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Swimwear Update


Right after my Pre-Hijabi Swimwear post, I received many website suggestions.  This was such a relief and help!  Honestly. So, I’m sharing, because that’s what we do.  We Share.

The First, is a Beautiful shop on Etsy. JanLucDesigns.  This shop is AMAZING.  The designs were inspired out of necessity.

I went home and searched online for modest swimwear. Everything I found was either too oversized, too conservative, too expensive or just plain ugly!

I decided to put my years of sewing experience and background as a Technical Designer to good use.

Swim JanLuc

Pea thought they were SUPER cute, but she was more interested in a skirt.  I’ve bookmarked this shop for the future.

Next was Lime Ricki.  This shop popped up when I hit a Google search (and was recommended by a convert.)  This is an excellent approach for anyone who wants something more conservative with a boutique flair.

Swim LimRicki

I love the patterns and design of this shop.  Unfortunately, the sizing wasn’t right for Pea.  Bookmark this site!

Next up was UnderCoverWater Wear.  This shop was on my list of LOVES.  I love the longer length of the skirts.  I love that they aren’t frumpy and dowdy.  I also love that you have a lot of length options.  From swim dresses and calf length skirts to swim tights and above the knee versions.

Swim Undercoverwater

Neither Kate nor Pea were interested in the swim dresses that were offered for the Young Ladies.  They much preferred the Pencil Skirt with tights look.  Sadly, not their current size.  Bookmarking for the teen years!

The last shop we looked at was Coolibar.  I had been looking at that shop for a few years now but completely forgot that they offered outfits for Children!  When I was searching for something to wear when I’m chaperoning swim parties where Muslim families are present, (or for when the water is too cold for me,) I found this site.  I was forever drooling over the Ruched Swim Shirt. But couldn’t bring myself to make the investment.

Swim Coolibar

Both Kate and Pea loved the longer lengths offered here on the skirts and Pea loved the longer length of the sleeves on the rash guards.  She didn’t want a long sleeve, so this fit the bill for her.

We ended up ordering a Skirt and Short Sleeve Rash Guard for Pea from Coolibar, a skirt for Kate from Coolibar and a Rash Guard for Kate from Lands End.  Coolibar is offering Free Shipping right now, so that’s completely AWESOME, and Lands End always offers pre-season sales so you can get something cute before they sell out.

I ended up ordering a new Long Sleeve Rash Guard for myself.  I find the indoor pools are never warm enough, and the long sleeves help regulate my body heat.

Swim Lands End

Let me know what you think!  Did you find this helpful?  Do you have other resources to add?

Pre-Hijabi Swimwear


Last weekend, I was talking with Kate and Pea about our upcoming extracurricular activity scheduling.  Class times and locations had changed, and I wanted to make sure that everyone was up to speed and there wouldn’t be any big surprises…no tears because I hadn’t warned them etc.


While we were talking about these changes, I casually mentioned that if there was open swim time available between classes, we should take advantage of that opportunity.  Pea mentioned that she would like a new suit, because hers wasn’t fitting as well any longer.  Kate said that she wanted something a little more Hijabi-esque.  Not quite the full on swim body suit, but more covering.


Where to begin?

Well, since they had been 4 and 5, I’ve been buying Lands End rash guards and swim skirts.

Like this Swim Skirt by Lands End

And this Rash Guard by Lands End

And that was great!  They were covered much more than most girls, I was comfortable with the amount of skin they were showing and they weren’t getting burned.

Now, Pea wants to cover more.  But she still is small and little and I’m not ready.

She is still my baby.  And I don’t know where to shop for what she is asking me for.

I asked her if she would feel comfortable in some long capris and a long sleeve rashguard like I wear sometimes when I’m swimming where hijabi ladies are present.  She was hesitant.  I was too.  Its not really all that comfortable, and hampers your swimming a little.

I searched around a bit and found this website where they sell Modest Swimsuits for the whole family.  I wonder if this will be the solution?

Basboussa Recipe – Light and Airy


MIL Screenshot 228

I feel loved. :-)

This is the anti- basboussa recipe.  This is for the people who like their basboussa like a fluffy cake.  For the noobs. Also, for me.  I don’t like my sweets tooo-too sweet, and this version I really like.  With the inclusion of coconut it really gives it a little something extra.  Again, from the fridge, with my coffee for breakfast – the second day.

Basboussa – The Light and Airy Version

1 1/2 c Semolina (We use rice to make the dessert GF. You can use wheat.)

1 1/2 c Coconut Powder (Flour)

1 c Butter – Melted and Cooled

1 c Greek Yogurt (Lebnah also fine.)

3/4 – 1 c Sugar

1t Baking Powder

Mix all ingredients together, bake in a prepped 9×12 pan @ 350 until golden brown.


2c Sugar

2T Corn Syrup

1c Water

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/8t Vanilla Powder

Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.  (Khaled says turn it off as soon as it boils, but that never works for me.  I use 5 minutes.)

As soon as the basboussa cake comes out of the oven, ladle syrup over the top, saturating entire cake in pan.

Basboussa Recipe – More Dense Version


So, over on facebook, I posted this status update on January 27.

Kristina ElSayed
Yesterday, MyIslamicLife on FB reached 200 likes. — feeling blessed.

Shortly after posting this photo of a bag of Rice Semolina that Khaled brought home.

The Post that Sparked the Post

Discussions ensued over on FB when it was cross posted, and several people requested the recipes.

This morning, the page reached 210…and then before I got back home to share the recipe, 211.  Sadly, I don’t have any recent photos of the fabulous basboussa that my husband makes, but he told me just this morning he has a new recipe to try out tonight, so maybe I’ll have one for you soon.  He’s constantly trying new recipes, but here is one of the recipes we like best so far.

Basboussa – More Dense Version

2c Semolina (We use rice to make the dessert GF. You can use wheat.)

1/2c Butter – Melted and Cooled

1/2c Greek Yogurt (Lebnah also fine.)

1/2c Milk

1/2c Sugar

1 Large Egg

1/4 t Vanilla Powder

1t Baking Powder

Mix all ingredients together, bake in a prepped 9×9 square or 9″ round pan @ 350 until golden brown.


2c Sugar

2T Corn Syrup

1c Water

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/8t Vanilla Powder

Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

As soon as the basboussa cake comes out of the oven, ladle syrup over the top, saturating entire cake in pan.

I prefer to eat my basboussa cold, out of the fridge the next day.  Day old basboussa has a chance to really soak up the syrup and get all gooey and yummy.

If you’d like the lighter, more airy recipe, tell more of your friends to like MyIslamicLife on Facebook!  When I reach 225, I’ll post another recipe.



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Moroccan Harira Soup – The Recipe Revealed


Kris' Phone 135


While we were on vacation, we went to this Amazing Moroccan restaurant.  I’ve never had Moroccan style food before, and didn’t know what to expect.  I thought it was just a little twist on the usual Middle Eastern Fare, what Mr. Fox would describe as comfort food.  I remember that I ordered something with couscous.  I have no recollection of anything else that we ate aside from the Moroccan Mint Tea and the Harira Soup.

Once we returned home, I asked my Facebook network if anyone had a recipe for Harira Soup.  I got no answer except for the sound of crickets. And requests for the recipe if I ever figure it out.

This is the bowl of Harira Soup that was served to us at the restaurant.

This is the bowl of Harira Soup that was served to us at the restaurant.

Last weekend, I spent a fair amount of time with my good friend Google.  Typing in random, seemingly unrelated terms until I found Painless that spoke, in detail, of their experience at The Marrakesh.  Then they shared the recipe for the Harira soup that was served at the restaurant and was listed in the cookbook they purchased.

I gathered all the ingredients for the soup and started just after I returned from taking the ladies to school.  I got the stock started, went off to make jewelry and then returned to finish up.  Only then did I realize that there were no spices listed for this recipe.

Off to Google again.  I wasn’t so concerned with the full recipe at this point, I wanted to know if I should add Cumin or Coriander, Fennel or Thyme, Cardamom or Garlic.  I landed on the page where there were 5 star reviews and many tips and tricks.   This is the recipe I finally settled on.  The marriage of the Painless Cooking one with the About notes on seasoning and my own tweaks.

The bowl of Harira Soup from my kitchen, last night.

The bowl of Harira Soup from my kitchen, last night.




  • 2 Gallons water (1.5 gallons of water, 1/2 gallon of lamb broth)
  • ½ Pound finely chopped onion (chopped in the food processor)
  • ½ Bunch finely chopped parsley (chopped in the food processor)
  • ½ Cup finely chopped celery  (chopped in the food processor)
  • 1 Cup tomato paste
  • 1 Drop yellow food coloring
  • 1 Pinch of saffron
  • 2 Ounces soybean oil (olive oil)
  • Salt/pepper to taste


Add all ingredients in a Dutch oven and cook at a slow boil (on medium low) for 1 ½ hours. Reduce stock to ½.


Add to stock:

  • ½ Small cubed lamb (I used a boneless leg that I trimmed and cubed)
  • ½ Cup preboiled lentils (I just used the green/brown lentils not preboiled, and doubled it to 1 cup)


Make a roux of 2 parts flour and 1 part water to add to stock to thicken. Add more if needed. (I used corn starch and water to make it Gluten Free) Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.



  • ½ Uncooked rice (I used 1 cup of rice)
  • ½ Cup cooked peas
  • ½ to ¾ Cup tomato paste


  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (added more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger (I used 1 tsp of dried, and 5 pieces of candied ginger pieces.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper (added more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (added more to taste)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (coriander), finely chopped to yield about 1/4 cup (I didn’t have fresh cilantro, so I used 3/4 cup of dried cilantro.  If you have fresh, I’d say put it in the stock at the beginning with the parsley.)

Simmer for 1 hour.

Other notes.  I didn’t cook the meat ahead.  I didn’t cook the rice or lentils ahead.  I made substitutions as I mentioned because it is what I had on hand.  I kept tasting and adjusting the seasoning until it tasted right.  Once the rice and lentils had cooked, the broth tasted pretty salty, but then after it sat for a few hours the flavors married and the soup was no longer too salty.

The whole process was well worth the effort.  Enjoy!


Getting to the Christmas that Fits Us


So, before Christmas I wrote about changing up our holiday season.  I bought the workbook, I did the work, I talked with my people and we implemented some changes.  By doing this workbook, I was also able to help a lovely family (comprised of a born Muslim, a Convert and a young child) come to a compromise about celebrating some aspects of the holiday without infringing on their beliefs.

In short, this holiday season was a WIN.

Here’s what happened.

I bought the workbook and plunged in.  I got very honest with myself.  Then at one point in the workbook, it asked me what are the most important things about Christmas to my children.

I couldn’t answer this definitively.  So, I admitted it to myself and a select few that I was really nervous about asking my people…and then I asked them.  I framed in it a question that covered ALL the holidays that we celebrate, so I wasn’t just focusing on Christmas, when in fact, that is what I really needed to know about.  Over a pretty shaky few days (for me), I asked my people what their favorite parts of EVERY Holiday.  Starting with New Years Eve, and ending on Christmas Day.

The first thing they said was, “spending time with our family.”

Every Time, for Every Holiday.

The second thing was something about the special activity we do for each holiday. Sleeping in the same room, special desserts, fireworks, cake, trading plates with the neighbors, the big meals, hanging the cards, inviting people over, eating cookies, trick or treating…

Then it was doing random fun stuff together.

Last it was getting gifts.

For me, Christmas was about seeing my extended family on Christmas Eve (Aunts & Uncles and my Cousins), and how much I missed that tradition.  It was about Cookie Weekend and how much I miss that my extended family wasn’t interested in participating anymore.  It was about sending out 2 times the number of cards I received.  It was about spending a lot of time and money on gifts that were not interesting or were cast aside within minutes.  It was about disappointment.

Then, when I asked my children what was important to them, I changed Christmas.

I focused on Spending Time With Family.

We had cousins spend the night multiple times.  We didn’t get bogged down in the should’ves and took short cuts to do the fun part.  We invited cousins over that we don’t see often, and spent the entire day together.  We invited friends over that don’t even celebrate Christmas and didn’t worry about our tree still being up.  We decorated as much as we could.  We didn’t get everything done, but there were a lot of lights.  I sent out the cards, and then I took pictures of every card that arrived and posted it everywhere because I wanted to share how important those cards are to me.

And then Khaled and I decided that instead of buying a great number of gifts that would be cast aside, we would buy a few things that were at the tops of their lists, and plan a vacation together.  We would focus on what was most meaningful to our children.  Spending Time With Family.

On Christmas Eve, we went to celebrate with Grandma and Papa.  We had the traditional meal for our family of Scalloped Potatoes and Turkey Ham, Salad, Rolls, Relish Tray and Cookies.  We opened gifts and enjoyed each other’s company.

On the way home, we called the local pizza place and ordered pizza.  We weren’t hungry, it was a gift to our family from Khaled and Mr. Fox so we didn’t need to cook on Christmas Day.  (Pizza isn’t an unusual occurrence at our house, we do it a few times a month, but it was new to buy it like this.)

On Christmas Day, we made cinnamon rolls, we opened gifts, we shared our excitement with our family and we stayed home.  Later that day, our good friend came to visit and we celebrated with her.  Grandma and Grandpa stopped over to visit.  At the end of the evening, we didn’t want to go to sleep because we were all still hanging out together, having fun, and no one was disappointed.

On New Years Eve, we celebrated the way we always do, with a sleepover in the same room, special snacks and fancy juice.  We watched a movie together until just before midnight and then we clinked glasses at the stroke of midnight.

A few days later, we left for vacation.

We spent 6 days in a hotel room together, travelling together, eating together and playing together.

We had fun the Entire Time, and no one was disappointed.

So, how does this fit into My Islamic Life?  Well, we talked about how Christmas the holiday that Christians celebrate the Prophet Jesus’ birth.  We attended Jumaa every Friday except when we were travelling.  We received Christmas Cards from Muslim friends.  When we ordered our Christmas pizza we specified that we didn’t want the bacon on our pizza and they explained that they have specific pans they use for Pork-Free pizzas so there isn’t any cross contamination.  On vacation, we visited The Cairo Market and got Halal Takeout.  Every morning, during breakfast at the hotel, Khaled chatted with Hamid and Ahmed our waiters.  Ahmed, coincidentally, grew up in our city and was married at The Big Mosque.  During our time on vacation, we witnessed many people praying in public spaces, and everywhere we went, we met other Muslim families.


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