Monday, February 27, 2012

Pregnancy and Homemaking

“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.” (Quran – Luqman:14)

Alhamdulilah my adventures in homemaking began months after becoming pregnant. While making bread, homeschooling, writing The Journey Of A Muslimah Homemaker, and keeping up with editorial deadlines ..I was (still am) battling nausea, the ups and downs of pregnancy and being tired.  I ended up writing two articles on Homeschooling While Pregnant and Homeschooling While Pregnant- Natural Energy Boosters

I had a lovely chat with my twin sister whom is also pregnant (due a few weeks after me) and we talked about how am I able to get things done while being pregnant?  I totally thought this convo made for a good blog post. 

Hate to sound cliche but seriously : Take it one day at a time (I am sure hubby will laugh at this later) I like to do what is necessary first and if I have the energy for the other task I will do them or they may have to wait until tomorrow. We may not have the energy to get everything we want done the same day. You have to pick and choose which household blessings need to be tackled today and reserve some for tomorrow! I just know too many sisters who even have a hard time getting out of bed, and it is understandable. Slow and steady...take your time. This is not a race! You do not have to over work yourself. I like to say, I get more things done in a slow manner then if I rush to try and get in much in one day, by the end of the day I am very tired, sick, sore and not in a good mood all because I was rushing.

Consistency is good for me. Wake up early in the morning, write four things you want to accomplish that day.. a small load of laundry, the bathroom, etc and set out to do them before the end of the day. I feel bad if the day went by and I did not do anything, having some goals to accomplish makes me feel good and on my homemaking toes. 

Plan Ahead well some of us know from being pregnant that we are always sick or very tired the same time every day LOL. I am actually very tired around 8 p.m. so what does that mean for me? I get everything done before 8, the house is quiet and the children are fed by then. My husband knows at that time I am very sleepy or worn out. My days start between 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. so yes by 8 I am ready to shut down :) I like to have my bread done before 8, whether I made it by hand or used the breadmaker. The house cleaned, floor swept, food put away from dinner and it's down time. If there is motion going on alhamdulilah hubby is handling everything at that point

Always remember Allah, yep turning to Allah and asking for ease and strength and using the tools and things He provided to make our pregnancy journey much smoother.. Allah provided us with loving mates, and inshaAllah reaching out to them they will help in taking the load off when we need to take a load off. If you have older children, giving them small household blessings to accomplish will aid in helping us as well. Also taking a look at the natural Islamic energy boosters and use the wonderful blessed foods Allah has provided to help us get energy. I would be snacking on dates for many days, not only because its a natural blessed energy booster but it personally helped my nausea and it was yummy with cream cheese.

InshaAllah this helps our pregnant homemakers! Read Surah Maryam and many duaas>  Please keep me ad my family in your duaas as we are near the end of this beautiful journey

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spiritually Connecting Our Homes To Allah Part 1

How can we spiritually connect homes to Allah?

A more spiritually uplifting home, gives an iman boost.  Pictures of Islamic materials and ayats on the wall fill the home with constant reminders of Allah.

Giving life to our home spiritually through Islamic actions such as praying together, fasting together, and learning Quran helps to make our homes an atmosphere of peace and closeness to Allah.

Volume 1, Book 8, Number 424:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
The Prophet had said, “Offer some of your prayers (Nawafil) at home, and do not take your houses as graves.”
What is the feeling of being in a cemetery? Lifeless, cold, not animated...death
Our homes should not be like that. Constant reminders of Allah should be around the home and Quran should be recited or even played through out the home.
Allah says in the Quran that remembrance of Allah gives the heart ease. How much ease will everyone have  in their hearts if it is always in a place of remembering Allah?
In our home we love to hang up artwork from the children and put duaas on the wall. One activity we did to teach the children the importance of duaa is let them paint their hands and put them on the paper to look like its making duaa and then we added a duaa around it that they had.
Some days I feel drained and tired, I might need some motivation to get into the groove of my household blessings and homeschooling, so reciting duaas and making wudu helps to refresh me and remember my Lord, asking Him for strength to get through the day.
It is a blessing to be able to stay at home and to not be put in places or work in places that makes one spiritually, mentally, and physically drained.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guideth unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things
In houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them; there glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings,- Quran 24 35-36

Filling our homes with the remembrance of Allah is like filling our homes of light, and that is far from feeling like a grave.

Its advantage for us alhamdulilah we can either make our homes for us or against us. Alhamdulilah we play an active role in boosting our teams (family) morale. Our atmosphere is what we make it.
We can choose to turn on Quran or blast the radio. At the end of the day there is more to be gained by reciting the verses of Allah and not the music outside.
Challenge for us this week, I think we do some decorating of Islamic art and hang it on the wall. InshaAllah I will strive to do a part 2 soon.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homemade Apron

I just started baking a couple months ago and I love it. We have been enjoying homemade bread that we  have not bought store bread in months! Yay! alhamdulilah very happy about that.

Needless to say all this baking has been getting flour on my clothes. I needed an apron. I looked online for one and the prices were just too much for me! At 7 months pregnant there was no getting around getting flour on me.

On Traditional Muslimah Homemaker's facebook page one of the sisters mentioned about making one. I thought that was a pretty cool idea! But I am not so good at sewing etc.

I decided to challenge myself and make one... using a nice old skirt I cut it into two pieces ... now this apron can be just a top or a bottom. I used ribbon to tie it at the top and bottom. This requires some light sewing on my end to keep the ribbon in place for the bottom half.

Alhamdulilah now I have an apron!! All I have to do now is do a little extra trimming and light sewing then it will be fully finish.

Though I did wear it around the house already spinning in circles LOL :)

Do I feel like baking? yes I sure do! mashaAllah

A Lesson In Gratitude: The Threshold

It's Monday morning and as usual I am up early reading motivations before I really get into the day and came across this Proverbs: 

A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day- Proverbs

I think we have all experienced a leaky faucet and know how annoying it can be! Imagine if that leaky faucet followed you around the house day in and day out lol! That would drive us crazy.

A woman that constantly nags and is quarrelsome is like a constant dripping. Constantly ungrateful and always complaining. Do we find that we can be a constant drip? Are we always talking about what we don't have? what's not right? and are we constantly on our husbands back? 

That Proverbs made me reflect on the story of Prophet Ibrahim alayhi salaam and his advice to his son.

After Ismail’s (alayhis salam) mother had died, Ibrahim came to see his family whom he had left near Zam-zam. Ismail (alayhis salam) was not at home when Ibrahim (alayhis salam) arrived, but his wife was. She did not know who Ibrahim (alayhis salam) was. When Ibrahim (alayhis salam) asked her about how they were managing, she started complaining about how difficult life was and how poor they were. Ibrahim (alayhis salam) told her to give her husband greetings from him and to tell him to change the threshold of the gate to his house.

When Ismail (alayhis salam) returned, he sensed that something unusual had happened and he asked his wife if anyone had been there. Then she told him what had happened and what Ibrahim (alayhis salam) had said to her. Ismail (alayhis salam) told her that the stranger had been his father, and that he had ordered Ismail to divorce her.

Sometime after Ismail (alayhis salam) had taken another wife, his father Ibrahim (alayhis salam) again came visiting and again found no one but the wife at home. However, this time when he asked her how they were doing, she cheerfully answered that they were prospering and she gave thanks to Allah for all their blessings. She offered Ibrahim (alayhis salam) meat and water, and he asked for Allah’s blessing on all their meat and water. When he left, he told her to give his regards to her husband and to tell him to keep the threshold of his gate.
When Ismail (alayhis salam) returned home he asked if anyone had visited. She told him all about the nice old man and the piece of advice he had given in his message to Ismail (alayhis salam). From this message Ismail (alayhis salam) knew that his father approved of the new wife and had advised Ismail (alayhis salam) to keep her with him.
SubhanAllah I asked myself if that were to happen to me, how would I have reacted? Well  then again no need to ask myself because we are tested like this often, when friends ask us about our marriage or family members, it opens the gate for us to start saying more than we should. Sometimes people do not have to ask us, we just volunteer our personal information and complaints to the world and finding all the reasons to complain.
How many times in our marriage would our husband be asked to change his threshold? If you answer often, then we need to reflect on showing more gratitude to what Allah has given us and not focus on complaining so much. 
Also taking a lesson that when men marry women, they marry the woman they pray to have children with, a man does not want the mother of his children to be someone that was not grateful and constantly complaining, they will pass on that character to their children, it just so happens my husband tells me  that Prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wa salaam came from the lineage of Prophet Ismail..who was married to the woman that was grateful and pleasant, not the first woman who had opened the door complaining. That says a lot! SubhanAllah much wisdom from that hadith.
It was great motivation for me this morning. Sometimes we have friends and family members that when they get together they begin to complain about their husbands or make you comfortable enough to complain about yours. At the end of that conversation, what was accomplished? A lot of backbiting and slander, really. This excludes the family that give true Islamic and sincere counsel. 
Next time someone opens the door (literally or not) will we answer?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Week In Homemaking- Dirty Dishes, Crocheting, Lessons Learnt

Alhamdulilah we are nearing the end of the week, thank Allah for seeing another week and all the blessings that came along with it.

Speaking of blessings, I thought about the dirty dishes, the sweeping of floors and I used to call them chores, duties, task...all those words have such a strict, not so soft -sound to it.

I decided to call my household responsibilities household blessings. It has a much better feel to it and it takes on a new meaning.

So there.. I had a lot n my list to accomplish in way of my household blessings.

Dirty dishes does not sound so much like a burden, and neither does my every day sweeping.  I have to get my blessings in order for the coming weeks inshaAllah.. sometimes we can become so overwhelmed with our blessings we began to feel like we have a heavy load on us. How do you manage those household blessings? I started a schedule maybe a week ago and it has helped, some days I'm ahead and some days I am behind, but it helps to remind me of what I need to accomplish by the end of the day.

Count your blessings, not burdens

I have been talking on facebook about my crocheting..subhanAllah what a test in my patience but I am determined to get it right. It is really enjoyable but something I am learning all over again

Lessons I learnt this week:

Like minded companions are rare, I bet everyone in the world thinks it would be great to have a friend who shares similar views that is a spiritual and a wonderful friend..some of us have them and some of us don't but we always can turn to Allah for everything

Want a friend that listens? Allah hears our every word and prayer
Want a friend to call? You can call on Allah any time
Want a friend to give advice? Allah gives the best guidance
Want a friend who will always be there? Allah is always there for us
Want to vent? Allah has the answer for our issues, concerns and fears

When you have a relationship with Allah,  your heart is at ease and longing for outside of that is no are then content and happy with whatever Allah decrees

Another lesson is how to be a more attentive wife.. do you listen? Really listen? Your husband is talking about his day, and how do you respond "uh huh...*typing* yeah....sounds...what was that again?" or are you actively engaging him and truly seeking to enjoy in his pleasure and excitement to make it your own as well?

I took time to reflect on this...hubby took the children out and now I am thinking and asking myself these questions,

Challenge: Actively listen to your husband, ask questions, and seek to have genuine interest in what he is saying.

Simple Stuffed Crust Pizza

Alhamdulilah this made for a good lunch today with the children, and they can even help. Today we made stuffed crust pizza.
I am not usually a "eat the crust" kind of person, but I do not like to waste the bread, so making it stuffed with cheese was the best route for me :)

I think next time I will make double the dough ingredients so that way when I roll the dough out I will be able to stuff it a lot with cheese. This was good for the first time but inshaAllah will improve it next time!

Dough ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons salad oil (for later) to put on the dough before adding the toppings: Pizza Dough Recipe It did not get good reviews from others but I like adding extra ingredients so the dough could have flavor.

Mix all the ingredients together, except the last one. I added additional ingredients like ground flax seed, honey wheat germ, and parmasean cheese in the dough... those are optional but just to make sure my dough had some taste to it, I added the parm cheese.

You may find you may need to add extra flour and milk to make it not so tough to roll out.

After you roll out the dough sprinkle the cheese of your choice near the edges. SOme websites suggested string cheese, but we prefer shredded cheese.

Then fold the edges over top of the cheese and pinch it close.

Hubby was kind enough to flatten the dough much more for me, <3 have to love that team Rahim work and it's good to have strong hands around.

Okay after that, you stuffed your crust!! Pretty simple right? Mental note for next time, put more cheese!! I have to remember the dough gets puffy so the more cheese the better for us.

Next add your toppings and put in the oven! :) mashaAllah yummy pizza in a short amount of time

I attempted to get a close up of the stuffed crust:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Homemaking With Boys

Alhamdulilah as a mom of four children, three boys and one girl I believe it is important for all of them to learn the importance of homemaking. I know the wonderful blessing of being my husbands help-mate and him being mine in return. We call ourselves Team Rahim, and everything we do in our home has a lot to do with team effort. Sometimes we live in a house with someone but we act as though we are living alone. Some of us tend to act like roommates and not helpmates. Everyone is for themselves. This is not productive to our marriages, home, and family to act like this.

I want my boys to grow up being resourceful in and out of the home. If they are married and their wife becomes pregnant and too tired, I want my boys to be able to help with cooking, cleaning, and being a good support system to their wife. Even when she is not pregnant, part of having mercy on others is to help them and I want my boys to be helpful as well.

In a hadith Aishia radiAllahu anha was asked about the activities of the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salaam at home. She told him that he was occupied with them in the household work.  (Bukhari).

Yesterday I was folding the laundry and very pleased when the boys asked to fold clothes. I taught them how to properly fold their shirts and my four year old folded a lot of his clothes and I put them away alhamdulilah! It's never too young to introduce our boys to homemaking.

Even at their young ages (4, 3, and 1) they sit in the kitchen, they help to make food that is simple for them and learn to appreciate what a woman does in the home. They often say thank you and request homemade bread, I love it because they appreciate what I have been blessed to make with my own hands alhamdulilah. This will help them appreciate everything their wives will do for them and respect them for it. As mothers and examples we are teaching our boys how to treat women and value their endless worth. 

I read a hadith today that said "The Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salaam used to tie knots & repair his shoes, sow his clothes, and do all such household works just like an average person among you does". And he said, "he was one of the human beings (who did not live like a boss or lord at home). He would check for lice on his clothes (that they may not have come from someone else). He would milk the goat, do other household works as well as his personal work".

Every day we can teach our boys about homemaking and begin to let them do activities around the home that will help them in a long run to be better spouses. It is also a blessing that our husbands express appreciation and our children can see healthy, halal, love and appreciation.

When I met my husband, he WAS (haha) cooking better than me, he already knew how to mend his clothes and have structure in the home. He taught me a lot of how to be a better homemaker and alhamdulilah it has been a blessing. We know enhance each other, if I cook ..he will add to it and make it better. I don't see it as he did not like it and so he has a problem with how I did things, I see it as he is enhancing it and putting a team, loving and enhancing addition to our meal.

Alhamdulilah He also does not mind cooking dinner and helping around the house, we tend to make both our jobs easier this way alhamdulilah.

I do feel as though homemaking is one of my main roles and it is a blessing to have support and help in that area. 

How can we begin to teach our boys:

  • Be an example- Our children should see us doing our homemaking task, but be mindful of how you do it, not in a resentful and frustrated way, but with delight and consistency. They will pick up how to cook and clean from us
  • Give them daily instructions- everything in its place, so where do toys belong? books? and crayons? Teach children that after they are done with their things they must put them away in its proper place. This gives them responsibility for their things and organization. 
  • Husbands teach- Husbands play a big role in this, they  can also lead by example and show the boys to be supportive, kind, and resourceful help-mates
  • Team work- making sure our children know that more is done together rather than apart, they will realize the blessings of being a family. Family supports, help, and take care of one another. Getting children to do more team projects in the house is a good way to show how to work together
  • Prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wa salaam- as we know he is our best example and we can sharre with our boys how he was in the home.