The Marvelous Maghrib Club

July 23, 2015
Kids watching the construction during the masjid expansion.

Kids watching the construction during the masjid expansion.

Growing up I didn’t have a very close relationship to the masjid. For a good portion of my childhood the masjid was far from our home and when we moved somewhat closer it was memories of waking up early on a Sunday morning to drive thirty minutes for Sunday school. I’m not sure if I felt that way because I didn’t grow up going to the masjid, or maybe it was the lack of fun factor or maybe it was moving to a community when you’re older and missing out on the masjid childhood friendships. Whatever it was I know later in life it’s something I longed for. So naturally when I started having children I hoped and made lots of dua that I could raise my children to have a bond with the masjid that I wish I had growing up.

The power of dua always amazes me. Around the time my second born turned one we moved to Dallas and our apartment was behind the masjid, walking distance. And then a few years later we moved to a townhouse where my backyard view was the masjid. Alhumdulilah it was so nice to walk to the masjid for prayers and community events.

About a year after living in the townhouse we moved to a house about six minutes away, not walking distance but still very close. Just the fact of getting in the car and driving to the masjid instead of walking became more of an effort for us and I felt our relationship with the masjid had become distant already.

When having kids and wanting to create good memories and experiences it takes effort. In addition to making dua you have to take action and become creative in making the kids want to go to the masjid and also teach them the benefits of going. Fast forward to this past Ramadan. Subhanallah the older two kids took the initiative  to make it to the masjid for taraweeh, after learning about the rewards of going. Even if my husband was tired they would pump him up and encourage him to go and take them along. It made my heart smile. Soon after Ramadan was over going to the masjid had lessened. I didn’t want their love of doing salah at the masjid to diminish so I tried to think of some creative way to make it into an event of some sort.

This past Tuesday I made the intention of taking the kids to the library to pick up some books and then pray Maghrib at the masjid next door. I wanted to make it into a fun experience, something they’d want to continue doing. When I told the kids the plan they were ecstatic. They were asking me all day how much more time till we went. That evening as we were waiting for prayer to begin my daughter and I started chatting about how we should try to pray Maghrib at the masjid as family at least a few times a week. She went a little further with the idea and suggested that we should encourage families to meet up in the masjid parking lot (they have an area blocked off for kids to ride their bikes) about an hour before Maghrib so kids can play and then pray before heading home. I thought it was a wonderful idea and asked what we should call this idea, and she quickly on the spot replied, “The Marvelous Maghrib Club.”

So inshallah we will be encouraging families in our community to join our club. Since we still have a few weeks of summer left I know Maghrib at the masjid is still doable for most families, we will have to see how things pan out once the school year starts. Our club is really for anyone. All you need to do is make the intention to go to the masjid as a family at least once a week in addition to Friday prayer (we chose Maghrib time because that’s what works best for us, but you may choose any salah.) I hope fun, meaningful experiences like these will put love for the masjid in our children’s hearts.

Will you be joining The Marvelous Maghrib Club? Comment below to let us know and tag your pictures via instagram #themarvelousmaghribclub we’d love to see you join along!

May Allah bless our efforts!

 

 

 

Milk & Cookies Baby Shower

July 22, 2015

I made a special trip out to Michigan back in May to take part in many family festivities. My cousin was getting married and my sister in law was having her baby shower which I was honored to help plan. There’s something about planning events from the logistics to the menu planning that give me the ultimate rush. My other sister in law and I started planning the event few months prior. With both of us being busy moms most of the planning was done over text and email. The day we finally met and started bringing our ideas to life we were pleasantly surprised how smoothly things went. We decided to go with a rustic theme (my all time favorite!) and added on a milk and cookies part to it since that is the one thing Mama to be requested. Well I guess I should add the other thing she requested was no cheesy baby shower games. What’s a baby shower without the cheesy games? Alas we came up with some creative alternatives.

When it comes to having a memorable party a yummy menu,  handcrafted decor, and good company go a long way. When planning a menu think about whether you’ll be catering or making it yourself. If you make the food yourself make sure you have plenty of help so you’re not overwhelmed the day of the party. Having family pitch in to help with the cooking helped us out considerably. As for the decorations my artsy, crafty sister in law took over that department while I made the party favors. Thank goodness for team work!

Menu

For me the most nerve wrecking part of having a party is the food. Will it taste good? Was it a good enough menu? Will there be enough? Well this time around everything was a hit and many came up to me asking for the recipes.

The menu consisted of:

Roasted lemon chicken

Roasted lemon chicken

 

 

 


 

Mushroom Alfredo Pasta

Mushroom Alfredo Pasta

Pulled beef sliders

Pulled beef sliders

Corn on the cob

Corn on the cob

Lentil salad

Lentil salad

Fries put in cones made out of card stock

Fries put in cones made out of card stock

Decorations 

A few handcrafted decorations versus a lot of store bought decorations can really give your party a wow factor. We chose to make our own centerpieces as well as hanging paper and tissue pom poms. The centerpieces doubled as pens that we needed for some of the activities, looking at them you were not able to tell. They turned out beautifully. And what is a rustic party without burlap? We used burlap runners on the tables to add texture to the plain white tablecloths.

Flower pens made out of tissue and green clippings from the front yard.

Flower pens creatively made out of tissue and green clippings from the front yard. 

IMG_2344

Handmade pom poms also made by my artsy sister in law.

Handmade pom poms also made by my artsy sister in law.

Activities 

So like I mentioned the Mama to be was pretty adamant about not having any cheesy baby shower games, so my sister in law and I came up with a handful of activities that the guests would take part in.

Name the baby: guests would suggest a baby name, the one that Mama to be liked most would win a prize

Chalkboard and chalk pens make nice additions to a rustic theme.

Chalkboard and chalk pens make nice additions to a rustic theme.

Fingerprint guest book: You’ve all must have seen this on Pinterest but what makes this one special is the fact that my sister hand sketched the tree! All the guests put their thumbprints on the branches and signed their name. Its a nice keepsake pretty enough to frame and hang in baby’s nursery.

IMG_2347

Bring cookies: We had a milk and cookie buffet as one of the highlights of the party. We told all the guests to bring some fresh baked cookies. During the party Mama to be taste tasted a lot of delicious cookies and picked the top two favorites who ended up taking home a prize.

Labels add a nice personal touch

Labels add a nice personal touch

 

Advice of the new Mom: We handed out sheets of paper that were sectioned into different phases of motherhood, from the mothers pregnancy and labor all the way to when the child gets married. The guests were to fill in the best advice they had. Mama to be once again chose the one that touched her the most and handed off another prize.

Advice for Mariam

Party Favors 

Cookie in a jar party favors. Labels said thank you on the front and had the baking instructions on the back.

Cookie in a jar party favors. Labels said thank you on the front and had the baking instructions on the back.

IMG_0001

FullSizeRender-2

Pretty tea cup candles were given as prizes

The food turned out great, everyone loved the look and feel of the party, there was great company and most important of all the Mama to be felt special and loved how everything turned out. One more successful event in the books!

5 Fun Ways to Keep your Kids Busy During Ramadan

June 25, 2015

One of my biggest challenges during Ramadan is keeping my 4 kiddos engaged and busy. It’s not always easy keeping them occupied while fasting these long summer days. I ask Allah to give all of us Mommies some extra bonus points for being patient with our littles while fasting.

I had big plans of doing some out of this world activities with the kids during Ramadan, but once Ramadan started I realized I didn’t have as much energy as I thought I would. I try my best to do a small activity on a daily basis with them, but then there are those days where I just want to do the basics and then take it easy until its time to break my fast. For those days I came up with a little list of things they can do on their own that would still keep them engaged and learning.

 

1. Miraj Audio

mirajaudio

I can’t say enough good things about Miraj Audio. Their audio keeps my kids engaged and asking for more. It’s a fun way for kids to listen and learn about their deen. Some of my kids favorites include: the Salah ad-din series and Yusuf and his Amazing Dreams.

Tip: Set up your audio on an iPad with minimum apps so your children won’t be distracted. Keep a pair of headphones close by just in case one wants to listen while another wants to craft.

2. Get Crafty with Hello Holy Days and RamadanCrafts

 

Untitled

Manal’s simple yet beautiful website, Hello Holy Days has tons of wonderful DIY Ramadan and Eid projects your littles (and you!) are sure to enjoy. I just came across the Tarawih Tote craft on her instagram feed that I’m eager for the kids to make, absolutely adorable!

Untitled

And speaking of instagram, be sure to follow ramadancrafts for lots of inspiration. The wonderful crafter behind HafsaCreates started this awesome instagram feed that will leave you with tons of craft ideas.

Tip: Remember when picking a craft choose something you know the kids can  do on their own or with the help of each other. Next, gather all of the materials needed and set up the items as an open invite to craft. You will find them gravitating towards it when they need something to do.

4. Quran by Heart 

Untitled

Kids love watching things so why not let them watch something beneficial and encouraging? My kids love this documentary about a global Quran competition for kids that takes place annually in Cairo, Egypt during the month of Ramadan. A perfect documentary for this holy month and a great way to encourage kids to memorize.

Tip: When the kids finish watching the documentary have them try to locate the different countries the children in the movie are from.

5. DC Seminary’s “A Year with the Prophet (sws)”

Untitled

I first came across this children’s audio series of the Prophet’s (pbuh) seerah from the one and only unschooling Mama of three, Muslim Mommaholic. Let’s just say when I played the first episode on the jambox the kids stopped what they were doing and ran towards the audio. They were instantly hooked and keep asking for more!

Tip: Have children create a timeline of main events as they listen to the seerah.

I hope this tried and tested list is of benefit to you (more naps!) and your children.

 

Happy Ramadan,

Farah