Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Multicultural Awareness Night

Every year my daughter's highschool has a Multicultural Awareness night. This is the 4 th year we've had a Malaysian booth. When my oldest daughter went there we had a Vietnamese booth one year. We had a great location this year beside an ice cream booth so we sold out fast! Our curry puffs were gone in 20 minutes! I had to grab my son to take a picture before they were all gone! We also sold jemput-jemput (banana puffs) and pandan cake. The cake was the last thing to go as people were scared of the green colour. The green colour comes from the pandan leaf. Suprisingly there was another malaysian booth for the first time ever. They were from Perak and they were selling nasi lemak. We also had some travel brochures and cookbooks out on display. I wish more people had looked at them though because people hardly know a thing about Malaysia. Everyone knows Thailand and Singapore but what lies between is a mystery to most. To add to the atmosphere we all wore malay outfits; baju kurung for the the girls and me and baju melayu for the boys.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Tajweed in English has free courses to learn tajweed. Its a do it yourself kind of deal though but this should be helpful for a lot of people. May Allah increase us in knowledge. Amin.

Monday, March 29, 2010

March Cooking Challenge Winner

Our only contestant this month was UmmMalaak unless I'm mistaken. If you did the challenge let me know. Otherwise I will be sending a cookbook copy to her this week insha Allah.

Parenting Books

SoundvisionCanada has a new parenting and tarbiyah section now. The new cd set about the child companions is a big missing component in the seerah. Since converting I have often wondered why there seems to be so little information on raising children. Why don't the hadith mention what kind of mother Khadijah was I always wondered. Also what kind of dad and step-dad the Prophet (saw) was? It seems there is no definitive outline for this subject. A few of the books offered here are in my collection but there are many more I'd like to get my hands on.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Eighth Scroll Review

Finally I have finished this book (last month's book choice). I can 't say its one I really enjoyed and I don't think I would have chosen it myself. However it did come to me through a friend so I decided to give it a go. This book overall is very violent so that's what really upset me about it. If you read the Da Vinci Code and liked it then this book would be a good choice for you. Its a cross between that and the Book of Barnabas and Jesus a Prophet of Islam. I'm not sure where the author is going with his idea about James as its not a very Islamic one but maybe others could shed a light on that one.

Anyone else read it yet?

UFO's in the Quran next!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Muslims Turning to Homeschooling in increasing numbers

Check out this article. Its from the US but I wonder if the same thing is happening in Canada. So far it seems to be mostly happening in Toronto where they have great homeschooling groups. One woman in the article kept going years ago, even though the muslims were scattered and resources were minimal. I have to give her kudos because I find those two things daunting. If I were in a bigger place I would like to revisit my decision. Meanwhile my kindergartener who goes sporadically to school keeps asking me why she is being sent to "christian' school even though we tell her its public. But she says the teacher is christian, the kids are christian (truth be told many are atheist actually but just celebrate christian holidays as a custom).

In the slides there is a picture of an empty room where a homeschooling family are praying. I have no prayer room in my house as its very small but we all squeeze into the dining room usually and when I homeschooled in the living room for jumuah prayer. Perhaps the difference is that they have no furniture in the room. If we took everything out like that we would have plently of space. Its like a metaphor; there is plenty of space for Islam in our life if we would just clear out the clutter.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Down by the bay!

Last week we had beautiful weather so I took the kids to the bay to play in the playground, have a picnic and 3 of the older kids decided to wade in the water. My second daughter took a rest and was delighted to see a frog pass her by (no she's not a little girl she's 18 but like I said we are nature deprived). The kids wanted to stay forever and buy a house there but our time had to come to an end and just before we left, my second daughter spotted another frog (maybe it was the same one).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Islamic Finance in Canada

OSAP is a 4 letter word in my dictionary. Many muslims keep using this option because they say you don't have to repay the loan for 6 months which are interest free for that period. I'd like to know who is rich enough to pay back thousands of dollars within a 6 months time period? There is one group who are trying to change things by offering no interest loans to students; IANA. There are also some Islamic scholarships for certain careers. As for my kids they paid for their own education, alhumdullilah.

To buy a house there is ISNA and UM Financial and a new company on the block is Ijara which does not ask for a huge downpayment like most do. They say on their website that 5% down or even 0% down is available.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Break

The regular schooled kids are having march break so I gave my homeschooled daughter a break too. Tae kwon do lessons are still being held although our family was the only one to show up. The weather has been beautiful so we've been taking walks to the parks. We make a nice parade with our bikes, wagon and stroller. My 4th son went to the library for a comic book workshop. The presenters were late so we whiled away the time playing checkers. My son was letting me win, yeah sad really, but I'm rusty. He said he wasn't letting me win but just had a strategy. It was nice to have one on one time with him. Any other homeschoolers having a March Break?

2 Weeks left!

Gazing at the calendar I see that there are only 2 weeks left now to take part in the cooking challenge. So far there is only one entrant. Won't you be daring and enter too? This is your last chance! We'd love to see what you are cooking up in your neck of the woods and swipe your recipes too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Escape Artist

Some of you if you are expats may be familiar with the website From it you can get information on the country you plan to live and work in. Its mainly geared to people in the middle of their career who are making the switch to working overseas but there are other situations as well. I found I didn't have much in common with them when I tried to share my views after coming back from Malaysia but there is still a lot of interesting information to be found at this site. This ebook is just an example. I can totally relate to the last example, ahem. Live and learn.

Mat Sallehs in Malaysia

I've just added two new bloggers to my blogroll. They are white male convert expats living in Malaysia. So far I haven't found anyone like me living in Malaysia who blogs. I lived in Malaysia for 4 months in 2000. Unlike me these two guys have decided to rough it and stay in Malaysia. Can men adapt easier than women? I think they can. For example my 13 yr old son told me over the phone while he was in Malaysia that it was an adventure! But he was only there for 5 weeks and he was pretty perturbed when he saw a lizard caught in a mousetrap being eaten by a mouse. My 11 yr old son says he's going to buy a kris and kill all the mice at Nenek's house when its his turn to go. Guys have such a different take on things!

If you know of any more converts living in Malaysia with blogs let me know. I'd love to see how they're surviving over there,lol.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Donating for a change!

Remember when I mentioned that my mosque didn't have a change table the first time? Well right after that a change table was offered on freecycle. Unfortunately it was too big for the mosque bathroom so I passed it up. Then I blogged again about it and guess what another one was offered on freecycle! There is no such thing as a coincidence in Islam so I knew Allah was with me on this one. This time the change table being offered was the type you can just put on a counter or dresser by Little Tykes so I asked for it and they said yes! So dh went to pick it up and I cleaned it up and today I brought it to the mosque and brought it into the bathroom after jumuah. Its perfect to put on the counter and stores easily under the sink. So insha Allah if all goes well everyone will have a chance to change their babies now at the mosque, Alhumdullilah!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Al Sharifa Discount

Spring is in the air and many are thinking ahead to holidays, summer and swimming. Well at least I am! Would you like to try to win an Islamic swimsuit? Or order one just in case? How about some new hijabs, skirts or tunics? Well you can have them and all at 10% off. Just type in the coupon code of SHOE10 during checkout to get the discount care of moi; Old Muslim Woman in the Shoe. Check out the site now. Be sure to check out their fabric video; they have the most amazing water repellent material. If you have questions just ask them, they are amazingly helpful!

Sew Warm Contest

Instructables has a Sew Warm Contest where you can vote for the best project. You need to sign up for an account to vote though. You can see my oldest daughter's entry here. Hope you will vote for it insha Allah.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Walk in the 'woods'.

Yesterday the weather was beautiful so we went for a walk. I've already told all of you how deprived of nature this town is but next to the river is a little tiny woods that I always wonder if we are allowed to go into. The reason is, I never knew if it was gov't land or belonged to the guy who lives beside it. So yesterday I finally got the nerve to ask who owns it and if we can go there. The guy said we could but wouldn't tell if it was his land which is odd. However we did go into the 'woods' , dragging my stroller through the snow mind you and I felt such a peace just to be there. Burrs got stuck to me and we saw little red berries and walked over broken branches and through branches as well. I think I'll go back when its much better weather and maybe even have a picnic. Why not?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March Cooking Challenge

Some people weren't quite prepared for last month's cooking challenge so I am offering you another chance. So here are the rules; cook supper for one week and blog about it with pictures and recipes. You can choose to do it any week of March. Please add your link so we can enjoy the action and tell you if you won. The prize, which will be given to someone randomly chosen by, will be The International Islamic Recipes Book, again. The sales from these books benefit abused women. Please do support this cause even if you do not participate or win. Thanks.

Sisters Who Blog Interview

My oldest daughter was interviewed on Sisters Who Blog. Check it out here. You can be interviewed too, just drop her a line. I'm not sure if I'm interesting enough to be interviewed...hmmm.

Friday, March 5, 2010

10 Ways to Empower Muslim Women in your Community.

Just got this article in my email today and I loved how it mentions that women can do more than the grunge work (cooking and cleaning) and that we need change tables, people! I blogged about that before here. Were the Mothers of the Believers known for their household skills? Of course not. They were so much more than that as we should be. I encourage you all to print this off and give it to your mosque or hang it up on the bulletin board (if you are even allowed!) or bring it to a meeting. Its time that women went to back tothe glory that Islam once was for women!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Halal Kitchen

Have you checked out My Halal Kitchen? Just yesterday I made the scrumptious blueberry banana loaf on the website. I used regular sugar though and blueberry flavoured yogurt instead. Dh took one bite and said it was good. Score! I had a feeling that since she said her dh loved it that mine would too. Men always seem to like those fruity desserts. I loved it too. I got to use the blueberries I picked and use the banana that was in the freezer to which I added some fresh bananas. This dessert is so moist and yummy and good for anytime of the day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cooking Challenge Winner

There were only 2 participants for this challenge but I'm so happy that someone joined me. According to the winner is #1 Heather. Check your mailbox for a copy of International Islamic Recipes. Congratulations. Insha Allah (God willing) you and your family got something out of this.

For those who weren't quite prepared I will offer a second chance at winning with the same rules; cook something everynight from scratch for one week and post the pictures and recipes on your blog and add the link here. The same prize will be offered.

Learn Bahasa Malaysia

First of all I think the best way to learn malay is from your mother-in-law lol but if you are far away then you might want to try this course. It looks interesting and not too expensive. I also have a Europhone course on tape which I used before I went to Malaysia. I wonder why Rosetta Stone only has Bahasa Indonesia. Although its pretty close, dh says that Indonesians say things backwards compared to Bahasa Malaysia and people would find it awkward if you spoke Bahasa Indonesia to them but they could understand it. They also use a lot of different words, expressions etc apparently. Any orang putih out there who can speak malay?

Cabin Fever

I have cabin fever today. In fact its easy to get bored in a sleepy little town especially in the winter. When I felt like this on Sunday I went out of town to FabricLand (one of my favourites stores ever) to get some material. I could stay all day there if you let me. But I don't feel like driving that far. I just want to knock on someone's door and say hi can I come in for a coffee? Imagine if life were like that. You would never be bored making friends throughout the neighbourhood and beyond. When I was a kid and bored my mom would tell me go outside and find a new friend. Its easy when you are a kid but when you grow up they would just think you are stir crazy. So what do you do when you have cabin fever?

March Book Club - UFO's in the Quran

Last month the book club choice was The Eighth Scroll but due to time constraints (read stupid cooking challenge!) and too many books that suddenly came in from the library that were ordered months ago I have not finished it yet. However I'll be finishing it and posting sometime soon insha Allah. You can grab a copy and read it too or move on to this month's choice. Or choose one my past book club choices and add your comments. Come on everyone, let's read, having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card, as Arthur always says.

As for this month's choice I have 2 sons begging me to read this so they can have their turns to read it.

Challenge Day 7 - Last Supper

Everyone loved the supper last night and ate it. I make this all the time;lasagna, so its nothing new for them. The recipe for it is on the back of the box (ItalPasta). I used oven ready lasagna noodles to make life easier. Salad and texas toast completed the meal. 3 people had already had supper somewhere else though. Last night was the fundraising dinner for Haiti at the mosque and my second son and second daughter went to it and when dh went to pick them up he ended up eating there too. However the kids both ate again when they got home.

If there are any more entries for this challenge let me know as I will be picking the winner randomly and sending out the cookbook this week insha Allah. Some people were not ready for this challenge so I am offering another chance with the same rules and the same cookbook. Deadline is the end of the month. That should give everyone a chance.

For the article that inspired this challenge read here. I don't really think it accomplished what the author thinks it would. What do you think?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Arab Dress A Short History

Months ago Umm Malaak suggested I read this book (the first part can be found online here) as an answer to my Jilbab post. I've finally finished it and its due tomorrow, whew. This is not a book you can just breeze through. If you look online you will find that this book is very expensive to purchase so I was grateful to get this through interlibrary loan where they sourced it from an university. I notice they had paid $75 for it. This book goes through the history of arab dress from the time of Islam to modern times. There are so many fascinating facts in this book. First of all it covers not only women's clothes but men's. In fact I wish it would cover women's more as there are a lot more descriptions of men's clothing. The author presents her information in a matter of fact way which is very refreshing and to be expected but new for me as most information regarding this topic is never neutral. Also what's amazing to know is that not only muslim women but christian and jewish women in the Islamic empire were dressed alike in jilbabs, khimars (wimples) and niquabs. This was not imposed on them in fact on the contrary many times it seemed they were trying to make sure Christians and Jews dressed differently for security purposes. I was suprised to find out that there are so many kinds of face veils used by women. The peice of cloth across the face which most people call niquab is actually not called that and the niquab is actually a full face veil with holes for the eyes. It also mentions that women would also often just cover one eye. Jilbabs I found out are exclusively for women whereas the khimar is something for men and women. Another interesting peice of information was that women wore many different colours not just black like in Saudi. They were embellished also with embroidery and gold and silver threads. Fashion was big business back then, even more so than now and clothing was actually worth something. It could be sold for good money and also traded. So back to the jilbab itself. Seems like every woman was wearing it and only recently in the 19th and 20th century did women stop wearing it. In fact even men wore 3 layers of clothing (underwear, indoor wear and outerwear). Only the poor wore less layers. The face veil was the first thing to be taken off and that was by christians and jews and later followed by muslims. I'm amazed at how ubiquitous the face veil was! Next to come off was the khimar (wimple). When I compare myself to those women I think they would think that I was very poor since I do not wear jilbab and that I was very brazen to not being wearing a niquab. Back then it was said that a woman without niquab was like a soldier without his armor! Imagine! So am I more convinced about jilbab? Absolutely! The fact that this was written by a Jewish woman makes me all the more convinced since she's obviously not trying to promote islam but just telling the historical facts. The author actually passed away while putting together this book and her husband had to finish it for her; a real labour of love. Inna ilaihi wa inna ilaihi rajiun. Alhumdullillah I am grateful to Umm Malaak for sharing this book reference with me and for Yedida Stillman for writing it. Please do check it out.

Yellow Belts

This weekend 3 of my kids got their yellow belts in Tae Kwon Do after my 3rd son got his a few weeks ago. Even my 2nd son who missed so many classes from being in Malaysia managed to pass. So now I have 6 kids with yellow belts in martial arts. My first and second daughter have yellow belts in Kung-Fu. I would have put these kids in Kung-Fu too but they don't offer it here. Number one son was never interested in martial arts sadly so he had no belt, not even a white one. My 4th daughter has one red stripe on her white belt and so does my 5th son. Insha Allah by the time summer comes they will have some more stripes. At this rate it could take them forever to even get a yellow belt. But they are just little and having fun and exercise, so no pressure.