Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wedding Time

This weekend was jam packed, my husband's good friend got married. It was our first time going to a wedding with Zakariya walking. I had guessed ahead of time that he would get bored of sitting in our laps. Didn't anyone tell you? These are the prime years, the age to discover... to touch all the decor, climb the stage and push other children when no one is looking.

Here is how we got through the weekend, it was pretty successful for the most part Alhumdulillah:

1) Make sure your kids are wearing cute but comfortable clothing. Sure, you want them to look cute, but you are sure going to regret it once they start itching and scratching all night because the work on their shalwar kameez (Bollywood inspired outfit) starts giving them an itchy rash.

2) Pack extra snacks; if it is a Indian or Pakistani wedding expect the food to be served late. Chances are the kiddo will get hungry. We fed Zakariya before leaving home- but he got hungry again once we got to the hall, Alhumdulillah my sister in law packed some extra snacks for the kiddos to keep content until dinner was served.

3) Take turns alternating between the guys table and the girls table. What I mean by this is- if you like us generally sit at segregated tables (one table for the husbands, one tables for the wives) it helps to alternate, this keeps the kids entertained with different people to meet and greet as well as not having to sit at the same spot for too long. If you happen to sit at the same table, try and alternate so that you each get in your own time to socialize; weddings are no fun if you are on cranky baby duty all night.

4) Try to find seating in the back, this way kids have some room to run around and there is extra room to park your stroller.

5) Make sure to pack some never seen before- or special occasion toys and books. It's like opening a new toy all over again and this keeps the kids busy for a decent amount of time!

6) Feel free to let other people hold your kids; they are trying to give you a break!

7) Move all the silverware as soon as you sit down, otherwise there will be a lot noise during the speeches... and yes people will turn around and give you bad looks.

8) Expect your kids to make some new friends for the night; don't worry too much about them picking up bad behavior for life... chances are the friendships will not be lasting and they will forget each other until the next wedding.

9) Be fair, allow your kids some time to be free and run around (in the lobby or hallway) they are kids... you cannot expect them to sit in one spot for the entire night!

10) Most importantly... do not forget the traditional bride and groom picture with baby in middle picture, no bride or groom looks complete without a baby that is not theirs on the lap!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Toxic Foam Mats

Belgium is to ban the sale of all foam puzzle mats for babies and toddlers, citing tests showing they contain a cancer-causing chemical.

Formamides are used to soften the foam in the mats but are corrosive and can be deadly. Toxicologist Alfred Bernard explained:

“They are solvents, residues from the manufacturing process that stay in the product afterwards. They can be absorbed through breathing or through the skin. As a rule, children should not be exposed to these products.”

Belgium becomes the first European country to ban the mats and will impose a 20,000 euro fine for anyone found selling them. Jean-Philippe Ducart, a spokesman for a consumer watchdog said:

“They will be illegal in 2011 but in the meantime we ask that they be withdrawn from the market in the interest of public health and the health of children exposed to them.”

An EU-wide ban on the mats is expected within the next few years.

In November, the EU prohibited the sale of plastic baby bottles containing Bisphenol A, a compound that tests suggest have adverse health effects on babies.

Copyright © 2010 euronews

This news comes as BIG surprise to me because I have seen those foam mats practically everywhere! Schools, libraries, day care centers, homes- I mean literally they are everywhere. All the moms and pregnant women who have these mats- you have every right to be upset about this...

However, lets look at the bright side and be thankful that we have the science and technology to expose these toxins; otherwise we might have never known. Please be sure to dump the mats ASAP and do not take this news lightly or ignore it... a couple of inexpensive foam mats are not worth the risk.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Eating on the GO

I have wanted to take Zakariya to the pet store for a few days now. He is crazy about all the dog’s he has been seeing around the building. He gets super excited and starts pointing and screaming “bobo!” that’s what he calls dogs. I never really noticed this before, but a lot of dog owners kind of resemble their dogs! I mean that in the nicest way possible. For example, there was an elderly woman sharing the elevator with us and she for sure was rocking the same hairstyle as her dog, same color and all. My husband was the one who pointed it out. Alhumdulillah, I do not have to worry about his gaze being lowered if those are the kind of things he is noticing (just kidding hubby!)

I like going to Sherway Gardens mall. It consists of elderly shoppers and hip Mama’s like myself! There is actually room to walk and get this- even room to push around your stroller without bumping into other strollers! However, that being said it is Christmas time- and difficult to avoid the holiday rush regardless… and there is no escaping the annoying Christmas carols blasting on the highest volume in every store.

Mall food courts do not have very many healthy options available… But I will give Sherway Gardens some credit- their food court is better than most. I was thinking about what I could get for Zakariya- I completely grew up eating French fries anytime we went out. Mainly because we never had halal options and also because I hated vegetables… fries were affordable and I ate them in large amounts- this made my parents happy in hopes that I would become the fat chubby child of their dreams. I ate fries up until my teenage years, even in twenties- but still never became the chubby child that they dreamt of… of course until I got pregnant… but I will blog about that another day!

I scouted around looking for what I could offer my little guy- I wanted to give him some variety other than fries… but I also did not need to buy an entire plate or dinner… just enough to feed him really. I ended up at Villa Medina. I bought a skewer of chicken breast and side order of rice- and then kindly told the man at the cashier that it was for a small child… to which I think he may have lowered the price, because somehow it only came out to $5.00. Alhumdulillah, my intention was pure and for the sake of Allah (to preserve my little guys health and body) Allah subhana ta alla always makes it easy for us!

I was pretty satisfied and so was my bebo! Here are pics of him enjoying his nutritious meal and later his dessert- a date (kajoor) and there he is checking out some fish at the pet store.

How do you keep your little ones eating healthy on the go? Any tips?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jummah Mubarak

Asalaamu Aalaikum,

Jummah Mubarak from our family to yours. Don't forget to recite Surah Khaf today.

Rasulullah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Friday is the best of days. It was on this day that Hadrat Adam alayhis salaam was created, it was on this day that he was granted entry into jannah, it was on this day that he was removed from jannah (which became the cause for man's existence in this universe, and which is a great blessing), and the day of resurrection will also take place on this day." (Sahih Muslim)

Please remember us in your duas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

You are the winner of an IGym Yoga mat!
Now... do I seriously have to mail this thing all the way to CALIFORNIA... Can't you just come to Toronto and get it?!
Here's what Marium had to say about it: "It's so exciting, I have never won anything before!"
*For those of you who are wondering, the contest was NOT rigged! It was the Qadr of Allah and she just happened to leave the 3rd comment which was also the number selected by random.org

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hush Little Baby

This Nasheed is so sweet, I want to memorize the words and sing it to both my babies; Zakariya and his Baba.

It gives me strange butterflies in my tummy and makes me feel like making dua for another one ;) Inshallah Allah knows best. What about you- feel something in your stomach?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Freedom of Screech

"My daughter Olivia, 6, was at our house with a friend when our cat walked up to them. Her friend asked, "Has your cat ever had baby cats?" Olivia responded, "He's not even married!"
Jennifer Rayola
Channahon, Illionois

"When my 5 year old son had his annual checkup, the dentist asked, "So, is there anything bothering you?" Wesley thought for a moment, and then responded, "Yes, my baby brother, Warren!"
Tina Kim; Diamond Bar, California

"I was running errands with my recently toilet trained daughter, Ella, 2. When I told her we were going to Pottery Barn, she became really quiet. Then from the back seat she muttered, "Mommy, I don't want to go potty in a barn."
Paige Miller; Memphis, Tennessee

"After playing a game online for a few minutes, my 4 year old daughter. Kate, said "Mom, the computer's cold. It isn't working." When I asked if she meant it was frozen, she replied, "It's Daddy's fault! He left the window open."
Tara Trainor: Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Source: Parents Dec 2010 Issue

Toddlers-Kids say the funniest things. Now that Zakariya is getting older, it is amazing to see his personality develop. Mashallah he is becoming his own person and we are really enjoying seeing our little guy mature into a little man! One thing in particular that has been especially fun is his toddler talk. He has especially good comic timing. I think he takes after me (haha)

This reminds me of the time when I told my first love (yes even before you husband) my nephew Abdur Rahman (almost 4 years old) that Zakariya knows how to walk now, to which he quickly said "Mashallah I can walk too"... Or when Abdur Rahman asked why I did not wear my hijab in front of Yasser Phupha (my husband)... Kids notice even the finest of details...

What are some of the cutest/funniest things your kids have said?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Story of Umm Ayman

Written by Abdul Wahid Hamid
Source: http://blog.iloveallaah.com/2010/08/the-story-of-umm-ayman/

We do not know precisely how the young Abyssinian girl ended up for sale in Makkah. We do not know her 'roots', who her mother was, or her father or her ancestors. There were many like her, boys and girls, Arabs and non-Arabs, who were captured and brought to the slave marketof the city to be sold.

A terrible fate awaited some who ended up in the hands of cruel masters or mistresses who exploited their labor to the full and treated them with the utmost harshness. A few in that inhuman environment were rather more fortunate. They were taken into the homes of more gentle and caring people. Barakah, the young Abyssinian girl, was one of the more fortunate ones. She was saved by the generous and kind Abdullah, the son of Abd al-Muttalib. She became the only servant in his household and when he was married, to the lady Aminah, she looked after her affairs as well.Two weeks after the couple were married, according to Barakah, Abdullah's father came to their house and instructed his son to go with a trading caravan that was leaving for Syria. Aminah was deeply distressed and cried: "How strange! How strange! How can my husband go on a trading journey to Syria while I am yet a bride and the traces of henna are still on my hands." Abdullah's departure was heartbreaking. In her anguish, Aminah fainted. Soon after he left, Barakah said: "When I saw Aminah unconscious, I shouted in distress and pain: 'O my lady!'

Aminah opened her eyes and looked at me with tears streaming down her face. Suppressing a groan she said: "Take me to bed, Barakah."

"Aminah stayed bedridden for a long time. She spoke to no one. Neither did she look at anyone who visited her except Abd al-Muttalib, that noble and gentle old man. "Two months after the departure of Abdullah, Aminah called me at dawn one morning and, her face beaming with joy, she said to me: "O Barakah! I have seen a strange dream." "Something good, my lady," I said. "I saw lights coming from my abdomen lighting up the mountains, the hills and the valleys around Makkah." "Do you feel pregnant, my lady?" "Yes, Barakah," she replied. "But I do not feel any discomfort as other women feel." "You shall give birth to a blessed child who will bring goodness," I said. So long as Abdullah was away, Aminah remained sad and melancholic. Barakah stayed at her side trying to comfort her and make her cheerful by talking to her and relating stories. Aminah however became even more distressed when Abd al-Muttalib came and told her she had to leave her home and go to the mountains as other Makkans had done because of an impending attack on the city by the ruler of Yemen, someone called Abrahah. Aminah told him that she was too grief-striken and weak to leave for the mountains but insisted that Abrahah could never enter Makkah and destroy the Ka'bah because it was protected by the Lord. Abd al-Muttalib became very agitated but there was no sign of fear on Aminah's face. Her confidence that the Ka'bah would not be harmed was well-founded. Abrahah's army with an elephant in the vanguard was destroyed before it could enter Makkah.

Day and night, Barakah stayed beside Aminah. She said: "I slept at the foot of her bed and heard her groans at night as she called for her absent husband. Her moans would awaken me and I would try to comfort her and give her courage."

The first part of the caravan from Syria returned and was joyously welcomed by the trading families of Makkah. Barakah went secretly to the house of Abd al-Muttalib to find out about Abdullah, but found no news of him. She went back to Aminah but did not tell her what she had seen or heard in order not to distress her. The entire caravan eventually returned but not with Abdullah.

Later, Barakah was at Abd al-Muttalib's house when news came from Yathrib that Abdullah had died. She said: "I screamed when I heard the news. I don't know what I did after that except that I ran to Aminah's house shouting, lamenting for the absent one who would never return, lamenting for the beloved one for whom we waited so long, lamenting for the most beautiful youth of Makkah, for Abdullah, the pride of the Quraysh. When Aminah heard the painful news, she fainted and I stayed by her bedside while she was in a state between life and death. There was no one else but me in Aminah's house. I nursed her and looked after her during the day and through the long nights until she gave birth to her child, "Muhammad", on a night in which the heavens were resplendent with the light of God." When Muhammad was born, Barakah was the first to hold him in her arms. His grandfather came and took him to the Ka'bah and with all Makkah, celebrated his birth. Barakah stayed with Aminah while Muhammad was sent to the baadiyah (desert) with the lady Halimah who looked after him in the bracing atmosphere of the open desert. At the end of five years, he was brought back to Makkah and Aminah received him with tenderness and love and Barakah welcomed him "with joy, longing and admiration".

When Muhammad was six years old, his mother decided to visit the grave of her husband, Abdullah, in Yathrib. Both Barakah and Abd al-Muttalib tried to dissuade her. Aminah however was determined. So one morning they set off- Aminah, Muhammad and Barakah huddled together in a small hawdaj mounted on a large camel, part of a huge caravan that was going to Syria. In order to shield the tender child from any pain and worry, Aminah did not tell Muhammad that she was going to visit the grave of his father. The caravan went at a brisk pace. Barakah tried to console Aminah for her son's sake and much of the time the boy Muhammad slept with his arms around Barakah's neck. The caravan took ten days to reach Yathrib. The boy Muhammad was left with his maternal uncles of the Banu Najjar while Aminah went to visit the grave of Abdullah. Each day for a few weeks she stayed at the grave. She was consumed by grief. On the way back to Makkah, Aminah became seriously ill with fever. Halfway between Yathrib and Makkah, at a place called al-Abwa, they stopped. Aminah's health deteriorated rapidly.One pitch dark night, she was running a high temperature. The fever had got to her head and she called out to Barakah in a choking voice. Barakah related: "She whispered in my ear: 'O Barakah, I shall depart from this world shortly. I commend my son Muhammad to your care. He lost his father while he was in my abdomen. Here he is now, losing his mother under his very eyes. Be a mother to him, Barakah. And don't ever leave him.' "My heart was shattered and I began to sob and wail. The child was distressed by my wailing and began to weep. He threw himself into his mother's arms and held tightly onto her neck. She gave one last moan and then was forever silent." Barakah wept. She wept bitterly. With her own hands she dug a grave in the sand and buried Aminah, moistening the grave with whatever tears were left in her heart. Barakah returned with the orphan child to Makkah and placed him in the care of his grandfather. She stayed at his house to look after him. When Abd al-Muttalib died two years later, she went with the child to the house of his uncle Abu Talib and continued to look after his needs until he was grown up and married the lady Khadijah. Barakah then stayed with Muhammad and Khadijah in a house belonging to Khadijah. "I never left him and he never left me," she said. One day Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, called out to her and said: "Ya Ummah!" (He always called her "Mother".) "Now I am a married man, and you are still unmarried. What do you think if someone should come now and ask to marry you?" Barakah looked at Muhammad and said: "I shall never leave you. Does a mother abandon her son?" Muhammad smiled and kissed her head. He looked at his wife Khadijah and said to her: "This is Barakah. This is my mother after my own mother. She is the rest of my family."

Barakah looked at the lady Khadijah who said to her: "Barakah, you have sacrificed your youth for the sake of Muhammad. Now he wants to pay back some of his obligations to you. For my sake and his, agree to be married before old age overtakes you." "Whom shall I marry, my lady?" asked Barakah. "There is here now Ubayd ibn Zayd from the Khazraj tribe of Yathrib. He has come to us seeking your hand in marriage. For my sake, don't refuse." Barakah agreed. She married Ubayd ibn Zayd and went with him to Yathrib. There she gave birth to a son whom she called Ayman and from that time onwards people called her "Umm Ayman" the mother of Ayman. Her marriage however did not last very long. Her husband died and she returned once more to Makkah to live with her "son" Muhammad in the house of the lady Khadijah. Living in the same household at the time were Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hind (Khadijah's daughter by her first husband), and Zayd ibn Harithah.

Zayd was an Arab from the tribe of Kalb who was captured as a boy and brought to Makkah to be sold in the slave market. He was bought by Khadijah's nephew and put in her service. In Khadijah's household, Zayd became attached to Muhammad and devoted himself to his service. Their relationship was like that of a son to a father. Indeed when Zayd's father came to Makkah in search of him, Zayd was given the choice by Muhammad of either going with his father or staying with him. Zayd's reply to his father was: "I shall never leave this man. He has treated me nobly, as a father would treat his son. Not a single day have I felt that I am a slave. He has looked after me well. He is kind and loving towards me and strives for my enjoyment and happiness. He is the most noble of men and the greatest person in creation. How can I leave him and go with you?...I shall never leave him." Later, in public Muhammad proclaimed the freedom of Zayd. However, Zayd continued to live with him as part of his household and devoted himself to his service. When Muhammad was blessed with prophethood, Barakah and Zayd were among the first to believe in the message he proclaimed. They bore with the early Muslims the persecution which the Quraysh meted out to them. Barakah and Zayd performed invaluable services to the mission of the Prophet. They acted as part of an intelligence service exposing themselves to the persecution and punishment of the Quraysh and risking their lives to gain information on the plans and conspiracies of the mushrikeen (polytheists).

One night the mushrikoon blocked off the roads leading to the House of al-Arqam where the Prophet gathered his companions regularly to instruct them in the teachings of Islam. Barakah had some urgent information from Khadijah which had to be conveyed to the Prophet. She risked her life trying to reach the House of al-Arqam. When she arrived and conveyed the message to the Prophet, he smiled and said to her:

"You are blessed, Umm Ayman. Surely you have a place in Paradise." When Umm Ayman left,the Prophet looked at his companions and asked:

"Should one of you desire to marry a woman from the people of Paradise, let him marry Umm Ayman." Ali the companions remained silent and did not utter a word. Umm Ayman was neither beautiful nor attractive. She was by now about fifty years old and looked rather frail. Zayd ibn al-Harithah however came forward and said:
"Messenger of Allah, I shall marry Umm Ayman. By Allah, she is better than women who have grace and beauty."

Zayd and Umm Ayman were married and were blessed with a son whom they named Usamah. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, loved Usamah as his own son. Often he played with him, kissed him and fed him with his own hands. The Muslims would say: "He is the beloved son of the beloved." From an early age Usamah distinguished himself in the service of lslam, and was later given weighty responsibilities by the Prophet. When the Prophet migrated to Yathrib, henceforth to be known as al-Madinah, he left Umm Ayman behind in Makkah to look after certain special affairs in his household. Eventually she migrated to Madinah on her own. She made the long and difficult journey through the desert and mountainous terrain on foot. The heat was killing and sandstorms obscured the way but she persisted, borne along by her deep love and attachment for Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace. When she reached Madinah, her feet were sore and swollen and her face was covered with sand and dust.

"Ya Umm Ayman! Ya Ummi! (O Umm Ayman! O my mother!) Indeed for you is a place in Paradise!" exclaimed the Prophet when he saw her. He wiped her face and eyes, massaged her feet and rubbed her shoulders with his kind and gentle hands. At Madinah, Umm Ayman played her full part in the affairs of the Muslims. At Uhud she distributed water to the thirsty and tended the wounded. She accompanied the Prophet on some expeditions, to Khaybar and Hunayn for example. Her son Ayman, a devoted companion of the Prophet was martyred at Hunayn in the eighth year after the Hijrah. Barakah's husband, Zayd, was killed at the Battle of Mutah in Syria after a lifetime of distinguished service to the Prophet and Islam. Barakah at this time was about seventy years old and spent much of her time at home. The Prophet, accompanied by Abu Bakr and Umar often visited her and asked: "Ya Ummi! Are you well?" and she would reply: "I am well, O Messenger of Allah so long as Islam is."

After the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had died, Barakah would often be found with tears in her eyes. She was once asked, "Why are you crying?" and she replied: "By Allah, I knew that the Messenger of Allah would die but I cry now because the revelation from on high has come to an end for us." Barakah was unique in that she was the only one who was so close to the Prophet throughout his life from birth till death. Her life was one of selfless service in the Prophet's household. She remained deeply devoted to the person of the noble, gentle and caring Prophet. Above all, her devotion to the religion of Islam was strong and unshakable. She died during the caliphate of Uthman. Her roots were unknown but her place in Paradise is assured.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Give AWAY!

IGym Yoga and Exercise mat! Finally an excuse for all of us to get off our butts!

To enter contest leave any comment
Contest closes Sunday!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Healthy Kids & Lollipops

Moms and dads, here are the top five vitamins you want to include in your child’s diet to increase their memory, energy and immune system.

1) Omega 3 Fish Oil: Excellent for memory and boosting your child’s immune system.

2) Multivitamin: Giving your child a healthy balance of all vitamins and minerals to help balance the body’s basic functions.

3) Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D: Great for healthy bones, a strong immune system and a balanced nervous system.

4) Rice Protein Powder: Start the morning off with a scoop of rice protein to increase your child’s energy.

5) Probiotic: They help with maintaining a healthy digestive system, and increasing immune function.

(Courtesy: Dr. Elias Markou ND)

I just want to add, if we encourage our children to adapt these habits- taste at a young age it will be easier for them to develop them into a lifestyle. Sure, they will reject the idea the first few times, maybe even 50 times- but as the parent; we have to be creative and hide the vitamins in the brownies! Jerry Seinfield's wife has an ENTIRE book on this... so it IS possible!

It requires patience, time and effort from our end... Mother's- I think it we should expect little-no help from our husbands in this department... In fact, you can expect resistance from parents, in laws and husbands, family members and friends (who all have children eating junk and cannot stand the fact that you are even going to try for a sugar free, junk free kiddie diet-- so just be prepared and warned in advance for all hssing and pssing you will face.

People can say whatever they want to me... but one thing I have stood ground at is my super mama attitude with my baby-toddler diet... I know my hard work has paid off thus far and Alhumdulillah it shows in the cusine choices my little guy makes....

I just wanted to take this chance to tell everyone who resisted my Super Mama attitude... and everyone who told me my kid would love juice, coke and lolipops... and even tried to guilt me by saying things like "you did everything, now you will not let your kid do it".... I tried to give Zakariya a lolipop the other day and after a few licks, he threw it away.

How is that for SUPER MAMA!

This post qualifies- for official bragging super Mama Bragging RIGHTS!

What are some of your Super Mama moments?
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