Baby Toys 9-12 Months

Gone are the play mats, baby chairs and swings. Like it or not your baby is more mobile and more than likely crawling and exploring their worlds. Now you need saftey gates and safe spaces to stop your little adventurer from harming themselves.

Your babies favourite occupations are probably opening cupboards and climbing the stairs. However he still has his favourite toys. Over the past few months my boy has started crawling . Most of his time is spent getting up to mischief but he does have a few favourite things to play with.

I like my kids to have wooden toys as they are

1. Hard wearing

2. Made of natural non toxic materials

3. Feel nice

4. Much more attractive than plastic toys.

Here are a few of the things he loves to play with.

Toys with Wheels

As he has become more mobile and his brain is developing he has started to take alot more interest in his toys with wheels.

wheely toy

He has a wooden truck, fire engine and zebra. At first he just looked at them and threw them around. At 11 months he has started to play with them properly pushing them along the floor. It looks super cute and you can see his brain working thinking about what is happening.

Big pram wheels, small toy with wheels, anything with wheels that turn are a fascination for him.

wheely toy

And the great thing is as he gets older amd hus imagination develops he can play with them in many ways for years to come.

Balls

Balls are the most open ended toys that will be played with for many many years. If your child is lucky their first ball could last them from babies until adults. Imagine that, from learning important motor skills as a baby, all the way until playing team games as an adult.

ball

As your baby becomes more mobile they can push the ball around and chase after it. Throw it around and chase after it improving motor skills and strength. You can play rolling or passing the ball to each other which forms social bonds and language skills if you talk about what is happening.

Don’t limit balls to boys. Girls also beniefit for all the same reasons. A girl may enjoy playing football, basketball, netball and curby as much as any boy.

I find lots of children are attracted to the spiky sensory ball. They can feel the texture, squish it and throw it around. He also has a smaller ball that lights up when thrown and glitters. Its good to have a variety of different shapes, sizes and textures.

Books

Where do I start with books. I’m a bit of a book lover but ony recently have I realised there is alot more to books that I could imagine.

Firstly there are the bright colourful illustrations or photos to look at and talk about.

Many years ago I was reading a book to my friends little girl. I couldn’t understand a word she said to me. As we read the book I’d point to a picture and ask her what it was. As she answered the question I started to understand her way of talking. From then on I understood what she was saying to me. Thats was a powerful..moment for me.

Recently as I’m reading books ideas pop into my head. If the character bakes a cake we can also bake that cake and taste what the charcater is tasting. If the charcter is jumping in puddles we can do the same and feel what the charcter is feeling. We did this for Chickens Can’t See In The Dark. There are so many lessons to be learnt from exploring stories this way. When we read Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell we explored some STEM activities.

But at this age babies love to play with board books. They can improve their motor skills by opening and closing the pages. The Usborne Touchy Feely books are our favourite as they have different textures for baby to feel. They keep mine occupied for 5 minutes. He also really loves these Grufallo Animal Actions book.It is small for baby to hold and he loves to copy the sounds and actions.

Baby books

It is important for children to read books with real pictures so they can make sense of their worlds and what is around them.

Musical Instruments

Ever since my baby was 3 months old he has loved to hit things together to make noises. So I got him a set of musical instruments to play with. He loves the jingly jangly noises. At first he was really curious to know how the instruments make noises and learn that he was able to control them in a way to make the noise. A baby achievement. Now hes enjoys the fact that he can make a nice noise.

Musical Instruments

I took Abdi to a playgroup where they had a basket full of instruments. Inside was a wooden egg rattle. It was the perfect size for him to hold in his hand and shake around. He carried that around for the whole hour. I had to buy him one.

Again I find the wooden instruments to be alot more attractive and feel heavier meaning your baby is doing strength exercises aswell.

What are your babies favourite toys? Let me know in the comments below.

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Special Stuffed Dates – Child Friendly Recipe

During this blessed month of Ramadan we have been completing an activity a day from the beginning to the end of the month. Day 2 was to make some Special Stuffed Dates.

Dates are an important part of Ramadan. Its is Sunnah to break our fasts with dates as mentioned in the Hadith
Narrated Salman ibn Amir: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: When one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates; but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast) with water, for water is purifying.

Sunan Abu Dawood – Book 13 Hadith 2348

I find dates are perfect as they are and have never tasted a chocolate covered one and never even imagined a cheese filled one. But I thought this would be a fun and easy activity to do and share with the neighbours to break their fasts.

I usually eat very sweet dates which would be too sweet covered in chocolate. So I bought these especially for this recipe.

On a side note the honey I used was too strong so use a medium strength honey. And make sure you buy a good quality chocolate preferably in recyclable packaging, think Green & Blacks, Lindt and Magnum.

In preparation 15 minutes before take 20 almonds and cover them in boiling water. After 15 mintues they will be easily peelable. Peel the skins off and keep aside for decoration.

Take a handful of almonds and grind them in a mixer these will be used for both recipes.

Using a small knife destone 36 dates.

These recipes are simple to make and very child friendly. Show your child the recipe and ask them to collect all the ingredients needed.

Ask them to count out the dates and weigh the ingredients on the scales.

Show your child each step as you go and get them to copy you and learn along the way. Don’t worry about children using knives. Use a small knife and teach them how to use it safely and always under supervision. Its better to teach them how to chop safely rather then them trying it out on their own one day out of curiosity.

Creamy Honey Almond Dates

  • 26 Dates
  • 4oz Cream Cheese
  • 1Tbsp Honey
  • 4Tbsp Crushed Almonds
  1. Make your honey runny by melting it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  2. Mix the honey into the cream cheese and stir in the crushed almonds.
  3. Spoon the mixture into your dates until overflowing.
  4. Sprinkle crushed almonds as decoration ontop of the dates.
  5. Keep them in the fridge and take them out 5 mintues before serving.

Nutty Chocolate Dates

  • 10 Dates
  • 500g Bar of Chocolate
  • 4 Tbs crushed Almonds
  • 20 Peeled Almonds
  1. Stuff each date with a peeled almond.
  2. Break up your chocolate bar into small pieces and melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the melted chunks and microwave for another 30 seconds until fully melted.
  3. Dip your dates into the chocolate and then the crushed almonds.
  4. Add a peeled almond ontop for decoration.

I really wanted to use some edible gold spray on top but totally forgot to buy it.

You can give your dates to friends, family and neighbours to break their fasts with.

You could use them as table settings by adding a name onto a toothpick and sticking it ontop of the date.

Do you have a favourite date recipe or prefer them as they are?

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My 1st Ramadan -Advice for Sisters

As Ramadan aproaches as Muslims we all feel a mixture of excitement and worry. We all worry for valid and various reasons. You may be feeling that right now. I sure am. For me the worry comes from different reasons each year.

This year it’s,”will I find it hard to fast and breastfeed under the hot summer sun?”

A few reverts have told me their worries about fasting for the first time and their reasons. As a revert of 5 years this will be my 5th Ramadan. Through my experience I know how worrying the whole thing can be.

How do I explain to my family?

How do I explain to my friends and work collegues?

After all, if they didn’t know you were Muslim before they certainly will now. Food is such a big part of life and people usually notice if your not eating.

So I planned on writing my 1st Ramadan story for new reverts to read and reasure them its not that bad.

The thing is I can’t remember it in any detail. What kind of story will this be? I went online and started reading other peoples stories. Some of them are awful and its all because of their bad diets. As a bit of a health freak and part vegetarian that doesn’t eat processed food and drinks mainly water I’ve not had these problems.

So here goes. Lets see what I can remember.

I know we woke up for Suhoor and prayed Fajr. Then I went back to sleep. That day I went to a kids party.

What a party. It was on a far away industrial estate that took 2 buses to reach. It was a typical kids party i.e a themed room with kids food. Not my kinda thing. What about the adults? We get hungry too!

So it was pretty easy to get away with not eating because no-one else was. At this point I wasn’t a full time hijabi either so nobody knew I was a Muslim. The party came to an end and everyone left. We walked outside and waited for the bus..and waited… and waited… none turned up.

It was a beautiful sunny day. I was lost and the sun was beating down on me. After 30 minutes or so I decided we should walk up the road and find another bus stop. We walked and walked and walked. There were none to be seen. I was getting worried about becoming dehydrated. The road had no trees, no buildings, no shelter. Just a wide open sunny landscape on the hottest day of the year and I was getting sunburn.

Eventually we found our bus after 40 minutes of waiting and wandering around . And you know what apart from that dry lip feeling I didnt feel too bad.

When Iftar came I can’t tell you the joy of that first glass of water. I wanted no food, my hunger had gone by then after 17 hours of nothing. I didn’t want anything fancy . I just wanted that first glass of beautiful refreshing tap water.

I don’t know why Allah put me in that situation on my first fast. But believe me it made me realise how amazing and resilient our bodies are. If I could get through that on the first day I could get through just about anything.

The rest of that Ramadan was pretty uneventful.

Even though I knew and had that brilliant experience the next few Ramadans were still worrying for me. The first two Ramadans my parents were on holiday for most of the month so I didn’t have the worry of telling them I was Muslim. The 3rd Ramadan I told them I was fasting. They were a bit surprised at first but Alhamdulillah they seemed to accept it with ease.

I work in a BIG cafe which involves alot of physical and dirty work. The kitchen is boiling and has no adequate air conditioning so you can just imagine how the sweat drips off you on a summers day. After 4 hours of none stop working in those conditions wearing hot clothing you can imagine how it must feel. But Subhanallah I could do a 17 hour fast and keep up with the busy pace. My work colleagues were shocked that I could work in those conditions without at least a glass of water. This just goes to show how amazing our bodies are.

I think the key is down to our intentions and our diets. I try and eat as clean as possible and drink only water and juice at home. (I wrote more in detail about that in “Ramadan Made Easy“.)

I posed the question in a Facebook group to some sisters.

“If you had one piece of advice to give to a new sister what would it be?”

Here are their responses:

“Its hard especially if your not normally a breakfast person but it really does help to wake up for sehri and eat even a little. It helps the stomach and you hopefully wont get the hunger pains too early in the day”.

💜

“Take each minute at a time I found the whole day was too daunting at first (last year was my official first). Allah knows your intentions don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete a whole day.

Know when you do get into a rhythm your period will come an disturb your rythm it’s not your fault it’s a mercy from Allah.

Make sure you wake up for breakfast because honestly it will make it ten times worse. Get up an eat!! This is a mercy from Allah an one which will help big time.Don’t go out getting no big shopping, I promise you won’t eat it an then it will waste especially if you’ve brought the whole fresh fruit isle.

Make sure you drink loads before you start fasting an after ilftar. Dehydration causes the headaches.”

💜

“Cut out all stimulants a week before hand this will make fasting much easier. So things like coffee, coke, sugar etc. When we start fasting and cut these foods out – the detox symptoms can be horrendous!

Yes and be mindful of what you eat at iftar. Nutritious foods, fruits, nuts, soups, grilled meats/fish.

Lots of people fast all day then eat dirty foods at iftar, defeats the point of Ramadan and doesn’t help your body one bit.”

💜

“DRINK like your life depends on it at suhoor!”

💜

and one I wished I had done,

“Journal every moment”.

Journaling you thoughts and feelings on such a special occasion could help you in so many ways and would be nice to look back on in the future. Have you every done this?

💜

So the main points are eat and drink healthily before Ramadan in preparation. Eat and drink healthily during Ramadan.

If you want to practise before the big day you could try fasting ‘The White Days’ i.e every Tuesday and Thursday as this is Sunnah. Don’t overthink or worry too much. Allah is the best of planners and remember.

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can handle.”

Surah Baqarah 286

This year I do wonder how I will fast. My baby is 11 months old and still has milk 4-5 times during the day not to mention at night. When I feed him I need to have a drink and small meal after! It will be interesting to see if my body really does need all this food and drink or its just in my head. I seem to have no OFF switch anymore. I also won’t be working this year so I hope my days will still be full and out of the house to give me a distraction.

I am looking forward to seeing how my body reacts and changes whilst fasting. We always learn a lot about ourselves during this time. I am most looking forward to that community feeling that comes at this time of year. The fact that all the Muslims around me and all the Muslims around the world are in the same boat is an amazing feeling to be a part of.

I am also lucky to live around brilliant Muslim neighbours that support and feed each other. We also have a local masjid that provides Iftar every night so if you don’t want to cook you know where to go. The atmosphere there is something special.

But if you have none of these it really doesn’t matter as it will leave more space in your life to get closer to Allah.

This year I have two children instead of one so I have so much planned to make it an extra special time, which I haven’t really done before. I feel it is important for them have something Islamic to feel excited about and look forward to and having each other makes it all the more fun.

I hope this year we can all have a fun,relaxed and spiritual time, Inshallah.

Do you remember the first time you fasted?

What would your advice be to someone fasting for the first time?

If you think this post could be benieficial for someone please share it with them❤

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Ramadan Made Easy

Three to four months before Ramadan starts people around me start going into panick mode and make hundreds of fried snacks to go in the freezer. Samosas, chicken strips, cheese balls the list is endless.

I do admire the fact they are so prepared and impressed they can make their own samosas. But all that fried food cannot be good.

I usually go the Masjid for Iftar at a weekend where there are Samosas , biryani and fizzy drinks galore. None of which can be avoided.

As we are rewarded for feeding a fasting person most nights a neighbour will bring around some food. Usually fried goods, dates and sweets.

I believe Ramadan should be a spiritual and community minded time. Not a Iftar: When,What and Where.

It is a big chance to be healthy and get rid of those bad eating habits and gain self control.

This is why I am a total health freak within my own four walls. I fear getting dehydrated during the days so drink as much water as my body will allow and eat lots of hydrating food.

In Ramadan we have a small capacity for food. We should try our bests to fill up on healthy foods to nourish our bodies, instead of eating heavy fried foods that fill us up quickly and have hardly an nutritional value.

Half an hour before Iftar I make a Greek salad. Lots of healthy vege, feta cheese and glugs of olive oil and lemon.

A fruit salad is an essential. Those juicy fruits contain lots of energy and slow releasing water that keeps you hydrated throughout the day. Its better to chop the fruits as near to eating as possible as the longer you leave them the more sugar they produce .

I find during Ramadan the fruit in the supermarkets go down in price. Meaning we can buy lots of lovely fruits and make juices everyday. A quick way of getting those vitamins into your body.

My favourite juice combo is:

  • 3 apples
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 oranges
  • A small piece of fresh ginger

I put them all together in the juicer adding the ginger for its many health benefits. The leftover pulp can be added to sweets bakes or made into jams and sauces.

Breaking The Fast

To break our fast we eat 3 dates each, drink a glass of water and eat some fruit salad. Later on in Ramadan the water changes to Rooh Afza in milk as our healthy intentions go downhill . Then we pray Magrib.

Mains

After Magrib we move on to our main which is usually a curry with rice or roti and our salad.

My Husband makes a big pot of curry that lasts 3 or 4 days meaning I only need to make the rice or roti and salads. If the neighbours have brought us fried food we eat that with it aswell. After that there isn’t room for anything else so we drink our fresh juice. As Magrib in the UK is pretty late we go to sleep half an hour after eating.

Suhoor

Suhoor is around 4 hours later so we aren’t that hungry meaning we don’t eat too much. I usually have some fruit with cereal or egg and toast. With lots of water.

As Ramadan goes on our eating starts to get more unhealthy adding things like biscuits, Rooh Afza and last year my neighbour brought me Desi Chai which turned my tea habit back on. Usually we are caffine free all Ramadan.

This year I won’t be working. Things may become very different as I won’t have work as a distraction. Every year UK summer comes in Ramadan and Ramadan only. Combine this with breastfeeding and who knows what will happen.

How was breastfeeding for you whilst fasting?

Have you prepared for Ramadan or taking it easy like me?

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Arabic Words with We’re Roaming in the Rainforest

Once a day Me and Noori learn our Islamic studies together online using Sunnikids. One part of this online course teaches us some Arabic words. To carry on from that I make the words we have learnt into flashcards so we can learn them without having the computer on.

We could just use the flashcards as you normally would but to make it more interesting I added them into this story‘We’re Roaming in the Rainforest’.

I went through the story and picked out some of the flashcards we already have. The words we didn’t have I looked up online and made some more.

As we have no ink in our printer I drew the pictures out copying from the book and writing the words. This time Noori wanted to colour them. We then laminated them so they will last a long time.

Here are the words we used:

Spider – Ankaboot

Butterfly – Farasha

Tree – Shajara

Swim – Sibaha

Fruit – Fakiha

Cuddle – Einaq

Monkey – Qird

Parrot – Babagha

Snake – Thuaban

Moon – Qamar

Young Boy – Ghalam

Some of the words such as young boy aren’t in the story, rather in the pictures. Using the flashcards for the pictures is another way of using all our flashcards to repeat and learn words.

We laid the flashcards out around the book and she read the story. Whenever a word appeared she replaced that word with the same word in Arabic and said it in the sentence.

We even found some soft toys that matched the story and kept the baby entertained.

I bought this book for Abdi when he was first born as it was so colourful and he was instantly attracted to the bright pictures.

It is quite a long book for a baby so we usually just look at the pictures rather than say all the words.

At the end of the story it gives facts about rainforests, conservation, and Tribal people.

I learnt a few things from this map myself.

This story is published by Barefoot Books who care greatly about the environment from their printing processes to the messages in their stories. The pictures in this book bring the rainforests to life and introduce us to new exciting animals.

As Earth Day is coming up this is the perfect book to introduce conservation, show how we as humans effect our planet and what we can do to help.

Here a some fabulous activities you could do together with your child for Earth Day.

Noor Kids-22 Earth Day Activities

Everchange Productions -12 Fun Outdoor Activities to Celebrate Earth Day

Hodge Podge Days – Quick and Easy Earth Day Crafts

Ayeina – How did the Ant speak to Sulaiman?

If you like sensory play here are two fantastic conservation themed ideas:

Our Fairytale Adventure – Conservation Small World Sensory Play

Pole to Pole Conservation Sensory Play

If you liked our Arabic story you may enjoy our others aswell:

Arabic words with The First Hippo on the Moon

Arabic Words with Goodnight Spaceman

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Zero Waste Inspirations from the Life of Prophet Muhammad(sa)- By Simply Muslim Mom

When I read through the Quran, the Hadiths and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) what stands out to me is the emphasis on the environment and simple living. Why we as Muslims in our times have moved so far away from this I really can’t understand. Its rare for me to find like minded Muslims so when I came across Simply Muslim Mom I was so happy I asked her to do a guest post on the subject. And with Earth Day coming up could there be any better timing? So here we are. A beautiful message from Simply Muslim Mom. Enjoy!

Zero Waste Inspirations from the Life of Prophet Muhammad (sa)

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad(sa) has been practicing a zero-waste life over a thousand years ago. He(sa) is our inspiration to embrace a waste free life through simple and consistent everyday practices.

A waste free lifestyle is aligned with what Allah(swt) has commanded us in the Quran-

“Allah the Exalted says that He does not like those who trespass the limits on an allowed matter or a prohibited matter, those who go to the extreme over what He has allowed, allow what He has prohibited, or prohibit what He has allowed. But, He likes that what He has allowed be considered as such (without extravagance) and what He has prohibited be considered as such. This is the justice that He has commanded.” 7:32

Essentially, RasuAllah(sa) was obeying Allah(swt) by living a simple life that was devoid of extravagance.

What were the zero-waste practices of Prophet Muhammad(sa)?

Zero food waste-

Al-Miqdam ibn Ma’d said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) saying, “There is no vessel which the son of Adam can fill eviler than his stomach, for it is sufficient for him to take a few mouthfuls in order to straighten his back; but if he must, then fill one-third with food, one-third with drink, and one-third with breath.” (Sunan ibn Majah)

The prophet(sa) lived a simple life. He(sa) was a mindful consumer, enjoying his blessing while being mindful about them. He(sa) could’ve eaten to his fill but he(sa) chose not to. Too much food can easily lead to food waste. He(sa) enjoyed different foods and was careful to not waste any part of it- no morsel of food was too small to be thrown away-

Among the norms of conduct of eating that the Sunnah presents is as Muslim reported from Jaabir :According to Jabir(ra), “ I heard the Prophet(sa) say, “The devil is present with each of you in everything he does; he is present when you are eating; so if any one of you drops food he should remove any dirt on it and eat it and not leave it for the devil; and when he finishes eating he should lick his fingers, for he does not know in which portion of his food the blessing lies.

RasulAllah(sa) didn’t complain about his(sa) food. Whatever food that was available, he(sa) ate it with gratitude.

Mindful consumption-

The prophet(sa) was mindful about his(sa) everyday things. He(sa) avoided extravagance, although He(sa) could’ve asked Allah(saw) any wealth he(sa) wanted. He chose a simple life instead. Instead of replacing his(sa) clothes and shoes, he(sa) mended them himself-

Aisha is reported to have said, “He did what one of you would do in his house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed.” (Adab Al-Mufrad)

Conservation of the Earth-

The Prophet(sa) was mindful about the environment. He was aware that his(sa) actions came with consequences. He(sa) was careful to use natural resources that was used regularly-

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-`Aas (ra) said, “Prophet(sa) passed one day by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas (ra) while he was performing wudu’ (ritual cleaning of body parts in preparation for prayer). The prophet asked Sa`d, “Why is this wastage? Sa`d replied, “Is there wastage in wudu also?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river. (Sunan ibn Ahmad)

The lesson is that we must keep Earth in mind when we use nonrenewable and renewable resources.

I have been living a waste free life for almost 10 years now. It seemed like a daunting task to go against the tide. But, it was disconcerting to see how our actions impacted the environment- global warming, more animals on the verge of extinctions, health issues from a polluted Earth and the loss of habitat and death of many animals- especially these birds in the Midway Island in the Pacific Ocean.

“…eat of its fruit when it bears fruit, and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and do not act extravagantly; surely He does not love the extravagant.” (Surah An’am 6:141)

I hope you’re inspired to live a zero-waste life, following the footsteps of the Prophet(sa). The Earth was in a far better shape when he(sa) lived than it is now, yet he(sa) took simple yet consistent steps in his(sa) everyday actions so his(sa) ummah could have a clean, healthy Earth.

Let’s emulate our beloved Prophet(sa) and try to leave a better Earth for all of us InshaAllah.

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Zaks and His Little Lies – Book Review

Zak and his little lies  Islamic kids book

Zak and His Little Lies-J.Samia Mair

A while a go I read that little kids can’t tell the difference between a lie or making up a story, so don’t understand that they are lying. Everytime I caught my daughter lying I would look at her and try and figure out if she was lying or just making a story up in her mind. It wasn’t too difficult. After all we all lie in one way or another. One study showed that we lie to ourselves everyday without even noticing. So how do we distinguish between good lies and bad lies.

The title of this storybook Zak and His Little Lies gives us a clue to his lies. They are small little lies not big bad ones.

This is exactly Zaks problem. He knows that if he is caught lying again he won’t be able to go on a trip to the skate park with his family. However he is thrown into certain situations throughout the day.

The story seems to be set in a very friendly neighbourhood in the American Suburbs. Zak and his family are Muslim and have no problem with their neighbours which is nice to see in a book. The challenge for the Zak and his Sister is to deliver Baklava to all their neighbours. But will it all run smoothly? You will have to read the book to find out!

zak and his little lies Islamic kids book

Noori is 8 years old but there were a few words in this book she couldn’t work out. The main one being Dwayne the name of Zaks pet. Dwayne makes an appearance on every page of this beautifully illustrated book so look out for him.

zak and his little lies Islamic kids book

Many of Zaks lies come from how he will look to other people and lack of confidence. Here he is having a race with his sister though he never wins. Even Dwayne looks worried!

After all Zaks little lies he goes home to find his Dad excitied and ready to go to the skate park. Zak feels so guilty from all his lying when he sees the Quran on the shelf remembering the Ayah,

“And nothing in the Heavens and Earth is hidden from Allah.”

This is a very important lesson for all of us and something even young children can understand. Even if we are all alone Allah can see what we are doing.

Zak admitted his mistakes too his Dad the person he could confide in. What an important relationship. The majority of stories show male figures in a bad light and the Mums as the caregivers and confidants. So this Father and Son bond is a refreshing perspective

At first I didn’t connect with this book and I think it is because I’m very girly. Unconsciously the majority of Noori’s books have strong female characters with the only males being animals. I wondered how this would change now I have a son.

This book is my first step into being a mother of a boy. And what a fantastic introduction. I imagine having an Islamic book with a young boy as the lead character could be very empowering for any young boy. Zak is a great example for anyone.

Noori’s Verdict

Did you like the book?
Yes . It was Good.
Who was your favourite character?
I like Zak but I liked Hana better. I didn’t like the brothers because they are mean.

At the end of the book are a set of questions. I don’t usually ask the questions in books but this time I did. It was nice to hear Noori’s answers and take on the story.

The type of books I like best are the ones based on the Quran or Hadith. This book has both and they are quoted in the back.

Quran Hadith Islamic kids book

This book teaches some important and valuable lessons to both boys and girls. The most important aspect being that it teaches our children to live our lives following Quran and Hadith.

You can buy this book on Amazon.

You can also meet Zak again in:

Zak and His Good Intentions

Here are some other Islamic children’s books I have reviewed.

Yan’s Hajj

Nanni’s Hijab

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Natural Teething For Natural Babies

When I found out I was expecting baby number two I went into research mode. I listened to hundreds of YouTube videos whilst doing the housework and read every book I could find.

One thing that struck me was the effect of plastic on our bodies. I was told by my science teacher many years ago that estrogen from food packaging can seep into the food effecting the male hormones.

When tested in water even teethers labelled BPA free have been reported to leach BPA when in water. In some cases BPA is swapped for BPS which is just as bad.

Whether any of this is true I’m no scientist but I’m not going to take that chance when there are easily accessible alternatives. So when it comes to teething I want my baby to have natural products. Meaning no plastic teethers or medicine’s like Bonjela.

So if all these things are out what can I do?

There are many natural products out there to choose from. These are the three I personally recommend. With anything we should make sure the materials given to our children are non toxic and used safely. I will list the how’s and why’s in each section.

Wooden Bunny Ears Teether

Bunny ears teether  teething baby

Not only are these teethers, they also have lots of sensory advantages. Made of a baby safe wooden ring and cotton bunny ears. The ring is easy for small hands to grab hold of and move around practising gripping and movement skills. The wood feels smooth and warm. It’s nice for children to be given natural materials as they are all too often surrounded by man-made items.

The colourful bunny ears feel smooth and fluffy on one side with rough spots on the other. As baby touches or chews the ears they are rewarded with a crinkly sound. The ears can be easily detached and reattached for cleaning.

The baby can chew on the material or the wood which some babies find the perfect texture for biting down on. The thin circular shape means baby can easily chew at the front or back of his mouth depending on which teeth are coming through. I find some teethers are too big for little mouths and more suited to bigger kids. These can be used for any age child.

Mine prefers to chew on the wood. At home he can play and chew on it as normal. When out and about I attach it to the pram with a ribbon so it can’t get lost.

This style of teether looks classic and stylish and would make a perfect gift. They can be bought easily offline from as little as £1-£15. Try and make sure your teether isn’t coated in paint or toxic varnish and if the wood is certified Organic even better.

Iris Root Teether

Iris root teether  teething baby

This is something I had never heard of or seen until my friend brought one back from Germany for me. Iris Root teethers have been used for thousands of years in Germany and still are.

Made from the woody roots of Italian Irises the Teethers are sanded down in to smooth shapes for baby to chew. Each one has its own unique shape, colour and markings.

The root starts off hard but as baby chews, saliva makes it more soft and chewy. After a few days its easy to clean in a cup of boiled water.

Now it does look like your baby is chewing on a bone, but no-one has ever commented and if they did I really don’t care as I know it is better to use natural alternatives. I attached mine to a dummy clip from Poundland that can attach easily to a pram or car seat.

Amber Teething Bracelets

Amber Teething Bracelets  necklace teething baby

Amber teething necklaces are all the rage these days. I am seeing more and more children sporting them. My friends from all over Europe tell me they are a well-known traditional teething aid.

I prefer to use the bracelets rather than the necklaces as I feel they are much safer. The bracelets can go around the ankle and when their legs get too chubby they can wear them as bracelets. Out of sight out of mind. We do have a necklace aswell but these need to be used under supervision so he only wears it occasionally. For more information on how and why amber is good for teething and lots of other uses and sciencey bits read my blog post here.

Other Pain Relief

Since mine started getting his first two teeth he has become fussy with different food textures and has started eating less solids which are all normal signs.

He l-l-loves cucumber. He will carry quarter of a cucumber around with him all day chewing on it for some pain relief and falling asleep holding onto it. The same with carrots. I’ve found if you go to a shop and buy one small carrot they give it you for free 😉

With my daughter she went through teething easily. Talking to other Mums so did theirs. The thing we all had in common was breastfeeding. Breastmilk is known to be a pain relief for babies so if you breastfeeding or are thinking of breastfeeding it’s a win win situation.

These are my favourite teething aids. Are there any other natural teething products out there I don’t know about? Let me know in the comments section then I can try them out.

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The ladybirds' adventures

A Sensory Story With Norman The Slug With The Silly Shell

I will be the first to admit I have a slight book addiction. I just love children’s books with beautiful pictures or a great story. They are a fantastic way of teaching just about anything. There is now no space on the bookshelf so its a one in one out situation. I tried not buying books but failed. Instead I have found a solution. Buying books for other people.

I found the book Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell by Sue Hendra. I love the pictures in Sue Hendras books. They are bright bold and modern. A delight to the eyes and this one has a pink sparkly donut on the front. How could I resist. I knew a little girl who would love it. I took it home and left it on the sofa. When Noori came home she wanted to read it. We sat down too read and so many great ideas formed in my mind.

Norman the slug with the silly shell childrens book

Norman is a friendly slug who greatly admires snail shells. How he longed to have a shell of his own. He sets out to find the perfect shell.

Norman the slug with the silly shell childrens book

We decided to find the perfect shell for Norman the slug. We looked through the recycling to find his perfect shell trying out different options. We settled on a foil chocolate wrapper. We can now use our Norman for the following activities.

Norman settled for a lovely pink donut shell. Looking at his shell I knew it was time to make some donut cookies. I’m never going to make a donut so cookies are the next easiest thing.

As well as the ingredients you will need a set of circular cookie cutters.

For the icing I didn’t have any food colouring so squashed up a strawberry. The juice makes a natural light pink colour and gives it a strawberry flavour. You could use raspberries for this aswell. If you want the icing darker use some pink food colouring. I used this simple sugar cookie recipe:

Silly Shell Cookies

Preheat your oven to 180°

For the cookies:

  • 140g Icing sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 250g Butter
  • 375g Plain Flour
  1. Cream the sugar,egg yolk and butter together. Then mix in the flour.
  2. Get your hands in to make a dough consistency.
  3. Leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes. This makes the dough easier to roll and cut.
  4. After 30 minutes roll the dough out to around 3mm thick.
  5. Use a large circle cutter too cut out the shells. Then using a small circle cutter cut out the donut hole.
  6. With the left over dough and holes keep re rolling them until you can make no more shells. With what you have left make some odd shape cookies. That can be your tester.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins until a fork comes out clean.
  8. Whilst they are cooling make your icing.

For the icing :

  • 225g Icing sugar
  • 1 Egg White
  • Water
  • One red berry i.e Strawberry or raspberry.
  • Sprinkles
  1. Combine the sugar and egg white.
  2. Add your berry juice or food colouring.
  3. Use your icing to decorate. I used a spoon and dribbled it on like a donut.
  4. Add your sprinkles.

donut cookie

Here are our imperfect ones. They taste great and were quite filling. It would be fun to try all different designs and make Norman a new shell.

Food can be used to explore our senses. Get your child to feel the cookie and describe the texture the sprinkles make. Say how it smells and of course how it tastes.

As Norman’s shell looked so delicious a bird flew away with it , with Norman still attached! He got free the only way he knew how. Slime.

Children's books slime

So guess what. We just had to make slime using our Ultimate slime recipe. Slime is great for sensory play. Every kid I know loves mushing it around in their hands, feeling the coolness then warmth. The texture and smell. You can add essential oils to your slime and any small objects that could relate to the story. Feathers, snail toys ,shells be creative.

Show us your slime on social media using #ouramanahsourfutures. Here is ours elegantly shaped into a snail-shell.

slime green

He now has a passion for flying and needs to find ways to do it again.

childrens books sue hendra

We set out finding ways to help Norman fly. The first thing we tried were Norman rockets.

You will need two sizes of straws one bigger than the other. If you don’t have any straws no worries. You can take a scrap piece of paper and wrap it around in to a straw shape.

Norman Rockets

Supplies you will need:

  • A cut out of Norman
  • Your straws
  • Sticky tape
  1. Here you can see my big straw made of paper. It only needs to be short big enough to stick your Norman on. One end of the straw needs to be sealed hence the sticky tape covering the end.

Straw rocket

2. Stick Norman to the big straw with the sealed end pointed upwards.

3. Place your Norman straw on top of the small straw.

starw rocket

4. Now blow into the end of the small straw and watch Norman fly!

Before the child has their first turn ask them what they think will happen?

The next time ask them to take a small breath and blow. Then a big breath and blow. What difference does this make to how high Norman flies?

Balloon Blast Off

For another way to make Norman fly you will need:

  • Balloon
  • Straw
  • Norman
  • Tape
  • String or knitting wool (we used a shoelace)

The challenge to make Norman fly from one end of the string to the other.

  1. Tie one end of the string too a door handle or similar place.
  2. Thread the straw onto the string.
  3. Stick Norman to the top of the straw.
  4. Tie the other end of the string to somewhere at the same level as the door handle.
  5. Blow up your balloon keeping it untied .
  6. Tape the balloon to the straw.
  7. At this point ask your child what they think will happen.
  8. Let go of the balloon and watch Norman blast off.

Baloon rocket

Repeat the same thing again each time blowing the balloon too different sizes. Does the size affect the speed of Norman? Does it make him fly further?

As balloons and plastic straws are a threat to the environment and our wildlife please keep yours safe. There are many fun activities they can be used for so keep them in your craft box.

If you try any of these ideas or some of your own show us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the #ouramanahsourfutures we would love to see.

If you enjoyed our sensory story then read our others here:

A Sensory Story With Chickens Can’t See In The Dark

A Sensory Story With Peter Rabbit

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Zero Waste Swaps: Essential Machines

For me buying unpackaged food from shops is very hard. I live in a town with supermarkets on every corner. We have one bulk shop which is very expensive and as I don’t drive its hard for me to go out of town to the farmshops. I can get 80% of my fruit and vege loose and everything else I try and buy in recycleable packaging where possible.

After seriously reducing alot of my waste I noticed a pattern of things I buy that I could make myself with the help of a few machines that have now become essential for me.

Bread Maker

We used to buy one loaf of bread a week. Not much compared to other families but they still come in a plastic bag that my council won’t recycle.

On top of that I found out that bread can make your blood sugar level rise dramatically. For that reason I tried to cut down. But it left me hungry without my extra bread fix.

My parents have been making their own bread for a few years and it tastes delicious. So I decided I would make my own. I would know the exact ingredients, I would never run out and it would taste 100% better than shop bought.

The search was on for a bread machine. I tried my best to make it by hand but I failed alot. Then one glorious day I found one in a charity shop for £8. I added my very few ingredients and have never looked back. Sadly the machine isn’t great and my loaves come out all differnt shapes and sizes. I got so disheartened and bought a shop loaf. It tasted awful. After moping around for a week I got back on it and changed the recipe a bit. Now I am happy and have saved an estimate of 16 plastic bags from the bin and know I am giving my family more healthy food.

bread machine

Coffee Machine

I have been after a coffee machine for so long. I always feel quite awful after drinking instant coffee and it dosn’t taste as good as from the coffee shops. I’m sure instant coffee isn’t as healthy as freshly brewed either. So imagine my happiness when I found a coffee machine for £6.99.

Now I can have perfect coffee everyday. I don’t need to spend £2-3 on a coffee. I can make my own at home avoiding sugar sachets, small plastic milk pots, throw away spoons and takeaway cups.

I haven’t found the perfect coffee brand yet so any suggestions are welcome.

I think I may also need to purchase some coffee syrups as I have a thing for gingerbread lattes at the moment.

coffee machine

Juicer

In our house we LOVE juice. It has to be 100% and comes in plastic bottles, 4 a week. I knew we had to do something about this. Yes the bottles can be recycled but our aim is to not even put anything in the recycling.

At the same charity shop that I found my coffee machine, I also found my juicer, a thing of beauty and only cost £5. I go to my local asian shop and buy the out of date fruit. As its going in the juicer it dosn’t really matter if its going a bit squishy as it will be juiced straight away and not eaten. Its also alot cheaper. Again I know exactly what is going in my juice and knowing my family are having healthy drinks. So far I have probably saved 64 plastic bottles from recycling or the ocean. Imagine that!

juicer

So this is my short but sweet list of essential items of machinery. Is there any I have missed that makes your life easier and makes a positive effect on the environment?

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