Archive of ‘Tips and Thoughts’ category

Review: Faatimah and Ahmed: We’re Little Muslims

Faatimah & Ahmed: We’re Little Muslims is a story of a young Muslim boy’s first day of school where he learns about the beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and shares the story with his little sister. The book begins with an introduction of the 2 characters and provides some background information on the two little Muslims and a few of their interests. The little blurb on spaghetti is both cute and endearing, this along side their introduction facilitates character development and makes the book relatable. 
 

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The little girls emotion as her brother leaves and returns from school is heart-warming and though the book does not involve any conflict, the emotions create a sense of depth in the relationship between the siblings. 
 
Faatimah’s love for stories leads to the main portion of the book, which is the story of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The story provides an informative yet relatable introduction to the Prophet (SAW) and would be a good starting point for parents seeking to introduce kids to the life of the final messenger of Allah (SWT). 
 
The story maintains it’s fun and intrigue throughout the book as the children learn more, whether it be on their playroom floor or daydreaming on the back of a camel. The kids are taken on a virtual journey through the Arabian dessert which adds some excitement and also explores some terms and facts. 
 
The story ends with an emphasis on one of the most important aspects of our faith… the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and encourages little Muslims to learn more about him and seek to be more like him (SAW). 
 
The format of a brother/sister duo going through their everyday lives and sharing some basic knowledge of the Prophet (SAW) is truly unique and presented in a format in which any child can relate to. Too much detail in illustrations can often distract a child from the content of the story, but the fun, yet simple and bright illustrations in the book make it appealing to little readers, maintaining their attention and drawing them into the story.  
 
The use of Arabic and common Muslim words and phrases is always good in children’s books and the Glossary at the end of the story is handy for those not familiar with some of the terms. While I had the privilege of receiving a draft copy of this book, I’m sure the finished copy will be the icing on the cake to this well presented publication.
 
I have to admit the book does leave me wanting more. I want to know more about Faatimah and Ahmed, I want to know more about their time with each other, and more about the Prophet (SAW) through the stories they share, so I am super excited that there will be more Faatimah and Ahmed books to follow.
 
Faatimah & Ahmed is a simple, well illustrated story that introduces little Muslims to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in a fun, relatable way, it cleverly encourages kids to learn about and emulate his actions (SAW) in their lives.  With its bright, eye catching pictures, delightful story and sweet characters Faatimah and Ahmed: We’re Little Muslims is a must have on your child’s Islamic bookshelf. 
 
From the Author:
Faatimah and Ahmed – We’re Little Muslims is the latest in Islamic children’s books. Alhamdulillah it is now available on most Amazon sites, Barnes and Noble and The Book Depository. It will soon be available direct from the author at http://www.readlittlemuslims.com.
Simply Google it, or email: read[at]readlittlemuslims[dot]com for more information 🙂

10 Essentials for the Muslim Mum Traveller

It’s December, yes, the last month in the calendar. Can you believe it? December means the start of Summer and holiday season here in Australia. It also means a lot of people bracing airports and travelling abroad or even locally. We usually have an annual break, sometimes closeby, Melbourne is a favourite or sometimes abroad where Malaysia is usually our pick.

This year, however, we’ll be travelling to India and not just for any holiday, for a wedding, my sister in law’s to be exact. While thinking about what to pack during our travels, I thought, why not put together a list to share.



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Here’s my 10 essentials for the Muslim Mum Traveller:

  1. Dua for travelling and a travel praylist – Don’t forget to memorise or take a copy of the Dua for travelling (there’s a few different version, a google search will bring them up). Also make a ‘praylist’, list all the things you’d like to pray for while travelling, especially all those dua’s you’d like to make for yourself and the kids. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

    Three supplications will not be rejected (by Allah (SWT)), the supplication of the parent for his child, the supplication of the one who is fasting, and the supplication of the traveler.
    [al-Bayhaqi, at-Tirmidhi – Sahih]

  2. Istinja and wudhu bottle – I don’t have to go into too much detail with this one, it’s an important part of your travel artillery, you know why 😉
  3. Flushable wipes – it’s not the best option but it’s better than nothing. Especially handy for wiping up little ones and their little messes. You have the comfort of knowing you can safely throw it down the toilet without worrying about clogging anything. These are also great to keep handy when out and about, great for public toilets too and when you don’t have a bottle handy.
  4. Pocket/travel prayer mats – These are an absolute must have. It is part of our everyday prayer bag. It ensures a clean place to pray no matter where you are.
  5. Pocket Quran/App – when you’re away it can get tough to keep up with Quran reading, but having it in the palm of your hand makes it easy and convenient.
  6. Compass/phone compass – when you travel you appreciate the fact that this earth has been made for us as a place of worship. You often find yourself praying at the airport, in a corner somewhere or at your destination so a compass is always handy. Smart phone apps do the trick but we still carry a compass in our travel prayer bag. Make a note of the correct Qiblah direction in degrees from your travelling locations for convenience.
  7. App for prayer times – You could download a location based prayer time app or you could research the times before hand. I’ve found an app works really well, it finds your location and gives you accurate timings for your location. Keep in mind you may not always have Wifi or 3G coverage, so best to have a back up plan.
  8. Jilbab and Abaya – Abayas are so easy to throw on, they provide comfort and coverage. I especially like throwing them on for breakfasts at the hotels. When you have kids who are hungry as soon as they wake up, you may have to stall that shower so they can be fed, throwing an abaya over your pyjamas makes it a much easier task. A jilbab is an essential for me in my carry on luggage. Between airport prayer rooms or finding a quiet corner to pray, throwing on a jilbab helps get me in the prayer mindset and gives me the required coverage for praying. I’ve recently found sleeved jilbabs and I’ll most likely be carrying one of those with me. Not only will this serve it’s purpose, it will also enable me to use my hands freely. Aside from that, since I’ll be travelling for a family wedding, we’ll be staying in a hotel with rooms close together, having a jilbab handy means I can run from room to room easily while maintaining my modesty.
  9. Islamic books or toys to keep the kids busy on the plane. We can carry a tonne of things and it may work wonders or it may not work at all. The excitement of being on a plane, seeing different faces and a different environment can be tough. I highly suggest packing one toy you know they love and will play with as well as a few other new little things that can intrigue and excite throughout the journey. It might be a good idea to pack some Islamic reading for yourself too. Highly unlikely, but for that slim chance the kids sleep and you have a spare minute, it will be handy.
  10. Snacks – Kids need snacks and lots of them. Don’t pin your hopes on plane food, it’s not always great and you don’t want to risk not having anything on hand. Pack snacks that will last and are healthy, hungry kids make cranky kids and that’s a definite no no while travelling. Don’t forget to include some energy packed snacks to keep you going too.

So there’s my list of essentials. What are your absolute must haves for travel?

On a side note, I usually travel with my husband, Mr Munchies but this post was specifically written for the mum stuff 🙂

Why I Write

A little while ago Amnah from Little Life of Mine put a call out to some bloggers asking us if we would be interested in writing a “Why I Write’ post. My hand flew up in an instant and then I quickly pulled it down. You see I don’t see what I do as writing, I see it as blogging. How is it different? It’s not I guess, essentially you have to write-to blog, but in my head it seems different. I don’t write the poignant, opinion based, thought provoking type of posts that some of the other ladies do. Yet, here I am, writing this post, because yes, blogging is writing (I’ll still need some convincing though).



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So, let’s get to it, why do I write? A few months after having the cookie monster, almost 4 years ago, my husband suggested I get a blog to share some of my recipes. He has a blog of his own and thought I would like one too. I was a bit weary at first but eventually caved and one night after putting the cookie monster to sleep we took to WordPress and started to brainstorm name ideas. That was the night Modest Munchies was born. Awesome name, if I do say so myself.

This blog was initially designed to share recipes, and it still does. It was also a way to keep myself busy away from the daily grind of everything mum, wife and house, but that didn’t last long, those two worlds collided. With my son (the cookie monster) getting older and my need to keep him busy I added the Modest Mummy section to the blog. Modest Mummy is a mix of things home and mum related, it includes kids craft/activity ideas and more. This also gives me an outlet for all those residual ideas still in my head after completing my teaching qualification. It’s still a work in progress, so is the recipe section or this whole blog for that matter, but I’m enjoying the ride and I’m hoping you, my readers, are as well. 

Below, are a few questions I needed to answer in this post. 

What am I working on?

At the moment I’m working on posting more often on the blog and building a bigger following. I always have a million ideas running through my head, and a million goals I’d like to achieve but I need to get my head out of the clouds. I’d like to do so many things but I need to hone in on my strengths and stick to that. Some of those ideas include craft and cook books, but I can barely keep up with a blog, let alone write books, so let’s just close the door on that for now.

Pipe dreams aside, like I said (or is it typed), my current focus is the blog, this blog, your blog! Doing what I love and hoping that even 1 person out there benefits, in shaa Allah (but if it’s more than 1 I’d be extremely happy with that too).

How does my work differ from others in it’s genre?

It doesn’t really. As I grow and find more Muslim Mum bloggers I find myself finding so many amazing women, mums, muslims doing the same thing (or at the very least-a similar thing). Maybe I take pride in my images, maybe I write differently, maybe just maybe there’s something there that is unique, but for the most part I think we’re all just mums and food lovers trying to achieve the same thing.

How does your writing process work?

I have different ways. I get ideas a lot and I used to jot them down on paper, my homemade mini whiteboard, or anything I could get my hand on at the time really. I wish there was a way to record thoughts straight from my brain, words too, they seem to flow out at the most inconvenient times and when I actually sit down to write them it just never comes out the same. I’ve been trying to get more ‘with it’ lately by using digital means to record my ideas. I now put my ideas into Evernote and when I’m ready to sit down to write a post I write it in Evernote too. After finishing a post, which can take anywhere from 1 day to 1 year, I copy it into the blog, do a bit of editing, add in some images and hit publish. The rest is history as they say! 

I’ve commissioned a few other friends to tell us why they write, keep an eye out.



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Razeena of READ Little Muslims

Razeena Gutta has recently founded http://www.readlittlemuslims.com as an attempt to source and review the highest quality books and resources being produced for Little Muslims from around the world. She is passionate about good quality Islamic-themed literature for children and she is also passionate about supporting those authors and designers working hard to produce such works.

She lives in Australia and has two Little Muslims. She has also just published her first Islamic children’s book which is due to be released very soon!
Stay updated with her work via
http://Www.facebook.com/READLittleMuslims
And on Instagram @readlittlemuslims



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Nazneen of Coffee and Crumpets

Nazneen is the author of the blog Coffee and Crumpets, named after her two food loves, coffee and crumpets. She lives in Broomfield which is a little city in northwest Colorado, not far from Denver. She spends her free time walking the many parks in the city, visiting museums, farmers markets, mountain towns and hiking the mountain trails. 

She was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in London and moved to the States after her A Levels. Her family is from India. However, she still considers London home. Her background, travels and family are the inspiration of the food she creates. Her work and four children keep her on her toes, there is absolutely no down time! She spends 60% of her time driving and 40% in the kitchen! Find more of her delicious recipes at http://www.coffeeandcrumpets.com or follow her on Instagram @coffeecrumpets 



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Sumaira from The Muslimah Mommy

Sumaira Zaheer is a mother of three active children, and passionate blogger at http://www.TheMuslimahMommy.com where you will find her parenting stories as well as tips & advice for pregnant women and parents. You can also find Sumaira on Instagram – @TheMuslimahMommy, and on Facebook – The Muslimah Mommy. 

Halal Holiday in Sydney

We recently took a trip to New Castle and Sydney. Coinciding a trip to see my sister in law with Nouman Ali Khan’s Story Night. Our trip was fun, eventful and busy. Although we didn’t stay long, I thought I’d share what we got up to on our halal holiday in Sydney. I’m not sure what constitutes a halal holiday, I guess for us, it’s eating halal, taking part in halal activities and surrounding ourselves with good clean halal fun (but mostly eating).

We started our mini holiday in New Castle. It was a good chance for us to settle and relax. Being in my sister in laws house was as close as being home as you could get, we lazed around and ate. Indian chaat and some delicious Malaysian food were some of the foods we enjoyed as well as home cooked meals by my sister in law.

We planned our Sydney trip for Friday and Saturday, with a stay over on Friday night easing the pressure to get back. We packed up and left early Friday, wanting to desperately make it in time for Jumuah at Lakemba Mosque where NAK was giving the khutbah. After a 2 hour drive we stopped to refresh and onto the mosque we went. At the mosque it took a little shuffling up and down for us ladies to find our place, as time went on the mosque filled to capacity. We patiently waited and Alhumdulillah had the opportunity to hear and watch NAK live (as live as you can get from a projector screen in the ladies section). He spoke of Ramadan and our duties beyond it. A very inspiring khutbah indeed. Here’s a link to that lecture, I may just have to rewatch as a reminder to myself.

We set off for lunch after Jumuah had finished, no selfies in hand. Our hunger was well satisfied at Dougie’s Grill in Bankstown. Great service and great gourmet burgers. Mr munchies ordered a camel burger, yes, CAMEL. My curiosity got the better of me and I had a taste, maybe there was a lot of filling in that burger, maybe I didn’t take a big enough bite, but to me there really isn’t anything weird or outrageous about the flavour. It’s slightly beefy, slightly lamby (beefy? Lamby? Those are totally words). Mr Munchies enjoyed it (so did his beard)!



Dougie's Grill Camel Burger



We headed to our room after lunch, as I mentioned before the view was amazing! The Opera House and Harbour Bridge are beautifully designed but I was more in awe of their backdrop, would they look so beautiful if it were not for that crisp clean ocean and milky blue sky. It was a perfect day, with perfect weather and an amazing view, subhanAllah.



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That night everyone went off to see the show while I decided not to brace the crowds with 2 kids at bedtime. The kids and I relaxed in the room and I was happy I had the chance to see NAK at Jumuah.

Saturday was busy, crazy busy! We started our day at the Liverpool Eid festival with special guest Zaky! We met Zaky!!! We even took a photo. He didn’t say much, quiet guy that Zaky, seems to talk more in his DVDs. He’s got a brand spanking new website too, check it out, it looks pretty good, what do you think? The cookie monster also fed a calf and went on a pony ride, he had so much fun.



Zaky Liverpool Eid Festival





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Haldon street in Lakemba was our next stop. The very famous Haldon Street seems to be really popular in the news lately. For me, it was comforting, seeing such a culturally rich place, hearing Arabic in the streets and seeing Arabic on the walls (not that I can understand but still nice all the same), we even saw The Crudely Islamified Mannequin Man, nope, no selfie with him either, we had a number of missed opportunities this trip. There were 3 Islamic book shops on the street. 3! THREE! Mr munchies and I were like kids in a candy store, you would think we’d never seen islamic books before. We came home with a lot of titles, mainly children’s books, all worth it Alhumdulillah. Here’s a picture of some of the books we purchased (the learning roots books were purchases at the Liverpool Eid Festival in the Zaky stall).



Book Haul in Haldon Street



If you stop at a baklava bakery in Lakemba ask for basma and ashta (AKA sweet cheeses). It is delicious, really light and tasty. I need to find a recipe to share.

Our last stop was an Indian chaat place, they seem to be very popular in Sydney, this one was full and busy. It was followed by another 2 hour drive home and subsequently putting all the kids to sleep. We spent the next morning packing and by evening we were home.

All in all the trip was wonderfully fun. Travelling with kids definitely has it’s ups and downs, having to work around tired, sleeping kids, that need food and milk and just some plain old comfort can be draining but having your kids close to you and sharing in these experiences with them makes the hard times worth while.

Cookies for the Cookie Monster

The cookie monster and I made Ramadan cookies, it was one of the activities in our advent calendar. Mini M&M cookies count as Ramadan cookies, don’t they? They’re so cute and quite festive with all the bright colours, screams Ramadan don’t you think? If we had time it would have been nice to take a star and crescent cookie cutter to them, maybe next time.



Mini MnM cookies



Sharing is caring right? That’s how the saying goes. Whoever thought that must never have eaten mini M&M cookies. You just can’t put sharing and mini M&M cookies in the same sentence, but…

We did.

We  decided to share his cookies with his little friends. I made a cute printable (you all know how much I love making printables), we packed them up and went for a cookie drive. The cookie monster was so excited and wanted to hand the cookies to each friend himself, a lot of them weren’t home unfortunately, I had to trust that they would be safe at doors and mailboxes (and they were).



Mini MnM cookies for sharing



When I suggested the idea of sharing with his friends he jumped on it, while it wasn’t necessary to share his cookies I think it was an important lesson for him. Ramadan is about sharing, and even though sharing his cookies meant very little left for him he was happy to do it, he has a kind heart, Alhumdulillah. Sharing his toys however, that’s another story 😉

Mini Mini M&M Cookies

Yield: 50 small cookies

Ingredients

  • 230 g butter
  • 3/4 cup brown
  • 3/4 white
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 bag mini M&Ms (160g)

Instructions

In your mixer, cream your butter and sugars until thick and smooth. Add in your eggs and vanilla essence and beat until combined. Add in your flour, baking powder and Bicarb. And mix until combined. Throw in the M&Ms and mix by hand. Roll into balls using 1 tsp of cookie dough. Lay on a tray and store in the freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 170c. Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden on the edges and slightly soft in the middle. Bake for an extra few minutes if you prefer a firmer cookie.

Adapted from Cookies and Cups

http://modestmunchies.com/cookies-cookie-monster/

I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we did. The recipe makes a lot of cookies so don’t forget to share, or don’t, I won’t tell.

A date with the Neighbours

I have you intrigued, don’t I? Well, don’t get too concerned, it’s just a little play on words. Today, we decided to do a little Da’wah by sharing some dates and a little info about Ramadan with our Neighbours. We recently moved into our house and have been wanting to do something to say ‘Hey, we’re here, we’re new, we’re Muslim’. Life and a new baby put this on the back burner, but here we are, 6 months later and have found the perfect opportunity with Ramadan.

The idea of doing Da’wah with your neighbours during Ramadan is not new by any means, I’ve seen it posted on many sites/blogs before (like this one on myhalalkitchen and this one on muslimmatters), this coupled with our want for an introduction into the neighbourhood was the inspiration for this post.



Ramadan Dear Neighbour Tags




Mr Munchies and I have been working on this for the last few days and I finally have the chance to share. Mr Munchies came up with a little Ramadan snippet and I prettied them up to create this free printable for all of you. Mr Munchies has a blog, did I tell you, he writes great stuff, make sure you check out his post about our Neighbourhood Da’wah.

There’s no thinking or writing required with these, just add some dates put it in a cute little package (or don’t, dates are pretty snazzy on their own), print, cut, attach and you’re good to go. In the photo above you’ll notice I personalised the tags we sent out, the printable version however is open for you to write something in as you please.

Please note the words on the printable are copyright. They are only intended for personal use, they are not intended for commercial use. If sharing the words publicly on social media, please tag @modestmunchies.



Ramadan Neighbourhood Date & Dawah Tags



We were hoping to stop at each neighbours house and have a chat but a lot of them weren’t home. The few that were seemed very appreciative and took our date treats in straight away without reading the note, maybe we’ll hear more from them in the next few days.

Are you planning to or have you already shared something with your non-Muslim neighbours this Ramadan? If you’d like to use our printable click here, if you’re using this or something else, post a pic to my Facebook page, I’d love to see and I’m sure others would too.

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