Friday, July 29, 2011

Ramadan Prep

With Ramadan just around the corner my little head has been buzzing with ideas to make it especially fun and exciting for my little guy. Of course, I want most of our time to go towards worship so here are ways to plan in advance:

1) Cook ahead of time. Some sisters have talked about pre-making foods like samosas and freezing them until needed.

2) Keep it simple. No need to stuff your face with an unhealthy menu. Keep it healthy and simple, this will only aid your body in detoxing while you are fasting.

3) Do your Eid shopping ahead of time. No one wants to be browsing the malls when they could be getting in some extra worship, especially during the last 10 nights.

4) If you are not fasting this year (because your nursing or your expecting) consider reading the quran from cover to cover. A simple method is 4 pages after each salaat, 4 x 5 = 20 pages, 20 pages= 1 juzz of the quran. I read this some where and loved how simple it was!

5) Consider hosting a potluck iftaar, this way everyone can still keep their routine of extra ibadaat up

6) Encourage yourselves and your children to wrap presents or save their money to give as a charity to those who are in need.

7) Have family circle time a few days a week, during a time that suits you best. Consider fun, islamically educational activities to do together. Here are some resources I plan on using during our circle time:

The products above are available at Habib's

8) Decorate every room in your house! Lights, banners, balloons and other decorations. Remember you want your child to know Ramadan and Eid are very special holidays for Muslims just like other non-Muslim holidays are for the other children they know.

9) Make a "Welcome Ramadan" banner collectively as a family.

10) Swap your child's regular books for Ramadan/Eid themed books.

11) Do Ramadan/Eid themed Arts & Crafts.

(Source: Crayola)

12) Attend a class or lecture for the month.

13) Take your children to Friday prayers and Tarawee with you, try to stick to one masjid so they feel comfortable and get used to it.

14) Be nice to your spouse-- even if they are wrong (ALL the time) joking!

15)  Play dance around the house to this- just kidding... maybe ;)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Little Loopy Leena

To summarize Leena in five words: Fearless. Stubborn. Adventurous. Genius. Adorable.

She knows exactly how to get what she wants (we're powerless against her smile and sweet pleading voice). Yes, she may be addicted to milk and ice cream, and yes, she may be a tiny bit obsessed with Barney and Nick Jr, and yes, her tantrums are ridiculous.... but she's still perfect Mashallah. She's not even two and she knows her ABC's, her 123's (up to like 15!), her shapes, colors and animals. She continues to amaze me every day with all the new words she's learning and how fast she picks things up.

I would say she is a pretty well rounded toddler - TV is a big part of her life but so is playing outside, coloring, reading (and sometimes eating) books and she's awesome at puzzles. She loves her family and we love her! Masha'allah, she's the greatest blessing in our lives.

Mashallah, Leena has beauty and the brains to match. I can't get over her adorable loopy curls! Her smile is absolutely contagious. I loved hearing all about the variety of her activities and how quickly she Mashallah picks things up. It's amazing how smart our little ones are! May Allah protect her, preserve her memory, growing skills and ability to learn new things and may he always keep her under his protection and care. Ameen.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Several of you have asked me about Sunscreens. Both  Badger and Green Beaver have great natural products that are safe to use on the skin. I love that neither of the products use artificial fragrances or chemicals. Instead they use natural essential oils which actually help moisturizing the skin. We use the Green Beaver sunblock and it contains Jojoba oil. Jojoba oil contains healing properties to help treat skin disorders, eczema and acne. This is just an example of why the natural choice is always the better the choice. Not only are you protecting your skin, you are preserving it Inshallah.

Monday, July 25, 2011

911 Birth

Unplanned home birth... Subhanallah, could you imagine this happening to you?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Special Song

"At the beginning of life, the disguise is quite transparent to the conscious mother who recognizes the deep spiritual connection that unites her baby's soul with her own. Her most important role from the moment of conception is to nurture her child so he can rediscover his essential spiritual nature.

In some traditions, this connection is believed to the precede conception.

In certain African tribes, people believe that the spiritual birth of a child begins when his potential mother first imagines him. She goes to a silent place and listens for the baby's special song. When she hears it, she returns to her home and teaches it to her mate. While making love, they chant the song as an invitation for this soul to enter their lives. Once pregnant, she regularly sings the song to her unborn baby and teaches in to the midwives in preparation for her birth. They sing the song while the woman is in labor and as the baby is born into the world. The child learns the theme song, which supports him through all the stages of his life. He uses his song to celebrate his moments of glory and comfort him in times of loss."

Alhumdulillah, Allah has blessed me with the opportunity to witness birth time and time again. Deepak Chopra talks about birthing traditions from around the world. This chapter (Creating a Baby) in particular caught my attention for a number of different reasons. All women labor differently but a common theme I have noticed is a birthing noise. Some women grunt while others are completely silent. There is a point in labor that tends to become very rhythmic for the woman. This is when she depends on her "special song". For Muslim women this generally is a specific verse or dua. The woman may repeat the same verse or dua for her entire labor. 

I encourage the birthing woman to tap into her inner voice and find this song. It can be extremely soothing, distracting and calming. It helps Mom concentrate and go with her contractions instead of fighting them. The rhythms begin to feel like waves from the ocean and Mom can focus on tranquil visual imagery. 

I often think back to my own birthing experience. It was a combination of making dua for myself, reciting and a rhythmic dua which became my special song. The words would just slip off my tongue uncontrollably and I softly sang thru birth. Even now is true that my child is instantly comforted by his "special song". It is as if he knows, that I too instantly feel comfort and he can hear it in my voice. 

What was my special song? Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "There are two phrases that are light on the tongue but heavy on the scale of rewards and are dear  to Allah the Gracious one. These are Subhanallahi wabihamdihi (All glory is to Allah and all praise be to him) and Subhanallah Al azeem (Glorified is Allah, the Great).

Do you have a "special song", verse or dua that you used during pregnancy or birth that still comforts your little ones today? 

Disclaimer-  I am not advocating using the "special song" for conception purposes, what you do on your own time is your choice! This post was to focus on the use of "special song" during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period specifically. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Do you Doula?

How did your Doula help you? Would you recommend a Doula to other Mom's to be?

Friday, July 15, 2011


Miswak a.k.a twig= the best teether yet!

Little guy has been teething for the last few months. A new tooth erupting every few weeks Mashallah. To ease his comfort he has been chowing on a miswaak.

Here is a fun article on the benefits of using a miswaak. To mention a few from the article:
  • it kills bacteria that cause gum disease, and kills bacteria in general much, much better than ordinary toothpastes and mints.
  • since its bristles are parallel to the brush rather than perpendicular, it cleans better between teeth.the miswaak extract aids in digestion, cures headaches, and has been suggested to improve memory.
  • decomposes better than plastic, since it’s a twig, and is therefore (obviously) more environmentally friendly.
Don't believe me? The health benefits have been proven by the World Health Organization.

There are also authentic hadith to support its importance in Islam.

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "The Prophet said, "It (i.e Siwak) is a purification for the mouth and it is a way of seeking Allah's pleasures."

Happy Friday from our family to yours. Please remember us in your prayers.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Special Olympics

At a Special Olympics track meet, a young girl had just won the fifty-yard dash and was jumping up and down all excited. She yelled out to her parents, "Look, Mom and Dad, I won!" Her parents instantly burst into tears.At the awards ceremony, the young girl proudly stood there as a medal was placed around her neck. Then she ran over to her parents, who were crying now even more than before. The three of them hugged... as the parents kept crying. A special Olympics official who had watched this whole scene became concerned and went over to the parents and said, "Excuse me, is there anything wrong?" Throught the tears, the mother said: "No, nothing's wrong. Everything right... We just heard our daughter speak for the first time!"

Bits & Pieces

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Days

Summer is here and its hot hot hot. Zakariya is still wearing his hat. He insist on wearing it even with his pajamas. I got him some kiddie sunglasses which at the time seemed like they would fit him. Boy was I wrong, they actually fit me. Last picture if of Zaki at the park. I love yellow on little kids!! Mashallah.

Here is a quick lunch lunch idea for your little ones after a eventful day at the park. Try and change it up and alternate as much as possible so that you are not eating too much of the same thing. This can help prevent food sensitivities from forming.

Brown rice pasta with peas, carrots and broccoli. With a dash of pepper.

A great alternative to wheat pasta is brown rice pasta. It taste great and gives more variety in the diet. Of the eight foods that account for 90% of allergens, wheat is one of them. So consider changing- it up!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pain during Labor

I have often heard nurses tell women giving birth "they don't call it labor for no reason its hard work."

Indeed it is hard work but no different from many of the other extraordinary things women can accomplish.

If a woman could just trust her ability without someone telling her constantly she needed pain medication than it would never be in the back of her mind in the first place. It is the fear of the pain that makes women give up before she even starts. I am not saying the pain is the same but the effort, determination and hard work required is similar to other things women have done like climbing a mountain, painting a house, cleaning an entire yard.  Think about emergency situations, when car accidents happen, when someone is shot, the people who wait in the ER with a finger in a zip lock bag because of a freak accident. What about those situations? Where is the epidural then?

What often happens is that women do not trust their bodies in those moments that pain seems unmanageable. Its like many things in life that if you are afraid you may not succeed, chances are that you will not. 1/3 of the body's ability to heal depends on your thoughts.

When the pain is managed well, with the help of a Doula or other experienced support people than the focus of the labor is less on the pain and more on how to make the woman as comfortable as possible, practicing positive affirmations and staying in the comfort of your own home until it is really time to go to the hospital. You would be surprise to learn that labor pain is so different when it is natural not medically induced. The body does beautifully when trusted and when it is given its right and ability to birth on its own.

Looking back at your own experience what do you think helped managed your discomforts during labor?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy Friday!

While in London we stopped by Hamleys Toy Shop. There are five floors in the store, each floor representing a special interested. We opted to check out the Educative play, Boys and Toddler areas.

I really wanted to purchase something for Zaki but could not bring myself to justify the prices! I picked up a mini replica of a double decker bus, it was for £8 which amounts to $12.26 Canadian. I kept thinking the trip to the toy store was special enough in itself. So Alhumdulillah we walked out purchasing nothing and my little guy seemed satisfied as well.

Disclaimer- gifts from Grandparents don't count- those were beyond my control and against my wishes- literally! Zaki can wait until Eid to see those.

The best part about this toy shop was the live demonstrations. The environment was really interactive and we were able to test out some of the toys. The kids and even the adults were having a blast!

By the way- if anyone is interested... there is a life sized baby elephant available for £1,500. Hamleys will ship anywhere around the world. Just saying ;)

Happy Friday and Jummah Mubarak! Don't forget to read Kahf today. Please remember my family and I in your prayers.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rescue 911- Sibling delivers baby

I know some parents to be hesitant to talk to their children about pregnancy or birth. After watching this episode, I absolutely applaud the couple for educating their children enough to make informed decisions- something even adults lack when it comes to labor and delivery. Of course a child does not need to know everything... but it doesn't hurt to know the basics. Especially given age and maturity. Growing up my parents never spoke about these sort of things. I thought babies came from the hospital. As if it was some sort of store you simply walked into, shopped around and left with the cutest baby.

Now times are different. Children outsmart their parents to no end. If parents are okay with their children learning about guns and violence through movies and video games, its hard for me to understand why birth or breastfeeding is kept such a secret... Birth is normal. Birth is natural. Birth is not a sexual thing.

While I don't think there will be many of us whose other children help deliver our babies, I think its a great blessing that they would be sensitive enough to understand or even remotely respect what their Mothers have been through. 

This little man is my hero and I absolutely love the attachment he has to his little sister. Subhanallah, I think it has something to do with the fact that he was the first one to hold her. I have seen a lot of deliveries and let me honestly tell you, he is more calm and pulled together than some of the Fathers I have seen ;)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tea & Crumpets

Alhumdulillah we are back. So where was I?

Having tea and crumpets with these people of course. 

Okay  not really. But, I was in their neck of the woods. We had a family reunion in London, England. It was so much fun, Alhumdulillah a much needed vacay!

More pictures and details to come later. For now, who was able to attend the Journey Of Faith conference this year? Did anyone get to check out the Mothers room? What a nice way to accommodate mothers-- its about time conference organizers!
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