Monday, April 23, 2012

Syria cont'd

Yesterday Baba went to the dollar store to get money rolls for all the money that Yusuf has collected.  This morning after breakfast the four of us (Ibby too!) sat down, sorted, counted and rolled all the change.  [We could have just gone to the grocery store and put it all in those machines that do it for you, but this way there was more involvement and learning :) ! ] .  MashaAllah the total so far is $583.  This has all been due to Yusuf's effort.  I must say I am inspired and proud of the courage he has... its not easy going around asking people for money but his determination to help his brothers and sisters in Syria has given him the motivation to do so!
May Allah SWT always guide him and keep his heart soft towards helping his brothers and sisters around the world and continue to make him an inspiration for us, Ameen! <3

Saturday, April 21, 2012

100 Ways to be Kind to your Child

[Taken from : ]
Tell to your child:
1. I love you.
2. love you no matter what.
3. I love you even when you are angry at me.
4. I love you even when I am angry with you.
5. I love you when you are far way.  My love for you can reach you wherever you are.
6. If I could pick any 4 year old (5 year old, 6 year old…) in the whole wide world, I’d pick you.
7. I love you to the moon and then around the stars and back again.
8. Thank you.
9. I enjoyed playing with you today.
10. My favorite part of the day was when I was with you and we were _______.
Tell them:
11. The story of their birth or adoption.
12. About how you cuddled them when they were a baby.
13. The story of how you chose their name.
14. A story about yourself when you were their age.
15. A story about how their grandparents met.
16. What your favorite color is.
17. That sometimes you struggle too.
18. That when you’re holding hands and you give three squeezes, it’s a secret code that means, “I love you”.
19. What the plan is.
20. What you’re doing right now.
21. Freeze Tag
22. Uno
23. Crazy 8s
24. Gin Rummy
25. Memory
26. Go Fish
27. I Spy- especially when you’re tired of driving and feel snappish
28. Catch
29. To catch their kiss and put it on your cheek.
30. That their tickle tank is empty and you have to fill it.
31. That their high five is so powerful it nearly knocks you over.
32. That you are super ticklish.
33. That you are explorers in the amazing new world of your backyard.
34. That it’s party day!  Decorate for no reason!
35. To get enough sleep.
36. To drink enough water.
37. To eat decent food.
38. Wearing earrings, or whatever makes you feel pretty.
39. Calling a friend the next time you feel like you are about to lose it with the kids.
40. Giving a gentle touch to show approval, rather than saying something.
41. Dancing in the kitchen.
42. To get your kids to bop to the music with you in the car.
43. Showing your kids that you can do a somersault or handstand or a cartwheel.
44. Keeping that sigh to yourself.  Just jump in and help clean up cheerfully.
45. Using a kind voice, even if you have to fake it.
46. A book of silly poems.
47. A book and then act it out. (Like “I’m going on a Bear Hunt”)
48. Your favorite childhood book to them.
49. When the afternoon is starting to go astray.
50. Outside under a tree.
51. In the library kids corner.
52. The comic book they love that you’re not so hot on.
53. About age appropriate behavior so you can keep your expectations realistic.
54. To your child in the car.
55. To that Lego description, and think how important it is to your child.
56. For that question that indicates your child really needs your input.
57. One second longer than you think you have patience for.
58. For the feelings behind your child’s words.
59. Why do you think that happens?
60. What do you think would happen if______?
61. How shall we find out?
62. What are you thinking about?
63. What was your favorite part of the day?
64. What do you think this tastes like?
65. Your child how to do something instead of banning them from it.
66. How to whistle with a blade of grass.
67. How to shuffle cards- make a bridge if you can!
68. How to cut food.
69. How to fold laundry.
70. How to look up information when you don’t know the answer.
71. Affection to your spouse.
72. That taking care of yourself is important.
Take Time:
73. To watch construction sites.
74. To look at the birds.
75. To allow your child to help you dump ingredients in the bowl.
76. To walk places together.
77. To dig in the dirt together.
78. To do a task at your child’s pace.
79. To just sit with you child while they play.
80. That your child is capable.
81. That you are the right parent for your child.
82. That you are enough.
83. That you can do what is right for your family.
Delight your child:
84. Clean your child’s room as a surprise.
85. Put chocolate chips in the pancakes.
86. Put a love note in their lunch.
87. Make their snack into a smile face shape.
88. Make sounds effects while you help them do something.
89. Sit on the floor with them to play.
Let Go:
90. Of the guilt.
91. Of how you thought it was going to be.
92. Of your need to be right.
93. A look with Kind Eyes to your child.
94. A smile when your child walks into the room.
95. A kind touch back when your child touches you.
96. The chance to connect before you correct so that your child can actually hear your words.
97. Your child a chance to work out their frustrations before helping them.
98. A bath when the day feels long.
99. A hug.
100. You get to choose the next one!  What is your favorite way to be kind to your child

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Last year when there was a major drought in East Africa, Yusuf picked up on it.  He heard people talking about it at gatherings and saw fundraising flyers being handed out at the mesjid.  I could tell it really affected him as he constantly wanted to talk about it and also asked me what he could do.  I told him that we should first make dua for them, and also told him about the extra special times to make dua, and also told him that sending money would help.  Since there was a lot of awareness about the drought during Ramadan, and since we were going to the mesjid every single day, Id give him some change to donate each time.  If I ever forgot, he'd be sure to remind me.

Recently with the Arab Uprise, the adults in our family have been keeping up with the news.  My husband and I usually read things online, however my father in law (whom we live with) always watches the 6:00 news.  Many days we are on the main floor around that time and Yusuf would get a glimpse of the news.  When the Egyptian Revolution was taking place, Id try to prevent him from seeing anything on TV, as I was unsure how Id ever explain it to him.  Then Libya happened.  Then Syria... it was starting to get difficult to constantly shelter him.  So eventually he did see and hear some of the news regarding Syria.  And then he heard people in the mesjid talking about it and/or other people collecting money.... then the questions began.  At first I was very brief with him.  I simply told him that bad things were happening there, but this wasn't good enough and it was obvious that he was concerned and not satisfied with my explanations.  It came to a point where my husband and I actually sat down with him and told him what was happening.  We tried to simplify it by telling him that right now Syria has a government that is not good.  And that the person in charge of the government is like Firawn (Yusuf is familiar with the story of Musa AS) and he wants people to worship him and kills innocent people.  Obviously he was concerned and did not understand why such things happen.  We told him that in this dunya there will always be bad people and bad things will happen and its only in Jannah where everyone will be happy all the time.  We also told him that we have to make lots of dua for our brothers and sisters all over the world and especially in Syria because Islamically speaking, the land of Syria is a blessed land.  We told him how Eesa AS will descend into Damascus close to the end of time and by then there will be a good army and bad army and Eesa AS will lead the good army to victory.

It was about a month ago that we first had this discussion with Yusuf and still to this day he asks me why is the government being bad?  Mashallah his innocence shines through and he cannot digest the fact that such horrible people exist (by the way, he is not aware of any of the brutality such as torture or rape, he simply knows people are being hurt/killed).  In all honesty, as a mother I wanted to shelter him from knowing about such things for as long as I possibly could.  But life had it that this information was coming to him and we had to step up as a parents and simplify and filter it to the best of our abilities.  At times I wish he didn't know that people are suffering .... at times I wish that I didn't know people are suffering the way they are!  But the reality of this life is that bad things happen.  And it is only out of Allah's infinite wisdom that innocent people will suffer.  And it is these people who suffer, and help those who are suffering who will inshaAllah taste the sweetness of Jannah!  Without suffering or hardships, there would be no purpose in Jannah.  At the end of the day, as muslims we know that the Ultimate Judgement and Recompense will come from Allah.  And every soul will get exactly what it deserves.

No doubt the people suffering in Syria, and all throughout the world, are being tested tremendously!  But as we sit here in the comfort of our homes, we are also being tested!  Will we step up and try to make a change?  Will the news disturb us to the point where we MUST stand up for justice or will we just be too sickened that we turn the other way because we don't want to think about it?  I strongly believe that, with Yusuf learning about the realities of life at the tender age of 5, it will inshaAllah plant a seed in his heart to want to make a difference in our world.  No its not easy for him, it bothers him, but it has also sparked a strong determination to do something and I pray this only increases as he grows, Ameen.

Last weekend we were cleaning out closets and I came across some change that we had collected.  I told Yusuf he could have it.  I also gave him a jar to keep it in.  He went to his desk and got a marker and asked me how to spell zakat?  I told him, and he wrote it on his jar and told me that he will save this money for the people in Syria.  Needless to say my husband and I were proud of him and started looking around the house for more change to add to his collection.  He then told us he'd ask more people.  He insisted on taking his jar for show and tell at our weekly playgroup and had many of the moms donate.  Everywhere we've gone over the week, hes insisted he take his jar along with.

Today was Jummuah, and he told me he wanted to take his jar to collect at the mesjid.  I told him we should make a sign so people know why he is collecting money.  So we made the sign and got to the mesjid a half hour early so he could stand at the door to collect as people walked in.  At first he was nervous and asked me to be with him.  Part of me wanted to hold his hand but I told him Id stand near to him (about 20 feet away) and that he could do it.  It was intimidating at first... my heart sunk when people ignored him.  I tried to give him tips, for example, told him to say salam to people to get their attention.  Mashallah he is tall for his age but among all the adults that were pouring into the mesjid, he looked so small.  Eventually people started to notice him more and his confidence was increasing.  He started saying "Please help Syria!" every time someone walked past and then I reminded him to say Jazakallah if someone did donate.  I felt as if he felt he was being rejected every time someone walked past without donating but I reminded him that Allah will still reward him for his efforts.  Because he looked so sad at times, I explained that maybe some people want to give money but just didn't have money with them at the time.

By the time we left, mashaAllah he raised $300.  I pray that Allah is pleased with him and that he is protected and continues to increase in his generosity and determination to help others.  I have had people make negative remarks to me regarding the fact that at such a young age I've actually told him about current events.  But I pray that him knowing about these things at this age develops a stronger passion in him to help others!

As an encouragement I gave him a big hug and told him I was really proud of him.  I told him that only Allah can give the best rewards and I pray that Allah rewards him, but I also said that I wanted to give him a small reward as well.  I told him that he could choose... I gave him the option of going out for icecream or buying a treat from the grocery store.  He thought about it for a while, considered getting a pack of gum (which hes never had before!) but came to the conclusion that you cant keep icrecream or gum so he asked me if we could go to the dollar store instead!  I agreed and our way to the dollar store we passed Toys R Us so he asked me if we could go there instead.  I said it was fine but he had a $5 limit.  I actually debated whether or not I should reward him with something physical.  I want him to have the self motivation to help others just because its the right thing to do.  But after watching my baby boy try so hard to do something good and seeming lost in the crowd at times yet persevering, my heart was too soft and I had to give in!  When I told my husband that he went to Toys R Us but had a $5 limit, he accused me of being cheap and said Yusuf deserved more than that!  :)  And ya, part of me wants to go all out and get him something really big and special.  But mashallah Yusuf was more than happy with the $3 toy car he chose, and I feel its important as his passion develops to try to keep it pure and for the intentions of pleasing Allah, and not to do it for the materialistic reward.  Its tricky, but I pray Allah helps us balance it and do the right thing to nurture him, Ameen.

I pray Allah swt accepts it from him, and from us, and that our children continue to be passionate about helping others.  May our children be examples for us, and leaders of the Ummah, Ameen. <3

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Living Room Camping

Baba is out of the country for a while, and since the boys are very attached to him, especially at night/bed time, I asked a friend if we could borrow her tent to set up in our living room!  Alhamdulilah Baba helped us set it up yesterday before his flight and the boys went right to sleep in it and stayed there all night.  They were super excited and it seems to have worked.  Lets just make dua it continues to distract them and make them happy until Baba returns inshaallah! = )

High Park Field Trip

For those of you who live in the GTA, mashaAllah High Park has some awesome programs for children!  Alhamdulilah we were able to attend one last week about spring.  The kids learned about different signs of spring and then we all went for a walk in the forest looking for them.  As usual, Yusuf (in the brown jacket) was right up front beside the instructor asking a bunch of questions.

Magnets and Water

Alhamdulillah for the last few months we have been attending Arabic and Science classes for homeschoolers.  This has been a huge help for me and makes me feel less guilty on days that I don't do much with the boys because of my lack of energy.
Anyways, last week the kids learnt about magnets and they had to do a followup experiment at home to see if magnets worked in water.  This morning I took out some magnets and metal objects and gave them a bowl of water and they had so much fun!  I'm not really into science so we didn't talk much about the actual scientific aspect but at least they learned that yes, magnets still work under water.  And as you can see from the look on Ibby's face, they really did have a lot of fun with this simple activity mashallah!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Family Roadtrip to Ottawa

Alhamdulillah last weekend we enjoyed our family road trip to Ottawa for the AlKauthar conference.  Mashallah we had a lot of fun and Im really glad we went.

What I packed in their backpacks.  CD books, books, stickers, paper, a ziploc bag with goodies from the dollar store, mini flash lights, silly putty, stamps and cars.  Yusuf and Ibby each had their own backpack, plus we had a snack bag.

I made dup-tangs for them with a map of our journey, car bingo, tic tac toe sheets and some blank papers

Yusuf giving out flyers at the conference

We saw two ducks

Brothers at the conference.  It can be kind of tiring taking small kids to such conferences but I really think they benefit, and no doubt they have a lot of fun alhamdulillah!

The day after the conference we cross into Quebec and went to the Museum.  It was amazing!  The kids area was great!  The had so many activities for the kids and gave passports to get stamped at every station.  Mashallah the kids had a blast!  Check it out here.  (The pictures do not do the place justice.)
Yusuf at the restaurant

The boys on a riskshaw

Yusuf maneuvering a parcel from the deck to the ship 

Ibby stamping his passport
Making handkercheifs
Finished products drying

After the museum we stopped by at our friends house for a few hours.  We actually met this couple in hajj and mashallah it was great seeing them!  They have two older girls and a 7 yr old boy, and a bird :)  Needless to say, the boys had a great time here as well alhamdulillah
Sunset on our way home after a great weekend

Yusuf wearing the eye mask I recieved as a gift for filling out some survey at the conference

The boys fast asleep for the 5 hr drive home alhamdulillah <3