Zucchini Squares

Inspired by the well written UmmSalihah, I am posting a zucchini recipe that a friend passed on to me. It is super tasty, and fattening, so a little goes a long way. I like to make it as a side dish when serving company. Its also nice for a brunch, or a sister's get together:

3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup biscuit mix (I use Bisquick)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp fresh oregano (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
dash garlic powder
2 tbsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs lightly beaten.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Mix all ingredients together, spread in a 13 x 9 inch pan, and bake for 30 minutes. When the top is golden brown, it's ready! Cut into square pieces to your liking. I would like to bake this in a pie plate and serve slices....might make for a nice presentation OR bake them in muffin tins....

UmmOmar Back to Work

As'salamu alaykum one and all.

Before I ramble, I must say two things:

1. Alhamdulillah wu shukru lillah for everything Allah subhana wa ta'ala has blessed me with.
2. A special thank-you to my husband, for everything has done for our budding family. I miss not being home with you in the evening.

I went back to work one week ago. It was crazy- more hectic than I remember. Three and a half months flew by quickly. I was dreading it; I cried non-stop for about three days prior to my return, and then the moment I actually had to tear myself away from my baby bear- I completely lost my composure. I must have kissed him a hundred times, and told him how much I loved him. The little stinker was in my husbands arms, and when I turned away from him to walk out, he followed me with his little coconut head, drooling and cooing. Oh, my heart ached all night long.

With that said, there are blessings here. I was/am not at all worried for iBaby's well being, as he is always with his father when I am working. My husband is a champ, he does it all- from diaper changes, to baths, entertainment, feedings, laundry, cooking and moral support. I do the same for him while he is at work. I can see they joy in his face when he is taking care of baby. It is really, really beautiful to see, and I can't stop smiling when I think of the two of them. My husband truly is my best friend, and has done everything in his power to make my transition back to work as easy as possible. I hope he reads this.

I miss my son. I long to see his chubbly little face when Im at work. It is all I can think about, and what gets me through the night, is that Inshaallah when I leave work, I head home to my family. I love it. I have a family. Not two of us, but three. Three is wonderful. I never though I would love the number three so much.

I was greeted with so much happiness and excitement when I returned to work. My colleagues were happy to have me back, and it felt kind of good to get back into the swing of things. While I would probably stay home full time if I had the chance, I just keep focusing on the positive aspects, like helping support my fa mily- and it is a satisfying feeling.

We have decided to start saving for iBaby's education. Hopefully inshallah we will send him to an Islamic parochial school for his elementary education, as well as junior high & high school. It's expensive. So worth it. The more I look into his education, the more I realize how important it is to develop his spirituality as well as his academic skills. Inshaallah, we will also be saving to send him to college. I cant even think that far in advance, but I know that time will fly, and inshallah it will be nice to have the means to send him without sweating it out financially.

My God, I am so in love with this little guy. Everything has new meaning, every moment seems more precious, and the miracle of life is unfolding in front of my eyes.

Now onto the practical: I am wiped out. I feel pitiful lol. iBaby must feel the shift in routine, and hasnt been sleeping so great this week. Hubby and I are both back to being sleep deprived but inshallah it is only temporary. Tonight I arrived home at 1am, to find my little kitten bright eyed and bushy tailed. All smiles with his legs sticking up in the air. So seriously sweet and delicious he is. What a treat to come home to this. I cant get anything done. Im so tired in the morning and afternoon, that I am lucky if I manage to get fresh air. When he rises at about 8am, we spend about an hour feeding and playing, then he gets to watch mama straighten up the house, tidy up herself, get her clothes ready for work, prepare a simple meal, make a few phone calls- and then before I know it it's feeding time again. Then, I get to shower, pray, greet hubby and sometimes we all nap together for about an hour, and then I leave.

Feedings: Ive been giving baby formula, and supplementing with expressed milk (I can only get about 8 0z on a good day), and out of the blue, last week, I was just too exhausted to get up and warm a bottle, so I re-introduced iBaby to the breast, and he took it! Mashallah I was shocked. He is bigger and stonger now, and more able to latch on properly. Its been about one week, and I am not enough for him alone, but nursing him just a few times a day helps keep my milk supply up. If this does not last, I will not get all upset. I have told myself that this brief experience with him is a gift, and I am just treasuring each moment. Im glad to have the experience, and to know what it is like to nurse him without all the drama and tears. Alhamdulillah.

I know everything will fall into place soon, I just need to have more patience :)

Gotta run, time to sleep!

iBaby Update

Age: 11 weeks
Weight: 14lbs 9oz
Length: 25 inches
Head circumference: 16.5 inches

Mashallah! Alhamdulillah he is in good health. He received several immunizations today, including DTaP which is known to have unpleasant reactions in babies. He is slightly whiny/cranky, but has been given baby tylenol as a preventative measure. I could not watch him get the injections. My husband had to hold him still. He was so cute and quiet, and when the needle went in, he let out a horrific cry- which was followed by a pause (you know that hysteria type pause when they shake), then continued to howl. Oh my poor baby. I was choking back the tears.

Yesterday I laid him on his tummy (awake) to see what he would do, and he kept his head up high, and then turned himself halfway over! Mashaallah! He is drooling excessively and keeps licking his gums. Its super cute. Maybe teething is just starting, I hear it comes and goes, and takes quite a while (months).

Thank you Allah subhana wa ta'ala, for this most precious baby boy. I love him infinitely.

Bits and Pieces

Assalamu alaykum ladies & germs:

Greetings and salutations. My husband and I just had the BEST weekend! We attended the Islamic Circle of North America 2008 Convention in Hartford, Connecticut. MashALLAH what a wonderful experience it was! From the moment we stepped foot in the parking garage, we were surrounded by Muslims from all walks of life, for the same purpose!

The program was CHOCK full of talks, lectures, slide shows, and informational booths. There were so many choices, that we had to pick what was most interesting to us (it was almost overwhelming with the plethora of choices available to us). Friday and Saturday, every hour on the hour, there was something new being offered in one of the TWENTY conference rooms available! I mean, I just can't convey to you, how massive this was. There easily had to be at least 5,000 (yes- five thousand) Muslims present. We brought iBaby with us, and mashaallah he was SO good. We dragged him around 14hrs each day on Friday and Saturday, and he never made a peep unless he was hungry.....even the noise didn't bother him. Well- I take that back. He screamed bloody murder when he heard the adhan! I think it was way to loud for his tender little ears, so I just made sure I boogied out of the main hall when it was coming.

A large part of this conference was dedicated to sisters, and sadly I just did not have a chance to investigate, as there were so many others things to do. The highlights for me were talks and lectures given by the following individuals:

Yahiya Emerick

Dr. Jeffrey Lang

Shaykh Yusuf Estes

Imam Siraj Wahhaj

Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui

Chaplain Yusuf Lee

The knowledge, peace, thoughtfulness and love for Allah swt was so clear in the hearts of these brothers. I walked away with a boost in my iman and having learned something new. For me, the biggest benefit I received from this weekend was understanding and accepting the Qadr of Allah.... I had been going through some stuff prior to this trip, and something Sh. Mokhtar said has not left me....I dont remember his exact words, but in essence it taught me to change my thinking and that when I see something that I long for myself, to say "Alhamdulillah for what Allah swt has given this individual, and may Allah grant the same for me".

So of course, you are wondering what I was longing for- and I don't want anyone to think it was something material, sooooooo here goes, for the last time, as I promise to no longer revisit this issue: breastfeeding. It has been the #1 disappointment of my life. Every time I would see a woman nursing a child, it would move me to tears and I wished I could do the same.....iBaby is almost 11 weeks old now, and I have decided to stop trying. I truly believe it is Qadr Allah swt. Allah says that with hardship comes ease,so I am trusting that Ive done all that I can, and since alhamdulillah iBaby is healthy and thriving, I ought to just leave it alone.

The Bazaar was OFF THE HOOK! This was a bonus. There had to be at least 200 vendors there, in a flea market like setting, all from popular websites you and I have probably shopped on. There were Jilbabs, hijabs, abayas, and niqabs for sale as far as the eye could see! There were entire book stores that catered to children and adults (oh man-I found some really great things for iBaby that include but are not limited too a mini prayer rug, kufi and his "first quran"). My husband and I found some great books, AND I got a stash of hijabs and pins that ought to last me a long while.

I met sisters from all over the world and I loved every minute of it. This truly was a family oriented event- so i wasn't worried that iBaby was going to cry or have an explosive bowel movement. I was panicked about changing his diaper in public if need be, and it only happened once. The line for the ladies room was TOO long, so I found a discreet corner and draped a blanket over his stroller so no one could see his business LOL. I brought these diaper sacs that conceal odor, for moments like these. I also had to pump milk in my car (gotta love technology), that was a bit of a positional challenge! Did I feel like a pack mule for this trip? You betcha, but it was worth every bit of aggravation.

Do you know what also impressed me? The youth! A large part of this conference was also dedicated to young Muslims, and it was great! It was so refreshing to see young Muslims practicing and really taking their iman seriously. Since I reverted to Islam at 32, i don't know what it's like to be a Muslim teenager in the west. I am certain it is a huge challenge, and I commend these young people for doing their best.

Saturday night my husband and I attended and entertainment gathering that featured The Travelers AND Baba Ali!!!!! Do you know who Baba Ali is? He is the comedian behind Ummah Films that you've probably seen on YouTube. If you haven't seen him, look him up on YouTube, Im sure you will get a good laugh!

Total strangers would stop us frequently to check out iBaby and make dua for him. During a lecture, I was feeding him, and when it was time to burp him, I put him over my shoulder, and he was just looking around and cooing at the ladies and children behind me. When he opened his mouth to coo, and a giant burp came out LOL and all the children giggled; it tickled me pink!

So there you have it, a watered down version of my wonderful weekend. I hope inshaallah we go again next year AND I hope some of you will go too. I believe ICNA has chapters all over the USA. Check out ICNA.org !


Nope- I'm not talking about religion folks; if you can bear it, I am talking about my son! I experienced seriously extreme cuteness tonight:

I swaddled iBaby in his stretchy receiving blanket, put him down to sleep in his bassinet and left the room. About 15 minutes later, I walked back in, and peeked.....my little chubbykins had one arm out with his fist in his mouth, and when he made eye contact with me, he let out a big happy coo, with a giant smile.

That's it, nothing major to the general public, but it made my heart burst.

Assalamu alaykum.