Friday 27 November 2009

Eid al-Adha 2009: Eid Style

Eid al-Adha 2009: Big Hugs and Burnt Offerings

I awoke with the best of intentions, an early start, everything organised and an easy day. Of course things rarely turn out as you plan them. I got the tandoori chicken out of the fridge to put in the oven and prepared the batter for the cupcakes I like to make the kids on Eid morning only to find that the oven had decided to stop working. I also managed to burn the sevaiya (sweet vermicelli we traditionally make for Eid breakfast) and put too little chilli in the channa chaat we make to snack on throughout the day.

I kind of got the message and gave up then. The house still looked good though after two days of solid scrubbing from top to bottom (I went a bit crazy and started taking the house apart before I realised there is only so much you can do in two days) and hubby's balloons:

Baby came down and got super-excited when he saw them

I also made an attempt at matching my flowers and candles to the balloons and tried my hand at this "cake-plant" made with a wet foam brick used for flower arranging placed in a basket and covered with fake flowers. The sticks are bamboo skewers. I have guests for dinner and lunch tomorrow so will light the candles then and put new cakes on the "cake-plant"

When hubby saw my long face over the oven, he insisted we could still make the cakes and put them under the grill. No-one touched them, although he insisted they were perfectly edible.

I managed to get the kids dressed and lined up for their photo-shoot. As usual baby decided he would have nothing to with it (I barely managed this one photo of them all).

Little Lady was enjoying her sparkly new shoes (I have a feeling she will be wearing these with everything).

Her cupcake purse also came in useful to stash her choclate money.

We went over to mum's for lunch and Fashionista decided to give Little Lady a mug she could paint. Of course she also managed to paint her face, hands, white top and new dress.

Mum's cooking was gorgeous as always. As usual she flouted my sweet ban (I am sure she enjoys this) and laid out sweets for the kids to gorge on.

Spent the afternoon watching Shrek 3, had dinner at an aunties and then got back in time to share out the qurbani (sacrifice) meat and send hubby off to deliver it. I think this was my fave part of the day for some reason.
Tomorrow I have my parents and siblings over for lunch and uncles family and other friends over for dinner. Little Lady did try to stay up to get her henna done, but was just too shattered and just conked out on the sofa. I'm off to the kitchen to get the mutton from my share of the qurbani on the hob in preparation for tomorrow.

Happy Eid al-Adha 2009!

Taqabbala Allahu minna wa minkum
May Allah accept it from you and us

Thursday 26 November 2009

Sweet Dawah

I always think it's nice to remind people in a positive way and food is always my favourite opening to explain my faith. I like to send sweets to my children's classes for the children to share out along with a card wishing the teacher and children a happy Eid.

With Christmas coming up and entering the children's consciousness already, I thought this would good to remind them we have something blessed of our own to celebrate and share.

I had to get my poor, tired-from-work hubby to take me to the supermarket at 8pm where these were on offer (no I don't have eight kids at school, the rest are for people he gets work from).

I think these or something similar, like Indian mithai or baklawa would also be nice to take to work.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Eid Cards for Little Lady

I decided to do a big pre-Eid purge of the house (I am in a ridiculous cleaning frenzy at the moment) and found this stamp set tht hubby had brought from Pakistan and then not touched again.

I decided to have a go and the lettering came out quite neat (better than my last attempt anyway).

I had these notelets sitting around for some time, knowing I would fidn a use for them. I did when Little Lady asked for Eid cards for her class (I don't buy her Christmas cards, so this is a nice alternative).

This was easy and quick. I made these whilst she was at school, but these would have been a great little activity to keep the kids occupied (I think I have just given myself an idea to keep the kids happy during our Eid party!)

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Cruising Along

You may or may not have noticed that I have not been blogging very much recently. I seem to be on some sort of a go-slow. I have not been blogging very much or responding to my e-mails very quickly (sorry! I will get back to you insh'Allah), I have not been near my card-making supplies or beads for some time. Usually this is accompanied by some of kind of anxiety overload about why I am not doing things. But right now I feel peaceful and rested. My brain is usually in overload mode with thoughts and a random to-do list running through it, but in the last few weeks I have been giving thought to how many unnecessary things I add to my workload, things which do not contribute to my aakhirah (afterlife) but stress me out sometimes in this life just by making me feel busy all the time.

So I have been scrubbing the house from top to bottom in time for Eid, trying to cook a fresh meal everyday, trying to get Little Lady to study a little Arabic each day and…not much else and my mind seems to be coming down slowly off of it’s spaced-out, anxious little perch alhamdulillah.

I have the next few days off to gently prepare for Eid and insh’Allah try and gain some rewards from these special days of Dhul-Hajj, and what do you know? I feel calm and rested enough that that creative feeling is starting to emerge again. Little Lady has asked for some Eid cards for her friends and I have that Eid party to plan…

image source

Saturday 21 November 2009

Saturday Morning Day Trip

The Good

  • Finding the perfect outfit for Eid (hot pink, silver and pearls).
  • Being bought another outfit by Long-Suffering Sister (turquoise, silver and diamante).
  • Finding 6 bunches of flowers for £5 in the market, in the colour’s of my Eid d├ęcor.
  • Finding the white tops I needed for Little Lady at market for £1 each (Zara tops at that).
  • Getting to skive most of the day .

The Bad
  • Locking myself out of the house with kids, but without keys, cash, bus pass or phone.
  • Wearing out the door bell, but still not managing to wake my brother-in-law to let us in.
  • Getting to my mum’s and finding she doesn’t have our spare key.

The Ugly

  • Falling on the street.
  • In very slow motion.
  • In front of mum’s neighbours.
  • Being picked off the floor super quick by Fashionista and LS when I wanted to stay down there.

Well, at least I wasn’t hurt (just sore) and as Kooky Little Sister pointed out, big deal, between us we’ve fallen from worst places – like the time she jumped out the upstairs window...

Tuesday 17 November 2009

First 10 Days of Dhul-Hajj

By the dawn; By the ten nights, And by the even and the odd. And by the night when it departs. - Al Quran 89:1-4

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days." The people asked, "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?" He said, "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing." (Al-Bukhari)

Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of tahlil (saying: 'there is no god but Allah'), takbir and tahmid." (Ahmad)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "There are no days more beloved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijja. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of power. [i.e., Lailatul Qadr]." (at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi)

Mabrook to those blessed brothers an sisters who have been called by Allah (SWT) to His House this year. May your journeys be smooth, may Allah (SWT) enable to you to fulfil all of the rights of hajj and may your efforts be accepted as sincere and for Allah (SWT) only, with you returning to us with your slate wiped clear. Our hearts go with you and may Allah (SWT) let our turn come quickly too. Ameen.

Hijab Bargain: Clarks at Ashford Designer Outlet

I haven't had much time to myself in the last few days, but hubby was kind enough to take me and mum to Ashford in Kent to do our Eid shopping, which is one hours drive away from here. We visited the designer outlet there where the shops sell branded clearance goods. I am not a fan of designer clothing, but I do love a bargain as much as the next sister. Both mum and I managed to get our Eid shopping done (I can't wait to give Kooks her present, I totally love it). I also picked up some long scarves from the Clarkes outlet shop for £4 each (below) and a larger, very soft black pashmina for £6 to wear at home (boy did I kill the last one).

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Pram Rage

The term I use in this title probably sounds silly, but I am sure every mum must experience it at some time. Some days it’s just the fact that most shops have their aisles and racks so close the pram can’t get through without knocking half of the contents of the shop to the floor. Some days it’s the kids hanging off and weighing the pram down so that you feel like you are dragging a ton in weight along.

image source

Yesterday I got home from work and found that there was nothing to cook and that I needed a walk. I got the kids ready, loaded the baby into his pram (at two and a half he can walk but won’t hold our hands and we live near a busy road). I tried to get the pram out of the door and found hubby had parked the car so close to the front door that I could not get the pram out, of course I only realized this after I had already completely wedged the whole pram into the door and could get it neither in nor out of the house. I asked Little Lady to try and get the baby out and she gave a half-hearted little tug and declared she couldn’t. In the end I had to climb over the pram, squeeze through the door and get the baby out who was hanging with his legs in mid-air (the pram had tilted forward), not looking very bothered at all.

I finally managed to get the pram shut, out of the door, open again and get the baby back in. We got to the supermarket, and I got our shopping done:
“Why can’t we get the
iced rings
mini croissants
mini pitta bread
chocolate lolly’s
Winnie-the-Poo drinks?”
“Because then I’ll be poor!”
“And because I said!”

By this time we were all tired and the kids were pleading for a bus ride. Of course this was one of my “being extremely stupid” days and after walking the convoluted route to the bus stop I found we were smack bang in the middle of rush hour. We missed the first bus and had to wait 20 minutes for the next one by which time there were queues of people and other prams trying to get on. London Busses and prams are a pet peeve of mine. Every bus driver seems to have his own rule about how many prams are allowed on (I have seen anything from 1 to 5 squashed on) and every time a bus driver tells me to close my pram, I want to deck him – how are you supposed you hold the baby, the shopping and collapse the pram with two hands whilst a queue grows behind you. I thought there is no way I let another pram on when I have been waiting in the cold for so long. Not very Islamic I know, but I wasn’t feeling like a very good Muslimah at that moment. So I barged the mob that was pushing in front of me and with a little help from other passengers got on just ahead of the other ladies. I don’t think my kids had seen me behave like this before!

image source

Of course, once you are on, the battle isn’t over. You get the narrow little aisle you have to struggle down on the way to the buggy/wheelchair space. There is always some grumpy old cow, sorry “lady” or “gentleman” who sits with their ankles hanging out in the aisle who won’t move and then mutters on about “no manners, them bloody foreigners” when they get hit, thinking you can’t understand what they are saying (I always respond with profuse apologies in my best fake cut-glass accent).

I had to swallow my temper when I got to the pram space and people got up to make way and gave their seats to the older two children. By the time I’d been to the butchers, got home, got the baby and all the shopping out, folded the pram and got the kids and shopping inside I was too knackered to cook. Poor hubby got home to find me trying to get the dinner on at 9.00pm (spicy chicken pasta, lentils and chappati).

So today I am avoiding both cooking and shopping. I am resting, catching up on my blogging, uploading pictures to my flickr account and trying to get my job applications ready for submission on Friday insh’Allah. I have had a ridiculous week at work with someone elses work dumped on me a day before the deadline (tomorrow) and plenty else to do, but insh’Allah after this week things should calm down and I can concentrate on Eid shopping and baby-waiting (another niece or nephew on the way any day now courtesy of one of my sisters-in-law in Pakistan, please pray for her to have a safe and easy delivery).

Winter Wedding Cards

Meeting New Sisters at Work.

This has been a rather curious week for meeting sisters mash’Allah. Earlier this week I was racing along to get to the disabled loos to make wudhu (ablutions) when a lady in front turned around to ask if I needed to use the prayer room, I had noticed that she was very pretty and very stylish, but had assumed she was one of the Christian lady’s who use the room until she called me “sister”. This says nothing about her and everything about me making assumptions without thinking, just because she was not wearing hijab. Later it occurred to me that maybe she had called me sister to make me aware she was Muslim and because she was looking to make friends with sisters, perhaps she was a new sister?

I forgot about this until yesterday when I met a friend in the prayer room and she introduced me to another sister. We got talking and mentioned how it was a shame we hadn’t gotten to know each other. Someone suggested lunch with a few other sisters invited along and I asked if anyone would be interested in coming to an Eid lunch one day. We have an e-mail distribution list with the names of all of the brothers and sisters who use the prayer room to keep everyone up-to-date about the room of the use and changes in arrangements. Perhaps we could extend the invitation to all of the sisters on the list? There was some interest and we agreed to discuss further at lunch, which should be next week.

Hopefully we should be able to book one of the conference rooms and everyone can bring something along and the sisters can learn all about networking the Muslimah way (usually involves food at some point).

Oh and I mentioned the sister I had met earlier in the week, turns out she is one of the senior managers in the organisation and has led prayers a few times for sisters mash'Allah. She's defo invited.

Saturday 7 November 2009

Sister Ammena's Henna

Alhamdulillah Sister Rainbow was kind enough to invite me to Sister Ammena's Henna night. I arrived to find the house full of guests and Sis Rainbow had obviously gone to some trouble to decorate.

I had soooo much fun meeting them both and also Sis Mina of Humble Muslimah who was very sweet and a little shy I think. We had fun with a food tasting game (guess who won! ;) and a quiz, but of course the best bit was the fab food which all tasted great (the chicken was my favourite). There was also party food before this and I think I managed to polish most of that off by myself. (Sis Rainbow is a fab cook and I have long wanted to try what she cooks up).

We had fun with henna, I "practised" on a few sisters and Little Lady got fed up of waiting and got one of the guests to do hers (I couldn't believe she just went up with my folder of patterns and asked the lady to do it).

Of course the bride's henna was done by an expert and looked beautiful.

There was a lovely fresh cream cake (think nuts, cream, strawberries, melt-in-the-mouth sponge) with sparklers which set the fire alarm off to everyone's amusement.

Sister Rainbow had even arranged the personalised favours for us to take home.

Mash'Allah we had a lovely time and it was all halal. I loved that half way through the evening we all stopped and Sister Rainbow reminded us that whenever we come together we should remember Allah (SWT) so that he may bless our gathering. A sister then gave us a short but useful talk on marriage in Islam. Insh'Allah I hope that Ammena has a good day today (her nikah!) and it is the start of something blessed. I pray that Allah (SWT) rewards Sister Rainbow for all of her hard work and for feeding me so well.

It's rather fun meeting fellow bloggers!