All posts by ouramanahsourfutures

About ouramanahsourfutures

Asalamalaykum. I'm a mother of 2 based in the UK. I have a daughter and a newborn son. I have started this Blog to write about my experiences as a mother 'trying' to educate my daughter and raise my newborn in a natural, zero waste lifestyle. I hope we can inspire each other and share ideas in a helpful way. Please feel free to comment on my post and lets educate each other :)

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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***This post contains affiliate links to companies that I recommend. This book was kindly given to me to review. All opinions are my own***

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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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Teething baby theethers natural baby

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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?

For more Zero Waste inspiration read Zero Waste Swaps #1

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When You’re Smiling -Learning the Smiling Dua

Last week we had so much fun learning the Dua for when it rains, I had to find another small Dua to learn.

A few years ago I came across the Dua for when we see someone smiling and made this little frame. As I am a perfectionist I dumped it in the back of a cupboard never to be seen again because I don’t like the writing.

I went back in the cupboard, took it out and displayed it on the fireplace

Smiling Dua

What a beautiful Dua to make for someone you see smiling whether you know them or not. It leaves you feeling all happy and warm inside.

This Dua was made for the Prophet Muhammed (SAW).

Hadith
Sunnah.com

I showed the frame to Noori and we discussed the Hadith, the Dua and how smiling is form of charity. If we give someone a beautiful smile they will feel happy and that could be the first time they smiled today. Also you will be rewarded from Allah and maybe rewarded with a smile back from that person.

Then we learned the Dua. I said the Dua over the day and got Noori too repeat it after me.

The next day we made some smiley face Emoji biscuits. I had bought some really boring rich tea style biscuits the day before. So we gave them a much-needed make over. With yellow icing, raisins for eyes and smiley mouths. Whilst doing this activity we kept repeating the Dua over and over.

Emoji Cookie

A few days later we went to the park after school and had one of our biscuits as a snack. Again we repeated the Dua.

Emoji bitten

When we got home we did some smiley face emoji maths.

This time Noori is learning her 7 times tables so I took the opportunity to incorporate maths and Duas with physical activity.

I put her Smiley Emoji cushion in the middle of the floor. On her Emoji notepaper I wrote the 7 times table. I got Noori to put them in the correct order around the Emoji face.

Emoji Maths

As they were too close to the cushion she spread them around the room. I asked her a question about the 7 times tables. She jumped on the answer and then on to the Emoji. When she landed on the Emoji she had to say the Dua.

I find this method a really effective way of memorizing Duas and times tables.

I’m hoping after reading this next time you see a smiley face Emoji you will connect it to this short but sweet Dua. And everytime you see someone smiling you will make this Dua for them and spread a bit of happiness around 😁😊☺🙂

Read how we learned the Dua for when its Raining here.

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Destroying The One Size Fits All Sleeping Myth

sleep training baby sleep co sleep

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I am writing this for all the Mummies who like me worry when I hear of other peoples little angels who sleep in their own bed, in their own room all night long . And just to assure you I know of absolutely no babies like that.

I just read a question on a group ‘How do you get a 9 month old to self soothe?’ i.e sleep through the night. My midwife has also questioned me about this. To be honest both times I was seriously shocked. I had no idea a 9 month old should sleep through the night. None of my children have ever done that.

I started getting worried. What am I doing? Am I doing this whole thing wrong? Should my baby sleep through the night? Am I setting myself up for a hard future?

Then the lightbulb moment ,

“Why do we as Mums pressure ourselves to make our children and ourselves perfect sleepers?”.

Is that even a real thing?

When Noori was little we did the whole crying it out thing and it worked, until the people downstairs started complaining.

Now I could never let a baby cry it out. They cry for a reason and thats usually because they love their parent and want to feel safe and close to them. How could I see a mini human crying in distress and just leave them alone. We would never do that to an adult so why do that to an innocent child.

When we got our own house it didn’t matter but by then Noori had a bad relationship with sleep and her Dad said she could sleep in with us. Now she is 8 and after years of bribery and room decoration she still tells me how lonely she is in her own room and I feel so bad leaving her alone when her baby brother is next to me in her former place.

As the first child she gets experimented on and none of the methods have worked, through my own fault.

With this baby I vowed we would have a great bedtime routine. He would always sleep in his cot upstairs, even at naptime. How wrong I was.

I was so lucky to give birth in the midwife led birthing unit in my hospital. Part of the luxury was having a private room with double bed. (Well not so private as nurses came in and out all the time). I put baby in the very nice Mama’s and Papas crib. I didn’t like the fact he was far away from me and was worried about him . How would I know if he was OK?

How would I know he was breathing?

How could I know what was happening if he wasn’t next to me?

By the way I’m blind as a bat without my glasses on so that didn’t help matters.

Then during the early hours he woke up and instinctively I fed him lying down. Baby, my Husband and I slept soundly. The nurse walked in and didn’t bat an eyelid at a newborn baby sleeping next to his Mama.

As I am writing this I am realising how natural that sounds. We had been sleeping next to each other for 9 months. As soon as He was born I picked him up and he was in my arms for 30 minutes. The only person who touched him was the midwife putting a blanket on him. Why suddenly should we be separated?

For practical reasons I always have my baby in a baby carrier on the school run. People ask me why? Don’t you have a pram? I have given up explaining and just say he’s been hugging Mummy since he was born and thats true.

Fast forward to coming home. After just giving birth and having separated tummy muscles, sitting up at night too breastfeed a baby and put him back in his cot was so uncomfortable. I resorted to lying down feeding as that was the only comfortable way and soon I was getting a relaxing sleep!! Yay.

Every morning I get to wake up with a smiley chubby cheek baby slapping my face.

Sometimes we have a routine and sometimes I need to be reminded to stick to it.

So this is our routine ( sometimes):

At 8PM we:

Read a story

Say its time to sleep

Say the sleeping Dua

3 Quls

And Surah Mulk.

Feed baby to sleep.

He starts off in his cot. Then wakes up 2-3 times a night for a feed. By this point I’m too tired for messing around so keep him in the bed with us.

baby cot cradle

As long as you and you partner haven’t smoked, drank alcohol, been on medication or heavy sleepers it is pretty much safe to co sleep. Just make sure your baby is placed with their head higher than yours and there are no pillows or other bedding around them.

I read that in some African cultures, it is normal to wake up several times a night to feed a baby or be on guard to watch out for wild animals. They don’t have a bad relationship with sleep like we do, being told we have to get this many hours of sleep, the numbers changing every year. I used to get so angry if my sleep was interrupted. Of course if you are going to work in the morning its a different story, but if you are on maternity leave or a full time Mum we don’t need to have this attitude.

If my baby wakes up crying who am I to deny him a feed. Breastmilk not only fills their tummies but is also a pain relief. If baby wakes up in pain from teething imagine how happy he will be for that pain relief.

Then the good news. Breastfeeding a baby every 4 hours a day and night up to 6 months can be a form of contraception called LAM contraception. You can read more about it at Babycentre. So if my baby wants feeding every few hours who am I to complain?

If my babies want to feel safe and warm sleeping next to their Mummy and Papa can I deny them that?

Every family is different. I know people who put their babies in a separate room at 3 months. Families who’s babies sleep in a cot or a side sleeper. I know parents who have their older kids in their own beds next to theirs. There is no one set rule or ideal for sleeping.

So lets destroy this one size fits all sleeping myth.

As long as we are all happy and sleeping, waking up, drinking milk or midnight feasts, lets all be proudly, unashamedly imperfect. And when someone asks you how your baby sleeps tell them the truth and dispell a few sleeping myths.

What is your bedtime routine? Do you even have one? Drop me a comment and bust these sleeping myths ❤

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Yan’s Hajj- Book review

I’ll admit it, I’m a judge a book by its cover type. This book from Kube publishing drew me in straight away. The cover is bright, with soft watercolour style illustrations letting you know it will be a nice, smiley, warm read with nothing bad happening.

The Book

At first glance there looks nothing Islamic about this book , which to me is a bonus. All too often we see the same view of Islam and its time for something different to make our children really connect.

This book is from a different prospective. A man who could be of any race or religion who looks like a farmer. Coming from a city and not well-travelled in Muslim countries its is not what I would expect a Muslim to look like. And I would never associate any Muslims I know with the countryside.

It is very important to show children that Islam is for everyone not one race. And Islam is about a lifestyle not just about going to madrassah and forgetting about it at home.

Most kids books involve farm animals in one way or the other. So it is nice to see an Islamic book sharing this theme.

Look at the smiley faces and bright sunflowers.

When we look closely we can see the Kaaba giving us a clue about the storyline.

Then of course we have the title ‘Yans Hajj’ telling us what it’s about.

The Author could have chosen a more commonly used Muslim name but chose Yan. To me that name could be from anywhere but it sounds very Chinese. After thinking bout this my curious mind went into overdrive and I emailed a few questions to the Author. Her answers are beautiful and in a way unexpected.

I asked the Author Fawzia Gilani why she chose the name Yan?

Two reasons –

One – it was a way to give visibility to converts to Islam. We rarely have children’s stories that show westerners coming to Islam and so by naming this particular character Yan it was a way to project inclusiveness.
Two – my father would tell us the stories of the prophets of God when we were young as bedtime stories. He told the stories in such a vivid and grand way that the prophets became my childhood heroes. I thought they were magnificent.and I loved them so much.One of my favourite messengers was John peace be upon him. For me Yan is just another way of saying John or Yahya.I named this character after John peace be upon him because like John, Yan is kind and tender hearted.

What country is the book set in?

Yan is a Bulgarian variant of John – in Arabic Yahya. So the story is set in Europe where this name is used.

As a revert I find this wonderful. The majority of reverts I know are from all over Europe.

At my daughters school the white Muslims are seen to be non muslim and have a hard time proving their religion . Showing European Muslims in books is something we all need to see more of for both children and adults.

The story is about Yan’s strive to complete Hajj.

Everyday Yan works hard on his farm to make money to survive and save for Hajj. When he sets off he always comes across a people who could use the money more than him. He comes across some children with no school and builds it up for them again.

The next time he has saved enough he comes across some people with no Masjid. So with his own sweat and tears he builds them a beautiful clean white Masjid.

Imagine the Barakah in this action reported in this Hadith.

Uthman ibn Affan reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, then Allah will build for him a house like it in Paradise.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 439, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 533

Yan lived in a simple small house, by building this Masjid imagine what his house in Jannah will look like.

After saving up and attempting Hajj he always found a people more in need including a slave boy which he freed. He took care of him and brought him up in a good way.

Eventually with a little kindness from those he helped , his wish to do Hajj was met.

Lessons From the Book

Yan teaches us patience and perseverance by working hard and saving up for Hajj.

Yan lives a simple , honest ,happy life with his only wish to complete Hajj. How many of us think like this?

We go to work to keep a nice house, drive a nice car, have nice clothes and keep up appearances. Will we ever be able to save enough for Hajj? Or will we only go when we are old , retired and have spare time?

This book can teach children to have this aim in life. It is important we don’t just say Yan did this Yan did that. We need to make our kids relate it to themselves.

Therefore we did a little activity. I re-read the book again and Noori insisted on telling it me in her own words. I was impressed that she understood the little boy was a servant ( slave). I like the way the book addresses such a dark, serious subject in a child friendly way , letting you skim over it or turn it into a big conversation

We went through the book looking at the pictures. She decided that Yan was poor , he had a small house, simple clothes, no watch or mobile. The first time he walked to Hajj and the second he went by horse. I pointed out that Yan could have used his Hajj money to buy a big house or a nice car but then He would have no money for Hajj. I told her that Yan lives in Bulgaria and showed it her on the map. We looked how long it would take for him to walk to Hajj 35 days!

He may not have had all these material things but Allah had blessed him with so many opportunities to do good deeds. Even small things that aren’t mentioned in the the story but shown in the pictures. Can you guess which Hadith this picture relates to?

I am in awe of Yans persistence on going to Hajj and think we should learn a lesson from it and encourage our children to do the same. So Noori made a savings jar for her Brother and herself. We will put one pound every month for both of them in the jar and when they are old enough and before they start saving for a car or getting in debt to a mortgage they can do Hajj Inshallah.

We got a big jar and Noori decorated it with her colourful cellotapes.

My Thoughts on the Book

I would like to know why Yan has no wife or why she isn’t mentioned?

I usually don’t read Questions at the end of books but I think they are important in Islamic books. They are a great way of discussing the important and answering any questions your child may have. So I would like to see them in this book.

Where can I Buy This Book!!!

If you would like to add this wonderful book to your collection you can buy it online from:

Kube Publishing

Amazon

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***This book was give to me for free in exchange for an honest review expressing all my own opinions. This review also contains affiliate links. For more info read my About page***

It’s Raining,It’s Pouring: Learning the Rain Dua.

Learning and teaching Duas is for me a laborious task and is not something I enjoy. We have learned the essential everyday Duas. I have stuck them all around my house in the appropriate places and we learn them as we go along our everyday lives as I find this the easiest way to teach them and I feel the most relevant.

(If you would like to print a lovely set of Dua cards you can get them free at And Then She Said)

Last night I was reading the book Let’s remember Allah’s daily blessings when I came across the Dua for when it is raining.

Dua for when its raining

For those of you that follow us on Instagram and Facebook you will know how excited I was that I memorized it in 5 minutes. I love how it is like a short rhyme and easy for just about anyone to remember. In this part of the UK we can use this Dua frequently and use it to remember Allah.

I knew this would be super easy for Noori to learn and we may spark some enthusiasm about learning Duas again.

This spurred me on and I came up with a few rainy ideas to make learning the dua fun, and learning a bit of science and maths at the same time.

The first thing we did is read the Dua, its meaning in English and that we should say it when it rains.

Splish Splash Splosh front cover

We then read a book about water called Splish Splash Splosh by Wonderwise. This comes in a set of books on various subjects. They are set out in a fun style with charming, friendly illustrations. The child will learn so much information about the world without realising. Each book has a page of experiments at the back. I can’t recommend them enough.

I chose this book as I knew it talked about rain, so we read it and everytime the word rain was mentioned I got her to repeat the Dua.

Splish Splash Splosh

This page explains about how rain is formed in rainclouds and I knew the perfect raincloud experiment.

You will need:

  • A clear glass of water
  • Blue food colouring mixed in a separate glass of water
  • A thin sponge (I cut up an old one)
  • A pippet or teaspoon
  1. Put your glass of clear water, glass of blue (or in my case green) water on a surface you don’t mind getting dirty.
  2. Get your Cloud (sponge) and make it fly through the air from the sea where it was formed , inland onto the top of your glass of clear water.
  3. Now using your pippet or spoon start adding drops of your blue water. Eventually your raincloud (sponge) will become so full of water it will Burst open and all the rain (blue food colouring) will start to fall .
  4. As the rain starts to fall say your Rain Dua.

rain experiment

This is a great visual way to show how rainclouds produce rain and keeps the kids quiet as they do the experiment observing the colours moving around in the water.

After that we played a fun maths game which Noori loved.

In keeping with the rain theme I found some unreusable old wrapping paper and made it into puddle shapes. I then got some scrap paper , wrote random numbers and spread them out on the floor. I didn’t stick the numbers on because in the future I can use the numbers and puddles for different things.

Puddle maths

The challenge was to ask Noori multiplication sums and she had to jump on the correct answer. Each time she said the answer she then had to repeat the Dua. I made sure some of the answers were far apart meaning she had to jump further making it more challenging and fun.

At one point I asked her how rain can be beneficial? She told me we need rain for drinking, then listed a bunch of animals and plants that drink water. Then everytime she jumped on a new puddle she decided to tell me the maths answer, the Dua and something that can benefit from the rain, showing an understanding of what the Dua means.

Puddle maths

When I could think of no more multiplications, I asked some addition and subtraction.

This activity can easily be adapted for all ages. For children who are learning numbers , you can shout out a number for them too jump on. Making sure they repeat the Dua each time.

I hope by learning in this style that Noori will always remember having fun whilst learning about her Deen rather than it being a task or chore.

For more Duas to learn pop over to Muslim Mother Source where she has written 5 duas that are really easy to learn if you are not able to read Arabic. There is also a link to a book Hisnul Muslim which contains many Duas for many occasions.

Jeddah Momhas written a great piece explaining the importance of teaching our kids Duas and why we should. She has included some easy ways to do this.

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Raining Dua

Allah’s Names- Al- Ali , Al-Al’aa

Rand4design
Al Ali by Rand4Design

Using our AllahsNames.net book we looked at the names Al-Ali, and Al-Al’aa. We learnt the meanings of the names and found them in the Quran. Both in English and Arabic.

We discussed the meanings and I then wrote them out in Noori’s flowers colouring book. I usually let her do it but for some reason that I can’t remember I did it. Baby brain is real.

Using our Thinkernation Arabic spell and learn Noori tried spelling out and forming the words , for a bit of Arabic practise.

As both the names translate as high we moved on to some height activites to reinforce the memorization of the word.

Firstly we did a building challenge using stones. We could have used a number of objects but stones are more of a challenge. Each stone has a unique shape meaning they have to be carefully balanced.

Stones

Stones are a great Montessori resource as they are natural sensory objects . Each stone has a different shape, weight and texture. They make different sounds and come in different colours and shades.

The challenge was to see who could make a high pile of stones and the highest pile of stones.

Here is Noori’s. We measured against a toy truck. Hers was high. Like Allahs name Al-Ali the High.

Here is mine the highest like Al Al’aa Allahs name the highest.

I have found this word association works. For Allahs name Al Awal Al Akhir we did an ice experiment. Now everytime we see ice I remind her of the experiment and the name of Allah we were learning about.

Everytime she see stones I can remind her of our height challenge and mention Al Ali , Al Ala.

The next day we made a height chart. I thought it would be interesting to compare the height of animals. I had made some Arabic flashcards earlier about animals.

There was a deer , a young boy ,frog, butterfly, mouse and spider. I googled the heights of these animals and we measured them using a tape measure. Surprisingly a deer was 150cm. We stuck the deer on the door frame at 150cm. We then stuck all the other animals at their heights. And Nooris for comparison (hers is the blue tack).It was nice for her to compare her height to different animals.

Animal heights

This is the best photo I could take but you get the idea.

We said that Noori is High like Allah’s name Al-Ali means high. A deer is Highest like Allahs name Al-Ala means Highest.

We went on a park walk some days later and saw some birds making a nest. I said that bird is really high. And then asked her the name of Allah that means high and the name that means highest.

As it says in the Quran:

And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.

Quran 13:3

We can notice all these things around us and connect them back to the activities and remember the names of Allah.

I hope you enjoyed this read and if you want more you can read how we learned the names:

Allah- The Greatest Name

As-Sami

Al-Awaal , Al Akhir

Ar-Rab

As-Salaam

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Baby Fish Fingers Two Ways.

Before we get on to the recipe I’d like to share a bit of news. There is a new bloggers campaign called #nowastewithin. Created by The Food Brood who were concerned about the ammount of food waste in the blogging industry. This is the pledge that I am Happy to commit to.

“I promise that no food waste was created by the development, cooking, styling and photographing of this recipe and that, where it wasn’t possible for me to enjoy it myself, I have redistributed, repurposed, retained or recycled the food.”

Wherever you see the symbol you will know that the blogger has taken the pledge.

So on with the recipe. Now Abdi is 7 months old we are well into the whole baby led weaning. He especially loves bread as he can hold it and its easy to eat.

The other night Noori really wanted vegetable fingers and we gave some to Abdi who wolfed it down. I realised this could be a great way of getting more fish into his diet.

I could go out and buy a packet of fish fingers but I have no idea what ingredients or nasties there are in there and it means unnecessary packaging. I can make them myself with very few ingredients and zero packaging ending up in landfill.

As I had bought a big fillet of fish I made two different flavours and froze them. I bought my fish from the butchers who only stock Cod and Coley. I chose the Coley as its more sustainable and 3 times cheaper costing me £1.27.

To make both recipes you will need:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 3 or 4 small potatoes
  • one carrot
  • a handfull of peas
  • a handfull of broccolli and cauliflower
  • A fillet of fish

The first thing I did was chop all the vegetables into chunks then steamed them with the fish to lock in all those vitamins.

Steamer

In the meantime I toasted the bread to make it dry out. When cooled I whizzed it into breadcrumbs in the food processer. If you have a bread machine this is a great way to use up the end piece with the hole in .

Toast

  1. When the vege and fish are steamed blitz the fish, half the potatoes, brocolli and cauliflower in a blender.
  • fish n vege
  • 2. Scoop it out into a dish and do the same with the remaining potatoes , fish, peas and carrots.

Dishes

3. Take one mixture and pat it down into an even square shape. Cut the mixture into finger shapes a bit smaller than your average fish finger.

4. Dip the mixture into the breadcrumbs.

5. Do the same with the other mixture.

6. Grill a few under the oven until golden brown.

7. The rest can be frozen for another day.

I decided not to use egg to stick the breadcrumbs and it worked perfectly without.

Considering there are no herbs, salt or other types of favouring these are still tasty for older children and adults alike.

fish fingers

So here you have a tasty, easy to eat fish finger containing no nasties and no packaging ending up in the bin.

This is the only waste this recipe makes which can be easily composted.

For more baby food recipes read Baby’s 1st Food- Avacado and Turnip and for moving on to textures Baby Weaning- Textures.

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