Archive of ‘Tips and Thoughts’ category

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.



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.

Moving Tips

I’ve been out of blogging action lately because I’ve been moving. Yes, moving, it’s been a crazy few weeks (if not months) with overseas visitors among other things and in the mix we decided to buy a house.


Moving Tips



I don’t claim to be a moving expert, but this is the fourth move I’ve done in the 5 years I’ve been married (on top of a few others prior to marriage) so I’ve come to learn a thing or 2 that makes moving a little easier and I hope these tips can help you too.

In the weeks leading up to packing:
Collect/buy packaging material

  • boxes
  • bubble wrap
  • newspaper
  • packaging tape

Use up your disposable crockery ad cutlery to save time on washing up and have a few less things to pack. Use up excess groceries and keep your grocery shopping to a minimum.

Before you start packing

Keep aside 2 boxes/bags, mark one for donating and the other for selling (if you think you could make some money of some of your old stuff). As you pack you can put aside things into these boxes so you don’t take unnecessary things to your new place. It’s also a great chance to de-clutter. Remember to keep aside a few boxes, you’ll need these to pack fridge and freezer goods on move day.

When packing:

Have a system to list your boxes, furniture, etc. I’ve created printables for this. A box list, a furniture list (which includes place for where you’d like the furniture to go, this can be handy for deciding prior to the move so you’re not fumbling with movers on the day, or if you’ve given the task of furniture placement to someone else then they can easily follow the instructions on the list) I’ve also created a grocery and house purchase list, as stated earlier I tried to use up our groceries in the weeks prior to moving, so there was an obvious need to stock up on a few items again once the move was complete. The grocery list is accompanied by a house purchase list, there’s always things that need to be bought when you move into a new house, either you’ve got more space to fill or you’ve decided to get rid of a few things to make some space for something newer. And lastly a to do list, after moving into our place we found there were a few touch ups that needed to be made, a broken door handle, a leaky pipe, a squeaky door, you know all those usual minor fix ups.

Download and print the lists here:

Packing and Moving – Box List
Packing and Moving – Unboxed Items
Packing and Moving – To Buy
Packing and Moving – To do

Moving Clothes

I’m not sure what most people do with their clothes when they move, for us we found it easier to just keep everything on hangers as we moved close-by and had a day before move day to move small items.

If you have the house before move day:

Use this opportunity to move items, we took advantage of our 2 day head start by moving clothes (as mentioned above) the drawers of our chest of drawers as well other items we preferred to handle ourselves. If you are going to be in the house before ‘move day’ here’s a few things that may be handy:

-prayer mat and clothing
-floor mats and towels (for wudhu and drying up)
-toilet paper, and jug/bottle (we all know what it’s for,going to spare the details 😉
-water and cups -food/snacks if staying for a long period of time and something to eat it in -a flash light if the electricity hasn’t been connected
-wipes/paper towels and spray to clean up any mess if necessary as well as bin bags
-first aid kit
-scissors and box cutters ready for boxes to be opened on move day

During the Move:

Ensure everything is packed and ready for the movers. Keep your lists handy for reference. Check things off your list as you see boxes and items leave the house. Check things off again once they reach the new house. Keep water, drinks or food handy for yourself and the movers.

Important things to note with some appliances:

Unpack your fridge and freezer prior to them being moved. Remember to keep this upright during the move and to let them settle after the move for at least an hour before turning them on again. Use the moving bolts that came with your washing machine to ensure the drum doesn’t get damaged. (on a side note, if you’ve bought a new washing machine or just moved and used the bolts, remember to remove them once the washing machine is in place, there have been many a person who have found their washing machine running away from it’s spot during a wash as a result of these bolts not being removed).

Important things to do and sort out prior to or after the move:

Re-direct mail (bank, govt.,medical, insurance).
Set up electricity, gas, internet and phone lines.

That’s about all I did/can think off, I hope this post is helpful to anyone who is moving. If you have any suggestions or your own tips you’d like me to add please let me know and I will be happy to include it in this post.

Shoes! Left or Right?

My son is that age where he can put on most of his shoes by himself. The problem is he gets mixed up with right and left, as most kids do, I suppose.



shoe stickers



I saw a picture of shoe stickers like this online once and thought it was brilliant. If your kids need a hand with left and right too, give this a go.

Read the instructions below or check out my quick YouTube tutorial.

 

Shoe Stickers

a piece of felt
a marker
scissors
good quality craft glue (non-toxic)

Cut small pieces of felt into shapes (go for shapes that don’t have pointy edges, see a list of ideas below) . Cut each shape in half. Stick the right side of the shape into the inner left of the right shoe, and the left sticker into the inner right of the left shoe. When you put the shoes together, they stickers should line up.

Here’s more shape ideas (for boys and girls):

  • circles (soccer, tennis, basket, beach ball)
  • squares or rectangles
  • cars or other vehicles
  • road signs
  • bolts or other tools
  • hearts
  • rainbows
  • flowers
  • butterflies

The next time your child wants to put their shoes on, they can easily line them up. It may not solve the problem completely, but it’s definitely a start.

Hope this helps some kids out their still finding their feet (excuse the pun). As well as mummies or daddies that have the tiresome job of having to swap their kids shoes around all the time.

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