To Friend or Not to Friend….

Thanks to Facebook…friendships, relationships and acquaintanceships have whole new meanings.  It is easy to stay in touch, find out the latest updates and of course get in on some juicy gossip.

A few days ago I came across an old friend’s profile whom I had not spoken to in years. Based on her pictures she seemed to have drifted from deen, the most obvious thing being the way she dressed.

I’m sure we all know of someone who has been through these difficult times, or perhaps have been through it themselves.

I later came to find out that her distance from deen started a while back, she started to take  part in activities that she stood firmly against.  Due to her involvement in such things, her friends started to distant themselves.These friends were trying to be stronger in deen and didn’t want the negative influence.They would get into frequent arguments and eventually just didn’t want to associate with her.

The ‘lost friend’ would initially keep making an effort of staying in touch and hanging out, eventually she stopped making the effort.  Her friends now want to reach out to her but she is unresponsive and not reachable.

What is the correct solution?

I would like to think that a person should stick around in hopes of bringing that friend back to deen.  Implementing and practicing good actions could certainly be a source of positive influence in that lost friend’s life.  It is possible that the friend may have a ‘cause’ to all those changes, and she may need a good friend by her side to help her get through it.

However, on the contrary it could also be difficult to see your friend engage in activities that are harmful to their deen.  A lot of times people don’t know how to handle such situations and may come off as too strong or rough.  Though their roughness comes out of love, but to the ‘lost friend’ it comes off as an attack, thus the need to defend themselves.  Hence, a never ending argument that becomes a lost cause.

Again, my question is then how do you handle such situations? Do you ignore their ‘changes’ and continue your friendship as if you don’t know anything else about them? Is ignorance really a bliss? Is it our responsibility to help them?

Something to contemplate about…

But There’s no Costco in the City

On Monday I went to go visit my bestie in the city, I walked into her cool artsy studio in the district with my 2 year old in tow. Bundles of magazines, a cheerful Buddha and a beautiful painting that her grandmother had painted were on the side of the wall.

We caught up on each others weekend, scanned family pictures on Facebook and then got ready to walk to the zoo. I was happily sitting on the couch sipping my chai but my friend insisted that we walk. She is very focused on health and fitness and for fun likes to walk. I have a hard time understanding why I was being forced to walk when I had just made a comfy warm spot on the couch.  I reluctantly agreed and we grabbed cereal in a ziplock for Hassan and began our walk.

I saw several moms walking with their strollers down the busy sidewalk  and I turned to my friend and said with gratitude “I love living in the ‘burbs.'” She looked back at me surprised and asked why?

I stammered and said  there’s no Costco in the city! Where would I get diapers from? Other thoughts flashed through my head… Where would I park my car (parking is so difficult in the city), who would be my childs pediatrician?

She calmly responded to these absurd  concerns by saying “Saman there are doctors in the city,”  and  she added you wouldn’t have to park because you can walk everywhere or use the metro.

I wasn’t convinced,  “How would I walk everywhere and what about my double stroller, it won’t fit in the Metro!” She replied saying that I  would just need to change my double stroller so that its the stackable kind.

“Didn’t everyone want to move to the burbs when raising a family?” I thought to myself, why do I have to explain to my friend that the city is not a place to raise kids. But what seems like a very obvious choice in my head doesn’t hold true for my friend and many other people.  The appeal for my friend was about accessibility, she wanted to skip the whole loading the kids in the car process  and just walk to places in the city. She thought that the city lifestyle is a more active lifestyle with lots of more opportunities to explore area parks and take advantage of the diverse cultural experiences. I agree with her I feel that kids would be exposed to many more different types of people and  would be engaging with people on the street, in the metro and even the elevators of their own apartment buildings.

I’m not sure I would be able to appreciate raising a family in the city because I feel that the most important thing for me is an active Mosque community.  Things like an Halal meat store and a Pakistani grocery store would be very neccesary and I have become a total suburbanite with my easy access parking to walmart, my costco membership and my kids love for Chuck E. Cheese.

While the city life is not for us  I now realize that what seems like a hassle to me (living in the city with young kids) is loved and valued by many people. It’s about changing perspective and adjusting to the surroundings around you. I think there are pros and cons to raising kids in the city but I think that is something that each family has to decide for themselves.

The city kids may not have easy access to suburban malls  and Chuck E. Cheese but if my friend decides to have kids Im sure her kids would be very well acquainted with the zoo, the Smithsonian Museums and without a doubt will be much cooler than me.



A Millionaire’s Hobby

My father fired the guy who mowed our lawn.  He wasn’t coming regularly and when he did come he didn’t do too great of a job mowing.  My father complained to a friend and asked him if he knew of anyone who could mow his lawn.

I rather not get into any specifics, but would like to give you a bit of a background to who this friend is.  He happens to own a popular car dealership.  No not some random junkyard full of  used cars, this is a legit dealership that has a number of top car.  In other words, yeah he is a millionaire, for sure.

So my dad asked him thinking he may refer one of his landscaping guys.  Instead, the friend said “I can mow your lawn”.

My dad was shocked and wasn’t quite sure how to respond to this guy . He was a bit confused but then the following conversation took place

Dad: you?…really?

Friend: yeah but you’d have to pay me
Dad: sure, how much?
Friend: you tell me…how much did you pay the last guy?
Dad: $25 for every visit
Friend: ha! you gotta pay me more than that
Dad: ok…tell me a price?
Friend: $30
Dad: ok deal

And well there you have it, a millionaire comes to mow our lawn.  He wears proper clothes, well proper if you were going out to dinner.

I do think its pretty amazing that a guy of his financial status would be mowing lawns, and more surprising that he’s doing it for $30.

I wonder what he’s doing with the $30, maybe buying a fancy handkerchief to wipe his forehead once he’s done mowing.

Jummah with the Kids

8:15- I wake up and  reach for my iphone to check  facebook  (I mean the news)  I am reminded by many friends status’s that today is Jummah. Inspirational verses from the Quran and updates such as “TAIF” – Thank Allah Its Friday – get me excited for Jummah!


8:30 A.M – “Wouldn’t it be great if I could keep Jummah as a special time to bond with my boys?” I think to myself.

8:45 -In my mind the scene unfolds like this: Friday morning after taking a nice shower and wearing my new Lawn shalwaar Kameez my squeaky clean children put on their Kufis and we arrive at the mosque. My angelic kids first listen to the  Khutbah and then pray besides me.  They then go off to play with their friends at the playground. Afterwards we go to the Rice and Kabob where my kids  gobble down the food while I talk to them about the lessons we’ve learned in the khutbah.

9:45 –  Reality beckons… Humza is being chased  by his younger brother with a wooden spoon, there is alot of screaming, THUD, Hassan falls, CRYING ensues…Simultaneously corresponding with the crying is the pressure cooker’s whistle (PHEWWW)  letting me know that i’m on my 10th whistle which means my aloo gosht (beef and potato stew) is ready.

11:00 – Breakfast is done, fights over, thinking of having a cup of chai and then getting the into kids the shower, this is the point I re-check all the ADAMS times and locations and make a game plan. GAME TIME ON!

More often than not my dream that I  had at 8:45 every Jummah never makes it to fruition possibly because my kids are never squeaky clean and who really would have the time to iron a lawn shawar kameez?

I think about all the preparations that I will have to make to get to Jummah and ensure that my kids last an hour without a major meltdown

1) Snacks – cereal, goldfish, chips, fruits, juice

2) Wipes and napkins – Sounds basic but with all the snacks and choas you need them!

2) Cars – I always think im not going to take a car because I want them to learn to self entertain themselves, also they end up fighting or losing their cars. However based on past experiences, I’ve learned that all the other boys always bring some sort of car/toys and that causes even a bigger problem because then my kids hover over the other kids toys.

To be honest its a draining expereince but still every Jummah I have an internal struggle of why I should just be extra patient and head over to Jummah. Here are some reasons why:

Family Bonding Time

When I was growing up, going to Sunday school was the most annoying thing to do. Waking up early to catch up on Sunday school Homework such as the last minute essays on the importance of the five pillars was not exactly memorable. What was memorable was the whole chaos surrounding it. My mother would yell to get us in the car, we would be trying to find our scarves and inevitably there would be a discussion about the clothes we were wearing to the mosque and the reasons why next time we should just wear shalwar kameez… can anyone relate?

Your kids will start school and you won’t really have the option of spending Jummah with them, so bite the bullet pack the snacks and toys and throw those kids in the car!

Getting Kids familir with the Mosque environment

Believe  it or not the mosque is a perfect place to take younger kids. It’s an open space they can wander if they get bored and there are not many dangerous things around. That being said many people are concerned that their kids will disturb other peoples Jummah. That is a valid concern but if we don’t expose our kids to the mosque environement and the rules of the place then how can we expect them to learn?  Moms be prepared to take your kids out of the prayer area if they are having a melt down, but otherwise don’t worry, kids will make noises and they will wander.

Spiritual Benefits

Jummah Jihad is what comes to my mind when I think of getting my two boys ready for Jummah. Before you flip out the Jihad is the struggle that I have every Friday morning to just pray at home versus going to the actual Mosque. Althought it may be spiritually more rewarding to pray at home while the kids are napping, if you are going in with the intention of making your kids familiar with the Mosque and instilling in them the love and importance of Allah (SWT) then you will inshAllah get rewarded for that.

Social Benefits

There are social benefits for  both the mothers and the kids. Mothers can meet other women, correspond play dates and learn about other things that are going on at the mosque. Going to Jummah cuts the “routine” and allows for mothers to get  dressed and read their Jummah prayer in congregation. It also gives them the opportunity to enjoy their friday afternoon with friends or enjoy a nice lunch. A breath of fresh air and getting out of a routine does wonders for a mother!

Althought I write all this and I believe in all the positive aspects of taking your child to Jummah, I know that its hard getting out for Jummah and sometimes we have had negative experinces that may cause mothers with young kids to hesitate going. Lets try to motivate each other and make it to Jummah with our kids, inshallah may Allah reward all the mothers who go the “extra” mile!

Do you have any Jummah Experiences? Positive or Negative? Advice please share!





A Slice of Pizza with an Attitude

I went to Six Flags Muslim day a few days ago.  It was my first time going to a theme park with a toddler (and perhaps my last till he’s older inshaAllah!)  Since the day was geared towards Muslims, they had a Muslim bazaar and food vendors all over the place. There were close to ten thousand Muslim masha’Allah. My mother-in-law and I decided to eat from Khan Baba’s,a we waited close to an hour to get our food.  As soon as I was about to take a bite, Eesa woke up.  He was also very hungry, and like all moms think, his appetite comes before mine.

I had to find a pizza place and of course get into another very long line, this time it was outdoors in the flaming sun.  I stood for 15 minutes and then had an idea; I figured the next person in line to give their order wouldn’t mind just getting a slice of pizza for me.  It was only one slice, and I was giving them one whole extra dollar.

So I took myself and my stroller out of the line and went to the lady who was about to place her order,

“Asalamualaykum, I was wondering if you didn’t mind just placing my order of for one slice of pizza, here is the money for it….I have a child with me and I would really appreciate it”

She was of South Asian descent and observed the hijab, and another lady was with her as well. She responded by saying “uummm…uh….ok fine”.

Although she didn’t seem too keen on doing this favor, I still happily handed her the money and sent plenty of duahs her way.

After a few minutes she brought me my pizza with a more serious look on her face and said

“Here you go…yeah we had to wait 30 minutes in line and I have kids too,

they’re sitting and waiting over there…ssoo…” (waved hands in air)

I thanked her immensely and gave her a sincere Jazak Allah Khair (May Allah SWT reward her with goodness).

Afterwards I started to ponder upon her tone and attitude, it wasn’t very nice and didn’t give me an easy feeling.  I began to analyze it from various angles and came up with a few different thoughts.

Was I wrong to have asked her to order my slice of pizza? Should I have waited in line in the sun just like everyone else?

I guess maybe it was a bit selfish on my part, there were hundreds and even thousands of people in the same situation as I was.  If all of us began to ask for these sorts of favors then maybe that would hold up the line even more.

In all honesty, I was just exhausted from waiting in line at Khan Baba’s, and not to mention very hungry.  To stand in line for who knew how long seemed to be quite painful.

On the other hand, was it really that big of a deal? It was just one slice, it wasn’t as if she had to go out of her way to do me that favor.  Granted she waited, and her children waited, but I’m sure she must have had a much bigger order than I did.  If anything, she may have even earned some ajr to help a tired sister out and feed a hungry child. (I sincerely hope she does earn the ajr for these acts).

What do you all think? Should I have asked or not?

Something to Respond about….

‘Simply Scrumptious’ Cupcakes by Ayesha

B&B spoke with Annandale based baker  Ayesha Ahmad.  She is the owner of Simply Scrumptious an cupcake catering business. Ahmad has a flair for baking and has unique flavors such as the Kashmiri Chai Cupcake and lemon blueberry with cream cheese. College student by day and baking extrodinare at other times, we asked Ayesha about her business and her passion for baking.

BB: How and when did you get into baking?

Kashmiri Chai Cupcake

AA: I used to watch Barefoot Contessa and Paula’s Home Cooking on the Food Network every single day in middle and high school. I loved how simple they made everything look! Their desserts were really the start and I began experimenting in my kitchen. I guess I was the less studious child so whenever I was “sick” I used to stay home and bake cakes. Initially, I just used boxed mixes and played around with colored frostings. Now I love to bake pretty much anything but cupcakes have just become my signature.

BB: How did your family feel about it?

AA: I don’t think I could have asked for a more supportive family! My parents are so encouraging about everything – they try all my new flavors, buy me every supply on a cake bakers wishlist, give me tips on what I could do better and so on. I remember randomly talking to my dad one day about how KitchenAid mixers are the quintessential tool for any baker. The following week, I came home to a huge box and inside was a baby pink mixer, complete with every nifty attachment. Alhamdulillah for such loving parents. My older sister on the other hand is my toughest critic! I guess It’s better to hear all the negative things from her than a client though! Oh and I can’t forget about my friends. They were and still are some of the most helpful people. Sometimes I consider adding them to the company name.BB: Are you studying culinary arts in college? Would this be a career or long term goal?

AA: Far from! I started out in college as an undeclared student but took all the Biology classes because I knew I wanted to do something in the health field. I recently changed my major to Community Health and I want to become a dental hygienist in the future insha’Allah. Everyone finds it amusing that I want to clean teeth and bake cupcakes – oh the irony! I could see myself opening a Cakery in the distant future but catering for special orders is fine by me too.

BB: You have become a successful entrepreneur at such a young age masha’Allah!! How has that been coming along? What has been your biggest order?

AA: It’s more of a hobby-turned-business and I enjoy it very much. It can be a little stressful since I’m still in school, especially if the order falls sometime during the semester but it just takes some planning and time management. My last order was one of my biggest with a little over 200 cupcakes for a wedding reception. A hundred each of red velvet with cream cheese frosting and chocolate espresso with espresso buttercream. Before Simply Scrumptious began, I used to bake a lot for MSA events at school Qabeelat Nurayn bakesales (DMV chapter of AlMaghrib Institute) so they really helped with advertising my business.

Cupcake tower

BB: What is your favorite type of cake?

AA: I actually like any type of cake…except tres leche. I can’t taste the difference between the three milks and it seems a bit too wet for my liking. But by far, my favorite cake is regular ol pound cake. No icing, nothing. Its literally the best thing ever…I mean whats not to like? A pound of butter, eggs, sugar and flour 🙂

BB: A Recipe you have yet to try?

AA: Tons! I always bookmark any good recipes I come across and save them for a rainy day. I love to experiment with cake flavors and frosting’s so it’s nice to have some inspirations. I have four massive cupcake books with so many things I have yet to try. The first on my list is an Apple pie cupcake – I’m just waiting for apple picking season to make it’s way over.

BB: How do you feel about Georgetown Cupcakes?

AA: I think that’s the question I get asked most often. I never figured out if it’s because they are my competition? I like to think of it as the other way around, though  I’ve actually never tried Georgetown Cupcakes but they look so yummy. Maybe one day when I feel like waiting in line for an hour, I’ll go. If I were to try one, I’d get either the coconut or chocolate hazelnut cupcake.


Chocolate espresso cupcakes

BB: Any beginners advice to aspiring bakers?

AA: Just make sure you always have a fresh supply of eggs and butter and friends who don’t mind being volunteer tasters (hey, if they love you, a few pounds won’t matter) also don’t get discouraged! I still have so many instances when something gets burned or things are overly sweet etc – that’s the stuff I don’t post pictures of. Always remember that there are usually plenty of failures leading up to success and that’s when everything tastes the sweetest (pun intended). Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala put in each of us something that makes us unique. I always remember something Shaykh Waleed Basyouni said during an AlMaghrib seminar. He said, “Allah gave you a gift. What you do with it is your gift back to Allah.” Know that you can serve the Ummah in a way that no one else can. It’s your duty to find what Allah gave you and hone those skills.


For more information about Simply Scrumptious please check out her facebook page!/pages/Simply-Scrumptious-by-Ayesha/126544294087001


What Every Mom Should Have

What every mom should have

[Umm Muhammad is the mother of an almost one year old child who enjoys climbing up on people, couches, and is mastering the art of climbing up on walls. She works on an as needed basis in a cancer hospital, while her husband and son chase bunnies at a nearby park. Umm Muhammad’s weekly enjoyment is reading through the Sunday paper before the following Sunday paper is delivered.]

We’ve all had the incidents where we accidentally wacked our child with the vacuum cleaner, or trapped their little fingers in the highchair… I sure have! No matter how big or small the accident or injury is, it is still a medical issue that needs to be addressed. Whether it is at home or outside, here is a short list of what every mother should have on hand in case a medical situation arises.

Disclaimer- this list is not meant to replace any medical advice. For medical issues, contact your pediatrician. For emergencies, dial 911 or head to the nearest hospital.

1)    Pediatrician’s number on your refrigerator- sometimes in minor emergency situations (high fever, child who fell but is still conscious and acting normally, uncontrolled vomiting/ diarrhea), it is better to call pediatrician first before rushing to the hospital. The pediatrician may either call in a prescription that will solve the problem or have your child come into the office that same day. Save yourself a hospital trip in the middle of a chaotic time.

2)    Number for poison control (1-800-222-1222)- have it on hand in case you need it. Don’t scramble trying to find in the midst of a situation. If your child has gotten into the bathroom cleaners or found it funny to drink your shampoo, no need to rush to the hospital (unless your child is unconscious or breathing differently). Do not attempt to make your child vomit, as some chemicals burn going out as much as they did coming in. Have the product your child swallowed nearby as poison control will have you read off the list of ingredients. The solution could be as simple as have your child drink more water to wash the ingested product out of his/her system. And besides, if you directly take your child to the hospital, your nurse will call poison control first before a plan of care is made for your child. So save some stress and energy and make the call yourself.

3)    Thermometer- does your child feel warm? Is s/he not acting normal? Take his/her temperature. And if you have to call the pediatrician for any reason, they will always ask for the temperature, even if the child just has a headache. Keep in mind, an axillary (underarm) temperature is approximately one degree less than the “true” body temperature, taken orally/ rectally

4)    Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Motrin)- young children have a difficult time taking in a big amount of medicine; so be careful about dosage as infant Tylenol is three times more concentrated as children’s Tylenol.  If acetaminophen has not reduced the fever in about an hour after administering, you can give Motrin. Also beware of dosage issues. Ibuprofen should not be given to babies younger than 6 months.

5)    Bulb syringe/Saline Drops- especially for babies who can’t blow their noses yet. The automatic suction syringes tend to be less dramatic and more effective.  Kids hate saline drops, but they are great to clear up little noses. Skip the child version and just get the adult drops for a fraction of the price- they are the same thing!

6)    Gripe water- especially for little ones with tummy problems. If you have an elementary school child with a tummy ache, have him/her use the bathroom or offer a snack. Tummy troubles at this age are usually from hunger or needing to use the bathroom. If the pain lasts, check with pediatrician. Appendicitis is not uncommon with this age group.

7)    Basic first aid kit- filled with Band-Aids for little cuts; bandages, dressings, tape and antibiotic ointments for bigger scrapes and small first degree burns, or to cover an injury before going to hospital; hydrocortisone cream for insect bites and itching; and tweezers for the curious little ones who get their hands into everything. Keep a small first aid kit in your car, you can find these in the travel section at Walmart, Target etc..

8)    A friend who is a nurse- preferably a pediatric nurse if available- these are hard to come by, but worth holding on to. It’s also recommended to befriend her because of her amazing personality and since she’s fun to be around J

9)    Hand and Face Wipes (Alcohol Free)- These are widely available from Babies’ R Us to Target, and are made by many brands.  These are handy to handle scrapes and/or clean away dirt and germs.

10) Vaseline- From cradle crap to diaper rashes, Vaseline heals it all.  Keep a small bottle handy in your baby bags/purses for rashes, cuts or dryness.

Any other items that you have found helpful but were not included in this list? Please share any experiences that may help new nervous mothers and experienced but still learning ones!

Connecting our Kids to Nature

I’m not a nature person, if anything  i’m more of a city person or better yet, who am I kidding… i’m a lazy suburban person, yup that’s more like it! The way I see it I have two alter egos, these are reflected in my cars; The Toyota Prius or the Toyota Sienna (minivan y’all for the single women out there)

The Prius side of me is cool, environmentally savy ( this means I basically Recycle, thats it) and creative…did I mention i have a blog?

The Sienna is like the comfortable pair of pajamas that I like to lounge in but would change if someone was to come over, I love the mini van its so easy to access the kids car seats, their stuff and is a smooth ride.

But  I want to get away from the lazy suburban side and push myself to be more connected with the outdoors. I want my kids to love and appreciate nature and inshallah with that they will learn about Allah and his creations. I was watching the MBC documentary on Umar (RA –  The third caliph) in which I learned that he was a shepard and enjoyed the countryside. I  thought of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and of the times he spent where he disconnected himself from modern conveniences and went into the Cave of Hira to have moments of clarity and reflection. Also I was reminded of the prophet Ibrahim and his observation of the moon and the sun which led him to Allah.

We live in such artificial environments with temperature controls and technology that it is difficult for me to disconnect and just get away from the cycle of these environments. I always am thinking of the load of laundry that I can put in or the dishes that are waiting in the sink, but I’ve decided that inshallah I will make spending time outside a priority and will try to incorporate reading Asr (afternoon prayer) out on my deck.

I’m in awe of people who take time to garden and who live active lifestyles and for leisure go hiking and biking, I want to get to that point, but im going to take small steps first! Such as sitting on  the deck and the backyard and appreciating the wonders of the sky and breathing in the evening air.

If I don’t do it then the kids won’t either. It’s easier to let the kids learn about nature in front of the television but that will not help them build a connection. I want them to run barefoot in the grass, touch the dirt, pick up leaves, and use their imaginations. So far its been great we’ve been spending time outside and Humza brings me little flowers (a sweet thing his aunt Cate taught him to do.)

I am scared of bugs and and I had passed that fear to Humza too, but yesterday Humza called me and said he wanted to show me something and I followed him to the window where he bent down and said, “See Momma a spider and its web.” I asked him if he was scared and he replied back saying that no the spider was his friend. I was so pleased and I thought to myself that I will have to tell him the story of the spider and the spider web that hid the Prophet Muhammad from the Quryash.

These are exactly the types of discoveries and friends that I want my kids to have. I want to replace Big Bird on Sesame street with the red robin that comes to our tree. Replace the purple dinosaurs with the green little lizards and hopefully engage in discussions and play which are educational and fun. Hey maybe next year I’ll even start a garden like my friend Ruku!



Beauty Bits: Chapped Lips!

Whether it be winter or summer my lips are always chapped! I decided to do some research and figure out WHY lips are chapped, and HOW to relieve them.”Lips are mucous membranes, so they have very thin surface layers of skin,” says Los Angeles dermatologist Jessica Wu, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of Southern California (USC) Medical Center. When compared to the skin on the rest of your face, Wu says, lips are the most vulnerable to drying out. In fact, research shows you lose up to 10 times more moisture through your lips than you do elsewhere on the face or body.

Here are a few tips and remedies I found, some of them I have tried and found to be useful.


1. Don’t lick your lips: It’s a natural instinct to lick your lips when they are chapped.  This makes the situation worst; Our saliva further dehydrates the skin. It also contains acids to break down food which can cause irritation to our lip skin.

2. Don’t peel/bite off skin flakes: Picking on the skin can worsen the problem by causing severe discomfort and bleeding. Even worst, cracked lips can be exposed the dirt and bacteria thus possibly causing an infection or cold sores.

3. Balm: Obviously we all carry some sort of balm or chap stick on us, but I didn’t know that it is important to put on a thick layer to protect our lips from the brutal weather.

4. Balm up at bed time: Dr. Wu suggests wearing a thick layer of ointment before going to bed.  Most of us sleep with our mouths open, causing our lips to dry out.


1. Honey & SugarTake a drop of honey with some sugar and rub it onto your lips before going to bed. When you wash your lips in the morning, it will wash away the dead skin.

2. Balm & SugarSimilar as the one above, put on a thick layer of balm and then rub on sugar. After a few minutes take a tooth brush and brush your lips.

3. Coconut Oil: After a lip scrub, apply on coconut oil.

4. Vaseline & Honey:  Apply a paste of vaseline and honey for 10-15 minute, remove it by dipping a cotton swab in warm  water.

5. Cucumbers: Rub a slice of cucumbers over your lips. This provides moisture and nutrients to your lips.

Let us know if there are any other solutions you know to chapped lips!

Something to unchap about….


Desi Spaghetti

If your Pakistani or from the South Asian Subcontinent then I’m sure your mom has mixed all her Desi masalas (spices) into spaghetti. Sounds weird, but it actually tastes great!  I even recall my middle-school friends loving my ‘spicy spaghetti’ lunch days.

Here is a desi spaghetti recipe I found by Chef Fauzia.

  • 2 pounds of Ground Beef (Keema)
  • 1 packet of Spaghetti
  • 1 medium Onion (chopped)
  • Green Chillies (Hari Mirch) (chopped)
  • 1 tsp. of Red Chilli Powder (Pisi Lal Mirch) (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. Cumin Powder (Pisa Zeera)
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander Powder (Pisa Dhania)
  • ¼ tsp. Turmeric Powder (Pisi Haldi)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. Ginger Paste (Pisi Adrak)
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Paste (Pisa Lehsan)
  • 1 bottle of Spaghetti Sauce (or to your taste)
  • 3 tbsp. Plain Yogurt 
  • Cooking Oil (as needed)
  • Water (for boiling spaghetti)
1. Heat oil in a heavy pased frying pan. Add beef and saute beef for a few minutes, or until it changes a little color. To the beef add: the ginger paste, garlic paste, onion, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt, green peppers and plain yogurt. Mix and saute for about 15 minutes, or until the beef is well done.
2. Separately in a heavy based pot, boil the spaghetti and cook spaghetti in boiling water until it is well done. Then strain the spaghetti with a strainer. After straining put the spaghetti back into the pot. And put spaghetti back on stove on medium heat.

3. Quickly add the keema to the spaghetti and mix well. Then add the spaghetti sauce and mix. Leave the spaghetti on stove until it is well heated. (By continuously mixing.) Finally take off heat and serve hot.

Something to cook about…