Category Archives: Qatar

Got Shawarma?


Last night we said “good-bye” to Qatar with a traditional shawarma (Middle Eastern Sandwich) dinner. Typically in Qatar the big meal of the day is lunchtime and, as I am a big fan of shawarma after my time spent in Paris enjoying the delicious Middle Eastern Cuisine there, I couldn’t pass up the chance to have a “lighter” dinner this time.

Once again, we had special guests tonight joining us, my dear friend Jessica from college and her super cutie daughters.  Before our meal, we all got down on our faces as we had done earlier in the week in Qatari fashion and gave thanks to God for all he provides.

Tonight’s Menu:

Homemade Hummus with Pitas

Instead of using forks to eat, Qataris use flat-breads to scoop up the meal. We decided to do the same.

Lamb and Beef Shawarmas

The Schawarmas were made by marinating thin strips of lamb and beef in a yogurt sauce made of: cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, garlic, salt and Greek yogurt.  Then the meat was broiled until brown and served wrapped in a pita with hummus and a garlic yogurt sauce.  Simply delicious!

Motabel-Eggplant and Tahini Puree

For dessert we had two options: a milk-style pudding flavored with rose water…


 and a Middle-Eastern-style bread pudding.

Umm Ali (The Mother of Ali)

This bread pudding was AMAZING, definitely something I will tuck into my recipe collection for the future. Made with puff pastry, it had a lot more flakiness than traditional bread pudding and, combined with almonds, raisins and pine nuts, brought wonderful flavor to the conclusion of our meal.  Of course we did not leave out the strong, cardamom-infused, coffee, which we served with dessert. However, I can’t seem to find a picture of it, so you’ll just have to imagine it.

Thank you Qatar for yet another wonderful week on our learning adventure.  We have been near your country several times now in our visits to Israel, Lebanon and Oman, but now we are heading East to Russia and we won’t be back your way until “Y” (Yemen). Thank you for introducing us to your beautiful, intricate art, your style of praying and your delicious cuisine.


On our Knees

It’s really hard to visit a Middle Eastern country and not be very aware of the Islamic influence. Afterall, when the school week begins on Wednesday and the days are paused five times to offer up prayers to Allah, it is evident how much Islam is a part of daily life.  Clearly we cannot ignore that influence on this journey, nor do we intend to. For I am convinced that, while we are not Muslims, our faith in Jesus can be strengthened as we learn from these fervent people.

So, yesterday we decided to do some prayers on our own, in the Muslim-style posture, on our faces, legs folded underneath, worshipping our Savior.  It was so sweet to do with the kids, all bowing together and praying aloud. Initially the kids just copied what I prayed, then they offered up their own sweet prayers to Jesus and we had a sweet moment, if brief. (I didn’t get any pictures of this, but didn’t feel like it was necessary or appropriate.)

Today, we did a little science, which seems to be what happens for us on Thursdays, even though it’s not really intentional.  As Qatar is a peninsula rich in oil, we decided to do some oil and water experimenting. 

First, we read a bit in our book on Qatar and we talked about what type of water is in the ocean and looked at pictures of the oil-rigs out at sea.

Next, we got out our ingredients, attempting to create “salt water”.  The kids each got out their science journals and magnifying glasses as we remembered to use our senses as we explored the necessary ingredients.

To make the “sea” water, each child helped add salt by the teaspoonful to our jar filled with water.  We tally-ed each teaspoon and learned about counting with tallies (a great way to incorporate math).

Then we added drops of blue to make our deep blue “Persian Gulf” water, just like in Qatar.

Finally, we added oil and closed our jar and that’s when the real observations started.  We also talked a bunch about what happens in an oil spill.

The kids tried their hardest to mix the oil and water, but, due to the laws of nature, were unsuccessful in their attempts.

Lots of fun learning was had by all. Success!

Quietly Entering Qatar

Yesterday, we journeyed from the Philippines (which has just had some devastation and we are continuing to pray for them) northwest to the small “thumb-like” country of Qatar, the only country in the world that begins with “Q”.

Qatar, “cutter” as it is pronounced, actually has a bit of relevance for us as well.  My beloved, world-traveling, Aunt Jaci lived in Qatar with my Uncle for a few years as she taught school there. They are quite an adventuresome couple, constantly finding a new “undiscovered” place to journey to, sending us postcards along the way, even thoughtfully purchasing Christmas gifts from afar.

So here we are, back in the middle east, pretty quickly too as “O” is so close to “Q”, but as it is fresh, we are remembering much more.  Yesterday, we began with our geography lesson as usual, starring Doha, Qatar’s capital (where my aunt and uncle lived) and cutting zig-zagged maroon papers and adhering them to white to represent Qatar’s flag.

Oil-rich and desert filled, Qatar is an islamic nation, quite wealthy in fact due to their oil, where camels race and scorpions bite!  We dove into our library book on Qatar and then ventured into some new territory…Islamic Geometric Art.

I have to say, there is something about art that connects people together, something in its beauty that breaks down barriers and brings appreciation. It might even sound silly, but as I colored one of the beautiful designs I had downloaded, I was overcome by the beauty in this intricate art.  Islamic art is geometrical or floral because they do not believe in art that has people or “God” in it as that would be idolatry.  Instead, they have amazing patterns of circles interlaced forming flowers, interwoven creating further unique designs. (It really led to a GREAT geometry lesson for Tallinn).  I loved doing this project with Tallinn, even if it was simply coloring the designs with various shades of colored pencils, and Tallinn did, too. He has been printing the designs over and over and was even up at 6am in his room coloring yet another design. They are a bit time-consuming and not quite appropriate for young children, but perfect for a 6-year-old who considers coloring to be “his talent”.

To make it easy to begin, I numbered each different shape and Tallinn and I colored it together picking various numbers and colors.

Our finished design

My finished Piece

Tallinn’s fun masterpieces…

He is seriously having such a good time coloring and it’s been a perfect activity for another rainy week. I love how many different combinations of colors can be used with each design. The possibilities are endless!

This week’s verse:

“but those who hope

in the LORD

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles,

they will walk and not grow weary,

they will run and not grow faint.”

Isaiah 40:31