Friday, December 30, 2011

Jummah Mubarak: Iraj Fatima Photography

Jummah Mubarak from our family to yours. Please remember us in your prayers.

Here is a quick peak of our photo session with Iraj Fatima Photography. Iraj has taken our photos for the past 2 years and has worked with my little guy as a baby and now toddler.

I would say Iraj's strengths are in making us all feel comfortable and her editing skills. Zakariya really enjoyed her company and actually talked about her for a long time. Even looking thru the pictures now, I have no idea how she was able to capture so many special moments. Thank you Iraj!

Zakariya in his favorite hat!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How it feels to be Technology FREE

Blogging was one of my top priorities when on the computer. As my little guy is growing into a little big guy (Mashallah) we are spending more time together. In the past months, specifically after Ramadan we have focused on adding to and making some changes to our daily routine.

One of them being the no technology rule. This includes: computers (yes youtube), cell phones (yes Iphone applications) and any other forms of digital or electronic toys/activity. Alhumdulillah the transition was easy for us because technology was never a big part of our lives. However it proves to be difficult at times. When do I find myself wanting to resort to a YouTube video? Mostly when I would try to focus on work or try and have a meaningful conversation with my Husband. I just felt like giving my child something to "do."

It can be difficult to follow thru with this concept.  A challenge that we face is when Zaki sees other children using technology, this can be tempting to him. I have given in at times because I do not want to come across as a controlling, not fun parent.

I came to appreciate this concept because I remember when Zaki was younger. At times he would not be able to distinguish what was on the screen from real life. He would equate the color purple, for example with Barney. He must have only watched it less than a handful of times but he knew Barney was in fact purple and would point at all purple objects and say "Purple Barney."

He also has difficulty emotionally grasping a story line. For example, a few days ago he was really sick with a fever. I thought we could give him some TLC and watch some Zaky the Bear. We borrowed the DVD from a friend and excitedly cuddled on the couch to watch it. About 15 minutes into the movie he stopped paying attention. Just as my little guy was tuning out Zaky the Bear was on his "adventure". He was actually saving the day, But my little guy could not understand it. He was worried that something would happen to Zaky. He would ask me "Mama, what happan Zaky?" and be very sad. We quickly scrapped that idea and instead had some TLC on the sofa while Mama massaged his sore aching body. To my surprise, this is all the TLC he needed.No activities required and to his little hearts content.

Now how a child reacts will vary from child to child. This is depending on how much your child has been exposed to technology from a young age. It has not been a big theme in our lives so that is probably why he is aware of his feelings towards the characters. In his mind, it does not make sense but is still entertaining enough to sit thru.

Over time I really started seeing the fruits of this approach. In fact, with my mornings away from the computer. When I would be on the computer for a few minutes, it would turn into an hour. I lost the concept of time and am happy to say I am accomplishing more. I am caught up with work and much more organized. I can think clearly, this must be because I am not multi tasking. My memory is better and I am focused. Alhumdulillah.

I still have to check email for work purposes but I have schedule times for when I do this. These times are when my little guy is preoccupied with another activity. I feel as a parent, to be effective I have to practice what I preach. If I expect my child to follow thru, I have to follow thru first.

In our home story time consist of objects and songs. I noticed a change almost immediately in his attention span. I am sure if he was watching YouTube or even Movies (even the Islamic ones) the story time would be boring for him. It would be nothing exciting and my singing would not compare to the singsong voices emitting from the screen. I see his reaction to story time and it is an exciting one. He has learned the words, this has helped his memory. He is sitting still and listening carefully without fidgeting. Alhumdulilah.

He has at times himself filled his days with creative play- some of which even surprises me. I noticed he is more engaged in the other activities we do. I often find him self soothing and playing by himself. One of the first post I wrote in my blog was about a child taking pleasure in their environment, Why cant we just BE. I believe more so in the theory because the changes I have seen in front of me and the other children we interact with that practice this concept. I can't deny the differences even the differences I have seen in my own child.

When I explore what our reasons are to follow this concept, a lot comes to mind. We are not going technology free for religious reasons only. We do it to cultivate his imagination on a different level and to preserve his health. There are numerous articles and studies that talk about the neurological affects technology has on children. Did you know this can effect the eye sight and the ability to distinguish sounds? There is a decline in auditory sensitivity. The issue is that actual content is only a small part of of media. And what about the rest? Do we even know the answer to this?

Some may consider this concept ancient and not modern enough. If that were the case, then employees of technology giants like Apple, Google and Yahoo would not support this approach but they do. In fact, the chief technology officer of Ebay supports this concept. Even those surrounded my technology see the benefits in this.

I hear parents describe their children being "glued" to the t.v. Parents of older children even say it can interfere with school work. I realize it is extremely difficult to grasp this concept. It is easy to defend the other side of it. This is because most of us have not experienced or really given this a chance yet. Some of us don't want too, some of us do not know where to start, some of us easily give in. We all have our reasons. Every family needs to do what works for them. I am sharing our journey so that others may benefit.

Although this is not a new concept, for many parents this may seem radical. Parents argue that the world is advancing and we expect our children to go at the same pace. They also talk a lot about the future, "what will you do when he is older?." These statements give me something to think about. To answer them bluntly, we have a plan of when and how we will be ready as a family to deal with this once the formative years have passed.

Some say things like  "you did everything and now you will not let your child do it." I will say it now, I want better for my child than what I have. I am 25 years old but still remember jingles, ranging from the Kit Kat bar, Double mint gum and Jenny Craig commercials. I can even remember images as far back to Inspector Gadget, don't get me started on the tune- can't seem to erase that one from my memory.

If you ask me to produce a mental image of any Bollywood star at any age in their life, I could do it. I remember Salman Khan's mullet, Shahrukh Khan's shaky voice (from the movie Daar) and Sridevi's outfits and even when Amitabh Bachan was young! This information is useless to me now, it does not help me and I do not consider it productive. Yet, I am letting these jingles, images and commercials live rent free in my brain.

I see the benefit of this concept now seeing it apply to a child and adult (myself). What I have learned most is that a child needs to be a child.

Check out this survey, the iPad and iPod Touch are the No. 1 and No. 3 gadgets that kids age 6-12 want, according to Nielsen.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Vaccine Debate

Here is a great read to challenge the never ending vaccine debate: The Amish Don't Get Autism

Mama's what are your thoughts- to vaccinate or to not?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jummah Mubarak: Miracle Babies

Here is a little clip about 4 miracle babies. While you are watching- take an extra moment to reflect on all the blessings that surround you.

Jummah Mubarak from our family to yours.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vegan Cookies

According to my Hubby these are by far one of the best cookies he has ever had! In fact, most of us would be surprised to learn that these babies are absolutely vegan.

Why vegan? It is a great way to avoid all the major allergens and processed foods. It is a great choice for your little ones because most vegan foods use natural sugars as sweeteners.

Here is what you will need:
2 1/2 cups Almond flour (I make my own but you can purchase this)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (I always use this oil during baking, works best)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup agave nectar (I use half agave nectar and half honey to keep the cookies from being too sweet)
1 cup dairy free, choco chips

Combine all the dry ingredients together. Stir wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Mix the wet mixture into the dry. Form 1 inch ball. Bake @ 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Flip Your Breech Baby

Many women who have breech babies automatically assume that a cesarean is their only option. There are several techniques that could help turn your baby to the right position. If none of those techniques work then you still have the option to deliver your breech baby vaginally. The down side of this is that their are few health care providers willing to work with this.  Mostly because they lack training and the skill has been lost over the years to the medical interventions of the birth industry. I'll save those details for another post...  if your still hesitant, get ready to hear this fun fact: In Germany 60% of breech babies are delivered vaginally.

Monday, December 12, 2011


While snooping around on this website Healty Stuff  I was able to look up some of Zakariyas toys. For those of you with the Thomas Train Set, Gordon made the list with high toxic levels. Yes, this includes lead! Check out the website to search which toys are safe for your little ones.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Slow Death By Rubber Duck

This book is definitely one of the top contenders in my MUST read list. The idea behind is to understand the toxic chemicals and products that are hidden in our everyday stuff. The book challenges everything from beauty products to children's toys to frying pans.
The authors of the book exposed themselves to everyday products in hopes to research the toxic debate. Their blood and urine was tested monthly and debate came to a close. There is no debate, we are simply guinea pigs in one big consumer science experiment. Don't believe me? The blood and urine tests showed an increase of mercury, phthalates and PBDE's (flame retardants).

Still feeling like a loyal consumer? How is this for a brief history lesson- in 2005, DuPont (manufacturers of Telfon) agreed to a possible $340 million settlement to the people of Parkerburg, West Virginia for poisoning the town's water supply with carcinogen called perfluorooctane sulpohonate (PFOS).

Can you imagine... your little ones, the elderly and yourself all drinking poisoned water?! 

What about when researchers broke down the data? In the article, Not too Pretty they separated  the data by age and gender for the phthalate called DBP. The shocker came when they discovered that women of childbearing age with fetuses in the womb appear to receive the HIGHEST exposures! Scientists at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that DBP exposures for more than two million women of childbearing age may be up to 20 times greater than for the average person in the population.

There has been an increase in infertility for a reason. There has been an increase in cancer for a reason. There has been an increase to autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses for a reason.

We need to reevaluate our dependency on our everyday stuff. Could we live without it? Could we replace it with something better? The answer for the majority of us is yes but the test comes when we are especially set in our old ways. The saying goes something like Old Habits Die Hard but do you don't need a brain researcher like Ann Graybiel of MIT's McGovern Institute to tell you "to treat bad habits like addiction, and  to encourage good habits that benefit health and happiness"..... right?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Being Me Conference

Being ME is a women's only conference organized by Mercy Mission Canada. This year's theme is Muslimah Empowered. Now the question arises, what is empowerment? 
Empowerment is the ability to succeed regardless of how undesirable your circumstances may be. It's the determination to move forward – with excellence and unwavering faith. It's to control your life, not let it control you. 
Every woman has the ability to contribute to society in some way. Even if it’s just making a small difference in her own community. But we have to realize our potential and work hard to achieve our goals.
The first place to start is by attending the Being Me conference. Witness examples of women living to their full potential. I will be there, will you?
 I am excited and looking forward to the first ever Being Me Conference. Hope to see all of you there Inshallah!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dr. Sears on Co-Sleeping

What you didn't know about co-sleeping:

"Cultures who traditionally practice safe co-sleeping, such as Asians, enjoy the lowest incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)"

Read the rest of the article here: Ask Dr. Sears

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Book of Questions

I stumbled upon this book at the library. The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, PH.D. Opened it up only to to land on question number 6: You discover your wonderful one year old child is, because of a mixup at the hospital, not yours. Would you want to exchange the child to try to correct the mistake?

Now... I know there is the whole mehram, non-mehram issue. So lets say hypothetically that you were still nursing the child.

Then what?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Birth Rights

Al Jazeera remains as one of the most trusted news sources today. I have tuned into a few of there Al Jazeera English specials and found them to be very informative. I was beyond myself when they started a series called Birth Rights. I looooove this series! Not only does it open the mind to new ideas but it actually proves the benefits of Midwifery care.

What did you think of this episode?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kiddie of the Month: The Itsy bitsy tale of Ilyas & Idrees

I have two wonderful boys, the older one is Ilyas. He is MashaAllah 3 years old now and is a very curious boy. It is as if his questions never end! He loves cars and has a whole collection in his little car box. Even his room is decorated accordingly. He has a car bed, a side table made of 2 tires stacked on top of each other with a flat round table top placed on top. He loves to watch Zaky and Baba Ali. Some of his other favorite activities are going to the park and eating bananas. These days he is working on putting his own socks and clothes on all by himself. Although, sometimes he feels like he could use some help. He is practising going to the washroom all by himself too, he calls me when he is done.  His best friend is his brother Idrees but sometimes Idrees is his not- so- best friend.  He can't wait until Idrees grows up so they can play and run together. Another good friend of Ilyas is his cousin Zayna. She lives in Windsor but "pretend Zayna' sometimes plays with him and Idrees. Zayna is 2 and a half years old.

Idrees is 10 months old MashaAllah. He is much more vibrant and full of energy. He cannot seem to sit still for more than 2 minutes and needs someone to play with. When he wants something he throws tantrums untill he gets what he wants! We are working on the discipline. Idrees recently learned what the purpose of lids are. He takes them off of boxes and puts them on again, the whole process is repeated 20 some times until he moves on to the next activity. Among the words he recognizes and says are Allah. mama, papa and some other sounds. He has also figured out what "no" means. When he is told not to do anything with "NO" he gets very upset and will start crying. He loves to throw his sippy cup and all sorts of things from his high chair just because he feels like he is full and naturally to him they don't belong on the table but on the floor. He learned how to crawl last month and is constantly on the move. Mashallah he really cant sit still!


Jazakallah khair for sharing these adorable pictures! I cannot get over how cute both boys look matching Mashallah. I loved reading about Ilyas and his new found independence. He definitely seems to understand that the big brother role does not come easy but is adjusting so well. It was really entertaining reading about Idrees. Especially his full of energy and spunky personality, Mashallah. May Allah bless them both and put love, friendship and mercy in their hearts for one another and may He make them amongst the righteous, Ameen. 

If you have a photo of your little one and some words of positive encouragement, please email 

I'm Back!

So where have I been hiding?

We took a trip. A no emailing, facebooking, blogging, texting, phone calling or listening to messages trip. Alhumdulillah I am feeling refreshed and re-energized. Why didn't we do this sooner? Okay Okay, I might have worked here and there but at a good pace (I couldn't help it!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eid Nadoona Health and Fitness Extravaganza!!

A great way to kick off Eid weekend with friends and family!

Ladies, join us Friday 11/4 for a Pre-Eid Health and Fitness Nadoona extravaganza!! Shave off a few more calories so you can fit into your new eid outfit :) Well start off with a healthy recipe demonstration, then we'll eat a healthy meal so those fasting can break their fast [please let us know if your fasting].

Then well go into some EYE OPENING health demos and... workshops you've never seen before! Follow it up with an exercise session (well vote on Zumba or strength training)! A special guest all the way from Toronto, Canada will then join us to discuss the prophetic technique of HIJAMAH! The Prophet pbuh taught us that hijamah can cure all diseases but death. You'll have the opportunity to sign up for a hijamah session.

The event concludes with PRIZES and GIVEAWAYS! Which will especially be great since it's EID!!

Bring the kids, we'll have something for them too, inshAllah!! :)

For more information on Nadoona please check out

Register at
Cost online: $15
Cost at door: $20
Publish Post


Please email me at to reserve your cupping session. Appointments are limited! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Traveling with Infants 101. Part One

This post has been a work in  progress for months and months. Several of you have asked me in person and via email for traveling tips with your infants and toddlers. Initially, I had planned to share this post as part of a larger project. However your loving requests finally twisted my rubber arm!

Alhumdulillah, my husband I have always had a travel bug in our pocket.  Even in pregnancy we took a few trips! When Zakariya was born there were no questions that we wanted to continue the lifestyle, to broaden all of our life experiences, among many reasons. Before our lil guy reached the age of 1 year, ma sha Allah he had been to places and seen things (and eaten foods) I could only dream of experiencing as a child.

Naturally, my family and friends wondered how we managed such overseas outings. They all wanted to know how I was able to do it so confidently. I told them with Dua, Allah's help, and the right planning, it is totally possible and everyone should try it too. 

So.... without further delay, here is my guide to Traveling with Infants 101 (Part One).

1. When Packing
 Pack never seen before toys. I have read of some Mama's wrapping these toys. Wrapping is added work on top of everything else. Chances are if its the right toy, your child will be excited regardless of the wrapping. 

One activity that can keep little ones engaged for a very long time is a sticker book.When they are a bit older they are interested in pens, markers and crayons, you can pack a tiny notepad for them to color in. 

Another toy that will keep your little one busy is a puzzle or activity/toy in one. For example, something that needs to be put together and can be easily taken apart. Once he/she figures it out, they will want to repeat the fun. There are cars, trucks, dolls and so on that can do this.

Lastly, a toy that saved us on the 4 hour drive from Toronto to Windsor was these lights! Zakariya kept busy with them the entire ride. The lights are very bright so its important to supervise this toy. However, once we explained to him to point them away from his eyes/face he was entertained by putting on his own ceiling display. I don't travel without these, they work amazing in airplanes once the cabin lights are off. These goodies can be found at the Dollar Store. 

Personally, I go light on packing toys/activities. The airport/airplane can be really busy. We try not to over stimulate our little guy and encourage him to explore his environment instead. Try plane-watching, playing around an uncrowded area or just taking a walk and taking it all in.

 A model airplane (car, train or bus) to show your little one how you will be traveling and get them excited about having their own size/version.

 Portable playtime. Typically, I would not invest in something pricey for our travels. However. I got this for $2 (shout out to the Mommy that shared this via facebook: Maryam D!) 

I am most excited because I do not have to constantly sanitize the tray table. I love that all our items can be within reach. The mat easily secures around the tray table for germ free, organized play.

2. When Eating

Nutritious sugar free snacks so your infant is calm and relaxed during the trip. A long flight and sugar rush are not a good combination. Most kiddies, like adults will not find airline food very appetizing. Make sure to pack some home cooked meals for your little ones.

3. When Organizing

 Separate the toys, snacks, medications and anything else you would need in separate large sized zip lock bags. This is by far the most important TIP I can offer. This will help keep things organized, easy to find and easy to access. Sometimes the airline does not allow you to store baggage under your feet during take off. This way you can be prepared and pull out whatever you need and keep it in the seat pocket in front of you. It also helps the spouse (who didn't help pack) to locate items while you are busy with the baby.

4. When Selecting
 Some parents think they need to pack everything from their daily routines. Remember, you want to make this as stress free as possible and stick to the essentials. My favorite products to pack in our suitcase are:

Ecover Stain Remover: Great for leaky diapers stains (if ever) and those surprise spit up stains when you do not have access to laundry. The bottle comes with a scrubby brush. The product is plant based but does contain some perfume. 

Green Beaver: Sunscreen for the whole family. 

Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap: Replaces about everything you need in your beauty products. You can skip all your soaps, shampoos, face washes and body washes. The travel size is perfect because all you need is one squirt. 

Clean Well Hand Sanitizer: I carry the spray in my purse to pretty much sanitize everything. Airports are pretty dirty and my little guy touches just about everything. Love that this product contains no alcohol or chemicals, just clean hands!

Jojoba oil: Replaces any creams or body lotions for the entire family. We don't need to use anything else on our faces or body.

Sniffles Natural Eucalyptus Rub: This works great for runny, dry noses. 

5. When Diapering
Make disposable pouches. Pre-pack a diaper in disposable nappy sack. It will be hard enough trying to get thru the isles of the plane with your baby, let alone your baby bag. It will be even harder to squish all three of you in the tiny bathroom at once. These pouches also help when you are traveling by car and have no where to dump your diapers. 

Instead of taking a change pad, I prefer to use underpads. These are sold at any medical supply store, a pack of 10 for $4. It is easy clean up best of all its absorbent for any accidents that may happen. Anything beats trying to handle a baby and cleaning up your change pad! 

These will be a life saver for those of you who are traveling alone. When you need to go to the washroom you can lay the underpad on the floor and sit your little one on top. You can secure that the baby does not move with your feet. This sounds gross but really when you are traveling alone, you have to get creative. Thanks to the underpad your baby can at least sit on a clean floor.

Your completed backpack should look something like this. Easily accessible and organized. I keep everything in the zip locks through out the whole trip for easy breezy restaurant trips, sight seeing and touristing!

Another important suggestions is to consider a backpack instead of a single shoulder strapped baby bag. The backpack will help you distribute the weight and carry baby. Holding baby on one side, husband on the other will be sure to give you a sore shoulder and headache.

These are just a few things to know, and there's a whole lot more.  To me this is what keeps it simple which is the point of vacationing and traveling!  As Rasul Allah (saw) said "be as a travelor," i.e. think twice about what you really need.  

In the second post in this series we'll talk about how to enjoy your vacation once you are there.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this series!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kiddie of the Month: Styling Sisters Zayna & Haniya

Having 2 daughters is a real pleasure Alhamdulillah! Growing up with sisters I love seeing my daughters creating that special sisterly bond as they play and share.

Zayna is a talkative, caring and very curious 4 year old. She loves being home schooled and enjoys learning. This for her can mean asking A LOT of questions! She eagerly waits for her 2 year old sister to take her nap so we can do arts and crafts. This usually has something to do with the color blue, since its her favorite color.

Haniya is a very loving and friendly toddler. She loves to give hugs and kisses, especially to baba (her dad). She also loves to wear her Hijab and go to the Masjid. She even  insists on keeping her hijab on until she falls asleep!

Both my girls LOVE dressing up and accessorizing. They enjoy going to partys and weddings. MashaAllah they are blessed to have a big extended family and many caring friends around them all the time. They have their grandparents and great grandmother at home with them. They also visit their naani and naana (maternal grandparents) on the weekends. They have lots of fun playing "house" with their cousins and going to the park. 

Alhamdulillah I truly feel like its a blessing from Allah SWT and enjoy everyday with them no matter how busy or hectic the day is.

May Allah SWT protect them, and keep them smiling!

Ameen to your duas. I have had the privilege of meeting both your dolls. Mashallah they are both adorable and super fashionable. I always see them with their matching purses, shoes and hair clips. I have even seen them rocking matching outfits. Too cute! Your going to have to find them matching grooms! May Allah swt bless them both and keep them under his protection and care. May he make them amongst the righteous.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pregnant Mothers. Literally.


  Regardless of what some of us may feel about being too young or old for Motherhood, birth can be beautiful at any age.

This image of Mother in law, Michelle Duggar with her daughter in law is a strong one. 

Could you imagine being pregnant at the same time as your Mom or your Mother in law? How would it feel? 

And as always.... if you have experience in this, share your wisdom!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A BIG Thank You!

A BIG Thank You to all of you who came out to the Green Living Workshop held at the Madinah Center. Mashallah, the turn out was great. We even had some sisters sit on the floor! 

We had a very informative discussion and Q/A during the workshop. Even after the class was over, no one was ready to go home. Most of the sisters stuck around to exchange ideas. I got to meet many new sisters and hear about their plans to make GREEN changes in their lives.

 I prepared a hand out of recipes for the participants of the class.We made our own Laundry detergent and took it home in reusable glass jars.  The focus of the class was on why toxins are harmful, disease/illness on the rise and  how to make informed decisions as consumers. We looked at alarming stats-- while we are on the topic, did you know that 61% of popular red lipstick brands contain lead?!

Everyone can look up recipes or green living tips in documentaries, books or online. Its important to remember that a workshop setting encourages conversation, exchange of ideas, sisterhood, unity and awareness and activism on another level.

 If you have the option, I would encourage all of you to attend in person. There will be many workshops at the Madinah Center Inshallah. 

If you were not able to attend and interested in hosting a Green Living Workshop for your friends and family, please send me an email at for more information.

Happy Friday from our family to yours!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Defending your Birth Story

Muslimah Source has started a series with yours truly called Doula Diaries. Click here to check out my latest article Defending your Birth Story

If you can relate, leave your comments below the article. Share your thoughts and wisdom!

Monday, October 10, 2011

At the Farmers Market

@ the Farmers Market a few weekends ago.
If you can't buy organic, buy local. If you buy organic , make sure its local. The great thing about the Farmers Market is you can ask about what types of sprays (if any) are used. If you go with a friend you can split your groceries and your cost. For the quantity of produce you get, its the bang for your buck. Its confusing to why we have confined ourselves to supermarket shopping only. It's actually really refreshing to get some fresh air and the best part is there are NO line ups!

Something I like to do to save time is to pre-cut ,chop and wash my produce. I just throw it in a reusable bag and its ready to toss into meals for the rest of the week. It works really well for when I am on the go and running behind on making dinner. We are running out of excuses not to have a salad around here!  Alhumdulillah, the absolute best part about this simple tip- is that it ensures that we throw less away because we use everything we have in our fridge.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Special Feature: The 411 on Eating Healthy

Atkins. South Beach. Cabbagesoup? Sprinkling “Sensa” on your food? Please. Give me a break. I call those diets the “hop on hop off” diets. One month you’re diligently following all its rules that deprive you of flavour and zest and the next you come crashing through the doors of junk food ‘heaven’ sitting on your sofa eating a tub of ice cream with a side of chips because you feel drained of energy, hungry and oddly unsatisfied.

Yet, some of us still want to rock gorgeous bodies at 65 like Candice Bergen or move like Florence Henderson on “Dancing with the Stars” at the age of 76. How do you get there, you ask? Easy. You change your lifestyle. Slowly, but surely.  

First things first, eliminate sugary drinks and deserts from your diet. Processed foods and drinks add extra calories and zero nutrition. Remember, just like you wouldn’t put regular gas in a Ferrari, you don’t put cheap, processed food in your body.  You don’t have to cut sugar out completely, but start cutting slowly. If you drink three cans of soda per day, decrease it to two. Rather than putting two spoons of sugar in your coffee, cut it down to one and a half. If you have a super-sweet tooth, try making things at home ahead of time so that you can control the amount of sugar that goes in your food. Slowly you will start noticing a gradual change in your habits. 

Next, protein, protein, protein! We always hear this from the men in our lives who want thick cuts of steak and big pieces of chicken. Truth is, protein helps to keep you fuller longer and, thus, keeping you satisfied throughout your day. Not only that, but protein helps in muscle tissue repair which you especially need if you are working out. Make sure to consume lean cuts of beef, chicken breast, eggs and fish during each of your meals. Try to keep it to the size of your palm for portion control. If you are a vegetarian, try to consume a variety of beans and lentils to obtain your protein requirements. 

Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy and, quite frankly, the fastest source, as well. Vegetables should be your primary source of carbohydrates. Not only do they provide your body with a steady source of energy but they are full of nutrients your body needs, low in calorie and a good source of fibre. But what about the other stuff? Ah, yes. Every girl loves her pasta and bread. However, the sugar converting substances we’re used to can add a lot to the developing tire around our waists. Thus, make this your mantra: make half of your grains whole. Replace your containers of white rice with brown rice, regular pasta with whole wheat and white bread with whole wheat bread. Not only will you feel satisfied longer, your digestive system will thank you for it! 

Consume fats. Wait. Fats? Surely that can’t make you lose weight?! Guess again. I’m talking about the healthy kind that our bodies need in order to function and our brains need as a protective shield. You get this fat from nuts, nut butters and vegetable oils such as canola or olive oil. Limit your daily intake to about ¼ cup of nuts, 1 tbsp of a nut butter of your choice, and one 1 tbsp of olive or canola oil. 

 Thus, let’s try not to jump on the bandwagon of fad diets and try to change our lifestyles for the better. You will not only trim your waist but you will develop healthy habits that will last you and your family a lifetime. 

Sidrah Abood obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a focus in Human Nutrition and Health from the University of Houston. She has worked with the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine as well as at the Texas Obesity Research Center in Houston, Texas. Her goal is to educate people about the importance of eating healthy and the dangers of obesity through the art of writing. She has published articles on, eHow and Associated Content from Yahoo.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A little update

I miss blogging and try to do it as often as possible. The past month has been so extremely busy. Alhumdulillah. I am excited to share some upcoming projects with you all.

For starters...

I am excited to share that I have joined Discover Birth a program that works out of the Scarborough Hospital. I will still work independently but thought this would be a great opportunity to consider part time. The Scarborough Hospital is one of the most ethnically diverse in the region. I absolutely feel the need to be there for women who were facing difficulties because of language barriers or a lack of understanding of cultural/religious practices. I hope to help bridge the gap for these families and help the birth be a healthy and memorable experience. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Green Living- Even wonder what's in your products?

Did you know that women who stay at home have a higher cancer rate than women who work outside the home- ever wonder why that was? Join us for the screening of the documentary Chemerical, a film all about the toxic debate. Learn tips on how to save hundreds of dollars a year and make your own cleaning products, study the rise of disease and illness as our bodies are exposed to harmful products and chemicals daily. Together we will explore the idea of a toxic free world.

*Limited seating is available! 
Secure seats for you and a guest 
Send your RSVP to:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kiddie of the Month: Cutely Curious CoCo

Khaulah....aka "Coco" is the youngest of three children.  As the youngest she gets quite a bit of attention, wanted or unwanted...mostly from her two year old brother!  On most days you can find her trying to defend herself from him because he is intent on biting her when mommy is not looking!  She has learned the "fight or flight" reaction rather quickly! 

Khaulah is mostly known for her love of food!  Love is a bit of an understatement though!  She has a feeling of "possessiveness" over it!  If you take away whats in her hands it will result in a huge temper tantrum!  Do not mess with a girl and her food!  Khaulah will eat almost ANYTHING.  However once in awhile (and this happens rarely) she will reject something that mama has cooked.  Sadly this is how mama knows that what she has cooked is truly horrible!  If for some reason Khaulah can't be found she is searched for in the little corner of the kitchen where food particles and other debris  are swept under and you can see her grabbing what she thinks is food and eating it....yes definitely gross but hysterically cute!

Khaulah has recently learned her first it is not "Mama" but rather "hello?"  She puts her hand or anything she may be holding at the moment to her ear or side of her face (mimicking being on a phone) and gently says "hewwo?"  We are all silently praying this is not a sign that she will ask for a cell phone at five!

Mashallah I loved reading about Khaula's cutely curious personality. I loved hearing about her little "hewwo" and am considering calling just to hear it myself! I think its time CoCo gets a play kitchen so she can be in charge of her own ingredients and food... hint hint Mom!

I am in love with her huge smile and laugh May Allah preserve it, may he swt keep her under his protection and care, make her among the righteous, Ameen. 

If you have a photo you would like to share, along with some words of positive encouragement, please email

Friday, September 23, 2011

Little Explorers Program

Finally a program created for our community filled with educational Islamic activities! I am going to be there, are you? Remember these programs need your support to continue. See you there Inshallah.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Stylish Birthing Gown?

I have noticed recently that expectant Mama's are expressing their desire for wanting a cute, stylish and practical birthing gown. I know what are you thinking... what about getting amniotic fluid on the gown?! Most Mama's slip into their stylish gear after the birth for some precious family shots.

Women have a variety of preferences as to what makes them feel most comfortable during labor and delivery. For some women, being in their most natural form is empowering and for others applying some make up helps them look and feel their best. 

Would you slip into one of these? Dolce Designer Hospital Gowns

Alternative Therapy when Preparing for Birth

 Alternative therapy is becoming increasing popular. Many women seek these methods as a holistic and natural way to deal with the discomforts of pregnancy.

Have you tried any alternative therapy while pregnant or in labor?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mmm Treats

 Vegan Brownies

Fruit Pizza (with Rice flour crust) 

Dairy free, Gluten free choco-chip cookies. Sweetened with cane sugar.

These were some treats from our Eid brunch at my In laws place this year. Alhumdulillah the entire family participated by being creative and using quality ingredients to satisfy our taste buds. The best part was we sustained our energy thru the day. The Kids were especially pleasant and there was no over active behavior. It is completely worth the extra effort to  create these habits now so that we can take measures to protect our health in the future. 

What do you think about changing up the menu- will you try it?

Happy Friday and please remember us in your prayers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Moms in the Delivery Room


Not sure who to have in the delivery room? This is a common concern I come across with a lot of my clients.

What are your thoughts about Mom's (Mother in laws, your Mom) in the Delivery room while you are in labor? Have you experienced this? Would you try it with your next one? Are you thinking about it?


Monday, September 12, 2011

Trooper Delivery

Is it really a miracle that baby could make his way out without any help? No inductions, no interventions, no forceps, vacuum, no surgery. Why I think that sounds like a normal birth to me ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sneak Peak at the Madinah

The crew hard at work 

The Little Explorers Adventure Corner

Nursing Station 

New Muslim Support

 Women's Resource Center

Look out for upcoming workshops and events! Click here to learn more about Mercy Mission Madinah.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Special Feature: Back to School made EASY

Going back to school after summer break is an exciting and often chaotic time of year for parents, students and even teachers. There are many ways that parents in particular can make the back-to-school transition easier on their child and themselves, which is the reason I decided to write a list of the top 10 things parents can do to prepare for the upcoming school year. Enjoy! :)

1) Re-establish Routines. Getting the entire family back into routine will help get the new school year off to the right start. Routines help the entire family structure their day, which makes it more manageable for all. Try re-establishing routines at least 1-2 weeks before to ease children into the school year. Here are a few suggestions: · Setting the morning alarm earlier the week before school starts· Gradually sending your child to bed earlier· Adapt meal time routines to match those at school· Designate a time to do homework· Get clothing and school materials ready the night before

2) Talk About it.Open dialogue with your child is an important element in getting him/her ready for the school year. I suggest focusing on the positives about going back to school, talking about what they will be learning during the school year and addressing any worries they may have. Sharing enthusiasm for learning and voicing your confidence in your child’s ability to succeed is a great motivator. Parents can also encourage their child to be inclusive, attentive and positive throughout the school year. To maintain communication with your child about their learning you can review what they have learned during the school day at dinner time.

3) Get Ready Early.Try to make time to buy all necessary school supplies as early as possibly, ideally a week or two before school starts. Creating a checklist with your child can also make the shopping trip a lot easier. Keep in mind that some teachers require specific materials, so you many need to make a second trip to the store once the school year starts.

4) Show Them The Way. Another way you can make back to school stress-free for your child is by visiting the school before the first day and/or driving the bus route with your child. Especially if your child is starting kindergarten or in a new school try to visit the school with your child, meet the teacher and locate the classroom, office, lunchroom, washrooms etc., this will help ease anxiety and familiarize your child with the new environment.

5) Read.Taking the time to read with your child is a great routine to establish throughout the year. It emphasizes the importance of reading regularly as well as allows reading skills to develop beyond the classroom. Parents can read to their child as well as ask him/her to read a loud. Also, taking a trip to the community library is a great way to create excitement about reading by having him/her choose their books.

6) Stay Organized.During the first week back at school make sure to review all information and handouts sent by the school and your child’s classroom teacher. Do this once it arrives to make sure you stay up-to-date on important information, and mark important dates on your calendar. Children have difficulties with organization just as much as adults do. To help your child stay organized you can: · Label important items· Organize binders and other school related materials (e.g. colour-coding binders for different subjects, using dividers etc.) · Keep school supplies in the same designated area of the home· Reinforce the use of your child’s agendas to remember homework and important dates

7) Homework Help.One of the most difficult problems for parents to address is the trouble with homework. It is important to tackle these problems early in the school year because they can have a great affect on a child’s performance. To help your child with homework you can: · Make use of homework schedules and routines· Designate a place in the home to do homework· Hire a personal tutor to address your child’s specific needs· Use checklists, calendars, agendas, and visual reminders to remember important due dates· Track your child’s progress for homework completion· Create a reward system to provide positive reinforcement for their efforts
8) Turn Off The TV! This may be a difficult tip for both children and parents. However encouraging your child to do other activities such as playing games, puzzles, reading or colouring instead of watching television will help ease your child into the learning process. Television can be a huge distraction for many children, and getting them used to engaging in other activities can help maintain their focus on learning once they arrive to school in September.
9) Extra-Curricular Activities.Extra-curricular activities are a great way for children to develop social skills and learn new valuable life skills. However, enrolling your child in too many extra-curricular activities can be extremely stressful and make it harder for him/her to focus on school. Your child will benefit from one or two activities at most, that are of interest to him/her. Parents can also find out from the school or classroom teacher the-curricular activities that are offered by the school, as well as set up after school play dates with other parents.

10) A New Outfit! Growing up I remember one of the things that got me most excited about going back to school was the chance to wear the new clothes, shoes and /or backpack that I carefully picked out for my first day of school. The first day of school outfit not only creates excitement, but also provides a confidence boost for the first day back.

This guest post was shared by Ayesha who is a teacher and offers tutoring services. For more tips check out her blog here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Introducing the Male Midwife

After recovering from a festive Eid day and blessed Ramadan we are slowly trying to transition back into routine. I think I will wait until after the long weekend to actually implement bed times and what not. For now I'm back to the world of blogging and excited for upcoming posts!

For starters a friend recently shared this article about McMaster's first male Midwife! Really I do not see the difference between a male Midwife or a male OB. I think the stigma is all in the name. The 'wife' part of 'midwife' actually represents the woman in labor and not the practitioner. I was not surprised to learn that male Midwives are already common in the Neitherlands and in the U.K. It's just another thing North America is behind on in the birthing world.

What do you think- is a male Midwife any different than a male OB and would this effect the level of care a women receives?

Happy Friday! Please remember my family and I in your prayers.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Placenta Encapsulation

CBC has posted a short clip about a woman in Saskatoon who provides these services:

What are your thoughts? Do we need to have scientific evidence and studies? Or is anecdotal evidence enough? Mothers are saying this works for them- would you consider it?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Your time to shine!

As part of the Madinah, under the Women's Resource Centre, we are launching a Mother & Tot drop in program as well as a regular kids' corner, inshaAllah. We are just starting up and there are a lot of supplies and resources we need.
We're looking for donations for some items that are either new or in mint condition. If you have any childrens' [Islamic or non] books, puzzles, games, toys, small furniture, supplies: markers, crayons, paper, construction paper, pencils, scissors, playdough, colouring books, activities, educational resources etc. or anything else you can think of (or if you know anyone who does) please let me know asap. Or if you're willing to sponsor the purchase of some of these items also do let me know.

Jazakumullahu khairun

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ramadan Party Decor

We threw a little get together for Zakariya's closest family and friends. Here is what the simple and on a budget decor looked like!

The purpose of sharing these photos with you is to encourage all of you to make Ramadan and Eid an especially exciting and FUN time for your kids! Zakariya was anticipating his "partee" for days and was Mashallah so excited to help me put the whole thing together. Parents take the time to make Ramadan/Eid a time that your children will always appreciate.

We moved our dining table to dedicate the space completely to the kiddos and served from the kitchen instead

Staying within the budget and time restraints, I used Zaki's wooden toy as a last minute center piece

I picked up these stand able napkins at winners on clearance at Winners for $2.50. The rest of the color theme came after I purchased the napkins

These were our DIY gift bags. We stamped plain paper bags. Zaki helped me stamp a few of these

Do you have any Ramadan/Eid pictures or party tips to share with all of us?

Happy Friday! Please remember us in your prayers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Homebirths on Increase

Great article on home births! Interesting how the study talking about the associated risks was not very accurate in terms of the actual stats. Shame on the researches for giving home birth a bad rep!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whole Foods Market Square One

I received this reminder in my email today. I am especially excited because that means we do not always have to drive to Oakville for our groceries, Alhumdulillah!

The Wait is Over.
Join us in celebrating the GRAND OPENING of our new


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m.

Whole Foods Market Square One

155 Square One Drive

(corner of Rathburn Road and Square One Drive)

The first 200 customers will receive a FREE Whole Foods Market tote bag!

Live entertainment and light refreshments will be available.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Expecting? Nursing? Fasting 101

Ramadan - Fasting with Child (ren)

By Shannon Staloch- her blog
Ramadan's many lights and gifts will be here in a matter of weeks. One of the questions I am often asked by pregnant and nursing women is whether or not they should fast in Ramadan. This post is not meant to encourage or discourage women from fasting, rather it is to provide information that can help mothers stay healthy if they decide to undertake even a few days of fasting.

Many women say that they would rather fast when everyone else is fasting instead of making their fasts up later. If you are one of those women, I hope this can help prepare you physically for the fast of Ramadan. Studies conducted about pregnant women fasting in Ramadan have found no adverse outcomes in the baby's birth weights, length, and head circumference. The fast of Ramadan also has not been found to adversely effect milk supply in lactating women, although it can alter the content of breast milk, but without affecting infant growth.

Pregnancy can be a challenging time to fast depending on when the fast falls in your gestation. Nina Planck, a real food expert and author, has written a wonderful book called Real Food for Mothers and Babies that breaks up pregnancy's nutritional needs by trimester. Planck says that in the first trimester, when the organs of your baby are developing, your embryo needs minerals to become a strong fetus. The bones and muscles are doing most of the growing in the second trimester, so your baby needs calcium and protein rich foods. In the third trimester, the eyes, brain, and nervous system are rapidly developing; fats high in Omega 3's will aid this growth.

If we base our Ramadan diet on Planck's demarcations, what are the best foods to nourish you and baby in each trimester? Fasting in Ramadan offers us only a few exchanges with food, so we need to make each of these encounters nutrient dense and filled with what our growing babes need. You will notice a theme throughout my recommendations and that is good fats and protein. Good fats include, coconut oils, olive oils, fish oils, butter, and tallow. Your baby's development needs cholesterol. You need good fats and protein to support this. This duo also supports mother's in their health and well being through pregnancy, therefore you will see multiple mentions of healthy fats and proteins.

In the first trimester many women often need to eat constantly to keep nausea at bay. Others do better with no food. Either way, your baby has to grow. If you choose to fast during this time, I really like a few foods to help you out. Much of nausea comes from hunger. When you eat, eat foods filled with protein and good, healthy fats. For the suhoor, the morning meal before dawn, try any of the following:

Smoothies with egg yolks, coconut oil, milk, and yogurt and lots of fresh fruit. The fruit will give you plenty of the micro-nutrients which your baby's organs need and the yolks, oils, and yogurt will give you good fats and proteins for fuel throughout the fast.
Eggs are a great suhoor meal for pregnant women. Make an omelette with lots of vegetables -- again this will give you a mix of micro-nutrients and protein.

Oatmeal with lots of butter, cream, milk, or coconut milk. Add nuts and fruits for a complete suhoor.

I do recommend eating at least three times a day in Ramadan, the suhoor meal, an iftar meal, and then again about an hour before going to bed. This still provides the same caloric intake, albeit not at the regular times you usually eat.

The first trimester is a big adjustment. Take it easy and don't push yourself to exhaustion. Read my post on the first trimester, where you will find many tips that you can do while fasting. I personally think essential oils, like lavender, ginger, and geranium go a long way in helping with nausea, fasting or not. Also, fresh air can alleviate nausea for many women. Get out and go for a walk right before you break the fast.
When Ramadan falls in the second trimester, it is perhaps the easiest time for you to fast while pregnant; the nausea has mostly passed, and you have regained some of your energy but don't yet feel uncomfortable from the weight of your baby. Here are some general tips for fasting and breaking your fast in the second trimester.

If you can, try to switch your nights and days. During the day, stay inactive and rest as much as you can. If you need to do anything active, like clean or cook, wait until shortly before the sun sets so that you can eat and drink soon after.

Try fasting every other day.

Do gentle exercises like yoga, tai chi, or walking shortly before the sun sets.
Don't skimp out on sleep! This is hard in Ramadan, especially during the summer months, but try your best not to exhaust yourself.

Because protein and calcium are important this trimester, be sure to include lots of protein rich foods in your meals. Meats, broths, eggs, and lentils are wonderful and healthy choices.
Calcium rich snacks can be eaten between iftar and bedtime. Almonds, warmed milk with cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of sugar, yogurt with fruit.

Dates, the traditional food to break the fast with, are an excellent way of revitalizing the body after a day of fasting. High in potassium, iron, anti-oxidants, and other minerals, they are also perfect as a second trimester treat.

The third trimester is perhaps the trickiest time to fast. There have been studies that have found that fasting in late pregnancy causes a state of 'accelerated starvation.' We should know that our bodies are working hard during this time; the baby's nervous system is developing connections between neurons, its brain folds are forming rapidly, and its gaining more and more motor control each day. All this while it is packing on half a pound every week. All of this requires an enormous amount of caloric input, so it makes sense that this trimester would be a difficult time to abstain from food. Also, labor could begin at any moment in this trimester. Beginning labor with a caloric deficit is adding an extra challenge to the challenging physical task of labor. Despite that, some women will fast. Whether or not you fast, here are foods that help build healthy brains for your baby:

Try eating fish when you break your fast. Fish is easy to prepare and full of healthy fats well suited for growing noggins. Check out Seafood Watch for more information on which fish is best for you and the environment.

I love herbal infusions in pregnancy. They are especially great for women facing the great task of birth, and subsequent mothering. Alfalfa, red raspberry leaf, nettles, and oatstraw are wonderful third trimester choices. Drink them mixed or separately. They contain an amazing amount of minerals and micro-nutrients, all of which saturate your tissues and muscles with nutrients that help them work efficiently in labor.

Egg yolks, butter, whole fat milk, and all other foods rich in cholesterol can be considered brain food. So go ahead and have eggs and toast with lots of butter for suhoor. Your baby will be smarter;)!
Staying hydrated is actually a bigger concern than caloric intake for fasting pregnant and nursing women. Abstaining from water all day can be a real challenge while pregnant and/or nursing. I suggest that when you eat in the morning and in the evening, drink an electrolyte drink, preferably not Gatorade as it has tons of sugar and other undesirable preservatives. Try this mixed in your water. Coconut water is another refreshing way to replenish your electrolytes. Vitamin Water and Re-Charge are also good choices. Electrolytes help the water replenish and hydrate you. Without them it often seems that the water just rushes through you!

Nursing and fasting is often more difficult than pregnant while fasting. That is simply because while nursing, you also have to change diapers, push the stroller, and carry and nurse the baby. There is more work involved! All of the above recommendations can apply to nursing women. Along with a few of these:
Add one tablespoon of coconut oil a day. You can eat it directly off the spoon. Lauric acid is the main ingredient in coconut oil. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, the primary component in breast milk. This can help keep your breast milk full of the nutrients your baby deserves.

Focus on hydration. You will feel thirsty due to the hormones of breastfeeding, primarily prolactin. When you are not fasting, always keep a bottle of water with you and electrolytes are a must. The above mentioned studies have found that lactating women hydrate more than non-lactating women in Ramadan. Remember that and drink to thirst.

Stay away from the fried offerings always so present at iftar gatherings. Often they are fried in unhealthy fats full of trans-fats. Trans-fats are easily transferred to breast milk. Be mindful of healthy fats and fulfill your fat cravings in other healthier ways such as butter, meats, fish, and eggs.
Ramadan, however, is not only about the physical fast. Fasting also takes place on the spiritual plane. Fast from the fast-paced world for your baby's sake. Slow down and retreat deep into the stillness of spiritual practices and a beautiful remembrance. This more than anything is what nourishes mothers and babies, whether or not they fast during Ramadan. I pray you all have a blessed month full of vast openings and a renewed closeness to God. Please remember me in your prayers.

Many of you have reached out to me on the subject of fasting while expecting and fasting while nursing, I thought no one better to offer advice than an experienced Muslim Midwife. A topic like this just confirms the benefits of having your Doula or Midwife be of a Muslim background. Often this can bridge the gaps and help cater the to the religious and cultural traditions that Muslim Mothers face. This invaluable advice and wealth of information was shared by Shannon Staloch of Hakima Midwifery located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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