Archive of ‘Tips and Thoughts’ category

May/Ramadan Favourites

Can you believe another month has passed? I can’t believe I’m writing my May post (and it’s already June!). This time, I thought I’d combine some of my Ramadan favourites with my May ones as I’m sure you’re all still on the lookout for ideas for your kids or to make things easier during the month, so here they are. As usual, I’ve included affiliate links where necessary.

Books:

These always features heavily don’t they? Well here are my May and Ramadan book picks.



noor kids books



Noor Kids, I have good memories of this series, having purchased them two Ramadans ago for the kids. They were a great surprise, the books are fun and relatable and my now 5-year-old has enjoyed them ever since. He’s even trying to read them himself, Alhumdulillah. Their books cover a range of topics, there’s even the new ‘First time Fasting’, which I will have to get my hands on.

There are so many great options for Ramadan books these days. Our Ramadan books are all laid out on our Ramadan table waiting to be read.



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Here’s our list:

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, Under the Ramadan Moon, My First Ramadan, Lailah’s Lunchbox, White Nights of Ramadan.

It’s Ramadan Curious George and Owl and Cat: Ramadan is… are the sweetest new Ramadan books I’ve come across. One with a cheeky little monkey and the other with the cutest owl and cat. Definite must haves in the Ramadan library.

Ramadan activities and learning resources:

I was a bit worried this year, I’m usually so prepared, but it’s been so busy lately I haven’t had a chance to do much. Eventually, I did get a banner up and put some books out. It’s not much, but Ramadan is about making things fun and I plan to do that through the month with these posts, books, and printables to help along the way.

Ramadan learning resources



30 days of Ramadan activities
49 Ways to get Kids Involved in Ramadan
30 Day Activity: Let’s find a word in the Quran
Ramadan Nasheeds
Zaky’s Ramadan DVD
Craft it UP
Ramadan Fun

Bismillah Babies have just released Ramadan books (pictured: top right corner). One is an activity book and the other a journal. I had a chance to check them out and they are both great, filled with stories of Ramadan Around the World, fun activities, recipes and more. There has been an amazing effort put into these books, I’m sure they’ll be loved by so many kids.

Food fun:


with a spin cutter



When the kids get board I’m definitely going to pull out these cutters for them to use with play dough or maybe even let them cut cookies. If I have some time I’d love to make cookies for my kids’ friends, it might make a perfect/Ramadan gift.

Ramadan planning and goals:

Every year I tell myself to prepare, to plan better, to get things in order before Ramadan but that never happens. The year goes by and we’re back at the same point again. However, I’m not going to let that get me down. I’m going to do my best to prepare the best I can for the rest of the time I have. I’m going to print my meal planner printable so I can get on top of the food. I want to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen. This year I’ve also decided to start a few things, I’m going to be writing myself a few goals to achieve this month, as well as a dua and gratitude journal in shaa Allah.

If you’re like me and you’re extremely forgetful, be sure to print the trackers in my Missed Fasts Post so you keep count of exactly how many you miss so you can make them up after.

Those are my picks for May and Ramadan. What are yours?

April Favourites

Things have gotten a little quiet around here and I wanted a way to still be able to share all the amazing things I come across, from products to recipes and anything else interesting along the way, hence the start of a monthly favourites post. My hope is that these monthly posts will let me have a space to share some of my ideas and finds with you without me having to go through the effort of writing full-length blog posts, which I don’t have time for these days. I’ll also include links to recipes, where to purchase or just for viewing where necessary. Some of these links may be affiliate links.



April Favourites



Cakes and cupcakes

I had gone a little cupcake crazy in April. The month started with a woodland themed baby shower for my cousin in law, I made lilac coloured blueberry cream cheese vanilla cupcakes and chocolate mint cupcakes. The mint was an absolute hit. I used a few drops of peppermint oil (I used Oil Garden Aromatherapy from Go Vita Myer Centre, Brisbane) in the buttercream instead of essence which contains alcohol. The mint themed continued with mint cupcakes for my sister in law and my in-laws as they have birthdays close together in April. The cupcake theme was rounded off early May with my mum’s birthday, again another lot of choc mint cupcakes with a rose buttercream piped top. It was the first time I used this rose piping technique. The effect is so beautiful yet so easy to achieve

cupcake pic



It didn’t stop there, my in laws offical birthday cake was a piece of luggage since they travel often and for Mr Munchies I made a chocolate covered superman logo cake filled with coffee cheesecake and a surprise inside. April is a seriously crazy month with baking, way too many birthdays!

My favourite chocolate cupcake recipe is a one bowl wonder by Sweetapolita.

Muslim Kids Guide

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy lately is because of my work on Muslim Kids Guide. It’s a new site founded by Peter Gould, co-edited by myself and Razeena of READ Little Muslims. It really is a one-stop shop for finding all the great things out there for Muslim Kids (or at least it will be insha Allah). It’s only in the beginning stages but we’ll get there.

Books

I have been reading a little more than I should lately, I had forgotten how much I had enjoyed reading. I’ve been using an app called Borrow Box which allows you to borrow books via the app using your library membership. There are different types of apps used with library memberships, Borrow Box is just one of them, you might have to check with your local library to see they type they use. I also use the Kindle App on my iPhone to read books I’ve purchased on Amazon.

books



Not everything is digital around here though, the kids do get real books read to them, our favourites this month have been The Very Cranky Bear series (http://amzn.to/1T3z9ym), Yasmine’s Belly Button (http://amzn.to/1T5lWIc) and the kids have also been having a lot of fun with the My First Wudu Book (http://shade7publishing.com/) in the bath. My sister in law enjoyed Aisha Dean The Istanbul Intrigue (http://amzn.to/1q4WrJG), and so did I. I also enjoyed Big Magic (http://amzn.to/1T3zl0r) and Sofia Khan is Not Obliged (http://amzn.to/1T5m3Ul).

Ramadan Preps

I have yet to start any preparing in terms of food for Ramadan, but I have been preparing in other ways. I have started making up my missed fasts, I’m really hoping to tackle them all by the end of this year insha Allah. I dug up my 49 ways to Kids Involved in Ramadan post from last year and have started circulating it again, I need to sit down and give it a good read so I can make sure the kids are well prepared too. My first plan will be to start reading Ramadan books to the kids.

 

I hope you enjoyed the first post in my monthly favourites series. What were you up to in April?

49 Ways to get Kids Involved in Ramadan

One question I’ve seen floating around on social media a lot is ‘How do I get my children involved in Ramadan?’, so I put together a post to answer this question. Involvement can mean a lot of things, it can mean creating, learning, doing, making or helping, it can also mean so much more. Essentially it is about including children and getting them to be and feel like they are a part of something and I think the ideas in this post will help you achieve that.

49 Ways to get kids involved in Ramadan blog



I had my 4 year old in mind when writing this, but there’s so many ideas in this post this could range from babies right up to children 10 years old. I’ve also included links to purchase items where relevant. So here they are, 49 Ways to get kids involved in Ramadan:

1. Let them help set the table for suhoor or iftar. 

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2. Make a Ramadan banner or poster.

3. Use a countdown calendar. Check out some of the printables below.

4. Or better yet, create your own.

Free Printable 30 Ramadan Activities (Large)



5. Have the kids help you decorate the house and set up a little Ramadan display with/for them.

6. Do Ramadan crafts.

  • Check out my my review for Craft it Up
  • Follow Ramadan Crafts on Instagram. they’re full of great ideas
  • I have a few more ideas in the Crafts section of the blog

7. Learn about the customs and traditions of Ramadan in other countries – a simple google search should bring up plenty.

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8. Make a sadaqah/charity box.

9. If you share some food/dates/info about Ramadan with your neighbours- take your kids along with you.

Ramadan Dear Neighbour Tags




10. Let them share Ramadan with their friends. 

Last year we made cookies to share, the recipe and free printables are here.

Mini MnM cookies for sharing



11. Use Ramadan activity books and sheets to keep them busy

12. Turn traditional Ramadan menu items into fun, kid friendly versions – this can be as simple as lowering the spice, cutting into fun shapes, or even offering a smaller serve.

13. Have a Ramadan party.

14. Create your own Ramadan story, if your child is too young, ask them to tell you about Ramadan in their own words and write down what they say. This will be a great keepsake for years to come.

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15. Read stories from the Quran.

16. Take part in Islamic Children’s Book Day – Coming up on the 10th of Ramadan. Hosted by Emma Apple and Read Little Muslims

islamicbookdaysupporter



17. Donate clothes and toys to those in need.

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18. Give your child money/coins to fill a charity box that you can drop off with them at the end of Ramadan or at a later stage.

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19. Wear traditional garments – if you have traditional garments in their size, get them to wear it for a day. This can be traditional cultural dress or even modest Islamic dress.

20. If your kids are old enough get/make a fast tracker and give rewards for completion. Praise and encouragement work just as well as a toy or lolly.

21. Get them involved in suhoor, if it’s too early for them wake up, let them have a ‘suhoor’ meal at breakfast time. Set the scene – do everything just as you would during suhoor so they can experience it and don’t forget to finish off with a date, some water and your intention to fast (just as a practise of course).

22. If your children are too young to fast, but are excited by the prospect of fasting, let them attempt a practise fast (this doesn’t have to be longer than a few hours, making sure you don’t force or push them to do so) . Offer praise for any attempt made, it will encourage them to fast when they are required to do so, in shaa Allah.

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23. Ask them to help choose their eid clothes- try to purchase these before Ramadan, or if you’re using existing clothes or are purchasing them yourself, get them to try them on before Eid, and ask them to get accessories ready (socks, shoes, belt, headbands, hair ties etc).

24. Get/make a salaah tracker and offer rewards for completing salaahs.

25. Learn a new surah – if your kids are old enough and able to memorise, try learning a surah with them. There are so many short surahs to choose from.

26. Play Quran recitation in your house. If possible incorporate the playing of Surahs that your children have memorised or are familiar with.

27. Set up an I’tikaf tent. Idea from How to get your kids to love Ramadan on Productive Muslim.

28. Search for the moon together and talk about its phases and what they symbolise in welcoming the Islamic month.

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29. Make food and cookies in fun islamic shapes. 

30. Encourage your children to perform simple sunnahs – or they can compete with themselves by setting a Sunnah goal and trying to beat it each day. This can be a great one to work on as a parent as well.

31. Encourage good deeds or make good deed sticks.

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32. Listen to islamic songs or Nasheeds (if you prefer instrument free, there’s a lot of options, if you look).

33. Increase knowledge together, watch (child appropriate) lectures on YouTube or put on some Islamic Children’s DVDs if you have them. 

  • Little explorer’s Australia is our current favourite.
  • We also own all the Zaky DVDs – Let’s Learn Quran with Zaky and Friends was played over and over again last Ramadan, I think we all know the words off by heart. Purchase through Amazon or in the 1Islam store. We plan to buy part 2 very soon in shaa Allah.

34. Create an iftar box – I saw this idea on Amnah’s (Little Life of Mine) Instagram last year. If your kids have started fasting or even if they’re doing part fasts, start an iftar box with them, it’s a great motivator to get to iftar time so they can enjoy all the treats they’ve packed.



Iftar box



35. Take them to the mosque when you can. If they’re up and can manage, take them for Taraweeh prayers one night.

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36. If you have special ramadan recipes, ask your kids to help you prepare them, be patient, it may take longer and be more messy than usual but they will enjoy the time with you.

37. If you’re having friends and family over for iftar, get the kids to help with the meal, to set up for the guests or help with the table.

38. Pack hampers for the disadvantaged/homeless and ask your kids to help you pack. Delegate tasks that will be simple and easy so they can be pleased with themselves and aspire to do more.

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39. Eat together on the floor – give the dining table a rest (or the kitchen nook as the case may be), throw a mat on the floor and enjoy your iftar Sunnah style.

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40. If you’re sharing Eid gifts, get your kids involved by getting them to help you make it if it’s homemade, or help you choose something of you’re making a purchase or they can help gift wrap and fill envelopes for you.

Eid Gift for Kids



41. Start a Ramadan Journal or scrapbook. It’s a great way to for them to keep track of each Ramadan, see how far they’ve come, track new achievements and set better goals each time. You can keep it simple and use a good old fashioned notebook and pen or try some of the options below:

42. Teach them about Layatul Qadr – change your routine in the last 10 days/nights and increase your worship so they recognise the  significance. 

43. If your children use an iPad or Tablet why not incorporate some Islamic/Ramadan Learning apps. 

44. Get your kids to help you plan your Eid decorations, and help you decorate when the time comes. 

45. Make a Dua list of simple and easy Duas to learn with your children. You can introduce the fasting Duas too.

46. Create Ramadan traditions with them. Some ideas below.

47. Let them experience iftar – start their dinner off with some water (Zam Zam would be great) and a date just as you would if you were breaking your fast before eating ‘dinner’.

48. Read Ramadan/Eid stories with them. We only have a few but I’m hoping to increase our collection this year.

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49. Encourage love for learning and reading Quran.

  • Read in front of your kids when possible
  • Try this Quran 30 day word activity Let’s find a word in the Quran
  • If they’re old enough and ready, get them books to learn Arabic alphabets
  • Also check out The Story of The Elephant by Shade 7 publishing purchase on Amazon
  • Teach them about when and how the Quran was revealed.

BONUS: Make it fun and lead by example! 



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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Ramadan Meal Planner

Hello everyone, I’ve decided to put together a free Ramadan meal planner for all of you. It has a simple layout and is easy to use. It has spaces for Suhoor, Iftar, Dinner and Snacks. I’ll be using the snack section to include lunch ideas for the cookie monster, can’t forgot our feasting kids.



Free Printable Ramadan Meal Planner



Yes I know Ramadan isn’t about the food. For me personally I’ve found that being organised during Ramadan means I spend less time fumbling in the kitchen, less time thinking about what to cook and less time in the grocery store. This means more time spent on prayer and worship (for me anyway).

I’ll be using this meal planner during Ramadan and in shaa Allah it helps me to keep on track. If you need some organisation too, feel free to download the planner. Just click here and print. And don’t worry, yours won’t have modestmunchies.com splashed across the middle 😉

The above planner was from 2014 and 2015 is below.



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Making up Missed Fasts

I recently read this article about making up fasts from Productive Muslim. I’ve been meaning to start making up my missed fasts and although I’m a bit late of the mark, starting now is better than not starting at all. I’ve missed fasts in previous years from being pregnant, breastfeeding and of course the usual missed fasts. While I make up a few each year, I never push myself hard enough and it’s always easy to forget until Ramadan rolls around again. We have just over a month before Ramadan and I’d like to make up as many as I can, I have 44. I know I won’t get close to finishing them all but I’d be happy if I knock off at least 10, if not more. My goal is to make at least the Sunnah fasts each week and then throw in a few others where I can manage.

Making Up Missed Fasts.



I know there is  a difference of opinion in regards to whether certain fasts are meant to be made up or paid the fidyah for. I recommend you discuss this with an Imam or learned scholar. From my knowledge the consensus is that pregnancy and breastfeeding fasts are meant to be made up as they are a temporary state, based on this I plan to make up all my missed fasts, even though they may be many in number. Again, please seek advice in regards to this matter.

We’re about to hit Winter here in Australia, so our days are short, a mere 12 hours of daylight. A perfect time to start making up fasts and I plan to continue after Ramadan as well. By posting it here quite publicly my hope is that it can help me stay on track and serve as the motivation I need. I know you may not all be in the same boat, and many of you reading this are in the throws of Summer with long hot days, babies and busyness but make a start, even if it’s just a few, it will good practise for Ramadan as well.

Whether you’ve got as many fasts as I do to make up (or more) from pregnancy, breastfeeding, from menstruation, sickness and general forgetfulness, just remember you can do it! Set your mind to it, set a goal and In Sha Allah you can knock them off. If you’d like to join me on this journey, I have a few things that might help us along the way.

I’ve started a Facebook group for support and motivation as well as some free printable trackers. If you’re joining me in the Facebook group I want you to get in there and tell everyone how many fasts you have left to make up (if you’re comfortable with sharing) and also set a goal of the number of fasts you want to complete before Ramadan. Keep the goal small and achievable. Hopefully, this will give you the support and encouragement you need to get started. If you’re a social media junkie and plan to post your suhoors, iftars or just anything in general related to this, feel free to use the hashtag #missedfastsclub. It will help us check in with each other as well as keep you motivated to keep going, in sha Allah.

I commissioned my cousin-in-law Aysha of Penny Paperoni to create these beautiful printables, these are yours to download for FREE. The printables include a Missed Fasts Tracker, a Missed Fasts calculation sheet and a Fasts Left print. You can easily download and print these with a single click at the end of this post. The printables are pretty clear, but I’ve included a little explanation of how to use each one at the end of the post.



Missed Fasts Tracker Free Printables Download



How to use your printables:



Example Missed Fasts Calculations



Missed Fasts Tracker – Calculations – this sheet is an ideal place to jot down and calculate your missed fasts over the year. Consider each year you have had missed fasts and all the reasons you would have missed them, then give each reason an approximate number. Don’t forget to tally it at the end. This reason and set out of this sheet was inspired by the post on Productive Muslim I mentioned earlier.



Example Missed Fasts Tracker (1)



Missed Fasts Tracker- the sheet gives slots for 38 fasts, I know not everyone has the same number of fasts but this seemed like an ideal number as a starting point (plus it fitted best on the page ;)). If you have less than 38 just scratch out the extras and use it from the number you need. Or make the blank sheet with your ideal number. If you have 38 fasts, awesome, you’re good to go. If you have more than 38 fasts, print out the sheet as well as a blank sheet and mark the extra numbers you require.



Example Fasts Left Print



You can do it _ Fasts left in sha Allah – this sheet makes such a cute printable to have on display (you may want to display it somewhere private though). Place it in a cute frame or laminate it and put it on a stand, use a dry erase marker to write in your number.

 

 

 

Penny Paperoni is launching soon, I’ll be sure to share all the details with you as soon as I have them. The printables are just beautiful so I know there’ll be more gorgeous prints coming our way.

Reading Challenge – Week 5

Can you believe there’s only 2 weeks left of the #littlemuslimsread Reading Challenge by Read Little Muslims? I sure can’t. I had a good week but it did make me realise I didn’t have a lot of books related to that theme specifically. I suppose a lot of book cover the 5 pillars in some way, whether it be with characters praying or talking about Hajj. I guess that’s the best way to teach little children, but I may have caught onto something. Anyone out there want to write a 5 pillars book? 😉 I’ll buy!

This week’s theme is #StoryfromtheQuran. Such a great theme, Mr Munchies reads a lot of Quran stories to a little one and honestly there’s been times where I’ve even learnt things through those stories from my son. I will be posting our collection on Instagram and Facebook, don’t forget to check it out and follow along.



READING CHALLENGE-8



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