We are so excited to publish another gift guide on elmomma.com. I honestly didn’t know how the first one would go, (click here to see our Valentine’s Day gift guide) but it was amazing thanks to the support of so many of you. Wondering what to get the mommas in your life? Stay tuned!!
Love is in the air. We are thrilled to be publishing our first ever gift guide, just in time for Valentine’s Day. We are focusing on gifts for him, gifts for her, gifts for kids, babies and teachers. We can’t wait to share our finds for Valentine’s Day.
Our lives and my birthday changed forever in 2017. In 2017, I was the happiest I had ever been in my 40 years on earth. I wasn’t the least bit upset to be turning forty. I was pregnant with our second daughter and fifth child. Life for us was in the highest of highs.
The following month, at my 18 week appointment I learned that our daughter had unexpectedly suffered a fetal maternal hemorrhage and her heart had stopped beating. We would go on to deliver her and hold her and deeply grieve and be changed F O R E V E R.
I’ve heard people make comments and say “she should be over it.” “At least she has living children.” “She didn’t even know that baby.” And there are people who are so uncomfortable with me sharing about our walk through grief that they question my mental health. Do you really think that I share everything on social media? No. No, I don’t. But, by me sharing my heart and my experience, I have helped a lot of women who have lost their babies in pregnancy through miscarriage and stillbirth and others who have experienced early infant loss. And, by God’s Grace we have a safe space for all, no matter where you may be in your grief journey, your fertility or infertility journey or your mental health condition. This is and always will be a safe space for you. I am here to listen, to share and to be there for other mommas and hopeful mommas.
That brings me to this year. This year, I am turning 44. There is a different level of joy from my 40th birthday, as we have waded the depths of grief and celebrated on the highest mountain tops since that day. One of our greatest joys came in May of 2019, when God blessed us earth side with our son, Jimmie.
This year, at my birthday dinner, Jimmie was so much fun. He’s learning to keep his cup down when he is drinking from a straw. And in between sips and telling me how he’s supposed to hold his cup, he would remind me of why we were at dinner, sweetly saying “happy birthday, momma.”
I cried. Our lives look so different than what we would have anticipated them looking like just four years ago. We’ve experienced the loss of our daughter, who would be 3 years old right now. We’ve experienced the joy of having our precious Jimmie (age 2). Expecting him, being together for his birth and being home together for much of his first year and second year of life. We are incredibly blessed and thankful. Our big Els wanted to know why I was crying and Moustapha said this “God didn’t have to give us Jimmie.”
That is so true. Jimmie doesn’t replace our baby who died. But, we know we would be in a very different place right now, if we were still waiting on baby Jimmie. Thankfully, God made a way where we did not see the way. It was not easy and we are incredibly thankful.
My birthday will always be a reminder that we are missing Mary-Linda and that we are blessed with our Jimmie, Leeland, Trinity, Maddux and Bakri. A reminder that we are not promised tomorrow and to be grateful for our blessings today.
July is Bereaved Parents Awareness month.
Here’s another Lebanese inspired dish that we make once every week or so. My kids request this one. They absolutely love it. We all do. They literally want this dish at least once a week.
At this point, you may be wondering, “how do you get your kids to eat these amazing meals with vegetables?” The answer is pretty simple. I never made separate meals. From the time the older Els were little and currently with our toddler, we make a family meal and eat it together. Of course we have nights where people make their own dinner and eat whatever they want. But, as a practice, I make a meal for the family and offer it to everyone. I don’t like to make an issue out of food. So, we’ve never told our kids they had to clean their plates. We do encourage them to try new foods and at this point we’ve built up a good level of trust- I ((mostly)) serve them delicious dishes. There was that one time I made chick pea noodles in 2020. (Gross!) See below for the Lebanese Cauliflower, ground beef and rice directions and quick video. Please comment and let me know if you make this delicious dish!
Quick Video “How to make Lebanese cauliflower, ground beef and rice by El Momma”
Video: How to make this awesome dish in 90 seconds!
Lebanese Cauliflower & ground beef Ingredients
Makes approximately 8 servings
- 2-3 large whole cauliflowers. Cut to florets
- Your choice of cooked white rice
-  TB extra virgin olive oil
-  chopped white onion
-  pound ground beef
-  TB 7 spices (recipe for seven spices included below)
-  tsp kosher salt
-  tsp ground pepper
- 1 jar 24 Oz of diced tomatoes (I prefer roasted garlic)
- 14 Oz crushed Tomatoes (I use Italian variety)
- plain yogurt (optional) for garnish
*A very important ingredient of many lebanese dishes is 7 spices. 7 Spices are made with a mix of the following spices: all spice, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, caraway and nutmeg. I buy this through our local grocer, Phoenicia. I’ve also purchased on Amazon. * Recipe for my homemade seven spices blend is included at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Rinse and cut the cauliflower into florets. Set aside.
Step 2: In a separate pot, cook the rice per directions on rice bag/box.
Step 3: Using a 2 1/2 – 3 inch deep skillet that has a fitted glass lid, cook the chopped onion and ground beef at medium heat in the olive oil. Add the 7 spices, pepper and salt and mix well. Careful not to over cook the meat.
Step 4: fold in the cauliflower, crushed and diced tomatoes. Mix well. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes with lid on, stirring occasionally at medium low to medium heat.
Step 5: serve hot over a bed of rice. Add a dollop of plain yogurt when serving.
Makes approximately 3 1/2 tablespoons of 7 spices
- 1T allspice,
- 1T cinnamon,
- 1t ground cloves,
- 1t cumin,
- 1t coriander,
- 1/2 t caraway
- 1/2 t nutmeg
The Call of Abram
1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.
This blessing that the Lord promised Abram, was and is fulfilled through Jesus Christ. We are a part of that blessing. Read again the words “Go and I will go with you. I will bless those who bless you. And, all of the people of the earth will be blessed through you.” We are a part of this amazing blessing. Let the people of the earth be blessed through you today and always.
|Leeland Thaddeus, 8 months, Baptism Day|
|(most of) Leeland’s family (wishing our California family were with us!)|
|Momma’s big brown eyed baby boy|
|enjoying the baptism|
|really listening to Pastor Jeff, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Houston|
|lots of cousins|
|Momma, Daddy, Bakri and Leeland|
|All six of the Els|
|Feeling great after a quick nap!|
|El Momma with the Els and the Madduxs|
|love of brothers|
I love Saturdays. It’s my favorite day of the week, if we don’t have any plans. I love making breakfast with the entire family running around at my feet and the occasional helper climbing on a chair to help me stir. I love making a fresh pot of coffee and smelling it in the entire house. I love “forcing” everyone to come downstairs to be near me. 🙂
This Sunday morning was even better than most Saturdays, because not only was I in a kitchen with one of my bffs, but we cooked together. It was so much fun! She made the coffee, the egg casserole and I made pancakes from scratch. It doesn’t get much better. Then, we sat down on her porch with all of our families and ate breakfast together. Now that is a great way to start a spring break and a fantastic way to start the day. Happy Spring Break, y’all!
Well, it turns out that going to the rodeo with three kids under the age of 5 is a challenge whether you venture out alone or with your husband.
Last year I went alone and nearly had a heart attack…walking, cleaning up a messy diaper just before boarding a tram, controlling 2 boys, orchestrating a pony ride for both of them and keeping the baby happy. It was tough! But, the kids had a great time. Me?- not so much. But, it’s not about me, right? So, this year, at the request of many family members and friends, I recruited my husband for El Rodeo Day! I figured this would be more enjoyable for all. It definitely was more enjoyable for the kids. But, at the end of it all, after being exhausted from all of the things we did last year and did again this year (minus the near heart attack- thankfully!) I looked at Moustapha and asked him “At what age do you think our kids have to be for the rodeo to be fun for us again?”
Fast forward to 1 hour later when all of the kids are asleep in their beds at 6pm. The boys were so exhausted, they slept the entire night. Trinity will not miss a meal, so she woke up for that and quickly returned to a restful sleep. I would say that is the payoff for all of the work. We had a really quiet night. 🙂
Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to have fun!
Today is our 6th anniversary. 6 years! Wow! That sounds so few considering all that has happened. It has been a wild ride. And, it has been so wonderful. We’ve been blessed with 3 beautiful, healthy children. We live in a beautiful home in the best part of Houston. And we have amazing friends and family. And, we have even more to celebrate. The little Els will share the news with you here: