The Musaafir Diaries: Plazas and Palaces and Churros…oh my!

[This post was written by our newest team member Mariam Alavi. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist. She was  raised in Connecticut and has traveled around the world (12 countries and 20 U.S. states.) Mariam loves trying new recipes,  traveling and crafting.]

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.” (The Holy Quran, 49:13)

One of the many things The Mister and I love to do together is traveling. There isnothing like diving into a culture and exploring it as the locals do. Our travels this past November brought us to Spain as we celebrated our first wedding anniversary alhumdolillah! We began our travels in Madrid, the largest city in Spain. The Mister and I had an amazing time exploring the city on foot and by Metro . We saw beautifully built government buildings, cultural centers, and century old plazas, along with stories from the past, at every corner. We also enjoyed shopping, strolling the large boulevards, and stopping to eat a snack or two at the many quintessential European sidewalk cafes that I love so much.

The Prado (Museo del Prado), Madrid’s famous art museum, is one of the highlights of the city. Although the Mister and I are not big fans of art museums, we figured we’d make an exception given the status of the place (plus we went 2 hours before closing time so the entrance  was free :)). From an art perspective, we appreciated the realistic depictions of fabric, fruit, and people, as well as the historical value of some works that outlined the horrors of life such as the Spanish Civil War. But I certainly wouldn’t go again. “Art” in the Western world consists of inappropriately (un-)dressed bodies and vulgarity which is just unacceptable. Anywho, it was an experience 🙂

If art is not your thing, there is plenty more to be enjoyed in Madrid. Walking through the city’s flourishing downtown and towards Puerta del Sol, the center of Madrid, savor the liveliness of Spanish life. Streetside vendors and performers, roadside cafes and international shopping all await in this area of the city. Just minutes away, you’ll find yourself in Plaza Mayor, a square built in the 1600s that was the site of many social and historical events, such as markets, bullfights, and even the persecution of Muslims and Jews during the Spanish Inquisition.

Today it is home to many cafes and restaurants,  along with a market on weekends. After dinner at a halal restaurant, the Mister and I returned to a café near Plaza Mayor to have our first authentic Spanish churros. We opted to sit outdoors on iron chairs/tables, complete with outdoor heating lamps above each table! Here, we indulged in the “deep-fried goodness” of Spanish churros dipped in chocolate (that’s what the Mister called them), enjoying the conversations in Spanish around us

.

The “deep-fried goodness” of churros dipped in chocolate at an outdoor café near Plaza Mayor. Photo Credit: Shahzeb Jabbar

Make time to visit the Royal Palace (Palacio Real), which is still the official residence of the royal family of Spain (although they don’t actually live there anymore). It is one of the three most famous palaces in Europe, and is built on land that was once occupied by a Muslim fortress. Across from it is the Almudena Cathedral. Although we didn’t go inside the cathedral, we could still see (and hear) the remnants of the San Isidro Festival, which celebrates the Catholic Saint Isidro, the farmer, who is considered the Patron Saint of Spain. It was really interesting to see the fervent Catholicism in this country, especially in comparison to some other European countries. And as we know, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella took their beliefs to an extreme level by enforcing the Spanish Inquisition, which forced Muslims and Jews in Spain to convert to Catholicism, burned books of knowledge that had been translated by Muslims, and of course tortured and killed those whose conversion they did not accept.

The exterior view of Palacio Real, Madrid. Photo Credit: Shahzeb Jabbar

FOOD

Muslim tourists will be pleased to hear about the many halal options in Madrid. In each city, we simply did a Zabihah.com search and found quite a few options. We then used Google Map to figure out how far the restaurants were from our hotel (don’t you love technology?). In Madrid, there is a halal fast food chain called Doner Kebap, which sells Turkish style pita wraps and other yummy items, and can be found in many easy to reach areas of the city. Of course, if you’re like me and Mister you will want to have an authentic Spanish experience and try tapas. The Spanish tend to eat a light breakfast and a heavier lunch in the late afternoon. Dinner usually starts around 9 or 10pm, so a typical Spanish dinner consists of a variety of appetizers called tapas. But beware folks! The Spaniards love hamon (ham) as well as alcohol…so you will need to be careful about what you’re eating, especially if the menus are only in Spanish (as was often the case in the places where the Mister and I ventured).  Honestly, we found it easier to opt for the halal options throughout our trip, even if we ended up consuming non-traditional foods. But don’t worry—there are still plenty of authentic traditional foods you can still enjoy…including seafood paella, tortilla patate, and of course, the deep-fried goodness of churros.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Visit the local masajid even if it’s just to pray 2 raqah sunnah prayer! We were lucky enough to be in Madrid for Jumuah, and joined the jama’a at The Islamic Cultural Center (Centro Culturo Islamico). It is a truly Iman-lifting experience to witness the Muslim communities all over the globe! Every society, culture, and language has something to offer that we can learn from in order to improve ourselves. Traveling reminds me that Allah (swt) made us into different ethnicities and cultures, and created different languages, not as a way to divide us, but as a way for us to learn from each other. I don’t know where my travels will take me next, but I do know that no matter where it is, I’ll come back home knowing much more about the world than when I left.

 

Centro Cultural Islamic, (Madrid,) the masjid where Mister and I prayed Jumuah. Photo Credit: Shahzeb Jabbar

 

 

 

 

The Rise of Hijabi Bloggers

A phenomena of halal celebrities is beginning to arise and is taking the Muslim fashion scene to new levels. Women that we had never heard of are now common names among Muslimahs. These women have mastered social media, display unique fashion sense and some of them even maintain a side business.

Admirers of these various blogs and Muslim Fashionistas have said that they finally feel they can be fashion forward while still maintaining their religious identity.

But critics of these personalities say that the Muslim bloggers are in fact slaves to the fashion industry and are promoting the objectification and sexualization of hijab and modest fashion

Let me take you back ten years when I first started wearing the hijab. Triangular gray, black and white scarfs pinned at the neck with the two ends tied in the back. Anyone remember that one? That style and design was neither appealing nor attractive in any manner. It really was a struggle to wear it in high school when all the other girls looked so put together.

At that point had I seen some of the Amenakin (Pearl Daisy) hijab tutorials in which she beautifully incorporates the tikka, (decorative jewelry that hangs in the middle of the forehead) I wouldn’t be awkwardly stumbling around Pakistani weddings wearing a grandma style dupatta.

I know of many girls who take off their hijabs either before or after marriage, and in some cases may even feel hijab is the reason why they aren’t getting proposals. As Muslim women we have a fine balancing act, between modesty and beauty.

Having access to muslim bloggers who can offer creative ways to style modest clothes and hijabs  can be an asset. They are not self-proclaimed experts but normal Muslim women who usually have been approached by their fans to tell them about their skincare regime, weight loss tips and how to get that smokey eye right.

I may not agree with everything that Muslim fashion bloggers promote but I do think there are many ideas and tips which are creative and inspiring. The hijab and the act of dressing modestly is a personal journey for each women and it is something which each of us can improve on.

Burka Avenger: An American Pakistani Mom’s Dream Come True

 

My 2 year old and 4 year old are in their superhero stage.

This means that their  constantly  shooting webs at me with their tiny fingers,  flying around the kitchen island with their palms turned out (Iron Man) and randomly yelling out “Super Heroes save the day” when I’m on the phone trying to make a good impression with a potential employer.

So when my newsfeed started buzzing about this new Pakistani kids show called “Burka Avengers” I was interested. My first thoughts were:

1. Wow!  a female superhero that wears a Burqa

2. Positive coverage of Pakistan in the news

3. Where do I watch this show?

This Pakistani animated kids show had gotten some great media coverage, I had read the Huffington post article, seen a piece on BBC and heard an interview with the creator of Burka Avenger on NPR. That same night I watched the first episode.

 I was impressed. It was smart, tongue in cheek, entertaining and it has a super catchy title song.

The main story of Burka Avenger is that of an orphan girl, Jiya, who was raised by a kind man (Kabbadi Jaan) who has taught her a fusion karate form called Takht Kabbadi. This martial art style is based  on education and karate moves. Jiya is a teacher at a school but she is most fearful of the mayor and villain Vadero Pajero ( oh yes the stereotypical corrupt Pakistani politician) who is constantly trying to disrupt the education of women in his city.

As a first generation American Pakistani mother I want to raise my boys as proud Americans but I also want them to have a understanding of their Pakistani heritage as well as their Muslim identity.

Burka Avengers may just be what Parents like me need to help us accomplish these monumental goals

The show manages to teach our kids Urdu, take away the stigma and negative sterotypes of the Burqa, expose our  kids to Pakistani culture and raises important issues about gender equality.

So while my boys will still continue to transform into Octomus Prime and have superpowers like  Captain America its refreshing to know that they will grow up with a female superhero who wears a burka and battles bad guys with her Takht Kabbadi.

Kuddos to the Burka Avenger team we look forward to more episodes!

‘Simply Scrumptious’ Cupcakes by Ayesha

B&B spoke with Annandale based baker  Ayesha Ahmad.  She is the owner of Simply Scrumptious an cupcake catering business. Ahmad has a flair for baking and has unique flavors such as the Kashmiri Chai Cupcake and lemon blueberry with cream cheese. College student by day and baking extrodinare at other times, we asked Ayesha about her business and her passion for baking.

BB: How and when did you get into baking?

Kashmiri Chai Cupcake

AA: I used to watch Barefoot Contessa and Paula’s Home Cooking on the Food Network every single day in middle and high school. I loved how simple they made everything look! Their desserts were really the start and I began experimenting in my kitchen. I guess I was the less studious child so whenever I was “sick” I used to stay home and bake cakes. Initially, I just used boxed mixes and played around with colored frostings. Now I love to bake pretty much anything but cupcakes have just become my signature.

BB: How did your family feel about it?

AA: I don’t think I could have asked for a more supportive family! My parents are so encouraging about everything – they try all my new flavors, buy me every supply on a cake bakers wishlist, give me tips on what I could do better and so on. I remember randomly talking to my dad one day about how KitchenAid mixers are the quintessential tool for any baker. The following week, I came home to a huge box and inside was a baby pink mixer, complete with every nifty attachment. Alhamdulillah for such loving parents. My older sister on the other hand is my toughest critic! I guess It’s better to hear all the negative things from her than a client though! Oh and I can’t forget about my friends. They were and still are some of the most helpful people. Sometimes I consider adding them to the company name.BB: Are you studying culinary arts in college? Would this be a career or long term goal?

AA: Far from! I started out in college as an undeclared student but took all the Biology classes because I knew I wanted to do something in the health field. I recently changed my major to Community Health and I want to become a dental hygienist in the future insha’Allah. Everyone finds it amusing that I want to clean teeth and bake cupcakes – oh the irony! I could see myself opening a Cakery in the distant future but catering for special orders is fine by me too.

BB: You have become a successful entrepreneur at such a young age masha’Allah!! How has that been coming along? What has been your biggest order?

AA: It’s more of a hobby-turned-business and I enjoy it very much. It can be a little stressful since I’m still in school, especially if the order falls sometime during the semester but it just takes some planning and time management. My last order was one of my biggest with a little over 200 cupcakes for a wedding reception. A hundred each of red velvet with cream cheese frosting and chocolate espresso with espresso buttercream. Before Simply Scrumptious began, I used to bake a lot for MSA events at school Qabeelat Nurayn bakesales (DMV chapter of AlMaghrib Institute) so they really helped with advertising my business.

Cupcake tower

BB: What is your favorite type of cake?

AA: I actually like any type of cake…except tres leche. I can’t taste the difference between the three milks and it seems a bit too wet for my liking. But by far, my favorite cake is regular ol pound cake. No icing, nothing. Its literally the best thing ever…I mean whats not to like? A pound of butter, eggs, sugar and flour 🙂

BB: A Recipe you have yet to try?

AA: Tons! I always bookmark any good recipes I come across and save them for a rainy day. I love to experiment with cake flavors and frosting’s so it’s nice to have some inspirations. I have four massive cupcake books with so many things I have yet to try. The first on my list is an Apple pie cupcake – I’m just waiting for apple picking season to make it’s way over.

BB: How do you feel about Georgetown Cupcakes?

AA: I think that’s the question I get asked most often. I never figured out if it’s because they are my competition? I like to think of it as the other way around, though  I’ve actually never tried Georgetown Cupcakes but they look so yummy. Maybe one day when I feel like waiting in line for an hour, I’ll go. If I were to try one, I’d get either the coconut or chocolate hazelnut cupcake.

 

Chocolate espresso cupcakes

BB: Any beginners advice to aspiring bakers?

AA: Just make sure you always have a fresh supply of eggs and butter and friends who don’t mind being volunteer tasters (hey, if they love you, a few pounds won’t matter) also don’t get discouraged! I still have so many instances when something gets burned or things are overly sweet etc – that’s the stuff I don’t post pictures of. Always remember that there are usually plenty of failures leading up to success and that’s when everything tastes the sweetest (pun intended). Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala put in each of us something that makes us unique. I always remember something Shaykh Waleed Basyouni said during an AlMaghrib seminar. He said, “Allah gave you a gift. What you do with it is your gift back to Allah.” Know that you can serve the Ummah in a way that no one else can. It’s your duty to find what Allah gave you and hone those skills.

 

For more information about Simply Scrumptious please check out her facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/media/albums/?id=126544294087001#!/pages/Simply-Scrumptious-by-Ayesha/126544294087001

 

T.V Gates

Normally, babies or toddlers are put inside a play-yard to protect them from harming themselves.  However, in our not-so-normal household, we put our electronics and valuables inside the gated play yard to protect it from harms way.  In other words, our 18 month old is determined to destroy our EXPENSIVE toys.  When the television began to show white marks from the baby bangs we knew we had to do something to stop this behavior.

Some parents may look at this and wonder “why can’t she just say don’t touch.” Sadly, the concept of ‘yes/no’ hasn’t fully clicked in his little head yet.  So no need for the pointless huffing and puffing on my end and crocodile tears and rebellion on his.  Children have a long life of hearing do’s and don’ts so we might as well save that firm tone for when it is not only needed…but understood.  As you can tell from the picture, the problem has been solved indefinitely. You have to admit it is sheer brilliance.  Sigh, but it won’t be long before this active toddler uses his chair to climb over the gate.  Even the great wall of China wouldn’t be able to stop my little tarzan.

MAC Makeup Artist Shares Her Secrets

[Dina Adam has been a make up artist with MAC since 2011. She is a new mommy and has a Biology and Fine Arts degree from the American University in Cairo, Egypt.]

Makeup and art are totally synergistic, for me it is an extension of artistic expression inspired by trends on the runway, cultures from all over the world, and everyday life. By colour, contrast, shadows, composition and lighting. Makeup is art! I  have a B.A degree in Fine Arts, so whether I draw, snap pictures or paint faces it is funneling my energy on a canvas. And in this case it happens to be face. I was always interested in color,in makeup, fashion and trends.

I remember that I bought my first MAC product in 2000 in Dubai, it was an eyebrow pencil called ‘Eyebrows.’ Later in 2002 I started youtubing tutorials like many of us and practicing on myself. I was so inspired at how easy it was for me to switch from using a paintbrush on canvas to a brush on my face. I have been with MAC since 2011 and I still remember how estatic I felt when I was approached for the job at MAC. If you are a makeup buff then you would know that it is really hard to get into MAC Cosmetics, so I was so lucky and humbled to be chosen and my journey with MAC began!

Here are 5  of  my Must-Have MAC Products – (Things I cannot live without!)

1. Fix + (Skincare /Toner) – I am all about glowy, luscious, dewy luminous skin enhancing products! This is one of them! An aqua-spritz of vitamins minerals, infused with a calm-the-skin blend of green tea, chamomile, cucumber, topped off with the fresh, natural, green tea, chamomile, cucumber, topped off with the fresh, natural, energizing scent of Sugi. Adds radiance and finishes make up. Spray it on. The skin drinks it up. I love sheering out foundation (cream/liquid) by spritzing Fix + on a Pro Performance sponge and blending it out with concealer onto skin. It leaves a seamless, velvety hydrating flawless finish. If you like that JLo glow, then this is a must have for you!

2. Pro Longwear Concealer – The secret of the universe! It’s amazing how some of this creamy yet opaque concealer underneath the eye can completely transform and uplift your look from tired – to photo ready! This tiny 0.30 oz bottle will last you at least 7 months if not longer when used properly with a brush (I recommend the #224 or #252). It is one of our longest lasting product – it really does have a 15 hour wear without creasing – with a matte natural skin like finish. It’s perfect for concealing dark circles or discolourations on the face. Add a few drops of Lustre Drops or a Cream Colour base to give that area a luminous highlight or a ‘wet look’. If you have a more textured skin surface add some Prep + Prime Highlighter using a #190 brush and pulling the product on the highest plains of your cheekbone.

3. Mineralize SkinFinish Natural – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. These are baked, paraben free skin tone powders that can be used on its own as a sheer coverage foundation, setting powder, or a bronzer/contouring product to give shape and structure to the face. Believe me when I say I use it for all of the above! I have quite a few in different shades that resemble the shadows and highlights of the structure of your face. The greatest thing about this product is the fact that it is designed for all skin types, even if you were slightly on the drier side (like myself) then this is perfect for you. The light reflecting particles makes it have a lustre satin finish and unlike most powders this does not leave that ‘powdery’ layer, in fact, it provides a beautiful soft focus effect without mattifying the surface and melting cream and liquid foundation into the skin. Buff the product in by using a #130, #187 or #188 (duo-fibre) brush.

4. Haute & Naughty Mascara -After priming the lash with ‘prep & prime Lash,’ coat on a few layers using Haute and naughty. If you want the volume, curl, length, definition and drama then this bad boy is all you will ever need. This 2 in 1 wiper mascara gives you the option of creating a natural lash or more of that va-va voom falsies we all die for! ‘Haute’ being lengthening and ‘Naughty’ with more volume. Another great thing about this is the fact that it has conditioning ingredients that wont dry up your lashes to that crispy ‘spidery’ odd look; its water and smudge resistant..and clumps no more! The way the bristles are designed to hug every tiny lash thats usually left behind and grabs and coats the others with a nice semi-glossy finish!

 

5. Tools – Here are few that I love:

#130 Short Dual Fibre Brush – This is your perfect go to 1 buffing face brush. Great for primer application; liquid, cream or powder foundation (buffing, sheering, blending and stippling/layering coverage onto skin), contouring, highlighting and those who are savvy can actually apply cream blusher aswell. Like I said, its your 1 basic brush for your face! It features a combination of natural bristles and synthetic fibres, which makes it a great tool to pick up different textures and emulsions onto skin.

#224 Blending brush – Technically alot of users think this brush is specifically designed for the eyeshadow area period, but you can use this brush for blending eyeshadows; the application & blending (any texture) of concealer (the buffing motion gives you that smooth-airbrush seamless quality); a more defined ‘hollow’ contour of your cheek area and around the nose (which is also a Fall 2012 trend).

Pro Performance sponge – Gotta love my sponges! This dual ended sponge is absolutely practical for blending and moving cream, liquid, gel foundations and concealers on the face. Forget your fingers or sharp-edged triangular sponges, these application methods waste make up and can leave visible streaks. This patent-pending elliptical shape makes application foolproof by allowing you to access hard-to-reach areas with stunning ease (tear duct, around the nose etc). Its suede texture is sensual to the touch and its unique curves fit the contours of your face, leaving your make up dazzling and undetectable.

 

Gardening With Ruku: Discover the fun in your backyard!

[This guest post was written by Ruku Kazia. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their three daughters. She enjoys reading, coffee and spending time with her family.]

A few months ago (February), I decided to start our very own vegetable garden. With three little daughters, I wanted to do something that would get the entire family involved and what could be better than being outside, digging away in our very own backyard?

I really knew nothing about this particular activity that I’d decided to undertake, but after eating the delicious produce from my neighbor’s garden in New Jersey I thought, “how hard can it really be?”

Squash in Ruku’s garden

Turns out, not too hard but not quite as simple as I’d thought either. Growing up I’d see my parents plant fenugreek and flowers out in our balcony. Not an easy task in hot, humid Dubai. I also remember my grandmother’s splendid yard in India, where she lovingly planted a variety of fruit trees and plants.

Hoping some of their genius and green thumb ran in my blood, I started by talking to my gardener who assured he’ll help me every step of the way. He dug out a small patch in our backyard and added, “You can dig too if you like Miss, good exercise!” Then he put in some garden soil and by the end of April we were in business.

Jalepenos in Ruku’s garden


Here are some ideas on how to get started :

1. Read up and talk to the people at your local nurseries (Yes you can do it! – and they really will help).

2. If you’re skeptical try with a couple of pots of herbs first. I’ve found fenugreek and cilantro are the easiest. (Put some soil in a pot , line with seeds, top with more soil, water daily and voila!)

3. If you’re not sure whether to dig a hole in your backyard, start out with a raised bed garden.

4. Find out what vegetables and fruit should be planted for your area/season.

5. Set a time daily to water your garden – preferably early morning and evening when the soil is less likely to dry out

6. Weed, Weed, Weed – the happier your plants are, the better they grow.

7. Get the whole family involved – My cousin helped us plant the veggies. My kids love to water the plants. And overnight my husband has turned into a master gardener.

Beautiful fenugreek on Ruku’s deck

Our little patch now boasts tomatoes, chillies, fajita peppers, eggplants, okra, squash, cilantro and oregano. We also have pots of mint, strawberries and fenugreek out on the deck. Picking and cooking these garden delights have turned into a priceless adventure for us.

From watching the joy on the baby’s face while she sucks on her first strawberry and chuckling at the funny comments made by my 4 year old (What do you mean the eggplants don’t grow eggs?) to hearing the wonder in my 7 year old’s voice (Wow I never knew squash tasted this good!) this little exercise has literally bore fruit.

One of the very first recipes we tried was Golden fried squash. Here’s our recipie:

Golden Fried Squash

Yummy Golden fried squash

Wash and cut 2 squash in quarter inch pieces.
Mix two beaten eggs with salt, pepper and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning.
Dip each slice of squash in the egg mixture.
Roll in breadcrumbs and fry till golden brown.
Serve hot with marinara sauce.

Get started with your garden today and have fun making memories with your children. I know I certainly did!

 

 

 

Eid For Kids: quick tips to make this Eid an unforgettable one!

Ramadan is almost over, and one of the most important holidays of the year will be coming up very soon inshallah! Lets make sure that along with the food preparations and the guests that we try to build the excitement of Eid with our kids Inshallah!

Here are a few ideas that I have found:

1.Eid Coloring Sheets – Start of your Eid prep by going to this site and printing out free coloring sheets, let your kids color on the pages and then you can incorporate them into a frame on your Fireplace mantel or even just stick onto the fridge! When family or guests come they can proudly display their Eid Coloring pages. Eid Coloring Pages

2.Eid Cards –  Create or buy Eid Cards and and have your kids (depending on the age) draw or write something in the card, then go to to the post office and explain that the cards will be sent to  family members who can’t be wth us this Eid. You can encourage family and friends to also send mail back to the child who will be so happy to recieve their own letter. This can be a great learning experience about the post office and shows children the importance of family. (This idea was from the Adams Playgroup)

3. Eid Goody Bags – This next idea came from Pinterest (does anyone else love Pinterest?) Get white paper bags, get creative with stamps and tell the kids they are making Eid Goody Bags for their friends or siblings! Go to the store and let them pick a few items for their goody bag and assemble and keep to give on Eid! This craft teaches sharing and liking for others what you like for yourself.

www.littlelifeofmine.com

4.Eid Baking – Most kids like being around the kitchen and which kid wouldn’t like making special Eid Cupcakes or cookies! Get some crescent shaped cookie cutters a cookie mix and some sprinkles, let the fun begin! Here are some more creative recipes

5. Eid Presentation at class –  Arrange with your  child’s teacher when you can come in to explain or talk about Eid. Wear traditional clothes, take some thing to eat and depending on the age of the kids you can read a book like this one: Eid Books

6. Eid Gifts – Buy your kids Eid gifts! It doesn’t matter what it is as along as it is wrapped! Simple things like a candy bar, little coloring books, a pack of crayons can be wrapped and the kids will love opening their gifts inshallah! One website (http://www.askazizah.com/advice/makingeidfun.htm) had a great idea which was to wrap the presents a few days earlier and keep them in a room where the kids don’t normally go. In the evening before they go to bed you can let them see their gifts and say today you can only touch the gift but you can’t open them until Eid! This would help build up the anticipation and teach them patience!

7. Eid Decorations – Decorate your houses homemade crafts, store bought items – now we have companies like Modern Eid and Eid Creations which also give us more variety. Use Lights, balloons and make it a family event.

8. Eid Morning Suprise –  Balloons – This idea was so heartwarming one of the blogs suggested that parents fill up the kids room with balloons so when they wake up  on Eid morning to colorful balloons!

9. Eid games – Have a few age appropriate games at your Eid gatherings, some ideas are to fill up a pinata, play passing the parcel or have some sort of relay race or scavenger hunt in the yard. Prizes would be an added bonus.

10. Eid Takbeer – On the drive to the Mosque have the whole famly recite the Eid Tasbeeh – its is a Sunnah and is a  beautiful recitation.

Eid Takbeer: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha illallahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa lillahil Hamd.”

(Translation: Allah is the greatest, He is the greatest. There is no god except Allah. He is the greatest. All praises and thanks are for Him)

 

Its a Wrap!

Have you guy started shopping for Eid gifts?  Some of us may even be thinking of how to wrap gifts. I recently discovered a new found hobby, gift wrapping. I think it is quite possibly one of the most thoughtful things you can do for a person. It can be the smallest of gifts, but with just the right wrapping it can make all the difference.
It can be fairly inexpensive (or not!) depending on where you go and what you do. So although I am quite new at this hobby, I figure I share with you whatever I know, in hopes of you sharing whatever you know!

Stores
1. Dollar Store: This is the best place for every gift wrapping material. Whether it be boxes, bows, gift wrap or baskets, this is the most cost effective place to get all that!
2. Target: Some of the best wrapping paper can be found in those dollar bins at Target. For one dollar you get a thick roll of wrapping paper. Every time I have gone I was able to find different and cute designs.
3.  A.C Moore/Michaels: This is the ultimate place, it is like the gift wrapping capital. It is indeed a gift wrapper’s dream come true. Although this place can get a bit pricey, but for the bigger or more expensive items you can use a 40% or 50% coupon. You can either print it online or get it off of your coupons iPhone app! They also have savings bins that contain really great items on sale, so be sure to check there frequently.
4. Home: GO GREEN!! If you look around, you’ll notice that a lot of times you have most of the gift wrapping items right under your nose. I’ve used old boxes, gift tissue, ribbons and newspapers!
5. Homegoods/Marshals: If you need fancy dishes or plates for handing out baked goods, this is an excellent shop for beautiful dishes for low prices.

Here are a few ideas, some are my own while others are well…others!

1. Cellophane is my number one must have. In the picture below is a ijab and bracelet wrapped in cellophane. I wrapped the hijab around a cardboard (a Kleenix cardboard to be exact!) then placed the bracelet on top with very little tape, used a golden ribbon and voila!
2. Pink Polka Dots: Normally when I use a colorful patterned wrapping paper, I put a plain color gift tissue on top. I feel like it really highlights the gift wrap. I decided to wrap the clothes in the box, and the shoes in the cellophane. If you have a few different items for your gift, then it may be a good idea to take one of the items and use it as an accessory topper for the gift! I used the sandals as a topper, I wrapped a cardboard in the gift wrap and then taped the sandals on. The gift was for a toddler so I decided to use foam letters (purchased from A.C Moore) to spell out her name.
3. Tissues can sometimes serve as good wrapping, for this spiderman gift, I tried to set the theme in red and blue. I used two sheets of red tissue, and decided to spell out the name using blue tissue. I would not recommend using tissue because it is extremely delicate and difficult to cut. Construction paper or cardstock would be a much better choice. Live and learn!
4. Fake flowers: The design on this tissue was too nice to be stuffed in a bag, so once again I used it as a gift wrap. I had a fake flower plant and decided to take the red flower out of it to use as a bow!
5. Old greeting cards serve as an excellent material in gift wrapping. I used an old Eid card for this gift. I decided to cut out the masjid and use it as a topper. I didn’t have white wrapping paper, so I just used the back side of another wrapping paper. White wrapping paper gives you a whole field to work with, you can use any color ribbon, topper, and in this case an old greeting card!
6. Baskets are a lot of fun to wrap. The picture is not too clear, but in this small basket I put a big jar of Yankee Candle and two Bath and Body Works’ hand soaps. I made sure all three things were a similar shade of blue. I used blue shredded paper as a filling, and wrapped the cellophane in a ice blue ribbon!
Here are pictures of other ideas…
I love how they used newspapers a a gift wrap and complimented it with a nice ribbon. Its ‘green’ and looks fabulous! Go Green!
This is my favorite, I love the plain white gift wrap with the lilac velvet ribbon, looks very elegant!
Newspapers strike again! This time they used newspaper to spell out the name, and paste it onto a plain wrapping paper, brilliant!
This gift was wrapped with plain white wrapping but then topped with fresh flowers. Simple yet beautiful!

idea: www.thegiftedblog.com

I have used the Gifted Blog as a source of inspiration. It was quite flattering when one of my gifts got posted on that blog.  The blog offers a variety of ideas and tutorials.

www.thegiftedblog.com

Something to wrap about….