Thursday, December 31, 2009

Campbell's Halal line

If you went to RIS then you probably already know from the flyer that Campbell's has a new halal line. I think this is awesome because now vegetable soup will actually be halal instead of containing beef broth and cream of broccoli will actually be an option now too. Other products which were already ok will also be labelled halal now by ISNA. Now if only they could incorporate halal meat into their products, what a great shopping experience that would be! Remember to thank them here.

The recipe for this is on the back of the cream of broccoli soup.

January Book Club Pick - Stones Into Schools

Hopefully you've all read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. This leaves off from where that one ends. I love how the cover says "Promoting peace with books, not bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. " So pick up a copy of Stones into Schools and join me for this month's book pick.

Zeitoun -December Book Club -review

This is the last day of December so I hope you have all finished this month's pick - Zeitoun. First of all I have to say that this was an awesome book; a real page turner. Although this book was written by a non-muslim (I'm assuming) about Zeitoun and his family and experience he was very respectful and precise about Islam. I really related to Kathy, his wife, who is a convert like me. I loved how they told her story as well as his including their families'. Although I felt very sorry for the main character and his family too, I felt that this book only further emphasizes how important shura (consultation) and the use of Istikhara in making a decision that can affect so many lives. But khair insha Allah because as you can see with the list on the back of the book there are so many organizations that are benefitting from the sale of this book to help rebuild New Orleans.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Toronto Muslimah Store

Want something for pregnancy or nursing? Need a niquab,long khimar? Looking for something very modest? I've just come across this store and I've never ordered from them before but its another option for the Canadian sister and they also ship worldwide..even Malaysia. They also have giveaways! Just tell them what is important to you when you look for an abaya and you could win this month.

Reviving the Islamic Spirit

This is a shout out to all the attendees at RIS this year. May Allah increase you in ilm and taqwah. Today is the first day of the conference there are still two days after that too so its not too late to change your mind and join everyone else. I'm not going this year but I will be there in spirit! I'm happy to know that Barakah Life will be there this year as well as Soundvision. This conference is really growing. I wish I would have went though when Raihan had come to perform. Here are some tips from a former attendee: put your bracelet on really tight or you will lose it and have to buy another one and bring a backpack or bag for all your belongings and keep it close. Also bring a notebook to jot down anything inspirational and bring a list of books you've spotted on my blog (hehe) that you would like to buy. Remember to give salaams, give charity and make new friends/contacts. Use this opportunity to gain great barakah. Have fun too! Read an article about the first day here.

Food Inc.

I watched Food Inc. last night and although it was no surprise because this information has been 'out' for awhile it still made me upset all over again. What can we do to make a difference? The movie says vote with your dollars. What bothers me the most is the lack of organic zabihah meat. I'm already driving over an hour to get zabihah meat but to get organic zabihah meat it would be a drive of 3 hours. For those of you in the GTA then you can go here. I think this store should really be called M & M's meats; Mennonite and Muslim. The Mennonites raise their animals organically and the Muslims slaughter them Islamically. I don't know of any muslims though raising their animals organically in Canada though. But then again all the muslims are engineers and doctors right? I think we need some muslim farmers!

The Kindness of Strangers

My kids inspired by their older sister wanted to make a house too. So we went to the furniture store to get big boxes and they told us they had just thrown some out so the kids did some dumpster diving and got 3 large boxes to take home. The next day I brought them to the decorating store to get those old wallpaper books they always throw out when they get new styles. Apparently they had already gotten rid of all of theirs but they took our name for next time. So I went to another store to see if they had any and this was my last resort; remember I live in a small town. They told me they don't sell wallpaper anymore but asked me how much I needed. I told them just a little bit so the kids could decorate their little box house. So she said follow me home and I'll give you some old rolls we don't need. Can you imagine? Talk about customer service er helping out a moocher. So I follow her and she gives me 3 rolls of wallpaper for my kids project. She said so you have 4 kids? I told her no 10 and she said oh I'm the oldest of 15! and I raised 6! We were like kindred spririts and the world was good :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Need Advice?

Canadians can now get fatwa advice by going to this website by Ahmad Khutty. If you need personal advice as a muslim you can call Naseeha. They've been around for awhile now and are a great resource. Americans even call in as they have no such resource apparently. Something troubling you? Then reach out.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Spy Bag giveaway Winner!!!!

The I spy bag giveaway winner according to is number 9 ; the Soap Corner. Congratulations! Handmade Beginnings will be contacting you to send out your choice of I Spy Bag. Thank you to everyone for participating and all your lovely answers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Another Canadian Muslim Clothing site

I've heard of this store before but forgot about them and came across their site today. I see they have a lovely satin baby friendly number. The hijabs are very lovely but not my style. One is on sale for only $3! Check it out here.

Mamma mia itsa pizza cake!

My two favourite foods are pizza and cake. Looks like Cake boss might feel the same way. Check out this episode where he makes not only a pizza cake but an actual pizza to compete against his father-in-law. If and when I ever take the Wilton fondant course I'm gonna see if the teacher will let me make a pizza cake insha Allah. Talk about the best of both worlds! Bellisimo.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lenticular technology -kids books

My 4th daughter found an amazing 'moving' book from the library. You move the book and the pictures changes; seems to be moving. I remember gettting these kinds of things in the popcorn; little cards and the picture would change when you moved them. These pictures don't change into a different item but change positions. My daughter just loves these books, so far they only seemed to have produced two in the series. If your kids are getting bored of the same old-same old then get your hands on these.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Do Muslims read?

I'm not asking if muslims are literate that's a whole other topic but for the ones who are do they read and what? From my experience the raised muslims who were raised overseas mainly read schoolbooks and of course that's because they have to. They don't seemed inclined to read otherwise unless its the Quran. I could be generalizing here but its been my personal observation. When visiting homes I noticed that the only book to be seen was the Quran and nothing else. As for raised muslims living here in Canada I noticed that the religious ones do have a lot of islamic books while the rest tend to be the Harry Potter type. What about converts? Good question. I think I don't know enough to really tell. I do know that a lot of converts have started writing books and magazines though which inspires hope. I myself was raised to love books;bedtime stories, trips to the library etc So do you read and what? Non-fiction? Regular fiction? Islamic fiction? Muslim fiction (fiction by muslims with no Islamic content), newspapers, islamic newspapers, magazines, islamic magazines. I know you're reading blogs that's for sure! And if you are reading then where do you buy your material? Bookstores? Bookfairs? Online?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Growing Up X

Growing up X is a book written by Malcolm X's daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz. I will be adding this to my must read list insha Allah. She will also be talking to Islam Online on December 20th. She is certainly following in her parents footsteps. I remember it took forever for the movie theatre in our city to get the Malcolm X movie and in the meantime I read the biography from the library. Although the movie is great as usual the book was even better.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kid Creations

The kids are at it again; creating all sorts of things. My 3rd son has taken up weaving with a loom I got him from the dollar store. He keeps making me pot holders and wants to go into business too! My 3rd daughter has been making brownies (find the recipe on the back of the Fry's Cocoa Can), painting and making drums from old cans. My 4th son is busy designing a boat made from old cardboard boxes.

New December Book Club Pick - Zeitoun

bSo after abandoning Rice Mother I wasn't sure which book to go with since my top picks hadn't come in yet. But today I picked up Zeitoun finally from the library. It looks brand new, I think they bought it because I requested it, masha Allah. So grab it if you can and start reading along with me insha Allah and we can discuss it before January's pick. Thanks for your patience.

Shukr coming to RIS

This time at RIS Shukr will have a few booths. Sadly I won't be going this year but for the rest of you be sure not to miss this chance. Insha Allah an interesting speaker will be there too for the first time, as far as I know; Tayibba Taylor who is the owner of Azizah magazine. Yusuf Islam(Cat Stevens) will be there too insha Allah but I'm kind of disappointed in where he's taking his music career. I'm really going to miss the bazaar in general but especially the book fair. Gotta love having Popeyes for lunch and dinner, lunch and dinner...hey there's no Popeyes where I live..give a woman a break, lol.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Raising the Roof -Chez Toit

This is an organization that is raising money for youth homelessness by selling toques. If you're Canadian you will know that toques are winter hats. The French words for the campaign are so catchy - Chez Toit, it would usually be Chez toi - your place but instead its toit meaning roof. Its cold out there and there's no reason anyone should be homeless in a rich country like Canada but its happening so I think its best to help out. You can purchase toques online, by cheque or at a Virgin Mobile store. Here's the link.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Muslim Home Decorating

Although a muslim's life is supposed to be very simple it is still halal to have a little decoration in your home. Pictures of animate life is forbidden though including photos on the wall. Quranic verses are also used as decorations but scholars say it is only halal if they are actually being used to remind the believer and not just being ignored. A picture of the kaaba (without the worshippers around it) in the direction of Makkah is a very useful reference point as well as visually lovely. Even a lovely library of Islamic books in their rich colours with gold coloured printing provide a beautiful backdrop. Duas for entering and exiting on the door are also a nice touch. Beautiful prayer mats and garments and quran holders also put the believer in a tranquil state of mind. Geometric designs also have always been popular in the islamic world as well. Happy decorating.

I Spy giveaway!

With the launch of my daughter's Etsy shop; Handmade Beginnings, I thought I'd offer a giveaway from her shop. The winner (Canada & US only) gets to choose any I spy bag from her shop and it will be mailed out to them. Contest closes December 22nd, 2009 (midnight tonight). Winner will be chosen randomly. No anonymous comments. Package to be sent the same day.

So here's the question : What is your child's favourite handmade toy that they own?Also please state which I Spy bag from her shop is your favourite.

Insha Allah your child will love this prize.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Favourite blog?

What is your favourite blog and why? My daughter says hers is Chasing Cheerios. I really like Happy Muslim Mama and was following it even before I ever had a blog. There are so many inspiring blogs out there. I am really enjoying the blog world; so much creativity and insight. So please share your favourite blog so we can enjoy your treasured pick.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


My daughter passed on a great site to me called Instructables. People share ideas with each other about how to make and build things. This is great for homeschooling. I saw great ideas for catapults for my third grader. Cake decorating and playhouse making are among tons of ideas from the mundane to the quirky to the outrageous. Get ideas, share ideas and become a member to get even more content.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I want to be a ...... when I grow up.

Someone suggested that I get my kids to learn about what they want to be when they grow up as a homeschooling activity. So I asked them all what they were interested in and then got stacks of books and movies about each thing. My second son who originally wanted to work for NASA now wants to save the orangutans in Sabah and is reading this. My third son is interested in electricity, heating and cooling and construction and has built a lighthouse that really lights up. My fourth son is also interested in construction and wants to build a mosque when he grows up. My third daughter is interested in massage therapy, carpentry and firefighting; previously she was fire chief for a day. My fourth daughter says she wants to be a teacher and a doctor. Insha Allah they will all do things to benefit the ummah.

"My First Cake"

Here is my 3rd daughter's first creation made with her Eid gift; Easy Bake decorating kit. I'm gonna have to fight for baking time now.

Homeschooling series

Islamonline has a new series about homeschooling. The first installment is here and addresses different methods. There is also a Q & A session here. Keep an eye out for more installments. Its nice to see homeschooling being addressed by a muslim website. The muslim homeschooling scene has been quite quiet recently especially compared to 10 yrs ago when it seemed red hot.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book memories 2009 and book dreams for 2010

Quick what Islamic books did you read this year? Did they impact your life? Which were your favourites? What is on your must read list for next year?

This year I read ( among others)

Enjoy Your Life I loved this book and would highly recommend it - life changing.

Beyond The Kitchen For anyone who works or intends to.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel Stories for teens but I loved them too.

Realities of Submission Really explained the whole salafi movement.

Release Your Inner Queen of Sheba For anyone who wants to be inspired and motivated.

For the future I am looking at these gems insha Allah.

Ameena's Ramadan Diary Should have gotten this earlier right?

The Size of a Mustard Seed Interesting islamic fiction.

Turning the Tide Introspective.

Stories from the Muslim World For kids.

Once Upon a Time For kids.

UFO's in the Quran Cuz I'm crazy like that!

Healing Body and Soul Wholistic.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Canadian Housewife -An Affectionate History

I just finished reading this. Its an historical account of housewives in Canada since the 1600's to the 1950's. After that we all know that women started to go to work in droves so I guess that's why it ends there except for me still plodding away in suburbia. They even mention housewives in suburbia too as it was the 1950's when suburbs were first created apparently thanks to the motorcar. This book is quite fascinating and although we know so much of this from our history class and from oral reports from our mothers and grandmothers there are still so many tidbits we never heard tell of. For example did you know that the first woman amongst the filles de roi to get married was a moor? Or did you know that divorce used to be illegal in Canada? If the guy was a jerk you were stuck with him for life! One can only be amazed by the fortitude of these women and what they went through. For most of the women their lives back in Europe were a lot better in every way so it was a great sacrifice for them to come here. But what begs to be asked is what about the lives of the native women? Were they not housewives as well during this time? Not according to Edna Jacques in "Housewives of Yellowknife" p81 which is quoted on page 197 of this book. "To be honest about it, there are no original housewives in this far land, unless you would like to call a native Indian woman at the door of her shack, a housewife." As a woman with native heritage (I'm ojibway) I'm appalled and insulted by this remark as well as the fact that native housewives aside from this quote are never mentioned in this book aside from an Inuit woman being told to give her baby formula. Perhaps there was no written work left behind like the european women had but wasn't there any observations made by europeans either in this regard except negative ones? I'd love to know for example how the Hurons kept their longhouses. Another shocking thing is the way women and children are portrayed in advertising and newspaper columns. On page 207 its says "Most husbands, nowadays, have stopped beating their wives, but what can be more agonizing to a sensitive soul than a man's boredom at meals?" This was in an ad for Heinz Soup! On page 211 Margaret Munnoch in the Toronto Globe and Mail complains about accent pillows for decorating and says " It is too small to fit behind your back, too large to stop the mouths of howling children, too hard to rest on and too bizarre to ignore." Its 2009 and I'd like to say "you've come a long way baby!" but I wonder if that's true? After reading this book though you'll never be able to complain about housekeeping again; we have it so much easier than they did. When was the last time you had to make your own bread, butter and clothing?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Book Club Pick

I'm still waiting to get a particular book but not having any luck so this month will be another non-islamic, non-muslim author book choice. However it is about Malaysia again. Its called The Rice Mother. The main character is Indian. Its set during the same time period as The Gift of Rain.
Insha Allah next time we will be reading about Malaysia from a malay/muslim point of view.