DIY Eid Stocking Stuffers


Eid Al-Adha is less than two weeks away and I’ve been scrambling to get the house ready so that we can feel those celebratory vibes as summer comes to an end. I came up with the idea to make these Eid-themed stocking stuffers as both a way to fill with small gifts and eidiya (money)as well as decorate the home while marking the end of pilgrimage or haj that has come to pass. Despite brainstorming this project in advance, I am only now getting around to making them a reality. Now all that’s left for me to do is fill them up with some gift cards, sweet treats, and inspirational trinkets. If only there were more hours in a day! Thankfully these take only minutes to make so if you don’t feel like wrapping gifts, this is the perfect little project to make and the kids (and adults) will love having their own Kaaba filled with fun goodies. Let’s get started shall we!

(6) 9in x  12in Basic Felt (black)
(1) 9in x  12in Basic Felt (white)
(1) 7/8in x 5yd gold sparkly ribbon
(1) 1/8in x 7yd ribbon (sub string)
Monogram letter stickers (gold)
Hot glue gun
Hole puncher
Needle and thread (optional)

*Makes 3 stocking stuffers. To make 1 you only need 2 pieces of black felt. All of these materials can be purchased from Michaels or a local craft store.


  1. Begin by cutting one of your black felt pieces down from 12in to 9in so that you have a 9×9 square.
  2. Line up both black felt pieces and glue them together (carefully) using your hot glue gun. Start with the bottom and move on to the sides but leave the top open (this is where the awesome stuffing happens). You can also sew the felt together with needle and thread but hot glue works just as well and takes less time. Let dry for 5 minutes.
  3. Cut out a piece of gold sparkly ribbon 9 inches long and glue along the top of your 9×9 felt piece.
  4. Cut out a piece of white felt 2inches thick (2×9) and glue about 2 inches from the bottom of your 9×9 piece.
  5. Place your monogram sticker centrally between the white felt and gold ribbon strip.
  6. At the top of the 9×12 black felt piece, punch two holes approximately  3.5in from the ends.
  7. Thread any thin ribbon or string through the holes, stuff them with some fun trinkets and gift cards, and hang them up for the family to enjoy.




Let us know in the comments below if you made these and what you stuffed them with. We are always looking for new, creative ideas 🙂 And as always, if you liked this post please follow us and share!


Simple Kafta Pita Pizzas

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I’ve never been a picky eater and I enjoy many many foods but there will always be a special place in my heart for kafta pizza. For me, it conjures up memories of busy weeknights in high school filled with homework deadlines, violin lessons, and soccer practice. It was for those days, mom or dad would pick up fresh kafta from the local butcher and spread it on pita so that we could have dinner ready in no time. I’d roll mine up with a side salad of onions and tomatoes and savor every single bite. Mmmmmm.

Now that summer is ending and school is just around the corner it means plenty of busy days ahead. If you’re like me and looking to start the meal planning process now to get ahead of the game then this is the perfect midweek recipe to write in. With just a few ingredients you can have a delicious and filling meal for the whole family in a short amount of time. It’s also something different and variety is always nice to have in your meal plan 🙂

Simple Kafta Pizza Pita

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Kafta Pizza
Fresh pita bread
1 lb kafta (makes about 5 pizzas)

Side Salad
4 ripe roma tomatoes, cut into small wedges
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh Thyme (sub parsley)
1 teaspoon sumac
1/2 lemon juiced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Homemade french fries
Lebanese yogurt
Lebanese pickles


  1. Turn your oven on the broiler setting and begin preparing any sides like frying your french fries (if you have some already cut up) or whipping your yogurt with a bit of salt.
  2. Make your side salad by gently tossing the tomatoes, onions, thyme, sumac, lemon juice, and olive oil. Finish off with salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Open your pita bread at the seam so you have two evenly-sized thin pita circles.
  4. Using the back of a soup spoon, spread a tablespoon or two of kafta evenly across the inside part of your pita bread. If you put too much meat, it won’t fully cook and the bread will become soggy in the middle and burn on the edges.
  5. Place your kafta pizzas on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked and the bread is a nice golden brown.
  6. Enjoy!

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Bed-share, don’t care

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Our useless, empty crib.

Bed-sharing. It’s one of those things that elicits strong reactions of admonition from family members, co-workers, and total strangers alike. “You let him sleep in your bed?! You need to fix that!” I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard this and while it’s natural to feel doubt about parenting choices, I am here to unapologetically say that we have absolutely no regrets with our choice to bed-share. I am no scientist or doctor and while I am aware of the research on both sides of the debate regarding the benefits and risks of bed-sharing, the anthropologist in me continues to question the status-quo cultural presumptions (particularly American) that treat bed-sharing as an unfortunate lapse in judgement at best and potential child abuse at worst. Says who babies need their own rooms and beds to grow into independent, self-sufficient adults? And what kind of “independence” are we talking about? If that means being able to play on their own and let you leave the house without batting an eyelash then my son is as independent as they get.

I, however, did not write this as an argument for or against bed-sharing because I really believe only a parent can know what’s best for their  family and lifestyle. I am writing this brief reflection to add my voice to a conversation on bed-sharing that has been particularly negative, a conversation that is built on fear and shame (as if new parents don’t have enough stress to deal with). I’ll never forget, as a new mom, feeling guilt whenever I had to reveal to people that our son slept with us. I would internally grimace in anticipation of the response, almost acknowledging that it was a problem we were putting off fixing. That is until I found comfort in friends (mostly anthropologists-surprise, surprise) who understood and had either bed-shared or knew someone who did. But I could never shake the thought of why I felt that sense of embarrassment and why it mattered to so many people where my baby slept. So here’s to all the guilt-ridden mommas and daddas out there that need a little reminder of something they know to be true deep down inside: bed-sharing is absolutely magical. And just in case you forgot, here are three reasons why you know you would do it all over again.


1) Welcome to parenthood where the work is plenty and the sleep is little. If you have ever had to wake up to feed an infant, you know that it happens several times a night. Interrupted sleep is the norm. So you can either make things harder on yourself by getting out of your warm, comfy bed and walk down a dark hallway to attend to your little one OR you can have your baby right next to you able to help him or herself and doze right back off so that you can too.

2) Babies make the best wake up calls. Dings and beeps on your phone or alarm clock are just dreadful reminders that it’s time to be an adult again. Babies, on the other hand, are the perfect reminders of all things beautiful in life: wondrous curiosity, a hunger for exploration, carefree joy. There is nothing more wonderful than waking up to the sound of silly babbles in your ear, soft little fingers playing with your face, and slobbery drool dripping down your cheeks. Nothing.

3) Baby cuddles. Enough said. My son is a keep-your-hands-off-me explorer by day and a snuggly, cuddle-bug by night. I can’t get enough of the smell of his hair and the way he kicks me at night to make sure I’m still there. I know this might sound super morbid but the average life expectancy of an American adult is 76 or 81 depending on your sex so if you do the math you’ll realize they’re only cute and small enough to snuggle in bed with for less than 5% of their life. Now if that doesn’t make your heart melt and want to hold them tighter, I don’t know what will.

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Summer Spring Rolls



I don’t know about the rest of you but we have been having a HOT summer here in Michigan. It’s already unbearable with 90% humidity some days but add pregnancy to the equation and it’s a totally different ballgame. As a family we love having fresh, homemade food at the ready but when it’s that hot outside the thought of cooking can be a bit daunting. For those kinds of summer days, we have an easy solution and one of our favorite go-to meals: fresh spring rolls. Not only is there little to no stove-top cooking involved (which means no extra heat in the house) but the flavors are just so refreshing and energizing they will leave you feeling light yet fully satisfied.

And if it’s that time of the week where you’re ready to clear out your fridge or you’ve just harvested some delicious veggies and herbs from your garden then this is the perfect recipe to reduce food waste or showcase those beautiful summer flavors. You can replace the shrimp with tofu or skip the protein all together to create a scrumptious vegetable medley. The possibilities are endless and we hope that you do give them a try. If you do, be sure to let us know 🙂

Summer Spring Rolls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Spring Rolls
1 lb of shrimp, deveined and cooked
10 spring roll rice papers
1 English cucumber
2 medium carrots
2-4 large red radishes (sub 1 daikon)
1 small cabbage (red or green)
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch basil
1 lime
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Soy sauce
Sriracha or chili garlic paste

Dipping Sauce
2 tbsp Brown sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Sriracha or chili garlic paste to taste
Green onions and red pepper flakes for garnish


  1. If you don’t have shrimp that is already deveined and cooked then begin by peeling, deveining, and cooking your shrimp (do not overcook). Let the shrimp marinate in a bit of garlic, ginger, lime juice, and soy sauce for flavor while you ready the rest of the fillings.
  2. Prepare your vegetables by julienning or thinly slicing the carrots, cucumber, radishes, and green onions. Thinly shred the cabbage. You can also chiffonade your basil but I prefer to keep them whole.
  3. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and pour into a bowl for dipping the rice paper. You want the water to be hot but not so hot that you burn your fingers.
  4. Optional: Use 1 cup of the hot water to shock and wilt the cabbage for a few minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain. Toss with soy sauce and Sriracha for an added kick.
  5. Prepare a damp working station such as a cutting board for stuffing and rolling the spring rolls.
  6.  Dip your rice paper in the water bowl until pliable and lay on your work surface.
  7. Place 3-4 pieces of shrimp in the middle followed by the shredded cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, green onions, and basil.
  8. Fold one end of the rice paper over, tuck in both edges, and roll over until sealed.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 until you have filled all of your rice papers.
  10. Place the rolls on a serving platter and serve with a simple dipping sauce.

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Inspirational Wallpaper: August

As summer slowly winds down, we are making sure to relish those sun-filled moments of peace and carefree joy. It might be a busy time with school starting around the corner but take a pause to delight in the warmth, sounds, and smells of August. Your heart will thank you for it.

Be Still

Be Still

DIY Squeaky Bed Fix


A squeaky bed can be a real nuisance. When my wife was studying for her PhD qualifying examinations this past winter, she would stay up really late while the baby and I would sleep together much earlier. When she would finally join us at 2 or 3 in the morning, she always woke us up crawling into bed with a loud creak. After weeks of interrupted sleep and having to soothe a disgruntled baby, I finally decided to look into resolving this rather “loud” issue.

A little investigation led me to the main culprit: the bed’s boxspring. When I opened up the boxspring, I was surprised by how flimsy it was. It was basically a big cardboard box framed with wood. The smartest option it seemed was to replace the cardboard and reinforce the structure of the box using sturdy, quality plywood and screws. It was a fairly easy and inexpensive project (under $40) that has successfully eliminated all squeaks and creaks (hooray!). You can even do it for cheaper if you go with a thinner plywood board but I wanted something a bit thicker. So if you’re looking to fix a squeaky bed and are not sure about completely replacing the boxspring or trying other suggestions like lubricating the springs, open the boxspring up first and see what you’re dealing with. If the material looks cheap, chances are this fix is the right one for you.

(2) Sheathing Plywood Boards 
Wood or Drywall Screws
Liquid Nail 

Staple Gun
Caulk Gun
Flat Head Screwdriver


1. Measure the boxspring and head over to Home Depot to purchase and custom cut the plywood for your bed frame size. I had the plywood cut for a queen-sized boxspring: 60 inches wide by 80 inches long (see Figure 1). For me to get an exact size I purchased 2 plywood boards and had them cut so each piece was exactly half (30in x 80in) of my queen bed frame size.

2. Remove your mattress and flip the boxspring frame over to remove the staples and nails from the corners of the cover attached to the frame along with the cardboard until all that remains is the wooden frame (see Figure 2).

3. Investigate the frame to make sure the studs are sturdy. Also, double check to see if the original nails/screws are in good condition. If you find any weak links go ahead and add more screws to tighten the joints.

4. Apply liquid nail liberally along your frame taking care to stay in the center to prevent the glue from oozing out of the sides when you place the plywood boards (see Figure 3).

5. Immediately place the custom cut boards on the freshly glued frame. Do this one board at a time so you don’t make a mistake aligning the plywood to the boxspring frame (see Figure 4).

6. After you have placed the plywood boards on top of the boxspring frame, go ahead and secure the plywood to the frame using wood screws. I left a foot of space between each screw and made sure to drill the screws into the boxspring frame and not into empty space (see Figure 5 & 6).

7. Let the glue dry for at least an hour.

8. Cut the corners of the plywood off at an angle if they extend beyond the frame as it can be a hazard and get in the way of completing step 9.(see Figure 7a & 7b).

9.  Using a staple gun, secure the fabric cover over the boxspring (see Figure 8).

10. Catch up on your beauty sleep with squeak and creak-free slumber.

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Figure 1

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Figure 2

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Figure 3

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Figure 4

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Figure 5

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Figure 6

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Figure 7a

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Figure 7b

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Figure 8

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