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7 Day Vegan

day one
This week I asked my mom if we could do the 7 day vegan challenge. I have two friends, Joanna and Sophia who are vegans so I knew veganism is a thing. But I didn't learn what veganism is until I asked mom about a candy.  I have just kinda heard about it so I thought it would be fun. I found some recipes and now we are doing it. We made breakfast (apple cinnamon oatmeal), lunch (bruschetta),  and dinner (veggie burgers and fries) so far and it isn't so challenging yet.

day two
It's getting more challenging. The boys quit and ate egg sandwiches. Shame on them. I still am going. I want eggs, but I have to finish or shame on ME. Today we ate my LEAST favorite meal in the WHOLE challenge: spicy peanut stew. It lived up to its name.

day three
The boys are STILL eating eggs. I start craving for non vegan stuff. I decide to put my mind on my new hamster, Jeffy, instead. 
day four
I really, really REALLY want milk. And halloumi. And some burgers. The boys still eat eggs. El…

Saudi Arabia and an Arabian Horse Ranch Adventure

I have been to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) 9 different times already, and I find that hard to believe!  Before moving to the Middle East, my KSA expectations were set by knowledge that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers came from the KSA, that Mecca and Medina where 2 of the 3 holy sites of Islam and are located in the KSA, that non-Islamic assembly and worship is forbidden there, and that free speed and women's rights are severely restricted.  Because the US does a lot of business in the KSA, I have taken the time to learn more about the KSA's history, current culture and politics.  While it is not a safe place for a Western Christian to just roam freely, it is a safe place to do business.  Really though, how many places are safe enough to just roam freely regardless of your race, religion, etc.?  I understand the anxiety and perspective of the Black Lives Matter movement much better now.  Additionally the KSA Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has instituted a number of…

Teeny. Tiny. Turtles.

It's TURTLE season here in the Arabian Gulf!! For about two months, the turtles have been nesting on the beaches in the UAE, and just recently, they've been hatching! Every day in the past eight weeks has seen numerous volunteers get up at 4-5 am and patrol the beaches, looking for turtles, turtle nests, turtle tracks in the sand, and sea snakes, shells, exercise, or a sunrise walk. Almost every Monday morning, my family and I patrolled Saadiyat Island, but so far, no one, no matter the day, has found a nest. Not in two whole months. That is not the case everywhere, fortunately, and other places have seen as many as fifty nests in one long stretch of beach. Saturday evening, we were invited, in a short-notice Facebook post, to help release about 35 BABY HAWKSBILL TURTLES. So presh.


Holding the turtles pre-release

Boats and Bombs

Basically, I just had the coolest, weirdest, most frightening boat trip happen.
We were out on a boat with me and Ben's friends from the church, Ezra and Gabriel. We were in a fast boat, so we were able to travel to some of the islands way out there. We decided to stop on a big one with a very rocky beach.

After swimming around and checking out half of a fishing boat that was washed up on the beach, me and Ezra decided to walk around the island. That's when we noticed this really rusty box, about twice the dimensions of a cereal container. Well, naturally we wondered what was inside because the latches were rusted shut and obviously something was in there. We scratched and pulled at the latches for about ten minutes until we decided to just throw it on the sand, and poof... one side of the lid popped off. We could then wrench the other side off and see what was inside. Well, we thought they were posters at first. Inside were three long black tubes, and get this: The in…

Avengers in Arabia

So, you may have heard about the new Marvel movie that came out recently: Infinity War. (Pls, no spoilers. I will find you.) I guess it looked pretty cool, and my family decided we should go see it. However, hitherto this point in time, I had never seen a Marvel movie in theaters, except Black Panther, which also came out rather recently. I haven't even watched all the movies, and the ones I have seen were out of order. Every time I watched one, I was like:

     BUT WAIT, before you take me to court and sue me for misuse of movie watching privileges, hear me out. We are trying to make up for past wrongs. While Dad is out on business trips (he's seen basically every one of them), the rest of the family has started from the beginning, watching basically every Marvel movie in order this time, including the Marvel One Shots.

     We began with Captain America: The First Avenger (One Shot: Agent Carter) and Iron Man 1+2 (One Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor'…

Easter in Abu Dhabi

Mostly this blog is a chance to write down our family memories of this place, to share our life here with people back home, and a chance to shake up the homeschool writing assignments for the kids.

Most of the time what we're sharing are the typical social media "high lights". The adventures. The cultural changes we have had to get used to. And, I'm noticing in review, not nearly enough photos of the amazing food we've been eating.

It looks like a lot of big adventure, living the expat life.

But Christianity is not a big adventure. Especially being Christians in a Muslim country. It's not flashy or exciting. It's really a lot more lonely than I anticipated. Our biggest holiday is not a national holiday. In fact, Friday is the day set aside for worship. So church services are Friday morning (and we have "children's church" instead of Sunday School") and so Good Friday service was the big church day of the season.
Sunday, in fact, is the …

One week, Three Cultural Events

It's the Abu Dhabi Festival, a month or so of cultural and artistic events around the capital. We are part of a homeschool group here called HENA (home educators something Abu Dhabi) that was able to get free tickets to several of the events. Last Friday we joined in the first of these, a piano duet and computer graphics show called Pianographique. It was held at the Emirates Palace Hotel, and was Jason's first experience going there. The Palace itself is pretty impressive, huge and lots of gold and massive carpets and jewelry displays. Just all around fancy. We got dressed up.

Pianographique was ... interesting. The first piece set a disappointing mood because it was 20 minutes of mostly just repeating the same chords or keys. The computer graphics projected on the big screen behind added a lot. I hate to appear all ignorantly cultured, but that piece was almost unbearable without the added graphics. There were three other pieces but by the end all four of our kids were aslee…