Eco Friendly Teacher Gifts

Walking down the aisles of nearly every shop in town I see piles of Teacher Gifts. They are all very nice but I can guarantee each teacher will probably receive the same gift 2 or 3 times that year.

This got me to thinking. I am constantly trying to declutter or tidy my house. If I was a teacher, what would I do with all that stuff? How many cups can I fit in my cupboard, how many keyrings can I fit on my keys?

I have a specific theme for each of my rooms and don’t want things that don’t fit that style. Do I throw it away, donate to charity or keep it all in a giant room sized cupboard never to be seen again?

For most people this is too much but what if you care for the environment? How many things can you donate to charity or recycle? As a parent I don’t want to contribute to landfill, the plastic crisis, the recycling process or make a teacher feel guilty for discarding a gift from a child.

So as a parent what do we do? How can we show our appreciation to the person who teaches them new things and takes care of them for the majority of the day and still be eco-friendly?

One year my daughter had an OK teacher and a fabulous teaching assistant. I knew the teacher would love a box of chocolates and I knew the assistant wouldn’t appreciate them. I got her a miniature rose plant instead. I wonder if it is still alive?

She loved it and thanked me for not buying her chocolate. In this case I knew their personalities so gift buying was easy. But what if you don’t?

Here are some eco-friendly ideas. I posed the question, “What eco friendly gift would a teacher appreciate?” in a zero waste Facebook group. I got over 40 responses and these were the main points.

The Worst

Quite a few people liked the idea of homemade food, but lots didn’t as they couldn’t be sure if the environment the food was made in was hygienic.

jade-wulfraat-96023-unsplash7354294442560213729.jpg

Too many flowers. Personally a house full of flowers would be my dream, but not for many other people, plus there are a few environmental issues there aswell.

The Best

There were two options here:

Ask the teacher:

Ask the teacher what they would like. A guaranteed win.

Ask them for a classroom wish list. Lots of teachers like to receive classroom supplies i,e pens, pencils, rulers, stickers and story books. You know these will come in useful and be well used.

Ask them if they have a favourite charity and donate the money in their name.

The best one was to get all the parents to group together and buy a course for the teacher for over the holidays.

Buy Personal Gifts

One teacher said there is no need to buy her a gift. Just say Thank You. I think I would like this option best.

Resteraunt/coffee shop vouchers. Let your teacher have fun or wind down on their holidays. Buy them a reusable coffee cupto take with them.

Shopping Voucher. This way they can buy what they need and not waste it. If the voucher is for an eco-friendly shop even better .

Tea, coffee and biscuits for the staffroom. Guaranteed to be used and not wasted. Make sure the packaging is recyclable and tea bags plastic free.

unsplash.com coffee cup cappuccino

Last but not least a letter. Meaningful, heartfelt and easy to keep forever without taking up too much space. This is what I will do.

Get the child to write down one memorable thing they did that year at school and maybe a little picture.

As the parent write down all the things you think the teacher did well at.

But what if I don’t like the teacher? Do I still get them something?

The general consensus is yes. Whether you or your child didn’t like the teacher that person still took great care of your child kept them safe and taught them new things (hopefully).

Here are the opinions of a few bloggers.

As a teacher I hate getting wine. People always assume we are all drinkers. I don’t expect gifts and I do really appreciate that someone has gone to the trouble. (even if it is wine 😉 I just give it to the hubby) www.craftwithcartwright.co.uk

I think you have to be gracious even with teachers you don’t like. Our teachers are all great but I wouldn’t treat one differently if they weren’t fantastic. They all put a lot of work into our children, they deserve to be shown that you appreciate what they do.

www.dadgeek.co.uk

I would probably still give something, like a little gift card of a local coffee shop.

https://www.cosmomum.co.uk

I currently give to all teachers who help my son even if we have conflicting views at times. I normally give things like candles, stationery, gift vouchers etc. www.thebreastestnews.co.uk

I will give a card, handmade so they know it comes from the heart. I don’t like to make sure I get the best and most expensive gift, it’s not about that. X

www.mygirlsandmesite.com

My daughter’s SN class has 6 staff and I always make them all something. If I’m feeling flush I include £5 costa gift card. This year it’s crochet mandalas and my daughter will do each one a card too.

www.AutismMumma.com

For some thrifty style Teacher gift head over to ThrifDee Dubai

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Amazing Ayats : Al Hijar 15:16

We’ve not done an Amazing Ayat for a long time so this one is long overdue. Over Ramadan I discovered a brilliant app …..

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.karim.khatma

….. When you open your phone the Quran appears and you have to read it before you can do anything else. This is when I came across this beautiful Ayah: Al Hijar

15:16 وَلَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا فِي السَّمَاءِ بُرُوجًا وَزَيَّنَّاهَا لِلنَّاظِرِينَ – 15:16

And we have placed within the heaven great stars ( constellations ) and have beautified it for the observers.

So many images came into my mind. I knew I could use this to inspire Noori and make a little star project out of it.

I got planning and took out this book from the Library Stars, Galaxies and the Milky Way It looks fun with lots of amazing images but it contains alot of in depth information about stars. For this reason I’d recommended it for 10+ years. We looked at the amazing pictures and I picked out some interesting facts that Noori could easily understand as I didn’t want her to switch off.

stars galaxy and the milky way

Reading about our galaxy, nebulae and stars really makes you think Subhanallah! There is a vast space out there and we are all just small and insignificant in reality.

We read the Ayat in English and Arabic then went through the star book and picked out a few things to discuss.

Noori then painted a galaxy picture using acrylic paints, glitter and white nail varnish as we didnt have white paint for the stars.

She then wrote the Ayah out on a piece of paper and we glued it onto the painting. We will keep this in our Amazing Ayats book where we can look back at all the images she has created .

Next we did a fun experiment to show how stars are formed.

stars galaxy and the milky way

We used

  • Baking Powder/Bicarbonate of Soda
  • vinegar
  • pipette or spoon
  • eco glitter (optional)
  • Star shaped cookie cutters

I took the cookie cutters and placed them on the table saying, “Allah placed within the heavens great stars.”

Noori then spooned the baking powder into the stars and squashed it down. This represents the dust and gas being pulled together by gravity.

star science

Then she took some vinegar with the pipette and dropped it into the star and watched as the mixture exploded . The vinegar can represent the heat and chemical reactions that happen when a star is born.

star science pipette

Our pipette had lots of glitter in for some reason. If you would like to add glitter try and use eco-friendly glitter that isn’t made from tiny bits of plastic. This went into the mixture and combined with the movement from the reaction looked like a twinkling star.

We discussed that stars dont really twinkle its the movement from the Earths atmosphere that makes it look like twinkling.

See what happens if you add more and more vinegar.

After our experiment it was time for a snack. To carry on our theme we made shooting star kebabs.

fruit platter

Super duper easy. Get your child to chop whatever fruit they can manage. Pineapple can be quite hard to cut so I would advise an adult to chop that. We chopped the fruit into slices to make it easier to cut out the star shape and the grapes in half

Get your child to cut the fruit into star shapes. Thread the grapes onto the kebab stick to make the tail of the shooting star, then add your stars on top.

Fruit kebab

For a bit of vocabulary we looked in the book, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt , My Adventure field guide‘. This book is so lovely. A calming easy to understand nature guide. The beautiful illustrations encourage our children to explore the nature around them, wherever they live.

In the Ayah the word used is buroojan meaning constellations rather than stars. This page explains constellations in a detailed but easy to understand way. And any fan of the storybook will enjoy relating the familiar bear in the story to the stars in our sky.

we're going on a bear hunt

Its so fun finding ways to bring the Quran to life and help our children and ourselves really connect with it.

Will you try any of these at home?

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More Amazing Ayats:

We have also had fun learning about Surah Az-Zukruhf, Surah Al kahf and Surah Al-Anam.

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Moon Craters

I have always found the moon so interesting. It is such a beautiful ignored object in the night sky. It is there every night without fail but how often do we look up and look for it?

Most of the time its either cloudy or I can’t see it because the houses block out the sky.

There is so much to learn about the moon. How it affects our planet and the tides. How we use it as a calendar and how our bodies synchronise with it. But for our moon topic I wanted to keep it simple.

We started of by reading this book Fact Cat – The Moon

It is a very simple easy to read book great for young children, telling you lots of facts about the moon. I learnt a lot myself.

Fact Cat Moon

There is a great two page spread about the surface of the moon and how craters are formed .

Fact Cat Moon

Then we did this simple hands on experiment about how craters were made.

The aim is to make moon dust. However we only had mustard oil which I made the mistake of using. Hence our yellow stodgy moon in the photos.

This is great for young and older children alike as cups are used to measure  rather than scales meaning there are no big numbers to read if the child doesn’t know their numbers yet.

Try and let your children gather all the things needed and measure them out themselves with guidance.

They can have fun going outside to  search for different size and shape rocks.

This is also great for sensory play as the child can mix the ingredients with their hands.

Mix

With help from the book explain to the child what a meteor is and how the craters in the moon were created by the meteors hitting the moon’s surface.

You will need:

  • Flour
  • Baby Oil
  • Circular Cake Tin
  • Rocks
  1. Measure 4 cups of flour and put it in the cake tin.
  2. Measure 1/2 cup of baby oil.
  3. Mix them together using your hands until well combined.
  4. Now gently drop a rock into the mixture. Whats happens?
  5. Throw the rock into the mixture. Observe what happens?
  6. From a distance throw the rock in the mixture. Talk about what has happened?

Pan floor

The different distances and forces should make deep craters and shallow craters. If you have a toy figurine you could make footprints on the moon like the astronaughts made in real life!

Moon Craters

To top it off we watched this video about Moon phases. I like to watch videos as I know children love watching youtube and if they were not listening the first time they sure will this time.

We had lots of fun doing this activity. If you can do it outside even better as it can get a bit messy.

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Do you love the moon but never look at it ?

Do you know any good moon related books I should read?

Let me know in the comments below and if you liked the post please share 🧡

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Plastic Free Swaps : Water Bottles for the Family

Just in time for Environmental Day 5th June 2018 I wanted to share with you some of my plastic free alternative water bottles. Even babies can go plastic free out and about with a bit of searching.

Not only better for our planet but better for our health and pocket. I am forever dropping my water bottles on the floor causing them to break. With stainless they will get a scratch at the most. Asking for recommendations online people usually come up with the same brands and shops that cost a fortune making being environmentally friendly unaffordable for some people. As a bit of a penny pincher I want to assure you that is not true. My recommendations all come to under £15 and are long lasting.

Munchkin – Miracle

When Noori was little she had a few plastic cups. She has always kept a Tommie Tippee sippy cup that we got free from Sure Start at Grandma’s. As the baby got older he started using it and I soon needed a sippy cup for outside.

I looked at my options and they all involved plastic which I didn’t want for my baby boy. Sometimes a friend would give him a drink from a Munchkin 360° Miracle cup. They are ingenious. The baby can drink out of it as if he was drinking out of a real cup therefore learning how to drink properly not suck from a straw. The drink can come out of any part and the water cannot tip out or escape.

After asking for recommendations in a Zero Waste Facebook Group a stainless steel version was suggested. The Miracle cup is beautiful and nearly everyone comments on it. I was worried it would get damaged easily but after 6 months of throwing on a stone floor there are a only few scratches. No big dents like I imagined. However I know this will last a long time and I can get my parents to shine it up if need be.

I could not find it in any stores, they are available in some branches of Boots just not mine. Instead I bought it online.

It is twice as much as the plastic version but I know it will last and it looks stylish.

  • Leak Proof
  • Plastic Free
  • Easy to clean
  • Dentist Approved
  • Durable
  • Longlasting
  • BPA free

Jerry Bottle – Pure

stainless water bottle

In the first half of the school year Noori went through 3 plastic water bottles. I vowed the next time one broke I would buy a stainless steel one. I figured that a stainless bottle may be twice as expensive as a plastic one but I would end up buying so many breakable plastic ones compared to a long lasting stainless one that over time it would work out cheaper.

I searched online and came across Jerry Bottle. The company sells beautiful simple stainless steel water bottles. There are no plastic or silicone bits meaning it is super duper easy to clean and won’t become moudly. The best part all profits go to The Waterfall charity. The coordinates of the village you have helped are engraved on the bottom of the bottle. We discovered a group of islands we didn’t know existed.

The bottles come in different sizes. As Noori dosn’t drink alot and can easily refill her bottle at school we bought the smallest bottle 550ml.

It arrived in a recylable cardboard box and old newspaper. I thought there was nothing inside. There was no weight there at all. But there was. The bottle is super light perfect for a child to carry around by its handle. When it is full of water it is still lighter than your average bottle. The water feels fresh and cold even after a few hours.

  • Plastic free
  • Brushed Steel
  • Fully metal no other materials
  • Easy to clean
  • Stylish
  • Profits to charity
  • Coordinates make a nice feature

Reduce -Hydro Pro

stainless water bottle

I always thought I was saving the planet by reusing a plastic water bottle. Then after breaking them and buying more and more I realised I’m still adding to the problem. It was my turn to go stainless.

I wasn’t really looking as I was still using my old broken lided one. It still worked as long as it wasn’t full or at a slight angle. As I was looking for something in Home Bargains I saw lovely picnic section. I didn’t need anything but it was nice to look at the pretty bee prints.

There it was my Reduce water bottle. The perfect size for me, who walks around outside for hours a day. I tried it in the pram for size, it fit. And the price? £3.99! You can also buy them on Amazon if your store has run out.

It is a bright metallic purple colour, with an easy to wash lid.

After going back to work from Maternity leave I took it with me. I used to get water from the machine meaning I went through at least 3 plastic cups a day with no thought. Now I use none and its big enough to last me my shift. I have noticed that before a few people brought coffee cups to keep their drinks warm outside. Now alot of people bring their own water bottles too. I am quite impressed.

  • Plastic free
  • Bright and colourful
  • Good size
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to clean

Have you taken any steps towards reducing your plastic waste?

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For more ways to reduce your waste take a look at

Zero Waste Swaps – Birthday Edition

Zero Waste Swaps – Essential Machines

Zero Waste Inspirations from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Some posts be other wonderful bloggers,

Environmental Day Celebrations as a Family – Alizehmysoul

Why Fashion Matters – Cafe Catterpillar

Let’s make everyday World Environment Day – Lilac Prose

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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.

wheels1699395246324232545.jpg

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.

toy ball1124506373798837158..jpg

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 5268535942477631186..jpg

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 Monday 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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Pinterest First Ramadan

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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***This post contains affiliate links to companies that I reccomend***

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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