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Organising, Parenting

Organise your child’s books & create a reading log (free printables!)

October 9, 2017

reading log and little library

I’ve been meaning to create a list of books and reading log for my children for over a year and a half now. I have had it on this list of things I want to get to (that list never gets shorter!) and finally got round to doing it. Now that my oldest is at school, I really needed to find a way to keep track of the books he has been reading. We pick up 3 -4 books every two weeks from the library and he brings home a new book every week from school. A reading log has helped us not only keep track of when the books went back but also what he has been reading. That way, we keep things varied. Although I follow his lead when it comes to what he wants to read, we’d be reading Zog or his dinosaur encyclopaedia constantly if it was all up to him!

Whilst I created the reading log, I also put together a printable to help me keep their library organised. Too often I spot a book that I want to buy them and I have to think about whether they already have something similar or something that covers similar themes. Now I have a list of every book that they have, along with a brief note of the themes contained within each book. It will really help you see if you have too much of something, too little of something, or nothing covering a specific topic at all. I’m hoping that this helps us make smarter purchasing/ borrowing decisions.

I sat down with a stack of books and got going. It didn’t take long at all before I was done and I’m really looking forward to adding to this now. The reading log has a little yellow section for your little one to pop their name in, so if you have more than one child, they can each have their own sheet.

reading log printable

I put mine on a clipboard that I just slot into the bookshelf behind the stack of books, but you could print yours on card stock and stick it to the side of your bookshelf or keep it in a folder elsewhere, whatever is most convenient.

If you’d like to download the Reading Log and Little Library printables, sign up for the And then she said newsletter below! If you’re already subscribed, this will pop into your inbox shortly and you don’t need to sign up again!

Note: you’ll need to click on the link in the email you receive to confirm your subscription first. After you do that, you’ll receive an email with links to download the Reading Log and Little Library printable as well as all the other printables I’ve offered in the past!

I’d love to see how you use these so please email me a photo or tag me on social media if you use them! How do you keep track of everything in your home library? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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Parenting

Easy ways to boost your child’s immunity

September 13, 2017

boost your child's immunity

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and have no medical training. Please consult a qualified healthcare practitioner if you have medical problems or a medical history that needs to be considered prior to consuming any oils/ herbs/ remedies. This information is intended to motivate you to make your own health decisions after consulting with your healthcare provider should you feel this is necessary.

Every year, around August, I begin to work on an immunity boosting routine for my children, to get them through the winter. This year, I was a little behind, but have worked on implementing this as soon as possible because my oldest has just started school and Saturday school, so it’s twice the exposure and vital that his body is equipped to handle it all. I know lots of parents worry about the same thing at the beginning of the school year, so I thought I’d share easy ways to boost your child’s immunity.

I’ve demonstrated some of these in the video below, and all products are linked to help you find them easily.

 

Blackseed oil

Blackseed oil has a number of health benefits, is a prophetic medicine, and is a regular in our home. I purchase my blackseed oil from Sunnah Skincare. When purchasing blackseed oil, always ensure that it is organic, pure, unrefined, food grade, and cold-pressed. Heat destroys beneficial properties of the oil so if it hasn’t been cold-pressed, the quality of the oil has diminished. It needs to be pure, as you do not want it mixed with any other oils and needs to be bottled in UV filtering glass to preserve the oils qualities.

I usually mix some blackseed oil with honey for my children to swallow on a daily basis, but I’ve cut back on the honey and they usually consume blackseed oil on its own through a syringe without complaint. It is a strong flavoured oil, so to start off with, mix it with honey to make it easier for your child to consume.

Note: Honey is not to be offered to babies under one because of the risk of botulism. Please do not offer this mixture to babies under one.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is said to trigger and arm the immune system. Since we live in England and have summers that last about 2-3 months only, lots of us are deficient in Vitamin D, especially if we’re not eating foods rich in it. Vitamin D is particularly important for bone and teeth support and with one of my children having milk protein allergies, I try to ensure he gets his Vitamin D from other sources besides milk. We like the Nature’s Aid brand and have been using it for a few years now. These are sugar-free and free from preservatives and colouring.

Note – Vitamin D has the greatest potential for toxicity of all the vitamins so please ensure you are not giving your child this in excess. Take stock of their diet and other sources of vitamin D that they are consuming in addition to this, before giving it to your child.

Elderberry syrup

Elderberry syrup has become a staple in our home during the winter. It tastes great and is an excellent immune booster. It can be expensive, so I don’t give it to the children during the summer as they rarely fall ill then. When the weather begins to change and as we head into September/ October, I begin to give it to them every other day to prevent illnesses. If they do fall ill, I give it to them every day. It helps them recover fairly quickly and has anti-inflammatory properties. I am keen to make our own elderberry syrup but haven’t been able to source dried, organic elderberries just yet. As soon as I’ve made some, I’ll share a recipe on the blog.

Note: Elderberry syrup is NOT to be given to children under the age of 1. Please follow dosage guidelines on the packaging.

Probiotics

We started using probiotics when my oldest was only six months old to ease his allergy symptoms and to help his gut recover after three rounds of antibiotics that were given to fight an aggressive eczema infection. They have worked really well, not just for the children but for me too as someone that suffers from IBS. They have several benefits, but in a nutshell, they help to support the immune system by supporting digestive health and if your child has just been through a round of antibiotics, this will be particularly helpful. We previously used Bio-Kult’s sachets, but I find them a little difficult to use now with the kids constantly on the move and having to check that they’ve drunk all the liquid I dissolve it in etc, so we are now trying the micro-pearl version that offers sustained release and is something they can just swallow.

Omega 3 fish oils

Essential fatty acids are vital for our immune systems to be at their best. My children don’t eat a diet rich in oily fish, so I like to offer them this oil to help with their overall health and to support their eye and brain development. There are fruity chews that you can get for children, but these contain gelatine which we don’t consume. Another brand that we have used in the past is the one linked below.

 

Oregano oil

Oregano oil has anti-microbial and antihistamine properties. If the children have already caught something, I find that oregano oil helps considerably with faster recovery. The last thing we need is the whole household ill, so the sooner this is started, the better.

It is a very strong oil so please ensure you use this carefully. It should not be used on its own for children, it should be diluted with a carrier oil. The brand I have linked below is the one we use and it is already diluted with olive oil in a 4:1 ratio.

For children under 5 (like mine), apply the oil externally to the soles of the feet and the spine. If you use the brand I have linked below, you will not need to dilute it to do this, but if you purchase 100% oregano oil, you must dilute it first with olive oil (4 parts olive oil, 1 part oregano oil). Avoid getting the oil anywhere near the eyes, mouth, nose or genitals.

For children aged 5 – 10 – Start with 1 to 3 drops a day added to a flavoured liquid like juice or milk.

For children over 10 – 3 drops a day added to a flavoured liquid like juice or milk.

Note: If your child is allergic to oregano or thyme or anything in the thyme family – they should NOT consume this oil. Do not administer this oil for longer than 7-10 days.

Apple Cider Vinegar ‘Tea’

This is a great way to get kids consuming apple cider vinegar which has tons of healing properties and is again, a prophetic food. Our children will sometimes ask to taste our tea or coffee, whatever we’re drinking in mugs, and we have to say no. I’ve noticed that if they think they’re drinking/ eating something for ‘grown-ups’, they’re a lot more enthusiastic about it so I call this their tea. The video above details how I make it and is a great warm drink for children who are suffering from a cold, fever, congestion, a sore throat – you name it.

It is important to remember to purchase apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother.’ I’ve linked the Braggs brand below, this is probably the most popular apple cider vinegar brand. If you’re looking to support small businesses though, I have also purchased our apple cider vinegar from Sunnah Skincare and Health Means Wealth.

Aromatherapy

We use frankincense, eucalyptus and pine needle essential oils from Sunnah Skincare in our humidifier to boost immunity, fight viral infections, help with eczema and psoriasis (which I suffer from quite badly in the fall/ winter) and a host of other benefits. There are several options for diffusers, but this is one we particularly like:

Note: Check that your diffuser/ humidifier can accept essential oils and that it will not affect or disintegrate the plastic casing, before using oils in it.  

How else can I boost my child’s immunity?

boost your child's immunity

Raw milk, bone broth, ginger, garlic and turmeric are all really good additions to your children’s diet to help boost their immunity. Children with sensitive guts or allergies will struggle to digest too much garlic, so ensure you don’t overdo the garlic. Cutting down on sugary and refined foods will also help to ensure that their immune systems are in the best possible state to take on whatever’s thrown at them!

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.

 

Featured image: Photo by Dominik Martin on Unsplash

Garlic: Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Turmeric: Photo by Osha Key on Unsplash

Parenting

Pre-Ramadan game plan for busy mums

May 19, 2017

ramadan for busy mums

Every year, I tell myself that I will make this Ramadan better than the last one and that I will accomplish all sorts of goals and nearly every year, I fail miserably. I was reflecting on this a little while ago and realised that it was because I failed to plan. It dawned on me that I was expecting Ramadan to fit in with being a mum, a wife, work, home keeping, and everything else and that just set me up for failure every time. I needed to work everything else around Ramadan not the other way round.

I was also setting unachievable lofty goals or none at all, and that didn’t help either. So this year I thought about what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to do it. I looked up several resources that were incredibly useful and wanted to share them all with you just in case you’re wondering how on earth to do Ramadan with young children.

How to create a pre-Ramadan game plan

I created a simplistic game plan (you can download mine at the end of this post) to enable me to see my goals every day in the lead-up to Ramadan and to be motivated to achieve them. The game plan outlines what you need to get done before Ramadan even begins. I go into all of these in more depth in the video below, but to summarise, it was important for me to:

Set spiritual goals in advance 

So I had plenty of time to research ways that I would actually achieve them. I go into more detail of how I came up with these in the video below.

Come up with an activity list 

So that I can ensure the kids are out for a minimum of 2-3 hours every day. For us, bedtime runs a lot smoother and this is also a way for me to work in some exercise. I use the Hoop app and our local online gazette to look for activities that the kids can participate in and mix it up with days at the park.

Thoroughly clean the house 

Not a spring clean, but a thorough clean so that come Ramadan time, I’m just following my daily cleaning routine and not ‘catching up’ or spending hours scrubbing drawers or doors when I really should be focused on ibadah.

Get Eid dealt with 

Absolutely everything Eid related, done before Ramadan begins. The kids’ outfits ironed and in their closets, our outfits ready and waiting, gifts wrapped, and any decorations done so it’s a quick hang-them-up job only. If you do food gifts for friends and family like I do, get your recipe ready, the packaging, labels, cards, and ingredients (if non-perishable ones) all in the house and waiting. That way, again, we’re not exhausting ourselves completely in the last couple of days with additional things that could have been handled much earlier.

Come up with meal plans 

This is the bit that can be difficult. We prepare dinner as we normally would, nothing special, but I feel like my brain doesn’t work when I need to sit and come up with a meal plan and shopping lists when I’m fasting. I intended to come up with a meal plan for the entire month, but then I saw this Ramadan 30 Day Meal Plan and I was sold. I bought it almost immediately and love it. It’s going to save me loads of time inshaAllah and the recipes are easily adaptable to exclude meat or add meat or make other dietary changes. I’m really looking forward to trying them all this Ramadan.

Make it special for the children 

They’re at an age where they really seem to be able to grasp what Ramadan is all about. I want to ensure I’m making the month special for them too, as opposed to just going all out on Eid instead. So we’ve finished working on our decorations (read about them here)and our good-deed calendar (learn how to make it here) for Ramadan. Our food gifts for family and friends are the last things we have left to check off. The kids deliver these and wish the recipients Ramadan Mubarak 🙂

If you’d like to learn more about my pre-Ramadan game plan, watch the video below:

To download the free printable, sign up for the And then she said newsletter below! Note: you’ll need to click on the link in the email you receive to confirm your subscription first. You’ll then receive an email with links to download my game plan and other printables I currently offer (loads of gems there!)

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Creating, Parenting

DIY Ramadan Good Deed Calendar for your Little Muslim

May 12, 2017

ramadan calendar‘What on earth is a good deed calendar?’ I hear you ask. Think Advent calendar, without the chocolate, expense or having to find a spot for it.

This year, I wanted the kids to really get into the spirit of Ramadan this year and do a little countdown to Eid. I knew we’d need a calendar, but I wanted to add to our Ramadan/ Eid traditions and make one myself that we will use every year.

It was important to make sure that whatever I came up with; took no space at all, didn’t involve chocolate, and was easy and age-appropriate for the kids. So this is what I came up with.

ramadan calendar

The calendar consists of a frame (that you can re-use over and over again and use to display a picture outside of Ramadan time), envelopes, good deed cards for the day and that’s about it.

You’ll need:

A frame or a piece of cardboard or canvas. I got this IKEA FISKBO frame for £5. It measures 50×70 cm.

Envelopes – If you use the same sized frame, you will only be able to fit 30 envelopes on if they are C7 envelopes. I got mine here.

Good deed cards – I used some leftover scraps of scrapbooking paper and stuck some white labels on and then cut around them so they had a little border. These will be reused so I wanted them to look nice. You could just print these off, cut them into strips and pop them into the envelopes. Whatever works for you!

(Optional) – I used some glitter card that I got at Poundland and my With A Spin cookie cutters to cut out a masjid and a moon and star to jazz it up a little. I added some tiny LED fairy lights that I got at Poundland (I’m becoming a regular!) just for extra effect because I have younger children.

Occasional treats to compliment the good deed calendar

I also purchased several little bits and bobs (they’re called party bag fillers here in the UK) that I know the kids would love, to give them as a treat on some (not all) days. These were all really inexpensive. Here’s a list of what I purchased:

Window walker ladybugs

Bendy pencils

Mini dinosaur figurines

Temporary dinosaur tattoos

11-inch punch balls

Animal finger puppets

Since these came in larger quantities, I’ll be using the rest of the items as fillers for children’s Eid gift bags.

To see how I put it all together, watch the video below:

What I put in the good deed calendar

Here’s a list of the good deeds that went into this calendar (in no particular order). My children are 3.5 and 2 years old. Some of these were inspired by The Visual Age’s free Ramadan resources:

  • Thank Allah for something today
  • Donate some toys with Mummy today
  • Clean your spot in the car before you get out today
  • Learn the dua’a for entering the toilet (use my free duaa printables for this)
  • Help Mummy to cook today
  • Keep your room tidy today
  • Thank Allah for giving you Ramadan today
  • Bake cookies for a neighbour today
  • Call a family member (grandparent/ aunt/ uncle etc.) today
  • Smile at everyone today
  • Remember to say your salaam today
  • Set the table for all your meals today
  • Recite Surah Al Ikhlas today
  • Make Eid cards for your family today
  • Pray with your parents today
  • Put money in the donation box at the masjid today (you could slot these ones in on Fridays specifically)
  • Recite Surah Al Fatihah today (the calendar starts with this)
  • Do something nice for your sibling today
  • Say a prayer for someone today
  • Recite Surah Al Falaq today
  • Use your thank you’s, please’s, Bismillah etc today
  • Recite Surah An Nas today
  • Learn the dua’a for entering the home (use my free duaa printables for this)
  • Learn the dua’a for leaving the toilet (use my free duaa printables for this)
  • Help Mummy to make Eid food gifts for family & friends today

If you try this, I’d love to see what you come up with! Please tag me on Instagram or Facebook. If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, please share it with your family and friends. Thank you!

Parenting

Festive badges for the Muslim child

April 30, 2017

FESTIVE BADGES FOR THE MUSLIM CHILD

 

The Ramadan and Eid badges are back! If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll know that last Ramadan, I wanted to create a new tradition in our home, mark the holy month and Eid in a fun way for the kids, and do more for charity. So I designed festive badges the kids could wear for Eid, produced in bulk for others who might want them for their children and sold them on the blog for charity!

Continue Reading…

Creating, Parenting

DIY Lifebook for your Muslim child

March 21, 2017

DIY Lifebook for your Muslim ChildAbout a year ago, my sister shared a keepsake product for children with me. It was essentially a lifebook for your child that would store letters you wrote them once a year for 18 years. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try and make my own version of it – a DIY Lifebook for the Muslim child.

For those of us too busy to scrapbook or not so creatively inclined, this is a fairly simple DIY Lifebook to put together. Although simple, the finished product is heartwarming and something that both you and your child will cherish. Continue Reading…

Organising, Parenting

Free duaa printables for kids and adults

March 14, 2017

duaa printable

We’ve started to teach the kids duaas recently and I really wanted duaa printables for all over the home to reinforce the importance of them before/ after doing anything. I figured if the kids saw these around the house, they would act as reminders for them to read their duaas and improve their Arabic, increase their interest for learning more about Islam and reading the Qur’an. I began to look for duaa printables that I thought would work but unfortunately, didn’t find anything I liked.

So I got in touch with the wonderful Caroline Sarri over at Mina and Moo Designs – she has a wonderful Etsy store with heaps of beautiful printables, nursery art and digital papers – to help me design what I had in mind. There are some duaas I haven’t memorised myself or ones that I forget to read. So I was keen to develop duaa printables with a more ‘adult’ design for those who want to increase their knowledge of duaas, or perhaps those who want a little reminder before they leave the home, or when they’ve finished eating, etc.

We developed two sets of prints – one that you can use whether you have children or not – and another that is designed specifically for children. You could put these at their level around the home, or laminate them and hole punch the corners to pop them all on a ring. That way, you can travel with them and if you have older children, they might prefer it to prints on the walls.

Each print includes:
  • What the duaa is for
  • The duaa in Arabic
  • The transliteration of the duaa in English
  • The translation of the duaa in English,

for those who don’t have a good command of Arabic, or those that can read Arabic but can’t translate what they are reading. They are designed to be neutral. So if you do decide to put them up in your home, they won’t clash with any decor!

You’ll learn the duaas for:
  • Before you leave the home
  • When you enter the home
  • After you finish eating
  • Before you sleep
  • When you wake up
  • Before you eat
  • When you leave the bathroom
  • Before you enter the bathroom
How to print these:

If you’d like smaller versions of the cards to pop on a ring like I’ve shown above, simply click ‘Print’ and using your print layout settings, choose 4 to a page. This usually works well in ‘Landscape’ mode – but choose whatever appeals to you. Once printed, cut them out and laminate them. Hole punch a corner and use an old keyring and there you have it! Portable duaa cards.

If you’d like a larger version to put up around the home like in the example below, click ‘Print’ and using your print layout settings, choose 2 to a page. Again, this usually works well in ‘Landscape’ mode. Once printed, cut them out and laminate them. We put ours up using white tac to avoid damaging the walls.

Eight simple duaas for things that we do every single day. I hope that inshaAllah this resource helps your family learn and memorise these. I also hope that they become an important part of your home, as they will ours, for years to come.

Please share this post with friends and family who may want to print their own. To download the free printable, sign up for the And then she said newsletter below and it will be delivered to your inbox! Note: you’ll need to click on the link in the email you receive to confirm your subscription first 🙂

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Parenting, Reviews

ToddleBike2 Review: Pre-balance bikes for 18m+

January 20, 2017

ToddleBike2 Review

When we applied to write a ToddleBike2 review, I wasn’t sure how Nusaybah would take to it given that she seemed to really enjoy her scooter, and wasn’t interested in much else. Yusuf already has a balance bike so I applied for one for Nusaybah to try out. The minimalist in me was really hesitant to add yet another large item with wheels into the house, but I am so glad I did because they both love it!

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Parenting

4 Arabic resources for preschoolers

January 17, 2017

arabic resources preschoolers

If you’ve been on the hunt for suitable Arabic resources for preschoolers that are fun, engaging, inexpensive and have multiple uses – you will love this list! I’ve compiled four of our favourite Arabic resources for preschoolers along with plenty of photographs and details about why we like them and how we use them in our home. You will also have an opportunity to win one of these resources, so stick around until the end of the post!

Here are the four Arabic resources we use on a regular basis for our preschoolers:

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Parenting

10 Breastfeeding Essentials

August 7, 2016

Breastfeeding EssentialsToday marks the end of World Breastfeeding Week and I’ve been meaning to write about my breastfeeding journeys and figured now would be a good time to begin the series of posts I have planned to document our journey and hopefully help other mums who are new to breastfeeding.

As I write this, I have been exclusively breastfeeding for a total of 32 months (not consecutively) across both my children and I plan to breastfeed my youngest until she is two so we have just over 6 months worth of nursing left. With my first, I did lots of research and went to antenatal breastfeeding classes to prepare, but I felt like no one really tells you how difficult breastfeeding can be and how much support you will need.

Continue Reading…