Friday, April 29, 2011

Wave Challenge!

Jummah Mubarak- Happy Friday!

Alif2yaa is teaming up with Nadoona for our first ever Zap your Microwave Challenge!

We are asking all you to commit to healthier eating habits and a healthier you! Spread the word and include your family and friends.

How can you participate? Its simple. UNPLUG your microwave on May 9th, 2011 for 24 hours! Instead consider using the stove, toaster oven or BBQ, raw or fresh cuisine. Post WAVE as the blog comment if your up to the challenge and we will send you a reminder email along with some details.

We will be posting recipes as well as more information on Microwave usage later this week
Good habits have to begin somewhere... start by taking your steps today!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I had heard many stories of men who experienced sympathy pains or put on weight as their partners entered their last stages of pregnancy. I really did not believe it until this happened in our home.

When I was pregnant with our second child and nearing the end of term, it became quite obvious that my husband's waistline had begun to rival mine.

One morning while standing in the kitchen with our then three-year-old daughter, Courtney, we noticed that she had begun to eye us curiously. Though she had been frequently schooled about the arrival of her new baby sister, something seemed to confuse her. Courtney looked at her father, then looked at me. Again she returned her gaze to her father. Thoughtfully, and with all the seriousness a three-year-old could muster, she asked, "Daddy, when are you going to have YOUR baby?"

Lauren Broadbent
Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul

I remember taking prenatal classes for my first preganancy and one of the activities were for the couples to compare their symptoms. The men and women split up to do the activity and later compared the list. It was hilarious but the men had similar to symptoms to the women expecting!

Of the things on their list were:
-Weight gain
-Mood swings
-Feeling lazy
-Eating for two

This goes to show that the energy of the people around us DOES effect us but more importantly we effect the people around us as well. While you might want to blame others for not being empathetic enough, remember it goes goes both ways. Try and remind yourself that its best for you and your spouse to be on the same team. They may not understand your symptoms (such as nesting) but they will try their best to hear your needs... you can make your needs more clear with effective communication. Tell them what you are thinking- remember they cannot read your mind. Work on a birth plan together and put your ideas on paper. It may help to have someone neutral like a Doula to guide your plans/conversation.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Adventures of Dawoud

Kiddie of the Month Feature!

Dawoud is eleven and a half months now, and learning new things every day. He loves to watch my mother-in-law and me cook and usually wants the spoons that we are using so he can stir in the pots and pans with us. Nowadays Dawoud is working on one of the greatest milestones I think any parent waits for, walking! So far he is able to stand on his own, but once he takes, or tries to take a step or two, he falls right onto his bum.

Every baby has a fun thing that they do which their parents enjoy. Dawoud loves to pretend he is sipping tea from a cup. He will tell me to give him a cup, grab it by the handle, crawl around with it, and randomly take pretend sips from his cup with a nice big "ahhhh," once he has swallowed. It amazes me how such a small person could know and learn so much, SubhnaAllah!

Jazakallah Khair for telling us about your handsome little man! Mashallah not only is he a stunner but he has such a fun personality to match. You are absolutely right about walking as one of the greatest milestones. I still remember encouraging my little guy and my nieces and nephews until one day they surprised us all by walking ;) May Allah keep Dawoud under his protection and care, make him amongst the righteous, Ameen.

If you would like to encourage your little ones and their achievements (even getting a tooth counts!) please send a short description paragraph and picture to

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Breastfeeding thru History and around the World

Public Announcement to encourage breastfeeding!

75 cents for a breast pump- Im sold!

Sarcophagus of Marcus Cornelius Statius, 150 AD

Lansdowne Church in Scotland

The Virgin and the child, 1556

Wet nurse from the 16th century

Sibling nursing or perhaps relatives or neighbours. Every where else around the world, the mentality is truly "it takes a village to raise a child" and often neighbours are considered family

Nursing when it started to become socially acceptable in some areas

Rich or poor- nursing comes in all forms

Subhanallah, look at all these Muslimahs fulfilling their childrens rights by nursing! In Islam it is the right of the child upon the parent to be nursed until the age of 2.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Baby and Hats!

I have been crazy about little hats since Zakariya was born! I love how they add so much personality to his outfits and make his style unique.

Now that he is older, my little guy has also adopted a love for hats. He refuses to leave the house without a hat. He thinks it is still winter and insisted on wearing his winter hat everywhere-- that is until we got him a spring hat!

Why are hats cool? Because they protect your little ones from the sun. With especially sensitive skin and eyes our little ones need to be protected from the bright sun. Parents should also consider getting a window shade for the car, especially for those long car rides when your kiddo has fallen asleep.

Vitamin D is especially important as most of us are probably deficient living here in Canada. You can supplement with vitamin D drops and also eat an enriched diet. As well as some exposure to the sun, just remember to wear SPF!

Zaki with his hat while he was rocking the shaved head look

We always go to Friday prayers in our best clothes and hats!

Summer bucket hat

Fall/winter Monkey hat

Sauve spring hat

He even has a hat for family weddings! Mashallah!

I think its safe to say Zakariya is a hat kind of guy. My aunt got him this crazy strange fan hat for my cousins wedding, it is similar to what Pakistani grooms wear. I thought he would never wear it but he was such a trooper Mashallah! He loved all the attention he got and enjoyed wearing the hat.

I would love to hear about your hat stories... do your little ones like hats? What about the Mama's with girls? How do hats compare to ribbons, bows and headbands?! Share all your stories and tips with us please ;) 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Metalliic Paint- Kiddie Craft

We got these fun metallic paints

Here is what they look like opened up

Instead of using the paint brush, we opted to make it toddler friendly finger paint instead

Mashallah- the finished product. I loved the pearl effect!

The only down side to these markers were you have to open a seal before using them. I did not know that and my little guy was getting restless waiting for me to open up all the paints. Please make sure to have them ready to go now that you know about the seal.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Toddler 'jobs'

My little guy has always taken an extreme interest in anything I am doing. Alhumdulillah, I enjoy it. It is Mama and baby bonding time for the most part. I emphasize a lot on clean up and putting things away once we are finished. He has heard me give him the same instructions since he was an infant and I think the results of that are starting to show. He has little 'jobs' around the house. He insist on no help from any grown up and actually gets very upset if we try and take those jobs away from him.

I believe in forming these habits at a young age. I do meet resistance about this- people will say to me "he will grow out of it"... and maybe he will. For now, it is working for us and Alhumdulillah he enjoys it. My belief is that- if it is what he knows from the start, he would prefer it over any other way.

I am sure his future wife will love me for this one- Inshallah ;) For anyone who thinks that men have no duties in the home, I should remind you that The Prophet (SAW) used to do chores around the home. He SAW would even sew his own clothes.

Does your man know how to sew?

Rigggght... so this goes to show that even the man has an essential role in the house hold. Please encourage your boys- even if they are teenagers to help out around the house.

When it comes to toddlers this new found Independence is great and everything... but I am going to be completely honest here. I love his attitude towards this Mashallah. What I don't love is OUR attitude towards it. I often notice this in all adults (myself included) we are so impatient with our children. We always strive to be on schedule. We are always trying to multi task. We are always trying to do too much. When it comes to our children, we cannot expect them to go at our pace. In fact, we should really learn how to slow it down. So many of the Mothers I talk with are very stressed with their day to day life. The hustle and bustle of life will always be there- but these precious years with your little one will not.

My advice to all the parents is to slow down. Take in these precious moments with your little ones. Let your little one spend the few extra minutes trying to figure out how the keys work. Enlist confidence in them at an early age. Reward good behavior with hugs and encouragement like-"Mashallah Kiddo"... you will see how a little encouragement can go such a long way!
Most importantly... do not forget what it felt like to be a child. Children are curious and above all children are innocent.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spelt Crust Pizza

Spelt is a delicious alternative to wheat and white flour. I made this yummy spelt crust pizza and wanted to share the end result my readers. Its a great option for those selective toddlers who are very specific when it comes to eating. Pizza is a great way to sneak in some veggies and offer a variety of different textures like spelt.

What you will need;
Pizza Sauce
Spelt Crust (easily available at any natural inclined grocery store OR spelt flour  to bake your own)
Veggies of your choice
Rice cheese (a great alternative to dairy)

Tadaa- the finished product

Rice cheese is a great substitute for those of you who choose to avoid dairy for your little ones. We all know dairy is especially hard to digest for adults and can be even tougher on our little ones stomachs. Of the five foods that account for 75% of food allergic reactions, dairy and wheat are two of them. Please be open to trying it before you reject it. Give alternatives a chance. Your body is a trust given to you by Allah. Take care of it. Or you may have to learn this the hard way... May Allah protect us all.

Your body is listening to your mind. 1/3 of the healing the body is thinking good thoughts. Think positive and positive will happen. Think negative and negative will happen.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Milkscreen test for Breastmilk

If Alcohol can pass thru breastmilk- so can caffine and dairy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where are the scissors?

Sorry I have been away most of this week. I promise I have a good excuse, will post more about that later Inshallah.

I met a woman this week who has been married for 30 years, Mashallah.... but I could not help but wonder, even after all these years- do you think her husband knows where the scissors are?!

Watch below- to make sense of this =)

Does your husband know where the scissors are? Please reply YES/NO...
Happy Friday. Please remember my family and I in your prayers. Do not forget to read Surah Kahf today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our Week in Pictures

Zakariya's new activity is to eat paper when I am not looking. Do you think the teacher will believe me when I tell her- "my kid ate my homework!"

Gorgeous day at Erindale Park

My little big guy, Mashallah. He is loving independence.

Stylin' over the sunny weekend. He insisted on wearing a hat because the bright sun!

A couple of weekends ago, I went to Lahore Tikka a Restaurant on Gerrard street with my parents. I was SHOCKED to see that they have a baby change/nursing room. This is a first ever in Pakistani Restaurant history, I still cannot believe it.

A good friend from Undergrad found some old notes we wrote to each other instead of paying attention in class... needless to say- I ended up marrying the guy ;) Alhumdulillah. What Allah has planned for us, is always better then what we plan for ourselves.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Juicing 101 Workshop

Alhumdulillah my Husband and I were able to attend a fabulous workshop on Juicing.

I personally did not know much about the benefits of juicing. I did not know what fruits or veggies were best to juice. The workshop educated us on the health benefits of juicing, what type of juicer is best to invest in, juicing recipes and all sorts of other juicing tips. To be totally honest, I was more worried about how it would all taste! To my surprise it was so refreshing and my body has been craving freshly squeezed juice since the workshop.

Without giving away too much with respect to the creators of the workshop, I thought I would share the importance of preparing your fruits and veggies on a daily basis.

-consider washing the produce with a biodegradable soap to remove any pesticide residue
-you can also use vinegar or baking soda to wash your produce
-use a brush to scrub hard produce

I labeled my brush so no one would use it to clean the sink by accident!

Here is a photo from the workshop- Dr Elias Markou is comparing a lower end juicer to a higher end juicer. His advice is to treat a juicer like an appliance. You want to spend $250-300.

The left over skin should be absolutely damp. This is a sign of a good juicer- you know you are extracting most of the juice from the produce.

Beet juice! It was so sweet! It actually works like a natural sweetener when you add it with other veggies. It was my first time tying a beet EVER- and it super refreshing.

The nutritional benefits of beets. Packed!

I would encourage all of you to look into taking a workshop like this- not only is benefit for your health but it you can share all that you learned with your family! I cannot wait to start juicing and getting my little guy hooked on drinking veggies from a young age.

For more about the juicing workshop, click here

Friday, April 8, 2011

DIY Bookmarks

I love all things handmade because of the creativity and effort that goes behind it. I made these bookmarks for the Bazaar but you could do it as a project with your little ones. These would make for especially thoughtful and cute Eid gifts or just gifts in general.

Here is what you will need:

Pre-cut Bookmarks, readily available at Michael's craft stores.
A hole punch
Decorative stamps (optional)
Stamp ink (optional)
A decorative hole punch (optional)

Here is what it cost me; don't forget I made these to promote my business (I was willing to spend a few $):
Bookmarks: $3.99 for a pack of 50
Ribbon: $1.00 on clearance (I bought 2 styles)
A hole punch: $2.99
Decorative stamps $1.50 each ( I bought 2)
Stamp Ink: $1.50
Decorative hole punch : $1.49 on clearance, normally $14.99

Total: $14.97

You could skip some of the steps like the stamps and have your kids decorate with paints/markers. A cute idea would be to use alphabet stickers to personalize the book marks.

Click to enlarge

Do not forget to listen and recite Surah Kahf today. Please remember my family and I in your prayers today. Happy Friday from ours to yours!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Our weeked in pictures- movie night & bazaar!

The Muslim Womenpreneurs Bazaar was a great experience. I was able to educate and create awareness in our community. Alhumdulillah, people were very welcoming and eager to hear and learn about pregnancy and birth. I also had the privilege of meeting several other women who enjoyed the opportunity to share their expertise. I left the bazaar feeling empowered as a woman and thankful that Allah has given me the ability to grow over the past couple of years. May Allah bless the organizers for all their efforts and for giving us the platform to showcase our businesses.

After a long day, I had a long evening to look forward to =) I had double booked the weekend and it was time to get ready for movie night. I went home, freshened up, cleaned up and asked my husband to set up the projector. The ladies, along with a few little ones arrived one by one. We started off with informal introductions, snacks and general discussions. After that we started the documentary "The Business of Being Born"... Subhanallah, I think there was not a dry eye in the house- I think it is safe to say that many people left with a different view of what their BEST birth should look like. They realized that they need to be more in control of their choices and have a voice. We had some great discussion and then called it a night.

I was really exhausted and Alhumdulillah for my amazing husband, who insisted I sleep in and watched Zakariya. It was the first time that I thought to myself...without feeling any denial about getting older- it feels so good to be a young woman and not a girl. Alhumdulillah.

Here I am posing with my booth. We had a public service announcement and a short documentary projecting from the wall about breastfeeding from La Leche League (an awesome support network for mothers who are thinking about breastfeeding or mothers who are already from birth to the toddler years; contact me for more info)

A view of the bazaar. This was right when the doors opened and only one side of the hall. Mashallah what a good turn out

The Mayor Hazel Mccallion checking out my booth

A creative and inexpensive way to decorate my table using some cord and laundry pins!

The gorgeous bump cake made by my very talented cousin Mahnoor. Not only did it look good, it tasted amazing! The cake was dairy free to cater to all the nursing moms at the event. For more cake enquiries, please contact:

Later on in the evening: this is what the movie night projector set up looked like!

Movie night potluck- amazing turn out! Alhumdulillah (praise be to Allah)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TLC's Extreme Couponing

For those of you who have a TV and cable in your home, the season premier is today on TLC. Make sure to tune into this crazy show for tips on how to coupon your way to free groceries!

While I consider myself a frugal shopper, I cannot say I completely agree with extreme couponing. I feel like we could devote the extensive hours to self betterment. I would personally take some of that time to study Islam, if given the time and choice, but that's just me! I like to shop in bulk as well, it often saves money and time! I still would not be able to justify a store room full of 'stuff'- however, I would like the idea of sharing the goods with people especially as this would become a sadaqa jariya (charity) for my family and I.

I also have done couponing in the past and found that there are not many healthy options available. It is often the quick meals or overly processed foods containing several additives and MSG... so while I love looking for deals, using coupons, I just don't think extreme couponing is for me...

I know from having lived in the States, couponing there is on a whole different level. Canada does not compare at all with our coupons!

What are your experiences? Do you think you could extreme coupon? Why or why not?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sugar cookies without the sugar ;)

Always read the labels! When I first started doing this, it took me almost 2 hours in the grocery store- but Alhumdulillah now I am familiar with most of the brands and ingredients and only need to read the labels once in awhile.
We try to avoid refined white sugar as much as possible! Even if I purchase a juice, I look for a natural sweetener like cane juice. Other options are brown sugar, cane sugar or yellow cane sugar. You cannot taste the difference at all and it is a much healthier option especially for your little ones!

This mix was expensive but worth every penny. It has high quality ingredients and gave me flexibility in terms of substituting the recipe without compromising the taste! The most common mistake is that these type of mixes are not limited families with allergies or food sensitives. Everyone can and should consider options like these. Most people opt for these types of mixes because of the high quality ingredients.

Sure, sometimes you can taste the difference but that is because our bodies have been programmed to eat junk. Our taste buds cannot even tell us that the natural foods are better for us between what is natural is better for us and we actually prefer the processed food over the natural foods. It will take some time to reverse all the years of damage, so be patient and give your tongue some time to adapt the change. When you truly educate yourself and adapt better eating habits your body will not feel good when you eat the foods you once claimed to love.

With these cookies, I really could not tell at all!

I am of the opinion (and this is based on extensive research, studying the correlation of cows milk protein in relation to breastfeeding in dept, my own experience and experience with friends/clients and the advice of my naturopath) that our little ones cannot easily digest dairy, especially that of cow's milk until after the age of 2 when there digestive systems are better developed. Alhumdulillah, Allah has made this a protection from common bowel problems like constipation, diarrhea, rashed and eczema- so I have seen dramatic results from this diet. For that reason I opted to use vegan margarine instead of regular.

Mix it all together

Roll it up and spread them out on your baking sheet. I used wax paper to protect the pan because the box said not to oil the pan. The margarine made the mix very slippery so oiling was not needed.

Zakariya was especially excited to try these out because he "helped" Mama bake them and he even sat by the oven and waited until the timer went off ;)

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