dude oatmeal 3 times a week. It fights off bad cholesteral too so a really complete breakfast (and cheap too!) is:

Oatmeal with raisins, and additives like flaxseed or wheat germ, brewers yeast if you are vegan for b-12 (i used to add this to LD's cereal before he ate meats). Have a boiled egg with it and yogurt and fresh fruit or thawed frozen fruit. This meal costs about $1. It's very healthy, and costs $30 a month to eat.

Frozen foods: I buy frozen raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. My kid loves these and by buying them frozen they last and offer variety. I can make smoothies, thaw them for a snack, top off yoghurt with them and use them for desserts. It's much cheaper to buy these three frozen even if you buy organic like i do and they last much longer.

Things most people buy processed but it's better if you make it yourself and freeze it. Let me segue here real quick to my love of the freezer. Use your freezer. This is how you are going to use less, waste less, and eat better. Make the freezer your friend. Get over the issue of freezer burn and learn how to store things in there without getting freezer burn (get the air out, don't leave too much space in a container, label things with name and date).

Okay, so tomato sauce, so easy to make yourself and it tastes so much better than store bought. Tomatoes are something i buy in the tin because they last longer (except in the summer, i grow my own tomatos and herbs). I suggest growing your own herbs too. It'll save you lots of money are they are so easy to maintain. More on that later. Same with chili. I make a big batch of chili every three months or so and store it in the freezer. I do the same with indian/pakistani foods, sauces, soups, etc. If i'm making something, i make twice what i need and freeze it. It cuts down on cooking time, and if you ever need fast food, you have it without eating out. Eating out is expensive and unhealthy.

The next post will be on how to waste less.

Eating and living well

Masooma asked me to post how to eat well for less. I read an article saying that poor people weigh more because they have to buy junky food the same day I had a simmilar discussion with my husband. I completely disagree with the article by the way. To me it's interesting that in one of the richest countries (and even the poor here are rich compared to the poor in many other countries) that the poorest people here are the fattest. Isn't that ironic? In other countries, the poor are usually thin and bony. What's the deal? I believe it to be that Americans in general don't eat whole foods, most eat fast food, restaurant food, and when they do eat at home they eat boxed or processed foods. I can count on one hand how many friends i have here cook homecooked meals even half the week. These processed and boxed foods are not healthy, are full of sodium, perservatives and other bad things. The secret to eating well and SPENDING LESS is to eat whole foods. Masooma asked how it was that I could feed a family of three on less than $200 a month. I'm going to break it down over several posts and I'm going to give additional tips on how to save money, spend less, eat fresh and also waste less. I'm hoping it'll help some others out.

Adventures in Babywearing is offering a contest for a $50 gift certificate to Vincent Shoes. I had a hard time deciding between the Bobby, Stan's and the Smith styles but i think the best one for my little dude is the Stan's.

I never win anything but hope to win!