I’m beginning to find social media more and more agitating to navigate. More often than not it feels like a place where everyone is trying to paint an image that isn’t real — or is real, but is not whole. It’s a place that allows people to hide behind a screen.

At the same time, I’m so grateful to have a way to communicate with the people I love and care about that I am not able to see very often because of my life abroad. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be to live away from them without it.

Yet, every time I open one of my various social media accounts, I feel myself releasing a deep breath of tension as soon as I close it.

Why are we making this life a competition?

Why are we shaming each other instead of offering support?

Why are we so lazy that we can’t fact check information that we share? — OR believing everything that others have shared without questioning?

Why are we using such brilliant tools in ways that make others (and even us) feel so low?

I know that I’ve made mistakes on social media. I have no problem admitting that. AndI apologize from the bottom of my heart to anyone I’ve hurt.

If you’re reading this, check yourself. Now, I’ll be off doing the same…




Childbirth in KSA

Almost 7 months ago I had my second baby here in Saudi Arabia. She was born on the 16th of June (the second day of Eid Al-Fitr) at 5:18 AM at Suliman Al-Habib Takhussusi in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. The same doctor that delivered my first, also delivered my second. This time I also had a doula present (I’ll write about my experiences with my wonderful AMANI doula, Luthfa from Empower Birth soon).

I was 38 weeks and about 5 days when baby decided to arrive. After nearly three weeks of hourly contractions, I found myself used to those waves of discomfort coming and going. That night we had gone for a ride to see some fireworks around 9 pm and then to have dinner at an Italian restaurant. I remember a particularly painful contraction that came while I was sitting in the restaurant booth waiting for my spaghetti to come. It came and went. We ate, I ordered gelato to go and we went home. It was after 11 pm at that time.

Continue reading

So here I am.

So here I am. I think it has been about 5 years since I started this blog. And I’ve slowly become less and less active.

When I moved to Saudi Arabia I was posting here almost daily. That was hard, but I had time. Then my husband and I finally received a pardon from the Saudi government in regards to our marriage and I had a little less time. Then I got pregnant and gave birth to our first daughter. Suddenly it felt like I had no time, but I still tried. A year later I got pregnant with our second and this past June I gave birth to another girl. Now I’m three months postpartum with a nearly 22 month old and a 3 month old AND I’m back at work. The only time I get to myself is when both girls are asleep, which is rare. And basically nonexistent is a moment where I don’t have something else to do while they are asleep…

So here I am in an attempt to not abandon this blog. I hope you’ll forgive me for not sharing like I used to. I’m hoping to slowly start up again. To post when I can and to share more of life her in KSA with those of you who are still around.

Do tell me if there is something you’d like to see on here from me.

(Those of you waiting for that dock-a-tot tutorial — It’s in my drafts as I pick my own brain to try and remember steps.)



Banana Date Cake

My husband has been away on a trip and before he left he bought a large bag of bananas. My daughter eats a banana every day with breakfast, but we were left with about 9 that had reached the point that they weren’t nice enough for anything but some good ole banana bread.

I haven’t made banana bread in a long time, so I went to my typical trusty source for recipes: Allrecipes. I found one titled “Banana Crumb Muffins” and decided it looked promising. One tip I would like to suggest anytime that you use a recipe online is to check and see if there are any comments. A lot of times your will find helpful tips that make the recipe even better.

Banana Date Cake/Muffins
[This recipe makes 1 small bundt cake, about 16 mini muffins or about 8 regular sized muffins]

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla (I used powder)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
3 very ripe mashed bananas
4-5 tbsp. date paste (I used premade, but you can make your own)
For the crumb topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter

1 – Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
2 – Lightly grease (I used butter) your cake pan (I used a bundt tin) or muffin pan.
3 – In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and vanilla (if you use liquid vanilla, add it with the wet ingredients instead)
4 – In another bow, beat together the bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter.
5 – stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until it is moistened.
6 – Spoon the batter into the pan half-way. Add the date-paste (for my cake I added the date paste like a ring all the way around the bundt tin — for muffins I formed little balls and pressed them into the batter) Add the rest of the batter on top covering the date paste.
7 – In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle the topping over your cake or muffins.
8 – bake in  the oven for about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Banana Date Mini Muffins

I hope that you enjoy this recipe. If you give it a try, be sure to leave me a comment below telling me what you think!



Baby Gadgets

Here are some baby gadgets that I have used with my daughter.

Sleeping / Lounging
Fisher Price Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper
[Walmart – find it here]

Newborn until about 5 months
I bought this while I was in the US before my daughter was born. She took naps in it frequently as a newborn and should would lounge in it here and there until she was about 5 months.

Graco Travel Lite Crib with Stages
[Amazon – find it here]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
My mom and gram bought this for us as a gift at Centrepoint when there were  here visiting in Saudi. It honestly didn’t get much use until my daughter was about 10 months old and I sent it with her to be used by the babysitter while I am at work. At this point it is a bit snug for her to totally stretch out, but it still works for us just fine.

Ingenuity SmartBounce Automatic Bouncer
[ToysRUs – find it here]

Newborn until 7 months
I bought this at Centrepoint when my daughter was about 3 months and was interested in looking at things around her while lounging. I got her to fall asleep in this while bouncing a handful of times. She also sat in this in the bathroom while I would take a shower.

Bright Starts 4-in-1 Discovery Activity Gym
[Walmart – find it here]

Newborn until 6 months
This was a baby shower gift from my mom’s best friend. It is great because it is quite small and was easy for me to fit in my luggage to come back to Saudi from the US. My daughter used it from the time she was a newborn until she was about 6 months and wanted to sit upright.

Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Activity Center
[Amazon – find it here]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
This was a gift from a group of my colleagues from work. This actually has 3 stages: a play mat like the previous item, a jumper as shown in the photo and a “s” shaped activity table. We didn’t use the play mat too much because we already had one, but we did use the jumper for a few months and then when my daughter turned 1 year I converted it to the activity table, which she is still currently using.

Little Tikes Wide Tracker Activity Walker
[Amazon – find it here]
We bought this when my daughter turned 1 year. We should have gotten her one a couple of months before when she started standing and walking along the furniture. She used it and shortly after she started walking on her own. She still plays with it though and likes to put her toys in the little doors.

Graco Modes Click Connect Travel System
[ – not available]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
I bought this travel system from a website here in Saudi before my daughter was born. It is nice because it is a multi-position set. The seats can be interchanged and the baby can face you or face out. We still use the stroller, but stopped using the car seat when my daughter was about 10 or 11 months old. She can still  use it as her weight is under the limit, but I actually purchased a new seat for her that can be rear and forward facing.

Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat
[Walmart – find it here]
10 months until (still in use at 14 months)
I bought this Car Seat while I was in the US this past summer. I wanted something that seemed a bit more comfortable than the infant seat that came with our travel system. I also wanted to plan a bit ahead knowing that at some point we would need a forward facing seat. I would have paid a lot more for a seat like this here in Saudi.

Ergo Baby Adapt
[Amazon – find it here]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
I bought this carrier on amazon and had it shipped to Saudi when my daughter was 2 months old. My husband had a business trip to California and because I was on maternity leave I decided to take baby and go with him. We actually left the stroller at home and only took this carrier. It was fantastic and totally worth the money.

I might update this post a bit later if there is something that I have forgotten. This has been in my drafts section for so long that I figured I should just try to clean it up and get it posted :).

Let me know if you used any of the gadgets and if you liked them or not. Also, tell me about any gadgets that you used that are not on my list!






Here are three posts — and some comments that I received — over on my Facebook account about bed-sharing.

Before I became a mother I always said that I wouldn’t allow my children to sleep in my bed. — PART 1 — You read all of these terrifying things about co-sleeping, and yet there is something so instinctual about it. I remember just after she was born, when my mother and grandmother were here with me, if I fell asleep in bed and the baby was in the other room I would suddenly clutch the blankets in my arms and subconsciously search for the baby as I was transitioning from asleep to awake.

Before I became a mother I always said that I wouldn’t allow my children to sleep in my bed. — PART 2 — The biggest reason I felt the way I did about co-sleeping is because I am generally a very heavy sleeper (I’ve always been the person who can sleep anywhere/anytime/anyplace). I really didn’t think I would trust myself sleeping next to my baby. However, as soon as she was born I realized that I don’t sleep the way I did before. If I went to take a nap in the other room while someone watched the baby I would wake up as soon as she let out any kind of cry. Now, when she stirs, I wake up before she even makes a sound. I open my eyes and if she’s awake I feed her or change her. If she’s sleepy, I watch her a minute until she goes back to sleep and I close my eyes again.

Before I became a mother I always said that I wouldn’t allow my children to sleep in my bed. — PART 3 — “Breastsleeping” – It felt like I wasn’t getting more than 2 hours consecutive sleep, until I started nursing while lying down. As soon as I started doing that it was like magic. I didn’t have to actually wake up, sit up or wait for baby to finish/go back to sleep. And I didn’t have to risk falling asleep while holding her in my arms. “Breastsleeping” allowed me to multitask by feeding and relaxing at the same time. I know that this is the main reason why most of the time I feel adequately rested or at least pretty far from exhausted. 

•I remember reading in one of my psych books how at the turn of the last century is when kids started sleeping in separate beds from their parents and then eventually separate rooms but prior to that it was totally unheard of. Or how a baby goes from having constant contact with the mother (being in the womb) to being isolated in their own bedroom can be traumatizing to them. Or the simple fact that as adults we like the security and comfort of sleeping next to our spouses but expect our children to not have those same desires and sleep alone. So, S******’s crib is in our room, inches away from our bed and M******* knows that whenever she wants to crawl in our bed, I always make room for her! ❤️

•D** slept with us for 6 months. I think you are right, it is instinctual. I firmly believe I was not sleep deprived for those 6 months because I was never worried about D** during those nights. If he needed to nurse, he would usually latch on himself. I think it formed a very healthy, happy bond between us.

•Almost a year and a half and my bug still sleeps with me- I’m a huge supporter of SAFE co-sleeping. I feel we push our children to be independent FAR too early in their lives. 

•My babies all coslept! And nursed as they pleased! W****** is 8 months old still co sleeping and nursing!

I received many supportive comments from family and friends. I did, however, receive one comment, which I was expecting:

•AAP has warned against this. It is ok to have the child in your room up to 6 months to a year….in their own bed. So many deaths have occurred because of this practice…if your child dies because of it…you will be charged with murder.

I replied:

I’ll just leave this here ☺️

~ ‘McKenna argues that co-sleeping while breast-feeding is a safe environment for your baby. This is because “the breastsleeping mother/baby pair both sleep in lighter stages, which makes them more sensitive to the behaviour of the other.”’

Here is another link that I’d like to just throw out there:

~’For breastfeeding mothers, bedsharing makes breastfeeding much easier to manage and practically doubles the amount of breastfeeding sessions while permitting both mothers and infants to spend more time asleep.’

~’the highest rates of bedsharing worldwide occur alongside the lowest rates of infant mortality, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rates’

A final point that I would like to make is that breastsleeping/bed-sharing can be done safely or unsafely. It’s so important to understand and follow guidelines for safe cosleeping. If you are under the influence, overtired or on a surface other than your bed, just don’t do it! It goes along with the old expression “better be safe than sorry”. So, do what you feel is instinctually right for you and your baby, but educate yourself and do things safely. 




I’m American. I grew up in the Adirondacks of northern NY state. I went to university in VT about an hour away from my hometown. The first time that I really moved away from home was August 2012. My husband was accepted to study his masters at a university in IA and since I had finished my masters, I went with him. From August 2012 until December 2013 I lived 17 hours away from my dad and 10 hours away from my mom (by car). Then at the very end of December 2013 I decided to take a job and move to Saudi Arabia…

Now I find myself calling two places “home”. The little town I grew up in is “home” because it’s what I know and most of my family live there. Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia is “home” because it is where I live and work. It’s where my apartment and my things are. It’s where my husband and I stay together. It’s the place where we started our own family. 

When I’m in Saudi and I say “home”, I mean NY. When I’m in NY and I say “home”, I mean Riyadh. That one word has different meanings for me. It hold different emotions based on which place I’m talking about. 

My home in the US is full of old memories — summers spent playing ball, harsh winters spent in front of the wood fire. There are places so vivid in my mind – this path leading up to a small waterfall near the top of the river that runs through town, noises I can hear if I close my eyes — rain on the roof of my bedroom, things I can imagine feeling — my feet stepping on the grass of our lawn, smells that I can sense when they are nowhere near — crisp autumn leaves, and tastes that still seem so fresh — cool water straight from the tap. The nostalgia  I get when I’m away is so real.

On the other hand, there is a quote that describes my feelings for Riyadh perfectly – “You know that you’re in love when home becomes a person, not a place.” My husband makes Riyadh “home” for me. Riyadh is nothing like where I grew up. Its the opposite of what I know. It’s a crowded city. It’s a desert with hot, dusty summers and mild winters. But somehow I feel at home there. I feel my place there and I miss it when I go away. It’s a place where I feel safe. It’s the “home” where I start to make new memories.

The beautiful thing about this is that I’m almost always “home”. 



A Very Belated Happy Eid

Well…I tried! I definitely didn’t get the chance to share all of the recipes that I was planning to post, but I’ll give myself credit for the two that made it up and that just means that I’ll try again next Ramadan, ان ساء الله. 

I hope that all of you had a blessed Ramadan and a wonderful Eid. This is very late, but better now than never! 

We spent our Eid in Ha’il with Y’s family. It was baby’s first Eid, so I really enjoyed getting her dressed up for our gatherings. The first day of Eid I put her in a grey pleated dress with teal embroidery, a teal bow headband and a pair of sandals from Okaidi. On the second day she wore a white eyelet dress from Carter’s [which I purchased online during a sale for less than $12], a bow headband we borrowed from her cousin and a pair of white shoes from Centrepoint. I forgot to take a picture of her outfit from the third day, but she had on this cute white and gold patterned tank bodysuit and white cotton pants from Carter’s. Also, one of Y’s uncles paid for the girls to stay at the rented Istrahah an extra day, so we had another evening of dressing up. Baby wore a little set with a black tank bodysuit (that said little cutie in gold) and white pants with a black and gold print from Carter’s [this set was a gift from my mom].

I had such a fun time putting her in such cute outfits, as to be quite honest 90% of time time she’s either in a play suit for bed or a onesie and maybe some cotton pants, maybe. 

Once again, please accept my warmest belated Eid wishes to you and your families. 



Ramadan Recipes: Tomato Macaroni Beef Soup

Tomato Macaroni Beef Soup

-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 cup of ground beef
-1 small onion [chopped]
-1 tomato chopped
-1 cup macaroni
-4 tbsp oats
-4 tbsp tomato paste
-2 tbsp Arabic mixed spice
-salt & pepper (to taste)
-1 tbsp chopped parsley/dried parsley
-8 cups of water

*{I use a multicooker to make my soups, but you can use a slow cooker or a  regular pot.}
1. Brown onion, tomato and beef with the olive oil (if you’re using a multicooker/slow cooker do this in a frying pan and then add it to your cooker — if you’re using a regular pot do this in the pot)
2. Add the rest of ingredients to your pot and cook (if stovetop put it on a low heat and check it now and again to make sure that you don’t need to add any water)
3. Leave it in your cooker/pot for about an hour. (Check and see if you want to add any more salt/pepper — If you are cooking stovetop you might want to add the macaroni after the first 30 mins if you don’t like them to be too soft)
4. Add the parsley and serve with lemon.