Our Next Adventure

As many of you know, we have finished our Moroccan adventure.  We loved our time in this country, but it was time to go.  If you would like to check out our next  adventure – stop by our new blog – RVing with the Raki’s.  We have purchased an RV and are traveling around the US, Canada, and wherever else we may wander with our three children.  We will be homeschooling the boys in English, French and Arabic, while exploring the great outdoors, eating local,  (and as organic as possible) and seeing what new lessons life has in store for us.  Here’s a peek at our new home:


At our new blog, you will find blog posts from ALL the members of our family, so please stop by and see where we’re at!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources


Posted by on July 6, 2014 in Homeschooling, Travel



Decisions, decisions, decisions

In November, our family came to the realization that living in Morocco wasn’t working out for us and we were ready for the next move.  Of course that meant we had to know what the next move was.  Hmmmm………………

We bounced around a ton, and I do mean a ton, of possibilities.  We looked into the possibility of a foreign hire position in another country, thought about going back to the United States, thought about moving to another city in Morocco.  There were a lot of discussions and “discussions” and lists, and decisions, and then changing our decisions!  Let’s just say it’s been a long, complicated process.

In January, we thought we had it figured out, and we had a piece – we were going back to the United States.  At that point, we thought we were going to Oregon to settle down for awhile.  However, we soon realized that all of Raki’s school work had been done with the premise of getting a teacher’s certification from GA, so if he was to student teach in the US, then he had to student teach in GA. 

This opened up a ton of new decisions to make.  Student teaching is only one semester long – from August – December.  Should Raki go to GA while the boys and I were in OR?  Should we all go to GA for a school year?  And there were more things to consider:

– Where would the boys go to school?  How would we maintain the base in Arabic and French they have built over the last 3 years?  Will they have time to do this work after school?  Will they miss out on friends or activities, or begin to dislike Arabic and French if it is something “extra”?

– Would I be able to get a job?  The job market for teachers is tough right now.  If I do get a job, do I want to be public or private?  Where do I want to teach?  Where will I be able to find a job?

– Then again, did I want to get a job?  I am currently struggling to balance teaching, my teacher resource business and being a mom and wife.  What if I decided to stay at home and just focus on my business?  Can we afford that? 

– What would we do after Raki was done with student teaching?  Did we want to stay in GA?  Go to OR?  Try for an international position?

Another thing to consider became health issues.  I have recently had my second hernia surgery this school year.  My doctor is on me to exercise daily, and while I have added in ab exercise most mornings, there has been little to no time to add in the bicycling and swimming he wants me doing in order to prevent further hernias.  In addition, Raki has had chest pains and he doctor has recommended better exercise and time for rest – which hasn’t been easy to fit in between school, work and kids.

So, about a month ago, we finally made a few big decisions.  We haven’t got it all figured out yet, but here is what we have decided:

1.  I am not going to teach next year.  I will stay at home and work on my business, as well as home school the boys.  Since Sam can’t go to “school” in the US yet anyways, this saves us the cost of daycare and allows me to work full time on my business – Raki’s Rad Resources, and spend some real time each day exercising and meditating, and improving my overall health.

2.  Home schooling.  By home schooling the boys, they can spend equal time on English, French and Arabic, giving them the same amount of afternoon time off for friends and activities as if they were going to public school.  This way, they can maintain their language, and hopefully the love of these languages that they have formed, while still having time to be kids.  (Since the mass of homework they are doing now is one of the reasons we are finding Morocco disagreeable, the kids are excited to homeschooling.) 

3.  Raki will student teach in GA and we will be in GA with him for the duration of his student teaching.  We decided that separating our family was not a good idea for anyone, although he will return to the US a month early to take his certification test, but 4 weeks is a lot easier to bear than 24 weeks.

4.  The RV.  To reduce costs and make this more feasible, and to help us gain one of our other dreams, we will buy an RV (or convert a school bus into an RV) and use it as our place of residence.  This will also give us the opportunity to continue traveling – which is a family passion.  One possibility for life after Raki is done student teaching is to travel full time in our RV.

So, that is where we are at right now.  Raki will return to the US in June, the boys and I will return in July.  There are so many more decisions to make, but right now we are trying hard to take it one step at a time.  Raki is busily finishing up his Master’s work, packing up what little we are shipping, and selling all of the rest of our stuff.  I am recovering from hernia surgery and trying to balance my classroom and my business and my family for just a bit longer.

I will continue to blog about the experience here until July – and then you can expect to find a new blog-adventure to follow as we change continents and shift gears.

Okay, that was a lot of writing!  Here are a few pictures from our recent trip up north to Tetouan, Cueta and Chef Chouan as a treat for those of you who made it through it all. 

Cueta - light house - Spain in Morocco - Heidi Raki   Cueta - garden - Spain in Morocco - Heidi Raki

Cueta - statue - Spain in Morocco - Heidi Raki     Chef Chouan Morocco - Heidi Raki

Cueta - fortress - Spain in Morocco - Heidi Raki Cueta - the view from the top- Spain in Morocco - Heidi Raki     Chef Chouan Morocco - kasbah - Heidi Raki Chef Chouan Morocco - kasbah - Heidi Raki

Chef Chouan Morocco - kasbah - Heidi Raki Chef Chouan Morocco - kasbah - Heidi Raki    


Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Posted by on March 27, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Food Costs – USA vs. Morocco

We have just recently returned from a 2 month trip to the US.  This was our first trip back to the US since leaving to move to Morocco two years ago.  It was an amazing trip and a great adventure, but it brought a lot of things into perspective for me as well.  In the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of posts about things I learned or thought about during the trip, as well as some cool pictures from the journey.

Today, I am going to talk about food.  When we left for the US, we were so excited to be getting a taste of the foods we have been missing for the past two years – tortillas, thick crust pizza, sour cream and onion chips, berries, cottage cheese etc.  While in the US, we definitely took part in lots of these great luxuries and enjoyed them.  We ate tacos A LOT, and splurged on all of our favorite junk food.  However, we found that there were an equal amount of foods from Morocco that we missed while we were in the US – fresh baked bread and, fresh vegetables and fruits with flavor being two of the key things we missed.  This highlighted, for me, the differences between foods in the US and Morocco.  In the US, the food is often based around what smells good, looks good and stays good forever (I completely forgot how many preservatives can be in food).  In Morocco, the food is based around what tastes good, and is good for you.  Now this is not to say that there is no junk food in Morocco – I can attest that there is plenty!  However, the overall prevalence of it is less – with the distinct distinction being French Fries, which can be found EVERYWHERE!

The other key difference in food between the US and Morocco is cost.  I know that the cost of living is higher in the US, but the cost of food is SO much higher in the US.  In the US, I spent approximately 35% of my monthly budget on food.  In Morocco, I spend approximately 19% of my monthly budget on food.  This is a HUGE difference.  To illustrate my point, here is what we picked up today at the souk:

What $16 will buy you at a souk in Morocco - a cost comparison of food in Morocco to food in the USA at Journey to Morocco from Raki's Rad Resources.

This lot of fruit, vegetables, pasta, cookies and rice cost us 130DH, which is $15.59.  It will last me for the entire week.  We will eat meals off of it, but also snacks, and make smoothies each day with the fruit.  All of the food was grown by local farmers, who send their food to Bouskoura – near Casablanca, on Tuesdays.  Each town in this area has a day when this “Farmer’s Souk” comes to the area and provides fresh food and other goods for those who don’t have transportation into the city and the larger souks that lie there.

If I were to buy this same amount of food in the US, it would cost about 3 times the amount, especially because the majority of it is fruits and vegetables, which we found to be the most expensive items to buy in the US.  In a country where obesity is an issue, the US has cheap grains, processed foods and other junk, but expensive fruits, vegetables and quality meat (the kind that doesn’t eat corn and antibiotics as their main meal).  Ask for your fruits and vegetables not to be covered in pesticides (you know – grown organically) and you up your price even more.  If you are on a budget in the US – and we completely were traveling on a budget – you end up buying cheaper, less quality foods, so that you can buy enough to keep your family full.

Now, let’s talk about packaging.  I forgot how many items come pre-packaged for individual servings, something that is rare here in Morocco – unless you’re buying cookies.  In one supermarket, I found applesauce in a jar, applesauce in a cup and applesauce that could be squeezed out of little tubes.  I know that applesauce in a cup can be convenient, but how hard is it really, to pour it into a small bowl?  At least with applesauce in a cup, you can re-use the cup later for snacks or arts and crafts, or you can recycle it.  With applesauce in a tube, what are you doing with that extra packaging, except throwing it away?  I know they’re charging you for it, because it’s definitely more expensive that the one large jar of applesauce.  I was glad to see how many recycling programs there were in the US, especially out west, but the idea of pre-packaging everything seems to defeat the purpose.

I know that the Moroccan food system is not perfect.  In fact, many Moroccans are trying to mimic the US food system, which has brought the advent of things like individual serving cookies and snacks.  I just find it easier to buy the food I enjoy eating, in packaging that makes me more comfortable, at a price I can afford.  And after a trip to the US, I will still crave sour cream and tortillas, but I know that I am content to have those as luxuries when we travel, so that we can live on a steady diet of affordable fruits and vegetables.


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Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Moroccan Food


USA Trip Itinerary

Wow, I knew I was behind, but I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted on here since August!  Well, if you’re clueless what I’ve been up to since then, please stop by my other two blogs – Raki’s Rad Resources and Global Teacher Connect, which get updated more regularly.  I promise to try and post a few things here in the next few weeks that will catch everyone up.  However, today, I am here to officially announce our itinerary for this summer. 

For those of you who haven’t heard, my husband is currently going to Grand Canyon University online, working on his Master’s Degree in Secondary Education.  In August, he will take his certification test, so we have decided to spend the entire summer in the United States.  Once we are there, we will purchase a van and travel quite extensively, visiting family and monuments of interest to my children.

If you look at the Google Map above, you will see our destinations.  Each blue pin is an anticipated stop, if you click on the pin, you will see the anticipated dates and activities.

I will be back soon to report on what is going on here in Morocco, but right now, I’m off to work on planning this extensive trip.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Travel


Chore Checkbook

printable chore checkbook - help kids earn money and keep track of it - freeLast year, we were lucky enough to have a “femme de menage” come out and help us out with chores around the house.  However, this year we have a big goal – we want to spend all of next summer (or as much as we can afford) traveling & camping in Europe.  With this goal in mind, we are economizing and doing without any household help for the year.  However, we are lucky enough to have two children old enough to be quite helpful, and we plan to put them to work!   Lucky for them, we are willing to compensate them, since it will also be a great way to teach them about budgeting and work on a bunch of math skills.  We sat down as a family and created a chore list, assigning a price to each chore, and I’ve made the boys checkbooks to help them keep track of the money they earn and spend, so that I don’t have to constantly find dirhams to pay them with.  The boys are super excited about this – especially because I have offered to exchange their dirhams to dollars (more math lessons!) and allow them to download games, books and music to their “devices”.  Anyways, while I was making the checkbook, I realized that it is something I might use in my classroom too, so I decided to put it into Google Docs, just in case anyone else wanted to use it – for inspiration or printing!  If any other parents out there want to share their chore payment ideas – I’m always open minded to options!!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Homeschooling


Vacation’s Finished

For the last 2 years, our family has been pretty much in high gear movement mode (with a few long weekends thrown in for sanity).  Before deciding to move to Morocco, I was finishing my Master’s Degree (which took it’s toll on EVERYONE in the family) and then I got pregnant with our youngest son, Sam (which also took it’s toll on EVERYONE in the family).  While pregnant, we decided to do an international move – here to Morocco, and life has been in high speed since, packing, moving, setting up house, starting the Raki’s Rad Resources Blog and Website, getting 2 kids settled into school in two new languages, have wonderful family come to visit, moving house again, tutoring, etc. etc.  We have been one BUSY family.  So, we decided to take 2 weeks in the south of Morocco to recharge our batteries before the new school year starts and we begin running again!

Here are some pictures of what we did for the last two weeks:

Camping in Agadir, Morocco   Camping in Agadir, Morocco  Camping in Agadir, Morocco

At our campsite

Waterfall Near Agadir, Morocco     Waterfall Near Agadir, Morocco   Waterfall Near Agadir, Morocco

At the waterfall

Agadir, Morocco   Agadir, Morocco    Agadir, Morocco

Amazing Scenery

Beach in Agadir, Morocco   Beach in Agadir, Morocco  Beach in Agadir, Morocco

At the Beach

Swimming in Agadir, Morocco   Swimming in Agadir, Morocco  Swimming in Agadir, Morocco

At the Pool & Aquatic Park

Historical sites near Agaidr, Morocco  Historical sites near Agaidr, Morocco  Historical sites near Agaidr, Morocco

At the Historic Sites

Animals of Agadir, Morocco     Animals of Agadir, MoroccoAnimals of Agadir, Morocco

The Animals

Right before we left, we talked as a family about what our favorite part of vacation was and here were the responses:

Sam – collecting rocks (okay, he can’t talk, but we spoke for him)

Zaiyd – finding lots of different places to swim

Kal – going to the waterfall

Mom (Heidi) – the beautiful scenery

Dad (Khalil) – the great neighbors we met from France


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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Pictures of Morocco, Travel



I survived……

the first day of Ramadan!  This is the first time I have every tried to fast during Ramadan, so surviving Day 1 is super exciting to me!  Millions of Muslims around the world fast every day for an entire month, denying themselves food and water from sunrise to sunset.  This year for Ramadan, I decided I wanted to experience this with them.  Now, don’t jump to any conclusions, I am not converting to Islam. I am lucky enough to be married to a Muslim man who believes that I can and should believe anything I wish, and while I am enjoying exploring the religion, I do not feel any need to convert. However, I do want to experience life from other people’s point of view.  My reasons for wanting to try this are: 

1. to prove to myself that I can do it 

2.  to better appreciate the goodies and treats that are used to celebrate making it through a day of fasting 

3. to experience for myself the appreciation of having food on a regular basis that comes as part of fasting for Ramadan

4.  to share the experience with my 8 year old who is “trying” Ramadan for the first time and with my husband who has been doing Ramadan for the last 26 years

I don’t know if this will be the only Ramadan I participate in, or if I will even make it through the whole month, but I will check in periodically to let you know how it is going.  Here are my reflections from the first day, and some pictures of our Iftar feast.

I woke up at 3 a.m. the night before the fast to eat Suhoor, a meal of sustenance to help you through your fast.  I had oatmeal, with apples and carrots mixed in (loading up on the fiber!) and a smoothie made of avocado, milk and banana, as well as a bunch of water.  Then, back to sleep, and up with the baby around 7 a.m.  The overall fasting wasn’t bad, but there were silly things, like remembering not to like my fingers after feeding the baby something from my hands.  The smells and aromas of all foods were definitely amplified when I fed Zaiyd and Sam and when I began preparing for “Iftar” – the meal when you break your fast.  (I know people who fast and work in food service, and I can’t imagine how difficult this must be!)  We knew we would break our fast at 7:39 p.m., and by 4:00 p.m., we were in the kitchen beginning preparations.  My husband made the Haraia, the lentil soup that is full of protein and vitamins.  The boys helped me to make Zucchini bread (not traditionally Moroccan, but much loved in my household, and another way to get vegetables in).  I boiled eggs, and made a cheese ball recipe from my cookbook.  I am trying out one new recipe a day for Ramadan.  I made flan and warmed up M’smen (a Moroccan flat bread that we buy in bulk and freeze) and a Baguette.  At the last minute, we made coffee, and put out dates, chebekeah (the most delicious cookies that basically consist of deep fried dough coated in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds), a bowl of fruit and some juice for the boys.  Our Iftar is not always traditionally Moroccan, but is like our family – a mixture of American and Moroccan that fits best for our family. 

We were so anxious to eat that the table was set about 10 minutes before it was time to eat.  I used this time to take pictures for this post, and we watched a little tv.  Then, we heard the call for prayer and we began to eat.  I expected the first bite to be a big deal, but then I forgot that I have small kids who need to be helped out first, lol!  My first bite was actually a part of a banana I was serving to Sam.  I enjoyed all of the treats, but found that the chebekeah that I devoured in mounds last year (when I wasn’t fasting) was actually too sweat to eat more than one.  I also decided the coffee was too sweat right then, and opted for some leftover smoothie from Suhoor instead.  The haraia was amazing and the eggs tasted perfect.  My body craved the proteins and that is what I ate.  The whole process really makes me think about what my body NEEDS rather than what it wants.  When we were done eating, we sat around chit chatting and I had a great feeling of appreciation for the life that I have and the ability to have this experience.  We then went out and walked and enjoyed the night air.  After we returned home (and had to put Zaiyd through the window b/c we had forgotten a key, lol!)  We put the kiddos to bed and I enjoyed some rice and beans before heading to bed. 

It is now officially Day 2 and just writing this for you is making my stomach grumble, but I know that I can make it through.  That is part of what Ramadan is doing for me, building confidence in myself.  Now, here are some pictures of our Iftar table from yesterday:

Ramadan iftar meal

The Whole Table of Goodies

chebekeah - Ramadan iftar meal

Chebekeah – the cookie of the gods!

haraiah - Ramadan iftar meal

Haraiah – Ramadan soup with lentils

cheese balls - Ramadan iftar meal

Cheese Balls – Ramadan Recipe of Day 1

zuchini bread - Ramadan iftar meal

Zucchini Bread – a Family Favorite

Ramadan Kareem to those celebrating!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources and Journey to Morocco


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