Bill Gates: Be Warned!

Few weeks ago, a lady i have only met once, told me that posting pictures of me and my family on social media, might cause us some serious harm, because of the evil eye. Oddly enough, this didn’t bother me, i thought the advice was motherly and sweet. However, i thought it was a little weird and funny. I politely thanked the lady and told her that i will think about it. This incident reminded me of a conversation i had with my husband, before i decided to start blogging, where i asked him of his opinion about me putting our lives in public view, in the sight of pretty much the whole world, and he wisely said: “If there was an evil eye, then how come it never affected Bill Gates? Kim Kardashian? Or Donald Trump??!” It was not an ironic question, he was seriously wondering. And i thought that was so true and real! The social media world is filled with news from Kim, Bill and Donald and a million other public figures, shouldn’t they be scared? Shouldn’t they be warned too?? Yet we never hear of anything bad happening to them! (Not that i want anything bad to happen to them lol). Do they have a magical potion that protects them, i doubt it!

It is very strange how we choose to believe in things that are not necessarly false or wrong, but just a little odd. Things that limit us and forbid us from being who we really are! ! On the other hand, if we talk about our aura and our spiritual practices and sides, people will look at us as if we were lunatics. If we believe that wanting something so bad can actually bring us closer to it, or that the universe might reward us by offering it to us in a silver plate, in some people’s opinion, we will simply be living in another world! Yet (to them) being always scared of an evil eye, is perfectly normal! They should always whisper their achievements and success! And tiptoe around who they can and cannot share their good news with.
My husband’s question, made me sure about what i want to believe in and what i want to acknowledge or not. I am not saying that the evil eye doesn’t exist, it might exist and it might even be dangerous and destructive -i mean, there is so much negativity around us all the time right?- I just choose to not let it crawl into my world, and disturb my comfort and well-being.

A friend of mine once told me: “i choose to believe in rainbows and unicorns”,  i remember how hard i laughed, that it might have offended her! I thought it was cute but not so real. However, now when i think about it, i ask myself : why not??. Instead of believing in evil eyes and bad omens, i should believe in rainbows and unicorns! This would not harm me in any way i know of! Yet, it will make my heart shine and glow every day! Being positive and allowing your positive side to emerge and take over your life is not such a crazy thing to do; it isn’t being unrealistic nor dreamy! And regardless of what religion you follow (or not), believing in bright things and positive outcomes will never stop you from having the life you are meant to have, if anything, it will just brighten it up. And if -God forbid- something bad happens to you, it is most certainly not because you have posted a picture on instagram/ Facebook, of you having fun! I believe it is from God, to test you, to see how you can handle difficult situations, just so you can appreciate the grace when it comes to you. I do believe that misfortunes happen, it has nothing to do with the evil eyes though, they only happen to open the door to blessings you would never thought to hope for! Sorrow is very real, and loss feels very final and yes : life is just difficult, strange and marvelous in that way! Yet it is all coming your way not because of an evil eye! It is coming because it is meant to come! You might disagree with me and that is all right! We are all entitled to have our own opinions.

So yes i welcome the good and bad in my life with open arms, because what is life without them both? But i will never relate, whatever good or bad that’s happening to me, to a human being! It is just much greater than anyone’s power!
So to that lady who advised me to stop posting pictures and thoughts of mine, i say : “Thank you for your concern, as i promised you, i gave the matter some thought and i came to the conclusion that No, i will not stop because of the evil eye, i might stop for another reason some other time, but definitely not because of the evil eye”. And to my friend who believes in rainbows and unicorns i say: ” We are two now my friend!!” Xx

Ouiam

On The Roads!! 

  

Hello!! Today i write this post while in the car, on a road trip, from Munich, Germany, to Salzburg, Austria. And we are planning to drive around Europe this whole week (Seriously how exciting is it?!!) This is our first road trip with a baby, well it is actually our very first road trip together! I was super excited when we decided to do it, i love road trips, they remind me of my childhood, all those summers when i traveled with my family, all around Morocco (mostly to attend weddings of cousins)! On the other hand, i was a little worried about how will this little one behave, trapped in a carseat for hours. Knowing how poorly he handles our usual trips in the car in our hometown, i wasn’t very optimistic. Yet and as usual this little peanut never fails to surprise me, he was very comfortable in his carseat, always cheerful and happy! And it just melts my heart seeing him enjoy one of the things i did when i was a child and loved so much! So here we go with the radio on full volume, plenty of snacks and drinks, lots of smiles and giggles along with some very meaningful and interesting conversations with “Dada”. 
Knowing how stressed i was about this trip, i wanted to share with other moms, some of the tips that worked perfectly for us making our trip as easy as it could be.
1- Routine, Routine and Routine : i am very strict when it comes to Adam’s daily routine, his naps, meals and bedtime. It doesn’t matter where we are, i always make sure that nothing disturbs his routine. So if we were out and about, i just use the carrier for his naps. I cook his meals and prepare them before we leave home/hotel so he can have them on time. And we make sure we get back home right on time for his bedtime! 
2- Dress him in comfortable clothes, possibly Pyjamas!  
3- Plenty of snacks! They work wonders! It keeps little peanut busy for a very long time! I try to make them as healthy as possible : Fruits cut into pieces, some cheese on a toast, some yogurt, or simply some puffs and crackers. 
4- Water!! Your baby might be fussy simply because he is thirsty, so keep him hydrated at all times. 
5- Toys and books!! They are crucial!! I chose the ones that Adam likes, and borrowed some from Ana (Adam’s little friend!) this way it won’t be too boring for him. 
6- Be creative and make your own toys, stick some pictures of your baby or family members on a cardboard, it will keep him busy for a while. Or take some of your colourful scarfs, tie the ends together and put them in a box. Different colours and textures are always a good idea to keep a baby busy. You can also put some coloured (or just normal transparent tape) on a cardboard. Babies love to take the tape out and stick it in again ( at least mine does lol) 
7- Music! I am not sure if this will apply to all babies, but Adam loves music so we brought a CD with his favourite songs and it’s also a great way to wind him down for his naps. 
8- A couple of blankets might be useful if you need to cover the windows for some shade. 
9-  I had to sit at the back with Adam, so he won’t be too lonely. Beside it is easier to feed him or/and play with him. 
10- Time the trips wisely: it is always best for us to leave after breakfast, and right before it is Adam’s nap-time, so he would take his nap in the car. 
11- Take at least one extra set of clothes and keep it easy to reach. For all the surprises little peanut might have for us. 
12- Take breaks as often as possible. It is useful for changing diapers and to give the little one a chance to move around and stretch those tiny legs(in Adam’s case crawl)
13- Never Expect the trip to be a dream! However don’t stress much about it. You will be busy all the time, that is a fact, but it is totally worth it 🙂 
13- Finally: Don’t forget to take lots of pictures 🙂 
 It doesn’t matter whether we re taking a plane or a car, these tips are always useful and helpful. I do hope they help even a little bit with your next trip with your little one!! 
Ouiam. 

Thank God It’s Friday: A Trip To Tanzania! 

 

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Writing these Friday posts, only made me realize how fast time flies by! It feels just like yesterday that I published last Friday’s post! Yet it was exactly a week ago! This kind of revelations makes me extremely emotional! So tonight while putting little peanut to sleep, I hugged him a little tighter, and a little longer. There I sat in the dark, with a sleeping baby in my arms, and I just could not bring myself to leave! I stayed there; I closed my eyes and tried to remember Adam as a newborn, and his newborn smell; him on my chest, all frog-legged and squishy. I felt a sting in my chest! i felt sad that he is no longer that tiny little baby, but at the same time, i felt exceptionally lucky! I wanted to make the most of our “now”! I wanted our “now” to never end! With each breath I was taking, I was hoping I could inhale a piece of him so I can finally put him back where he belongs to: my heart! Thoughts like this one, make me not want to sleep, ever again. Make me want to spend every minute of my life looking at the beautiful sky and admiring the trees and the flowers. Make me want to jump and sing and do silly things! Make me write emotional posts like this one!

So as every Friday, I try to share a recipe of a dish I like, today’s dish is called “Maharague” and it is just a fantastic taste of Zanzibar. This dish is the first eastern-African dish I ever made. As always, I try to shrink the recipes to fit into my busy schedule, so this is my easy and simple way of making Maharague, all you need is:

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

1 Chili Pepper

Parsley and Coriander (few leaves each)

1 tomato (cut into small pieces)

1 tbsp. of creamy peanut butter

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. Turmeric powder

1 vegetable stock cube (chicken or beef stock can do too)

3 tins of red kidney beans

300 ml Coconut milk

Blend the onion, garlic, ginger and chili all together. Heat the olive oil in a pot and add the mix to it. Add the spices and the vegetable stock; let them simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomato then the red kidney beans. After 5 more minutes, add the peanut butter, parsley and coriander then the coconut milk. Leave it under low heat until it thickens and voila! Bon Appetit!

I usually have this delicious dish with some brown rice, and some roasted chicken for my husband! We both love it and have it at least once a week! Hope you try it and like it too. Ooh and of course: Hakuna Matata!!!!!!

Ouiam

Good Babies, Bad Babies!

IMG_2521  About two years ago, when i got pregnant; most of the people we knew, were genuinely happy for us. Almost all of them wished we would have an easy and happy baby. We wished that too! When you are pregnant and ready to receive that little angel, you kind of know what is waiting for you: sleepless nights, a crying baby, breastfeeding every 5 minutes, you hardly have time to do anything, and let us not forget the endless war you will be having with your hormones. So automatically you wish and pray that you will have a good baby. One that sleeps all night long, one who will hardly ever cry, one who you will be able to take with you to the supermarket or to all your other outings, without expecting some kind of drama. And of course once you become a mom and the little peanut arrives, you will know how crazy you were for even dreaming of having these things.

I became a mother, I had my little baby in my arms, I was waking up with him every two hours, I was holding/carrying/wearing him the whole time. We chose to co-sleep until we decided it was time to move him to his crib. We would run to him every single time he would make a noise. I took him with me wherever I went (and I only went to places where it was appropriate to bring a baby). I was reading books and stories to him. I rocked him to sleep, I even slept with him in his crib when he was a little older (we thank my petite figure for that), I let him feed himself and make the biggest mess at 6 months and every time since. I let him sleep in my arms for hours when he was sick or unwell. And I did much more, yet I never thought I had a bad baby!!

It is not my fault that before I had my little bundle of joy, I even thought there was such a thing as bad babies and good babies! We always hear that good babies don’t cry, good babies sit still, good babies sleep at night, good babies share their toys, good babies eat their food, good babies good babies and more good babies!! So we assume that all babies should be this way! We hope and dream for our kids to be creative and stand out from the crowd, but before he can do any of that we limit him to what we think is good or bad! How badly do we need to change our ideas and our norms! Let these babies be babies! Let them cry when they are upset! And instead let’s look for ways to deal with their emotions! Let’s teach them how to be upset, confused, frustrated, instead of yelling and shouting and hoping he/she was a “good “ baby! Let’s be more acceptant of the baby we have, yes it is a lot of hard work and bags under your eyes, but isn’t that what it is to be a mom? Aren’t we all supposed to go through that? Just like my mom and your mom did?

When Adam runs around, makes a mess, shouts, screams, and pushes every single button in my system and almost throws me into a break down, I think : “so if that is how frustrated I feel, me, the adult, the mother, the person who can talk and express her feelings, How must he feel like? The tiny one, the helpless human being!”  He doesn’t want to be bad, he doesn’t want to make me upset, and most certainly he doesn’t want to be a bad baby! All he wants is express these new sensations and feelings he is having and he doesn’t even know what they are. Yes it takes a lot of courage and patience to take a deep breath, to go to him and slowly show him what is a gentle touch and softly whisper that it is OK to be sad, mad, upset or frustrated! It is normal and natural! However, we have to be aware of how we react to these feelings! I know he doesn’t understand a word from what I am saying but this is my way of preparing him( and myself) for when he can .

Being a mother is the toughest job in the world, it is a 24/7 kind of job with no vacations or days off. It is a tremendous amount of work, an endless to-do list! There are times when you will feel like you are doing it all wrong and others when you will feel that you’ve got it all, like if you have cracked some kind of mommy code! The struggle to raise little human beings is universal, and everyone have to go through their own path to figure out what will work for them! There are no “bad babies’ and “good babies” they are just babies, craving for your love, attention and compassion! How can we bring up caring, loving and responsible human beings if we start judging them from the minute they were born! We welcome them to this world with a little label that we stick into their backs and we expect them to somehow rise and shine! I refuse to put a label on my son! I let him be the baby / little boy/ teenager/ man, he wants to be / become! Yes I will be there when he deviates a little and needs guidance and I will take his hand and show him how we do things but I will let him be who he is! Who he wants to be! Unlike what anyone might think, these little babies also have their mission in life, which is to teach us, parents, lessons of life, teach us how to slow down and think, how to see the world from a new perspective.

Ouiam

A Date Night, Unlike others!!

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When I got pregnant, almost two years ago, it was the most amazing thing ever! We were so excited and over the moon to bring a tiny human being to the world. I wanted my pregnancy to be calm quiet and Zen, my mornings and evenings were filled with Taichi classes and Qigong ( a form of Chinese Meditation). I stopped drinking Tea and coffee, water was enough for me. I would go for long walks and listen to a lot of relaxation music ( Margot Reisinger, Steven Halpern… Etc), i went to hypnobirthing classes and read tons of books about the subject. We slowed down with our lives and chose to focus on things that mattered to us then. We still went out for dinners and lunches but not as often as we once did. Then when finally Adam arrived! Our focus shifted and our priorities changed! We were both very committed to bringing up this child in the most loving caring and nurturing home. We were both so busy being parents, or to be exact, figuring out how to be parents, that we hardly had time to do anything alone without Adam. We both were aware of this, but there was not much we could do, really, between feeding Adam, putting him to sleep, playing with him, taking him for walks, bathing him… Etc. we really had no time for us.

The first couple of months were really hectic, but then with days passing by, we learned more about this little bundle of joy in our arms, and we were getting better at this parenting thing. Still, we couldn’t leave Adam with anyone to go for dates (we kind of have separation anxiety when it comes to this little peanut), Yet, I thought we could have our dates here at the coziness of our home! I always loved making : food/ Tables/ buffets, look pretty. I enjoy decorating plates and tables and I thought why not make use of this gift and get us the dates we were both longing for, without having to leave our home or our baby.

So today I will share some of my ideas to make a date at home as fabulous as the one you’ll have in a fancy 5 stars restaurant. As the picture below shows,  you will need very basic and simple things such as:

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  • A pillow cover : to cover the back of the chair and add a touch of glam to it
  • Few printed pictures that I used as menus (i wrote at the back of the pictures)
  • Plenty of candles (really cheap and you can find them anywhere)
  • Rose petals
  • Few ribbons ( whenever I unwrap gifts I keep the decoration and the ribbons for occasions like these)
  • Food ( you can get a takeout or cook a simple easy dish, check my Thank God It’s Friday posts)
  • Some cool music
  • Get dressed and put some makeup on.

And that’s it!! You can enjoy your date night at home, with the monitor beside you, just in case the little one decides to join the party lol.

Here below, you can check some other ideas from lunches/dinners that I have had at home with guests. You can use the tips for your next date night!

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I speak for myself, but I am positive so many parents would agree with me. Once you have a baby, your marriage becomes vulnerable, and if you do not go the extra mile to reinforce it, only you will suffer! I do realize that it is extremely hard to keep a hand over everything, but we can always try! Work harder as husband and wife to make this union stronger and healthier. And date nights are just a simple way of doing it!

Hope you have enjoyed today’s post and liked my ideas! Talk soon xx

Ouiam

Strawberry Milkshakes!!

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Every time I think of my childhood, the first thing that comes to my mind is: strawberry milkshakes! Not any strawberry milkshakes though, only those made by my dad! Every morning, he would wake up a little earlier than I did, goes to the kitchen, gets those strawberries out and gets down to business. Few minutes later I would come down to find a strawberry milkshake (sometimes, I would find two glasses and that day without a doubt would be the happiest). I would also find one of our famous Moroccan snacks at the time “Merendina” (only my Moroccan readers will know what I am talking about). I would enjoy every bite of the fantastic meal made by my dad and head to school. To me, then, there was nothing special about my breakfasts; it was just a regular, typical breakfast that anyone could have. Except, not everyone did have that kind of breakfasts.  Only I did. Thanks to my dad. Years later, and after becoming a parent myself, I now know that there was nothing regular nor typical about my morning meals! That was my dad’s way of saying: “I Love You”. As it was when he walked with me every night to go to my evening classes. And when he would go out every Saturday and comes back with a bag full of candies that I would be waiting impatiently for. And when he made coffee for me and my friends while we were studying for our exams. And  now when he gets us presents every time we would visit home. His way was in the doing of things. His way was the reason every time I think of my childhood I smile!

Being a parent after being parented for so long, is a funny thing! You only know your parent’s way of parenting, of how to do things (or not) and here you are trying to do the same things that once seemed so wrong to you and used to drive you crazy!! Isn’t that funny!

When I think of these things, my only wish is that one day Adam will have the same thought I now have, I wish he would look back at his childhood and smile, and even feel nostalgic about it. I wish he would think of me the same way I think of my dad and the little things he used to do and still does for me. I wish he would remember how every morning I would sing the “Good Morning” song for him. How I kiss his little toes and call his feet “feetsees”. How we would kiss “Teddy” the bear and say “Good Morning” to him. How we would cuddle and read our books every morning. How we would sit and enjoy our breakfast together. How I would give him a bath, read for him and hug him so tight before I would tuck him in bed. I wish he would remember how much I love him! I look forward to more actions of love, more memories that will make my son feel HAPPINESS when he thinks of his childhood, just like I do when I think of mine.

What is your vivid memory of childhood? What do you want your child to remember from your “NOW”? and what do you do to make your kids childhood memorable? Please share ….

Ouiam

Thank God It’s Friday : And it is all about Eggplants!!

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Friday is here again, although, this one was a bit different from the others and probably a tad more difficult. Since yesterday, i am dealing with a very cranky teething baby, so whatever used to take five minutes, now takes about half an hour. It is like walking in a minefield, one wrong step and BOOOOM! We managed to go through breakfast as peacefully as we could, Thanks to some cheerios and some pictures of him as a baby that I kept showing him throughout the meal. (for some reason, he loves seeing himself as a baby!). Nap-time was a bit different than usual, the poor thing couldn’t sleep unless in his Mama’s arms, so I had to take a nap too! (a bonus for this mama). I was hoping he would wake up in a better mood, unfortunately things didn’t go as I wished for, he was in no better mood after that nap, so I did what I could to cheer him up, from dancing to singing to giving him tons of hugs and kisses and I would like to think that it actually worked! We finally left home to go to our friend’s house for our Friday lunch (an hour late, blame it on the baby!!). by then, Adam was back to himself and was all over the place, that we actually  had to work some Feng Shui around the house to keep him and the furniture safe!

During lunch, we learnt some very interesting facts: Who knew, hens can lay eggs with or without roosters??? Did you know that?

Anyways, today’s recipe is finally of a vegetarian dish! Eggplants are my favorite, I could eat them every day! And this dish is so simple and easy that it doesn’t take more than thirty minutes to make! (perfect thing for a busy Mama like myself)

All you need is:

3tbs olive oil

4 eggplants (cut into cubes)

1 cup of water

1tbs crushed red pepper flakes

3 garlic cloves (minced)

3tsp brown sugar (you can use white if you prefer)

1tsp cornstarch

2tbs soy sauce

2tbs oyster sauce

Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. Cook and stir the eggplants until soft (about 4 minutes). Stir in the water, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cover and simmer until almost all the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, mix sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce and oyster sauce in a bowl until sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Stir sauce into the eggplant, making sure to evenly coat the eggplant. Cook until the sauce has thickened. You can have it with rice, Quinoa or even pasta.

This is one of my favorite dishes, try it and let me know what you think! Bon Appetit!

Ouiam.