Monday, April 30, 2012

Saffron Dreams

This weekend I finished reading Saffron Dreams. Its the story of a Pakistani woman who lost her husband during 911. Its very heartbreaking and the poor woman went through so much. I think the thing that keeps making me scratch my head is why is it that these books whether fiction or non-fiction always have the majority of the people not praying. Are most Muslims not praying and I'm just oblivious or is it that authors themselves usually come from non-practicing families? It breaks my heart to know or think that so many Muslims have lost their connection to Allah.

Friday, April 27, 2012

May Book Club Choice Reminder

I Speak For Myself is the May book of the month club choice. See it here. Anyone read last month's choice? Any new readers for next month?

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Judging by Revelation
Al-Nisa (Women) - Chapter 4: Verse 105
"(O Messenger) We have revealed to you this Book with the Truth so that you may judge between people in accordance with what Allah has shown you. So do not dispute on behalf of the dishonest."
At the highly critical juncture in the life of the new Muslim community in Madinah, this verse and the ones that follow were revealed from on high giving instructions to God's Messenger and the Muslim community to ensure that justice was done to a Jewish person who was wrongly accused of theft.
The incident involved a person called Tu'mah or Bashir ibn Ubayriq of the Banu Zafar tribe of the Ansar. This man stole a shield that belonged to another Ansar Rifa'ah. Rifa'ah's nephew Qatadah ibn al-Nu'man approached the Prophet, peace be upon him, and expressed his suspicion about Tu'mah. But Tu'mah, his kinsmen and many of the Banu Zafar colluded to ascribe the guilt to a Jew called Zayd ibn al-Samin (Tu'mah placed the shield in Zayd's home). When Zayd was asked about the matter once the shield was found in his home he pleaded that he was not guilty. Tu'mahs' supporters on the other hand, waged a vigorous propaganda campaign to save Tu'mah's skin. They argued that Zayd, who had denied the Truth and disbelieved in God and the Prophet, was absolutely untrustworthy, and his statement ought to be rejected outright. The Prophet was about to decide the case against Zayd on formal grounds and to censure Qatadah for slandering Tu'mah, but before he could do so, the whole matter was laid bare by this revelation from God.
In this and the following verses the Muslims are strongly censured for supporting criminals for no other reason than either family or tribal solidarity and were told that they should not allow prejudice to interfere with the principle of equal justice for all.
With reference to the words: "By what Allah has shown you," Umar has said: "Let none of you say, I did this or that, by what Allah has showed me (as the right thing). Because, such a "showing" by Allah was only to His Prophet. As for us, our opinions can be both right as well as wrong." In fact, when someone told Umar in a case that he should judge by what "Allah showed him," Umar reprimanded him and said that that was the prerogative of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 3, pp. 297, 298
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol 2, pp. 81, 82
"Tafsir Ishraq Al-Ma'ani" - Syed Iqbal Zaheer, Vol 2, pp. 318, 319

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Certainty and Good Health
Patience is essential in performing the commanded good and abstaining from the forbidden evil. This includes patience in bearing hurt and things that are said, patience in adversity, patience when tempted to arrogance in good times, and every other kind of patience.
It is not possible for a creature to be patient unless he has something by which to reassure, comfort and sustain himself. This something is the certainty of firm conviction. As the Prophet, on him be peace, said in the hadith transmitted by Abu Bakr the Veracious, may God be pleased with him: "People! Ask God for certainty and good health, for after certainty no gift of His is better than good health, so ask God for both."
Compiled From:
"Public Duties in Islam" - Ibn Taymiya, p. 102
Strength in Sensitivity
When the news of the Prophet's, peace be upon him, death spread through Medina it caused infinite sorrow. Faces showed dismay; tears, sobs, and sometimes screams expressed the intensity of the pain. The Prophet had recommended that grief should be expressed but without excess, without hysteria, with restraint and dignity. Heavy silence, crossed with sighs and sobs, reigned near the Prophet's home. Umar ibn al-Khattab suddenly broke that silence and exclaimed forcefully that the Prophet was not dead, that he would come back, as Moses had done, after forty days. He even threatened to kill whoever dared declare that the Prophet was dead. His love was such, and the feeling of emptiness was so intense, that Umar could not imagine the future without the man who had guided and accompanied them. Emotion had taken hold of his being.
At this point, Abu Bakr arrived at the Prophet's home, sat at his bedside, and lifted the blanket that had been laid over the Prophet's body and face. Tears were streaming down his face as he realized that the Prophet had left them. He went out and tried to silence Umar, who, still in a state of emotional shock, refused to calm himself. Abu Bakr then stood aside and addressed the crowd, and this was when he uttered those words, so full of wisdom, that synthesized the very essence of Islam's creed: "Let those who worshipped Muhammad know that Muhammad is now dead! As for those who worshipped God, let them know that God is alive and does not die."
Umar, despite his strong character and impressive personality, had lost control of himself for a short while, his emotions seizing him so strongly that it brought out a heretofore unsuspected fragility, causing him to react like a child refusing the ruling of God, of reality, of life. By contrast, Abu Bakr, who was normally so sensitive, who wept so abundantly and so intensely when he read the Quran, had received the news of the Prophet's death with deep sorrow but also with extraordinary calm and unsuspected inner strength. At that particular moment, the two men's roles were inverted, thus showing that through his departure the Prophet offered us a final teaching: in the bright depths of spirituality, sensitivity can produce a degree of strength of being that nothing can disturb. Conversely, the strongest personality, if it forgets itself for a moment, can become vulnerable and fragile. The path to wisdom and to strength in God inevitably leads through awareness and recognition of our weaknesses. They never leave us, and the Most Near recommends that we accept them - with confidence, as Abu Bakr did, and with intensity, as Umar did, but always with humility.
Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, pp.209, 210

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Umm Obaidah's Cooking

An acquaintance of mine has a youtube account with her cooking. Pizza, fatayer, cinnamon buns anyone? This woman also homeschools and blogs. Check out her cooking videos here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Link Between Provision and Sin

This is a great article. Please don't pass this one by. I personally feel it is life changing. Productive Muslim strikes again. Read the 3 part article here. Use the advice today. May Allah forgive us all . Amin.

Your Life, Your Choice

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Healthy Journey Part Five

Falling Down Laughing is the book I just finished which my mother gave to me some time ago. Its the story of Squiggy and how he got MS and hid it for years. You don't remember him? That means you are young. I watched Laverne and Shirley when I was a kid and he was on it. My mother gave me this book because the neurologist said I have either a virus or MS but she couldn't decide. I've also read Montel Williams' book because he has MS too. According to David Lander who wrote Falling, Richard Pryor also had it. I didn't even know that. There are drugs for MS and he also talks about alternative things he's tried but in the end there is no cure and the drugs help some but not completely. I'm still in no man's land so I will continue the alternative route and try to better my nutrition the way Montel did. Next week, insha Allah I start the Nadoona program I told you about. Insha Allah that will be a help.If you can spare a prayer, I'd be mighty obliged.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Extrovert or Introvert?

Recently my daughter told me about a book she read called Quiet. Its about introverts. I always saw myself as more of an extrovert so I took the test. You can take it here. Turns out I'm an ambivert. I guess that explains all the book reading. I notice a lot of people on the internet especially facebook are actually introverts so if you think you are going to make lots of friends off the internet forget it! That is why I left facebook. People only want to talk to you in cyberspace. They are the type that answer emails at their leisure and take voice mail instead of picking up the phone. That drives me nuts. Not only do I want to talk to you on the phone, I want you to come over and stay for hours. Is that a thing of the past? I need to find some extroverts or some ambiverts. How about you? Where do you fit in? Have you read this book? Do you think introverts need more respect? Or are you a social butterfly living in this new everybody let's hide behind the computer/cellphone world?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Nasihah

iving The Quran
Saba (Sheba) - Chapter 34: Verse 46 (partial)
"Say, I exhort you to one thing, that you rise up to God."
Rising up to God is awakening from the slumber of heedlessness and rising from the difficulty of indifference. It is the first thing that enlightens the heart of the servant of God with life.
Awakening consists of three things:
The first is the glance of the heart at the grace and despairing at counting it or knowing its limits, of devoting oneself to knowing its favour, knowing how careless one is with respect to it.
The second is to examine the transgression, realizing the danger it involves, preparing oneself to setting it right, ridding oneself of its noose and asking to be saved by cleansing it.
The third is being alert in recognising the increase and decrease in God's privileges, to avoid wasting them and pay attention not to hold them back, so that what has been missed can be set right and what has remained can flourish.
As to how to recognize the grace, it becomes clear with three things: the light of the mind, the source of the lightning of the favour and absorption of the lesson from those who are afflicted with adversity.
As to the examination of the misdeed, it is validated by three things: glorifying the True One, knowing oneself and, believing in the threat.
As to discerning the increase and decrease in privileges, it goes by three things: listening to Science, complying with the requirement of piety and keeping company with the righteous.
Attaining all of this is by giving up acquired habits.
Compiled From:
"Stations of the Wayfarers" - Abdullah Al-Ansari, pp. 42-44
go to the top ^
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Racial Equality
Once Abu Dharr, an Arab from the tribe of Ghifar, became angry with Bilal of Abyssinia, the freed slave of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them. The dispute intensified until Abu Dharr in his fury said to Bilal, "Son of a black woman!" Bilal complained to the Prophet, peace be upon him, who addressed Abu Dharr saying, "Did you call him a name reviling his mother? It appears that you still have traces of jahiliyyah [ignorance] in you!" Abu Dharr thought that jahiliyyah was a kind of sexual immorality or moral deviation and thus said, "At this old age, O Messenger of Allah?" The Prophet said in reply, "Yes, they are your brothers." Abu Dharr regretted what he had said and repented, and out of extreme repentance and humility requested Bilal to trample his face with his feet. This is the point which marks the line of demarcation between knowledge and ignorance. In other words, racial equality demarcates the real human civilization and the civilization of the jahiliyyah.
The civilization that does not make one race superior over another, or one colour over another is the civilization that the noble and intelligent humans build, and thus conscious noble humanity is pleased. The civilization which gives superiority to whites and degrades the black so that only the whites are happy and the coloured are in misery takes humanity back to the blind and dark ages. "You have traces of jahiliyyah in you" is a description of the jahili civilization which calls for racial discrimination and this is what Islamic Civilizations has fought in all fields of life - in the mosque, in the school, in the court, in the leadership and with friends and foe alike.
Compiled From:
"The Islamic Civilization"- Mustafa Sibai, pp. 66, 67
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Finding Wisdom
We know that information is not wisdom. We also know that knowledge is not wisdom. As your knowledge increases, your ignorance becomes larger, or at least your awareness of your ignorance becomes larger. So the more you know, the more you realize you don't know. What if you were trying to serve purposes greater than your knowledge - greater than your comfort zone? This would create genuine humility and a desire to draw upon help from others - from a partnership or team. Successfully working with others makes one's knowledge and abilities productive and necessitates the creation of a complementary team of people who possess knowledge and abilities that can compensate for and make irrelevant one's individual ignorance and weaknesses. When information and knowledge are impregnated with worthy purposes and principles, you have wisdom.
Another way of putting this would be that wisdom is the child of integrity - being integrated around principles. And integrity is the child of humility and courage. In fact you could say that humility is the mother of all the virtues because humility acknowledges that there are natural laws or principles that govern the universe. They are in charge. We are not. Pride teaches us that we are in charge. Humility teaches us to understand and live by principles, because they ultimately govern the consequences of our actions. If humility is the mother, courage is the father of wisdom. Because to truly live by these principles when they are contrary to social mores, norms and values takes enormous courage.
Compiled From:
"The 8th Habit" - Stephen R. Covey, pp. 295-297

Friday, April 13, 2012

Healthy Journey Part 4

Have you ever heard of cupping? I had, but relegated it in my mind to all things barbaric and backwards and inaccessible anyway. Tsk, tsk, what a way to think of something sunnah. I'm sure I'm not the only one though. Even though I felt this way I kept thinking about it off and on since I got sick and would be reminded of it whenever I went to the Asian food store and saw the box with the cupping set being sold. Then dd1 told me that she knew someone, who knew someone, who did cupping and that she wanted to go. So I jumped on the bandwagon. I started to look up youtube videos about cupping and was very intrigued. I also went to this site and downloaded an ebook. My daughter also gave me the link for the woman who was doing the cupping who was the friend of the friend and I checked out her blog from top to bottom and was very impressed. Even more amazing is that this woman went to Florida to give a talk for Nadoona! Coincidence? Allah was obviously guiding me. Then this past weekend my daughter and I went to her for cupping. I have felt some improvement. I feel more feelings in my feet and toes and felt my toenail for the first time in a year. She told me I need to go again as I have a chronic problem. Have you ever had cupping done? Would you consider it?

Children in Need of Our Love and Mercy

Sign up for this free webinar put on by a Muslim right here in Ontario. Check it out here.

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Occasions of Revelation
Al Maidah (The Table Spread) - Chapter 5: Verse 9.
"No harm falls upon those who believe and do good works for what they have consumed as long as they are conscious of God and believe and do good works and then are conscious of God and believe and then are conscious of God and do good. Verily, God loves those who do good."
The occasions of revelation (asbab al-nuzul) give context for Quranic statements for which there may or may not be correlating information for the Sunna. Without the background of the occasions of revelation, the normative value of many Quranic statements could be misunderstood if the verses are read in a literal fashion.
There is a report that some early Muslims understood this verse to permit believers to consume alcohol. The claim that this verse permits a sincere believer to consume anything he wishes was contested by one of the Companions, who said, "If they had known the occasion of revelation they would not have said that: (the occasion) is that when wine was forbidden [by Quran 5:90], people used to say, 'What about those who were killed in the path of God [before this prohibition] and died after they had been drinking wine which is an abomination?' Then this verse was revealed."
The point of this verse, then, is not that the sacred law is waived for those who have faith and do good works, but that those who are ignorant of the law will not be punished for lack of compliance with it. What this shows is that a decontextualized reading of the Quran can lead to a grave misunderstanding of its meaning.
Compiled From:
"The Story of The Quran: Its History and Place in Muslim Life" - Ingrid Mattson, p. 198

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Condolence and Sympathy
When offering condolences about a plight that befalls a relative, a friend or an acquaintance, it is very appropriate to pray for the dead. Your conversation with the anguished people should be aimed at mitigating their agony by mentioning the reward of patience, the transitory nature of life on earth and the everlasting life of the Hereafter.
You may mention some of the sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, reported by Muslim and others: "O Allah, reward my calamity and replace my loss with a better one." Likewise, the saying of the Prophet reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim: "To Allah belongs what he gives, and to Him belongs what He takes, it is He that gives, and for every matter He prescribed a certain destiny." Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that when the Prophet mourned the death of his son Ibrahim he said: "My eyes are tearful, my heart is full of anguish, but we will only say what pleases our Lord. O Ibrahim, your loss filled us with sorrow."
Compiled From:
"Islamic Manners"- Abdul Fattah Abu Ghudda, pp. 98, 99

Competition can be extremely healthy. It drives us to improve, to reach and stretch. Without it, we would never know how far we could push ourselves. However, there is a sunny side and a dark side of competition, and both are powerful. The difference is this: Competition is healthy when you compete against yourself, or when it challenges you to reach and stretch and become your best. Competition becomes dark when you tie your self-worth into winning or when you use it as a way to place yourself above another.
Let's use competition as a benchmark to measure ourselves against, but let's stop competing over boyfriends, girlfriends, status, friends, popularity, positions, attention, and the like and start enjoying life.
Compiled From:
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" - Sean Covey, pp. 155, 156

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Healthy Journey Part 3

A couple of months ago, maybe less I came across a blog post on Muslimah's Musings about Muslimahs and health. Here it is. I was strangely attracted to the link about Nadoona. Don't ask me why, the Lord works in mysterious ways. I fell in love with their site, just everything wowed me and I wanted in. Watch this video if you have the time...wait for the kiddies to go to bed, its well worth it. If you like what you see, you can sign up for the next round. Its going to start on April 23rd. I think she has a few spots left. I can't wait to get started! I've already learned to count calories. Yeah, I never did that before in my life. Not that its hard, I just never had an interest. You can vote for Nadoona to win in this contest here.

Healthy Journey Part 2

I try to make black seed oil a part of my routine especially since I started having this leg problem. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that it is a cure for every disease except death. I use it a lot for colds and have used it to treat asthma in my kids a long time ago and also have used it to treat earache. NutraBee the company I mentioned yesterday sells it mixed with honey. Most halal meat stores sell it on their shelves. If you are in the states or are willing to order, Sweet Sunnah is a good company to order from. (see the ad on my site) After reading Healing Body and Soul I found out that Royal Jelly is good for viruses and since the neurologist thinks I might have a virus I started to take that too and once again from NutraBee.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Health Journey

For the next couple of months I intend on chronicling my health journey. As you may have read from other posts I have hypothryoidism. It started after my third child. After my 10th child was about 18 months I started to have a circulation problem in my feet which then went to my legs. I want to get better and I am taking steps with the help of Allah, believe me the medical community is no help. For my legs I had two MRI's which showed swelling on my spine. No conclusive diagnoses though and no cure or treatment. What have I been doing so far? First of all I started taking NutraBee Be Active honey and herbs. That helped with the numbness in my thighs which had me almost not able to walk and made me quit Tae Kwon Do. I still have numbness from the knees down. This is the first part of my confession. I haven't wanted to talk about this as I find it quite painful but insha Allah I hope that my partial recovery and journey can help someone else. Allah is the healer and to Him we turn and to Him we are grateful. If you find this topic interesting, please comment. May Allah keep us all healthy and able to serve Him. Amin.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What I'm reading right now.

I've been reading some very interesting books lately. One is for the book club but later on this year but I grabbed it since my library had it. Its called The Sweetness of Tears and I'm really enjoying it. Another one I'm reading is Ru which is about a Vietnamese refugee otherwise known as boat people who escaped from Vietnam and ended up in the camp in Malaysia and then finally onto Canada in Quebec. I just had to read this one since my ex followed almost the same course only landing in Ontario, marrying me and having two kids. The third book I'm reading is one dd2 lent me called Unplanned. This book is disturbing but well written and hard to put down except at the parts that overwhelm me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
A New Relation
Al Imran (The House of Imran) - Chapter 3: Verse 102 (partial)
"Do not die except in submission."
Belief in God and His providence offers a feeling of security which cannot be made up for with anything else. Submission to God does not imply passivity as many people wrongly believe. Obedience to God excludes obedience to a human being. It is a new relation between human being and God and, therefore, between one person and another.
Submission to God is also a freedom which is attained by following through with one's own destiny. Our involvement and our struggle are human and reasonable and have the token of moderation and serenity only through the belief that the ultimate result is not in our hands. It is up to us to work, the rest is in God's Hands.
Therefore, to properly understand our position in the world means to submit to God, to find peace, not to start making a more positive effort to encompass and overcome everything, but rather a negative effort to accept the place and the time of our birth, the place and the time that are our destiny and God's will. Submission to God is the only human and dignified way out of the unsolvable senselessness of life, a way out without revolt, despair, nihilism, or suicide. It is a heroic feeling not of a hero, but of an ordinary human being who has done his duty and accepted his destiny.
Islam does not get its name from its laws, orders, or prohibitions, nor from the efforts of the body and soul it claims, but from something that encompasses and surmounts all that: from a moment of cognition, from the strength of the soul to face the times, from the readiness to endure everything that an existence can offer, from the Truth of submission to God. Submission to God, thy name is Islam!
Compiled From:
Islam: The Way of Revival,"Submission to God" - Alija Ali Izetbegovic, p. 63
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Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
On the authority of Abu Saeed Saad ibn Malik ibn Sinaan al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "There is not to be any causing of harm (dharar) nor is there to be any reciprocating of harm (dharaar)."
Ibn Abdul Barr says that dharar means to harm someone else. Dharaar on the other hand refers to harming someone in response to some harm that was received from the other person but not in the manner that is correct or just according to the law. Hence, dharaar refers to responding to someone's harm in an improper way that goes beyond the limits of what is right and just.
Since wrongdoing and harm are to be completely avoided, this automatically implies that their opposites are to be acted upon. In other words, a believer is to bring about benefit or, at the very least, perform a neutral act. Hence, a believer's every deed should either be positively beneficial or, at the very least, not causing any harm to anyone.
If someone is harmed by someone else then the person has the right to defend himself and repel that harm, even if he harms the perpetrator in the process. Such does not violate the principle of this hadith. But a person does not have the right to "take the law into his own hands." The harmed person has two choices: either forgive the perpetrator or take his matter to the proper authorities.
In the same way that one cannot harm others, he also does not have the right to harm himself, his body or those he is responsible for. This principle, then, should also extend to the animal kingdom and environment.
Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp.1142-1161
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Guilt and Shame
Often, when we try to shame others or ourselves into changing a behaviour, we do so without understanding the differences between shame and guilt. This is important because guilt can often be a positive motivator of change, while shame typically leads to worse behaviour or paralysis. Here's why:
Guilt and shame are both emotions of self-evaluation; however, that is where the similarities end. The difference between shame and guilt is best understood as the differences between "I am bad" (shame) and "I did something bad" (guilt). Shame is about who we are and guilt is about our behaviours. If I feel guilty for cheating on a test, my self-talk might sound something like "I should not have done that. That was really stupid. Cheating is not something I believe in or want to do." If I feel shame about cheating on a test, my self-talk is more likely to sound like "I'm a liar and a cheat. I'm so stupid. I'm a bad person."
Guilt is holding an action or behaviour up against our ethics, values and beliefs. We evaluate that behaviour (like cheating) and feel guilt when the behaviour is inconsistent with who we want to be. Shame is focusing on who we are rather than what we've done. The danger of telling ourselves that we are bad, a cheat, and no good, is that we eventually start to believe it and own it. The person who believes she is "no good" is much more likely to continue to cheat and fulfill that label than the person who feels guilt.
Shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive behaviours than it is to be the solution. It is human nature to want to feel affirmed and valued. When we experience shame we feel disconnected and desperate for belonging and recognition. It's when we feel shame or the fear of shame that we are more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviours, to attack or humiliate others or to stay quiet when we see someone who needs our help.
On the other hand, when we apologize for something we've done, make amends to others or change a behaviour that we don't feel good about, guilt is most often the motivator. Recognizing we've made a mistake is far different than believing we are a mistake. Of course, you can shame someone into saying, "I'm sorry," but it's rarely authentic.
Compiled From:
"I Thought It Was Just Me" - Brene Brown, pp. 13, 14

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Maxis from Malaysia

An Etsy seller from KL (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia is selling some lovely maxi dresses. May not fit everyone though so check the sizes. These would be nice and cool under a jilbab in the summer or for around the house. Others might top them with a thin summer cardigan. Check them out here. Kind of makes you long for a private beach.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our weekend.

Saturday started off with a bang. Ds1 started unpacking at his new digs. I haven 't seen the place yet though. Apparently the neighbours are friendly. Ds2 entered an engineering competition and was paired together with two other Asians who were strangers to him and after making an impromptu project, they won! Alhumdullilah. Ds3 decided to volunteer at the mosque and they had him clearing out old stuff and painting. Masha Allah. Ds4 made us pancakes. Ds5 learned how to write tomato. As for the girls Dd1 went to a mother-daughter tea party. Sure wish I was there! Masha Allah. Dd2 was working hard. Dd3 made pound cake and then walked it off with me.Dd4 tried riding her bike without training wheels. Gonna need a lot more practice. Dd5 tried out her new tricycle. How was your weekend with the kids?