Category Archives: Parenting

Around The World : Croatia

After learning about the continents, world maps and where we live we have moved on to learning about individual countries. Our first: Croatia

Day 1- We looked at our world map and found England where we live. We located Europe and found Croatia. We looked at the seas and the countries surrounding it.

Day 2 – On an A4 paper I wrote out some questions which when answered would make a Croatia fact file. At the top Noori drew the Croatian flag. I let her use the laptop so she could find all the answers to the questions I had asked. My aim is to write a recipe on the back and add it to Noori’s recipe book.

Croatian Flag fact file

Day 3- Some days earlier we went on a countryside walk and found a giant cooking apple.

Green cooking apple

I used this as an opportunity to find a Croatian apple dish. This is exactly what I typed into google. After finding numerous recipes for Croatain apple pie I could find no answer to what the Croatians call this dish. So we will call it Croatian Apple Slice as this is most fitting for the traditional dish.

After going through 5 or 6 recipes I found one that didn’t include rum. Wether this makes it less traditional I dont know but here goes.

Croatian Apple Slice

Pastry

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 150g margarine
  • 150g sugar
  • 350g Plain flour
  • 1stp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 lemon zest and juice

Filling

  • 5 apples
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1stp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar

For The Pastry

  1. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  2. Mix togther the flour, baking powder, lemon juice and zest, plus the vanilla extract.
  3. When the mixture is crumbly knead it togther and make a big dough ball.
  4. Let it rest in the fridge whilst you carry on with the filling.

For the filling

1.Peel your apples and chop or grate them into small pieces.

2. Mix with the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract and let them sit.

Meanwhile break your dough in half. Roll roll out one half and place it into a square tin.

Spread your apple mixture evenly ontop.

Do the same with your second dough ball and lie it ontop of the Apple mixture. You can add some fancy designs or keep it plain

Bake in the oven at 180°c for around 30 minutes until golden brown.

When done slice them into portions.

The Apple Slice was delicious. So much so I didn’t get a chance to take a nice photo.

Day 4 – We listened to the Croatian national anthem and sang along which was a good laugh.

The Quran tells us:

Do you know any Croatian recipes or some good apple ones?

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Hands On, World Geography For Kids

I can go just about anywhere and become completely lost. Luckily for me my Noori has always had the ability to find her way back from anywhere.

With this in mind I’m quite shocked that she thinks London and Manchester are completely different countries. While playing different board games she always get stuck on the Geography questions. To be honest so do I.

The only thing I remember learning in geography at school was about volcanoes. Here was a classroom full of students eager to learn about the world, but instead learning about habitats, rocks and weather systems. Important things to learn about, but we all wanted to know about countries, the people,the cultures,the food. Needless to say at high school I chose History over Geography (maybe this is why I missed the good stuff). And it looks as thought Noori’s schooling is going the same way.

This is why I have taken it upon myself to teach her some good old fashioned geography, using games, quizzes, a compass, maps, holidays, books and food.

When I’d had enough of trying to explain Blackpool is 20 minutes drive rather than a 6 hour plane journey I went and bought a map of the UK.

Maps

We had a look at where we live and what is around us, including the Irish Sea (new fun fact for me).

I pointed out England, Ireland,Scotland and Wales and that some of them are different countries but we don’t need to cross the sea to get there.

Too make it more personal I showed her where her friends and family live, where her Grandparents are on holiday and where we have been on holiday. I then asked her to point to different places on the map .

We then looked at the world map and saw where we live in the world, where the family are from, where they live, where friends live, where her friends parents are from and where her Grandparents are on holiday.

Self Map

It’s all well and good to teach our kids these things about the world but they will only understand if the understand their place in the world. For this we made a self map. Not so glamourous as you can see, but it serves its purpose.

Self Map geography

You will need 6 pieces of paper gradually getting bigger. We just used scrap paper. Starting with the smallest piece to the biggest, write My House,In the County, in the city , In the country, on the continent, on the planet.

Bind these together and have your child fill in the answers. Have a map besides you to explain each part and point it out on the map. You can use Google maps to find your house, a map of your country, a world map and a space map if you don’t have the physical maps.

Compass

To find our way around a map we needed to know about compasses. I drew a simple compass North, West ,South and East on a scrap paper. I had her memorize where each point was using the poem that I was taught at school,

Never (North)

Eat (East)

Shredded (South)

Wheat (West)

I downloaded a compass on my phone and we worked out which directions our neighbours lived at and if we keep going North we will get to Scotland.

Continents

I have read that we should teach about the continents before individual countries.

We watched this nice video on YouTube.

I also found this useful book The Fact Cat – Equator. The first page shows the continents. We looked at the page and discussed it. I learned a few new things myself. I then showed Noori the world map and explained that all of the continents contain countries.

geography books Europe Equator

Noori ran upstairs and grabbed her DK- Around the World game . It is a bit like snakes and ladders. The ladders are planes that take you further North and the snakes are things like miss a turn to watch penguins in Antarctica. I hadn’t noticed the map showed the continents. We played it making a point to say which continent we landed on.

DK around the world board game

Equator

To explain the equator I used the same Fact Cat – Equator book. The book also explains about the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

fact cat hemisphere

Europe

I chose to learn about Europe first as that is where we live. We read the book Introducing Europe and looked for it on the map.

Summarising

To make sure Noori understands and remembers all that she has learned I made a continent puzzle. I took the world map, traced around all the continents and cut them out. She then placed all the pieces onto the map in the correct place and labeled them. I then asked her to point out the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and where the Equator is.

world map continents

Continent Cookies

As my Noori is a total foodie it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t do a baking session with a geography twist.

We made simple vanilla cookies. To make the dough into continent shapes we used the cut out paper continent as a guide. We used Africa, South America and Australia as they made the best cookie shapes.

I was going to show you all a beautiful photo of our continent cookies but they got eaten before I had the chance.

Travel Quiz Cards

The game that sparked this whole topic was our Usborne Travel Quiz Cards. These brightly illustrated cards come in a small pack with 4 answer cards. Each card has 20 questions. You can invent your own game with them. We each took a card and asked each other the questions using the world map to help us. Whoever got more than 3 answers wrong lost the card. Whoever has the most cards in the end wins.

maps quiz Usborne

Playing this game showed us how little we know about geography. We have already learned so much from playing the game once or twice.

Now we have finished learning about the continents we will learn about a country a week Inshallah, so stay tuned.

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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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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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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

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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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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My Tops Books of 2017

As a self confessed book addict I thought I’d share some of my favourite recommendations with you all. I do read adult books but it takes me about 6 months to finish one. I read childrens books with my daughter everyday .They are visually appealing and we both learn from them.

Most of the books I buy are from Charity shops else my addiction could cost me a fortune. However I can’t find Islamic books there so don’t mind spending a bit extra online.

In 2017 I was pregant, working a 60 hour week and then a new Mum so I didn’t have time to read much. The fact I read these books shows they are worth the read.

Islamic Education kids

Tajweed Untangled-Learning Roots

Tajweed Untangled Learning Roots

For the past few years I have been attending in depth tajweed lessons once a week. We are learning to read the Uthmani script Quran. I couldn’t find any books to use to teach my daughter the Quran in Uthmani script so I resorted to teaching her straight from the Quran until I found Tajweed Untangled.

Like everything from learning roots the text and layout if the books is fresh and modern making it easier to learn from.

The book goes from in depth learning of the Makarij to all the many rules. For this reason it is not for beginners. You will need to know your Arabic letters and how to read sentences.

Each section Starts with Study, reflect, rule, test and practise.

Tajweed Untangled Learning Roots

I use this to teach my daughter with help from my teachers if I get stuck. However I don’t feel it is aimed specifically at children. I like to go through it myself and make sure I am using the rules properly.

Baby books

Noisy Farm– Little Tiger Kids

Noisy Farm

I recieved this board book in our 3 months Bookstart Bookbag. I was shocked to find such a quality book inside. It is chunky, durable and easy for baby to practise page turning.

I am learning about the Montessori approach to learning so have gone through all our books removing the fairies, witches and unicorns as they don’t sit right with me. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to explain that witches can’t really to do magic or if unicorns are real. Back in the day unicorns had wings. Where have they disappeared too?

So I’m concentrating on books with real scenarios and collecting more books with real pictures.

Noisy Farm

This book is full of real pictures of farm animals that a child may come across on real life country walk.

Each page has a description of the animal and makes the animal sound. My 7 month old does not understand the sounds. He presses it then looks at me to see if I’m doing it. Its so cute to watch his reactions.

Childrens fiction

Ava Twist Scientist– Andrea Beaty

Ada Twist scientist

I think Noori likes this book, but not as much as me.

The story of a curious little girl who wants to know the answers to everything. She uses science to aid her as her family observe in wonder and sometimes dismay.

There is so much to take from this book.

Perserverence

Questioning

Solutions

Female scientists

Parenting.

This is my favourite book quote of all time.

Ada Twist scientist

I think this is the ultimate parenting goal. To observe your kids passions and do everything to help them along.

I want my daughter to love every race on this planet and respect every religion. So its important that this book is centred around an African American family. Showing positive educated people, not the disgusting stereotypes we see on TV.

Childrens non fiction

Usborne Books -Understanding your body.

This is an old book but you can buy the more modern version. I like Usborne Books as they are educational and fun too read.

The book tells children (and adults) all you need to know about your body from bones to neurones.

We read one page every night for nearly one year. Each page has the facts a comic and a fun fast experiment. I was impressed by this page.

It describes mental illness in a child friendly way making it easy to talk about to your child. It is surprising how much this subject can come up in everyday converstation. So having the knowledge makes it easier to explain certain peoples behaviours.

Adult fiction

Half of a yellow sun– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I have two favourite books and this is one of them. I have know alot of Nigerians in my life but never knew about the civil War. It’s funny how we only learn about our own countries at school and know nothing about the world. After reading this book I vowed to only read books about foreign places to learn about the world.

The story is set in 1960’s Nigeria before the civil war. It skips between wartime and pre war and is centred around 3 main characters.

You fall in Love with the chatacters and wonder how humans can be so inhumane.

Not for the light hearted. This is a book that stays with you.

Adult non fiction

Help your kids with english -Carol vorderman

Unless you have English A levels you probably want to buy this book when your child reaches year 3. When Noori brought home some homework about Conjunctive Clauses I had no clue how to help her. Thank goodness I had this book.

I am a visual person so it really helps that this book is colourful and modern. I learn information much easier in an infographic style. It is laid out so simply and the terms are very easy to find by the index. You can sit down and read it as a book or quickly find the information you need at that moment. A real life saver in a time of need.

WonderWoman– Joanna Gosling

The book for stressed out Mums. I find life much easier if I write To do Lists. I thought this would be a guide on getting your life organised. But it is a book full of handy tips on how to save time doing the boring jobs. It has certainly taught me a thing or two. and given me motivation.

This subject could have been a boring read but the author has a witty personality that shines through. The text is laid out in an easy format and there are big bright pictures on every page making housework look glamorous.

For more brilliant book recommendations head over to

The Bookish Nomad

Muslim Mummy

Ilma Education

Umm Afraz

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Zero Waste Swaps:Birthday Edition

This year was Noori’s 8th Birthday. How this happened I don’t know. I’m trying not to be one of those teary eyed Mums. I’m trying to embrace the fact that my baby is growing up and is nearly taller than me.

Having only heard of the zero waste concept less than a year ago there are still things I fail at (there is a long journey ahead). And more so I have found with kids. We have formed habits and traditions like anyone. This will be our first zero waste birthday.

I cannot sacrifice my childrens education for my ideals. And sometimes I get excited, like when I bought her present. Every year I will give a book a toy and some sweets.

This year she rolled off a list of annoying toys she’d seen advertised on the TV and one stuck with me.

A fingerlings.

Blue Fingerlings Monkey

A small reasonably priced monkey robot pet. It is cute and she can learn something from it. Shes the kind of kid that takes things apart so when shes got bored she can take it apart and put it back together. For this reason I searched high and low. I went to every store to try and buy one in person, as that way it involves less packaging and less delivery vehicles on the road emmiting fumes. Unfortunately being Christmas time it was sold out. I had to resort to online shopping.

Although I made a few zero waste fails (I’m a beginner) I will list the managable things here and maybe inspire someone else to give it a try:

Presents

For the presents I bought the Fingerlings fail. But the rest I bought from the charity shop.

Buying 2nd hand means no extra energy for production, packaging or transport miles are needed. The things have been used and still in great condition meaning is is quality and durable. I always clean the things I buy afterwards so they are not dirty. Even if you buy brand new things they have been touched by others anyway. The best, thing you are giving money to a worthy cause rather than a big company.

I bought:

A beautiful sparkly ring

A Captain Underpants hardback book. I have only heard about Captain Underpants from the film and knew she liked it. The book is full of the humour of an 8 year old. It has illustrations, fun style text and some comics.

Some foil wrapped my little pony chocolates. Foil is recyclable.

A trip to a cake shop.

Next year I will go for the experience presents rather than stuff.

Treasure Hunt

I started this thing of making present opening fun, rather than sitting down opening presents one after the other and the fun is over in 5 minutes.

I make if fun by doing a treasure hunt hiding the presents around the house.

Using scrap paper from the letters and envelopes we still seem to recieve I cut them up and put them on a mini clip board. I believe this way we will never need to buy paper again.

treasure hunt clues

On each paper I wrote a clue starting under her bed and ending in the living room. I also added some insprational quotes she may remember.

On each clue write the number so its easier for you to set up. I made sure all the clues took her upstairs then downstairs upstairs downstairs ect to make it energetic and fun. Its always fun to have been sleeping in a room when all the time your clues and presents have been hiding there secretly.

When you’ve written them out place the clues in the correct place. Go in number order else it could get confusing adding presents along with random clues.

I used to wrap the gifts in wrapping paper but this time I got creative. I put them in old boxes and even a teddy she had decided to take apart. You can use old gift bags, drawstring bags, pieces of cloth or containers. It really dosnt matter as the gifts won’t be on display anyway.

She always looks forward to her treasure hunt.

Food

I made a special breakfast. I tried to make it continetal style different from our usual eggs or beans on toast. (I have not yet found afforable bulk cereal or a milkman.) The fruit juice I can’t live without but have cut down from 6 bottles a week to 2! A week after this I bought a juicer. No more bottes Yay!

We had homemade bread with nutella and jam. Cereal and a cup of tea using PG tips loose tea leaves. Did you know most tea bags contain plastic? They cannot be composted either so loose is the way to go.

I made her a mermaid cake using my all time favourite zesty lemon cake recipe. I covered it in some icing I had lying around from last year. Luckily icing sugar comes in recyclable paper and cardboard for the buttercream. I made my own jam for inside it using some cranberries no one liked. I topped it with sweets and chocolates that you can buy loose.

Birthday breakfast

At her school all the kids share a cake for their birthdays. I made this from some imperfect cupcakes I rescued from a cake shop and stuck a little mermaid toy on top.

little mermaid cake

Experience Gift

I can’t go a day without cake so I need no excuse to go to my favourite cake shop. This was one of her gifts.

I made it extra special by inviting her Grandma and some cousins as a surprise. We got an afternoon tea and a gingerbread latte 💜💜💜💜

When the lady brought the food out she also brought the fingerlings in a gift bag making it an extra special surprise.

No balloons

Letting balloons go can cause havoc for the environment and often end up in the sea. They cannot be recycled where I live. Plus a popped or deflated balloon isn’t even pretty anymore so imagine it lying in a place of natural beauty.

Every year I buy a heart shaped helium balloon because they are nice and fun to play with for a few days but this year I opted out for all the above reasons and noone even noticed or cared. Win for the environment and my pocket.

Memory cards

Every year on her birthday I write the exact same questions on a piece of card and ask her to answer them. Then at the bottom I get her to write her name. It’s lovely to see her answers, how some change and some don’t and ho. I started when she was 4 but wish I’d had the idea from earlier on.

Birthday tradition

As kids get older it becomes more difficult to find them presents they actually need. An experience gift like a day out creates happy memories that everyone can share.

Or a subscription for a magazine or craft box.

My dream is for someone to get me an allotment. What would be your dream experience gift?

Drop us a comment below or #OurAmanahsOurFutures on instagram showing your fabulous gift experience in action!

Zero Waste Swaps birthday

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A Green and Rosie Life