A MultiFaith Family

I was hesitant to write this piece because talking about religion can be touchy for some people, but I want to show a different side. A side that embraces love over differences, respect over misunderstanding and coexistence over separation.

For my friends who are not muslim, here’s a quick 411. Some muslims choose to celebrate certain holidays among Ramadan and both Eids, and some muslims only celebrate the Islamic ones. There are different opinions regarding the dos and don’ts of some of them. Hence, the reason for such diversity. Allah (arabic for God) knows best.

Islam embraces family! Here are some examples:

1.Jannah lies under your mother’s feet. Treat yo mama with kindness, love and respect. No matter the differences you share, always be there for her and in sha Allah (arabic for God willing) you can earn your way into Jannah (arabic for paradise/heaven).

2.Keep the ties with kinship. Allah wants us to keep in touch with siblings and relatives. In doing so, we are pleasing the Almighty and it’s yet another way of working our way into Jannah, in sha Allah.

Amongst a family of different religions, one thing remains constant and that is the importance of family. It is easy to get caught up in each other’s differences. I’ve been there. Once those differences are put aside, there’s so much to enjoy.

Some things we do:

  • Family dinners once a month! We do it “potluck” style and take turns hosting. Sometimes we include a game. Some of our favorites are family fued (card game but it comes as a board game too), Kerplunk or heads-up (check out the app store).
  • Movie Night once a week. Invite different family members! For us its usually Grandma, but occasionally our neighbor or other members of the family. We do it at home, but you can switch it up and go to the theater!
  • Face-time! Skype! Video chat! Whatever you have access to. A lot of our family live out of state, so this makes a big difference for us. Even my sisters live out of state! So we do this as much as possible even if its just 5 minutes to say Hey! Whats up? Just Working. Have a great day. Love ya! Okay Bye! Ha

It took time to get to this point. Actions spoke louder than words. It was the simple, constant things that went a long way proving that though we are “different” we are still the same.

Homeschool. My Why. My How.

Salaam! (Peace) I wanted to share our homeschooling journey. Here it goes.

Back in the day, I used to think homeschooling was odd. I grew up in New York, went to school since preschool and lets face it, most movies don’t really depict it as being awesome! After having our daughter and discovering her dairy allergy, I didn’t feel too comfortable placing her in an environment where cows milk is the drink to have amongst her peers. If you have consumed dairy since you could remember (like I did), shopping dairy-free and eating dairy-free can seem intimidating. What the heck can I eat? Where do I shop? Will it taste good? ..I’d like to jump ahead and say YES! It does taste good. YES, there are lots of stores. YES, there are many things to eat. But that’s another story, in sha Allah (God willing) Anyhow, it was definitely a transition. Grocery shopping took forever, cooking was a struggle. Like anything new, it soon became much easier and I can say today its a lifestyle I am happy to live. Alhamdulillah (praise and thanks to be God). I eat healthier and have dabbed in the vegan/vegetarian world..something I used to think was odd too! But guys can I tell you, seriously some of the best dishes I have had! So this whole intro is one of the reasons we homeschool. Yes, now back to that!

Homeschooling is not so strange as I once thought. It is actually pretty awesome! Picture this. You make your child’s own schedule & you take to your child’s own interests. You can teach them anywhere! We spend a lot of time at parks and libraries. You are your child’s teacher. There are tons of other homeschooling families out there via facebook and instagram (for example) who have so willingly shared their ideas! That is how it began for me. I was inspired through Instagram…moms who were already on their homeschooling journey sharing it with other moms! We started with themes. It was usually a different theme each week including construction, sky and space, camping, dinosaurs, etc. Games, toys, art, worksheets, books and screen time for the week mostly tied into the theme. This takes prep time which I tried to do when she went to sleep. Eventually, I organized her toys with bins and labels which included pictures. She could find what she wanted and cleaning up was easier for her. Prior to this, her toys were one hot mess, overwhelming for both of us. As she got older, we switched from themes to letters and numbers. I focused more on worksheets. She became bored with that eventually. Worksheets feel like work to her and she really has to be in the mood for it. What works best for her today is imaginative play. I sneak in lessons that relate to her pretend play. For example, preschool biology when she plays doctor. I have a cartoon body chart from the dollar store hanging up in her room. This girl knows terms such as fibula, femur, spine. Alhamdulillah! Oh yes, the dollar store will be your best friend!! We also have a world map hanging in the dining room. When she whips out her map book, I sneak in some geology and world learning. I’ve found that hanging different posters around the house can really encourage learning. Maybe not right away but eventually, in sha Allah. That is my struggle. My eagerness to want to teach her something specific, but waiting on her readiness for that subject.

Did I mention there are so many different homeschooling styles too? Unschooling, Montessori, Charlotte Mason to name a few. This was a bit overwhelming to me in the beginning. How do I know which one to try first? So we just do what works for us. Most days its child led learning with an occasional nudge from mommy to do something more specific such as phonics. But hey, we are now dabbing into early reading!

One thing that has remained constant for us is getting outdoors! Whether it is going to the park, children’s museum or just strolling around the neighborhood, it truly does make a difference in our day. That vitamin D goes a long way! Having no car can make it tough to get outdoors, I know. We go on a lot of walks. Turn them into mini adventures like flying a kite, riding a bike, watching some bugs, picking some leaves, etc. These little things fill our day so much joy. Alhamdulillah. Living in Florida’s heat can limit our time outdoors, so we’ll troop it out early morning or late afternoon.

And Co-ops! What’s that? Basically a bunch of home schooling families that get together so the kids can socialize. We are part of one with some friends. Usually once a week, we get together for 1-2 hours or so and the kids love it! They play, they learn, they socialize and the mamas get to connect with one another. Its a win-win for both.

I realize every child is different and every parent is different! Adapting to everyones needs are crucial to make any situation work. Homeschooling is no different. We are constantly evolving and switching things up. Something may work for a little while and that is great! I do wish to continue our homeschooling journey for as long as I can. Recently, she has mentioned some interest in going to school. So we shall see! Allah (God) is the best of all planners!

Vegan Banana Bread

Hey guys! Soooooooo I found this recipe for vegan banana bread and its soooooooooo good! Seriously. My daughter doesn’t even like bananas, but she will eat some of this right here! I really wanted to share it with you!

Its really easy to make so your little ones can help. I also like the fact that you can switch up the flavors by adding chocolate chips, pumpkin, raisins, etc. We love to use Enjoy Life Chocolate chips which are also allergen friendly, free from the top 8 allergens! Using unbleached flour also makes me feel better.

The recipe calls for sugar, but I like to make mine without it. You can make up for that later, by topping it off with some vegan butter or vegan cool whip when its done. Super delish!

We use Earth Balance Butter. The red tub is not only dairy free, but soy free too! Please try this cool whip made by So Delicious. Its coconut based. My friends and family who don’t really eat vegan prefer its taste to your common dairy filled cool whip. Truth be told!

Check out the link below for this recipe among other really great dairy free recipes too!

Vegan Banana Bread

Going from 1 to 2 kids

Prior to the birth of my son, my daughter was the center of it all. I was worried that being a new mommy to a new baby, Alhamdulillah, would make her feel pushed to the side and sad. We’re like peanut butter and jelly, now with an extra layer of something new smack in between. What was this “new sandwich going to taste like”? Speaking to other parents of two plus kids had given us their advice. My husband’s experience with his own sibling as a child had me on edge. I made dua (prayed) that it would be positive. Basically sprinkles on a cupcake! Sweet and, well, awesome!

We prepped her for her new role as big sister by talking about all the cool things she could do with her little bro, in sha Allah (God willing).  Since he has come home, she gives him kisses left and right! Alhamdulillah (praise and thanks to God). Dua (prayer) is powerful! Since my husband was home helping a lot the first two weeks or so, she had an increased attachment to him. I wanted to run around with them, but this mama needed to heal. The physical recovery phase feels slow when you’re in it, but its really the opposite. Babies grow so much within the first year, it also makes the time feel like its passing by so quickly.

As for mama, heres’s what helps me out:
  1. Showers in the morning. It helps me be alert even when running low on sleep.
  2. Baby carrier to wear baby and get some things done around the house ! Throw in some singing and dancing about what you’re doing, makes it extra fun for mom, older sibling and baby!
  3. Company! Conversation and a little distraction to sneak an extra cookie or two, or just an extended bathroom break.
  4. Lots of playtime for older sibling, dates with daddy and one-on-one play sessions (when baby naps).
Disclaimer: Im no pro. Just caring, sharing and spreading love! May Allah (God) protect our little children and strengthen their bonds with their siblings and parents! Ameen.

Staying at home with baby-The Whys and Transitional Tips!

Are you thinking about staying home with your baby? Do you wonder how stay at home mamas make it work?

Here is why I decided to make the switch

I was working full-time while I was pregnant with my 1st baby. We each had our own car and had purchased a house 2 years prior. I always thought I’d be a go to work mom prior to baby. Childcare is expensive and both of our immediate families lived out-of-state, except for his brother at the time. During pregnancy, we discussed child care. We came to a decision, but deep down I wasn’t convinced.

After holding her in my arms, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Who was going to watch our baby? Me. So towards the end of my maternity leave, I called my employer and gave them the news. Ahh, what a relief!

Now down to business at home and how we made it work.

Downsizing is key.

  • We sold our house within 4 months.
  • eliminated a car
  • said adios (Bye) to cable tv.  Nothing Hulu or Netflix can’t fix.

Did we like all these extras? Heck Yeah! Did we need all these extras? Not really. Was it a stressful transition? Yes. Considering it was decided a bit last minute.

In pursuing this journey, we had to evaluate what was most important to us. It wasn’t easy giving up my car, all the extra space and, yes, cable. But I get to do whats important what makes me happy. Alhamdulillah (arabic for praise & thanks to God).

My advice to you is to truly think about what makes you happy, pray for it and plan it out. Embrace the change!

Being a mother is an amazing job with lots of ups and downs! Whether you work full-time, part-time or stay at home… because you want to or you have to… you’re one cool boss chic.