Friday’s Couscous and more

In Morocco, it is a wide spread tradition to eat Couscous on Friday noon, together with guests and family – that’s what we also do most Fridays, and here I share some pics of the meal and preparation at grandpa’s house.
Happy blessed Friday to you!

The Prophet Mohammed (sas) advised others to eat together as he never ate alone when he had the opportunity to eat with another person:

When a food possesses four qualities it becomes perfect:
being halal, eating it with other people, having started with the name of God, and having ended with the praise of God. 39

 

    

He (sas) also said:

The best food in the eyes of God is that food which has many hands (i.e. many people) involved in eating it.  40

Eating food with people brings about abundance.
One person’s food portion is enough for two people, and two people’s food portion is enough for four.  41

And here you find some recipes on how to make the real steamed moroccan couscous and another quicker way.
Yummy! Bismillah!

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How to do it all – or: the little black spot

Honestly, dear friends, I am very thankful that I do not have to fast this year. Allahu akbar! God knows best to whom He obliges or whom He frees from religious duties.
I am grateful that a breastfeeding woman is excluded from the duty of fasting if she feels that it would be harmful for her or her child.
And I strongly feel that if I would fast, it wouldn’t just be harmful for my own, but also for all of my children and family because I would just not have the mood and energy to manage it all.
Already the other duties, like praying, but first making proper wudu (washing before parying), are sometimes challenging to do properly and on time – yet they always help me to gain inner peace and a new freshness and clarity for the moment, alhamdulillah.
Also reading the Qur’an, which is normally a highly recommended thing to do during Ramadan, is not easy this year. I am far behind the actual hizb (daily part of pages to read to be able to finish the whole book in one month). But anyway, I read at least a few verses every day and gain new knowledge and tranquillity, subhanallah.

But what I am really learning, day by day, is to relax, to let go, to appreciate “the big white paper instead of spotting only the little black spot of dirt on it”.
– I mean I really learn to focus on all that goes well instead of concentrating on all the many many things that are dirty, go wrong or just aren’t as ideal as I normally wished – because I just cannot do it all and it would turn me crazy, insane and stressed if I’d think about all the things that could and should be done…


Looking at these beautiful flowers on my table, instead of seeing the little bits of dinner from last night under the table, gives me joy.
Going out, enjoying these beautiful mild spring days with the kids, instead of staying home folding laundry (ironing I gave up already many years ago;)), fullfills me with happiness and new energy.

Appreciating that the children love to help cooking, instead of lamenting on the chaos they sometimes produce then, helps all of us to have a table full of yummy things, alhamdulillah.

”Staying positive”, “Seeing the Good”, is something I remind myself often,
and believing in the law of “like attracts like” I try hard to talk only about and honour the good things every day

However, a certain level of cleanliness and order is essential to my wellbeing and the well functioning of a big family, but all these little details of a perfect household have to wait until later, inchaallah ;))

“God, with your guidance and strength I am capable.
I have enough time to finish all I want to accomplish today,
because I totally flow with the moment. Ameen.” 

 

 

 

Happy Ramadan and how to feed a Family

Ramadan moubarak said dear brothers and sisters in Islam,
and love and peace to all out there!

I am a bit late… the holy month of Ramadan came quicker than I could realize and I have to admit that I am not really prepared for it, mashaallah; the Ramadan calendar is yet not finished and I am still thinking about the books I wanna read and the goals I have for this month.
I am not fasting this year since I am fully breastfeeding baby. Three month after birth, I am now slowly finding a rhythm and new structure for our life at home and for my work at school. Sometimes things go very smooth, but often it all feels like a huge thing to organise – and I often feel like a manager, the manager of our family: Scheduling eating-times, school, homework, chores, TV-time and family moments,  as well as managing the whole lot of feeding 6 (7) mouths, washing huge piles of laundry every day, never ending dishes and balancing the moods and different needs and wishes of so many people, alhamdulillah.

In doing it I still benefit of the knowledge and tools I learned when I read the books I mentioned years ago in this other blogpost  and also here.
And I am reading now some other books that help me structuring the whole thing.

Especially the whole question of “what will we have for dinner?” is a big topic, especially now in Ramadan, when dinner (Iftaar for breaking the fasting) is the main meal for three of us.
We cook all fresh from scratch and even if we sometimes would like to, we cannot buy ready-made stuff or canned-food here, nor can we call the pizza-service or go to a (fast-food-) restaurant, because there is none…
I thankfully have a lovely girl who helps me during weekdays with chores and cooking, subhanallah oua tbarakallah, …I wouldn’t be able to balance work and home without her…
but still, the question about what to eat is always a big thing and relies on me.

The wish to offer a variety every day (not always Tagine and Couscous), the consciousness and aim to eat organic and whole food and the question on how to meet the tastes and preferences of all while making sure that everybody is nourished in healthy ways are challenging.
I learned a lot by reading other mom’s and different food blogs, or from books like “Feeding a Family”. I learned to facilitate things with weekly meal-plans that rotate every two months, with precooking, by having a list of easy-peasy-meals (like the green omelette and vegetable sticks on the picture above) and by always making sure to have leftovers to create new things a few days later. Now in Ramadan it helps me to have the little things that come on the table everyday (like olives, dates, yogurt, tea, milkshake boiled eggs, Moroccan Harira-soup and sweet Chebbakia,..) and to add every day something special.

How do you manage the feeding of your family, what are your Ramadan favourites?

 

Life with five

Two month after birth.
And subhanallah, every week I feel stronger and more capable to handle a life with five children.

Everything seems so familiar with a newborn in our house, yet so very new and different. The older children all help and want to care for her which is of big help (most of the time ;)). Our life at home quickly adapted to our littlest one and now I slowly try to also find my way back to work.

I feel like her birth was a rebirth for my own self as well. I feel more vulnerable now, softer, deeper, and permeable. I feel like I have to redefine my role, my duties and my place.
Baby taught me a lot already before birth and she teaches me a lot now, about me, about my fears and blockages, about how to open for new ways, about patience and letting things go, about trust and confidence.

She is a gift, and I am very very thankful that God trusted us with her in our lives, alhamdulillah – astaghfirullah, in summer I was so down because of the pregnancy, and now we feel so blessed with her, Allahu akbar!
Gods ways are often inscrutable but always perfect.

 

_ 40 _

This week I turn 40.

Not only 40 weeks pregnant, but also 40 years in age.

Alhamdulillah.

Actually I feel a bit immobile and restricted due to the pregnancy, but in general I am happy to say, that I feel better year by year, subhanallah.
I feel (most of the time) very comfortable with aging, not as scared about it any more like a few years before.
I feel very ok with greyer hair, age spots, more wrinkles and the signs of becoming more mature, alhamdulillah.
I feel more confident and comfortable with my self, my body, my character (strengths and weaknesses); stronger, freer, and much less dependent on other’s opinion.
It is a good feeling, subhanallah, and having so many older and wiser women friends, I know that these can become the best years of my life, up until seventy and more, inchaallah.

Thank you Mama, Oma, Doris, Ursula, Dorothee, Christine, Tante Trudel, Fadma Aissa, Mel, Khadija (the Prophet’s first wife), Audrey Hepburn, Louise Hay, Indira Ghandi, Fuesun Holder, Mother Theresa, Byron Katie, and all the other beautiful and wise woman whom I know, who inspire me or whom I met in my life.

blessed be you all – no matter what age!! 

other posts of mine on growing and getting older:  https://ittosjournal.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/the-beauty-of-age/
https://ittosjournal.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/healing/
https://ittosjournal.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/raising/

 

 

Positive Birth Thoughts

Since yesterday I retired myself into maternity leave. My body needs calm and rest now, more than ever before.
I feel the birth is close, sometimes so close that I think it will happen the same day, knowing that these urges still are Braxton-Hicks-contractions and due-date ist still a few weeks away…

I think a lot about the birth and am once again very impressed about how different each pregnancy feels, how each baby change my sensations and inner feelings in his own unique way and how it all remains so unpredictable.

I remember the other four births and especially the beauty, strenght and peace during labour with our last two children, alhamdulillah – I think those were the most powerful and blessed moments in my life:

https://ittosjournal.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/an-almost-unassisted-childbirth/  

…and I plan and prepare everything for a smoothe homebirth inchaallah. 
This requires work on my inner beliefs and hidden fears.
I visualize positive, I read Sura Meryam (Qur’an 19), eat dates and pray, but I also organize the necessary material and space (especially to keep warm during labour and after birth), I prepare clothes, diapers, a hospital bag in case of emergencies, I inform our children about details of birth and look for people I feel comfortable with, to instruct them as care-providers for the kids and when I am in labour and childbed…
and I try to put all my tust in Allah, that He will give me the strength and the chance to experience once again one of those wonderful unassisted childbirths, full of magic, bliss and joy, inchaallah.

“If you have had a positive birth and you are feeling good about it, then you will often feel completely energised and brilliant in the days after you have had your baby. – Women need to hear this message too as well as getting information about what might be unpleasant or what might go wrong.”
Milli Hill

some inspiration and support:

Laura Shanley’s “Unassisted Childbirth”-book

Ina May Gaskin’s Book “Spiritual Midwifery”

Sarah Buckley’s book: Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering

an this one from Sarah Haydock 

this book from Milli Hill 

and this from Anita Evensen 

and these stories collected by Shannon Brown

http://www.positivebirthmovement.org

http://www.lifetouchyou.com/practical-tips-for-a-fear-free-positive-labour-experience