Quote of the day

Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.
-Ziggy Marley

Good evening 🌃

How are you doing today?

I have a migraine because I’ve been up since 4am and it’s 8:30pm. I napped for about 30 minutes in the morning.

Anyway, I guess I good say that I was a little productive today but not so much.

I really want to write a blog post but I don’t think I’m up for it.

So instead I will ask you what productive thing have you done today?

I’m off to put my 5 year old to bed and I think I’m going to turn in early as well.

Just be (a poem)

Is it just me or are my poems getting longer?

Update: I am so full of it. I ended up writing a to do list of 17 tasks (I didn’t write do dishes or make my bed, although I did them) and I have 2 tasks left (exercise and post blog about whole brain theory) which I’m totally procrastinating because I’m so tired and I just want to sleep or watch Young Sheldon (I watched 1 episode of Red Band Society) or play games and just disconnect. I didn’t call my mom but I did call my sister because she called me so I called her back and I still relied on my goals plannar. I also downloaded a 2021 template calender and I’m so going to print it out. I really need to chill. Anyway, if I don’t post that blog today, I’ll probably post it tomorrow, but exercise is out of the question at this point. I’m exhausted and the day isn’t even near over. It’s 6pm and I need to feed my son dinner and start the exhausting bedtime routine that has been taking more than 3 hours lately. Wish me luck. I complain when I’m tired. Here’s something positive I found on Pinterest to end on a positive note:

Thank you for reading and until next time, bye 👋

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Hello 👋 reader. How are you?

I hope you’re having a great day and a great week. I have a migraine (as usual lately) so I will try to keep this short.

I’ve been questioning my writing credability lately. I don’t want to write just to write. I want to write when I have something to say. Usually, I’ve been too busy or too tired, sometimes both, to turn my thoughts into words on the blog. But I wanted to take a few minutes before I go back to my to do list and share something with you.

I made 20 goals for this December, and a week in and I’m overwhelmed. No surprise there, but I can’t help it. I have so many plans and goals and I feel like I’m such a mess I need to fix everything in me. I read a blog today that I need to be myself more. But what if myself is a neurotic perfectionist? Then, according to Nick Miller (if you know, you know) then being yourself is the worst advice ever. I also read not to change myself but to improve my life and that’s what I’m trying to do. Or am I?

I’m isolating myself at home reading so much I’m not really living. My husband suggested that I take a walk today, so guess what? I did!

It was amazing! I went with my 5 year old at 3pm. They said it would rain at 4. We took his umbrella. We went to the supermarket and got some english muffins, then went to the park (which has been closed since March) and surprise! It was open. For 2 minutes. The moment we walked in, the guy told us they were closing and to hurry up. I took as many pictures and videos as I could, which upset my son because he doesn’t like it when I film things. He wanted me to just enjoy the moment. He is right but dude, this is how I enjoy the moment.

Anyway, it’s a good thing we took a fall photoshoot on the way there because I saw a tree with orange leaves and it had Fall vibes all over it and there was no time for a photoshoot at the park anyway.

On the way back, it was rainy and windy but I think my son had a good time. He had been wanting to walk in the rain since forever. He finally got his wish, but we basically sprinted in the rain and wind.

Now I’m cozy at home with no cocoa (forgot to buy some at the supermarket) so I can’t have hot chocolate milk, but my son is happily playing with the monster family we made together today (another fun activity we did today). *my son got bored of playing before I finished this blog and started irritating me and is now throwing a tantrum because I’m on my phone so I’m going yo try to wrap this up quickly*

My point is, I barely did anything on my goals list, but today I’m happy. I spent time with my son, and that is the most important thing right now. He is almost 6 years old and soon he won’t want to spend time with me. He will be off with his friends or holed up in his room all day.

So the moral of this story is spend time with your kids while they still want to spend time with you.

Also, nature is healing.

Weekend update

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog!

Here’s the thing.

I like to tell people how my day went. It’s my way of reflecting and processing out loud, while getting live feedback. What I noticed, though, is that people don’t care so much about the details of my day. Just like when someone is talking to me about things I don’t care about, I zone out. So to spare people my chit chat, I move it up here. On the blog. For total strangers to read.

Here’s why…

Just like when you read a novel and get invested in the details of a fictional character’s life, or when you watch a movie, I noticed I like to read blogs that are like personal diaries. It helps me feel like I’m getting to know the person, despite them being total strangers. I feel our similarities in the small details, how we all feel the same feelings and we all want to be heard and understood.

So here it goes, my weekend update. I. E. What I did this weekend

I currently have a migraine so I hope I manage to write this in due time

Friday

I had a busy morning (honestly, weekends usually pass like a blur to me, and I spend less time on my phone) as I was cleaning the house while my son was at school. In the afternoon I went to my in laws for lunch and stayed there until 7:30pm (migraine began at 6). I don’t remember how my night was but I didn’t watch on my laptop as I usually do because I was exhausted.

Saturday

Woke up early and watched on my laptop an episode of “Red band society”. Then I went to my parent’s house. I had fun, we played uno, we talked, looked at childhood pictures. I read before bed. I remember I had a bit of a migraine at some point but it went on its own.

Sunday

Today was a long day. Sunday always is. I baked a cake in the morning. Took it to my in laws. I had a good time because I took selfies of the kids. Migraine began at 4pm (see the pattern? Just kidding. Noisy atmospheres give me migraines, especially since I get post lunch slump) and now I’m waiting for my son to get sleepy so I can put him in bed because he woke up 9:30am today (I had been waking up 7am everyday this week so today I didn’t put an alarm so I can rest more). Oh and my son threw up his dinner an hour after he ate it because I was eating tangerines and he wanted some and I usually take the seeds out for him but I asked him to eat it like a big boy (he is 5) and he choked on a seed and threw up his entire dinner so he will be sleeping on an empty stomach… 👀

So that was my weekend. How was your weekend?

Storytime: Will this be a success or a disaster?

5 am: I woke up and prayed Fajr, decided to stay up so I can cook before my son wakes up. Chinese chicken does not take much time but I can’t focus on cooking and my 5 year old at the same time, so I made coffee.

6 am: I’m marinading chicken, now that I drank my coffee. Uh oh. There is only 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, when I need a lot more, and the raspberry syrup I use (instead of wine) and the rice vinegar are expired (I haven’t made kung pao in a while)! What’s more? I forgot to get green onions. At 1st I tell myself this is a disaster, then I say it’s fine, I can do this. I marinade my third of the chicken in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and corn starch, and the rest in corn starch alone. I decide to do the stir fry with vegetable oil (I’m out of sesame oil as well).

6:30 am: I have prepped the carrots (an added ingredient to the original recipe), bell pepper, garlic, and ginger. I start the stir fry on low because I don’t have enough sauce and the chicken on medium because I don’t have enough marinade.

7 am: My son wakes up and distracts me. My third of the chicken gets slightly charred. I add water and cross my fingers. I add water to the stirfry just in case.

7:30 am: My third of the chicken survived. I start with the rest. I know now to add water right after frying the chicken slightly, just like I do with meat. I fear the vegetables are bland, after I add diced mushrooms from a jar and canned corn, so I add salt. Still bland, so I add 1/4th of a teaspoon of masala. I’ve never used it before, but it’s supposed to be very flavorful.

7:45 am: I turn off the “stir fry” and waiting for the water from the chicken to thicken (I needed chicken broth anyway). I will now distribute the vegies between both chickens, after I remove a few pieces of chicken for my 5 year old, who does not like vegies but will only eat chicken with corn and rice (I’ll make the rice later, so it’s fresh when we eat it).

8am: All done, except rice. Tastes good, but different. I hope they like it, though.

The soy sauce free version for non soy sauce lovers
Mine with 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, slightly charred but okay.
The unappetizing version for my son

My son went back to sleep after he saw me frustrated because the chicken was charred. I was afraid he was upset so I went to him and hugged him, but he said “get away from me. You smell like cooking” so we’re good.

Do you think this meal will be a success or a disaster?

What if someone you know and care about is feeling lonely?

You may think things like “How can they feel lonely when they have an amazing family?” or “I’m their friend. How can they feel lonely when I’m in their life?”

The truth is, loneliness can creep up on you even while you are surrounded by people. There is a difference between solitude and loneliness. Just like not all who wander are lost, not all who prefer solitude are lonely.

How can you know if someone is lonely?

  • They spend a lot of time alone.
  • They are unproductive.
  • They get stuck on the negatives.
  • They seem to be sick or ill frequently.
  • They seem overly attached to their possessions or hobbies.

Sometimes loneliness can be a symptom of something else going on in our lives, like illness or disability. Mental illnesses can cause us to feel lonely.

A nationwide survey led by The University of Manchester and BBC Radio 4 has found that 16-24 year olds experience loneliness more often and more intensely than any other age group.

Loneliness doesn’t only affect our mental wellbeing, though. It can cause an increase in cortisol, which can “impair cognitive performance, compromise the immune system, and increase your risk for vascular problems, inflammation and heart disease,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.

What if you know someone who is lonely?

How can you help?

  1. Let your friend or family member know that you are thinking about them. Send them a message, call them on the phone, or go for a visit.
  2. Let them talk and vent. We’re often compelled to give someone advice when they are hurting, but sometimes we just need to be quiet and listen.
  3. Give them a hug. Loneliness makes you feel unworthy, unloved. If your friend or family member is unable to give themselves the love they need, remind them with this simple gesture that you care (of course with corona virus on the loose, you can’t do this but you can send virtual hugs as gifs in the meantime)
  4. Take them out. Let them feel special. Again, with COVID-19 this can be difficult. So maybe send a delivery service to their house, then call them up and eat together on video call if you can.
  5. Play. A game of bowling or air hockey makes a difference. Even just a board game. Whatever your thing is, even if it’s just a game on your phone.
  6. Ask what they need. Loneliness makes you feel like a burden, which is why lonely people isolate. If they’re too shy to ask for something, offer your help and let them know you are there when they need it.

We all feel lonely sometimes. Remember, you are loved. You are important. This too shall pass.

Waiting it out…

I was thinking of going for a walk but I just went on the balcony and it feels stuffy outside. My allergies already have my nose practically closed up from the internal swelling, and I’ll be wearing a mask if I take a walk to the park so I’ll be even more stuffy. I also need to fold laundry and I wanted to start a new novel today so I’m not sure if I should stay in and read or take a walk because I need the exercise and fresh air (not that the air is fresh in any way because it’s polluted but still better than the filtered AC air? Maybe? Probably not).
Anyway, so I’m really bored and I feel like I need a hug and not just any normal hug but like I need someone to hold me and tell me everything is going to be okay.
I feel like I’m just waiting everything out. Like you know when you get a cold and you know that whether you take meds or not, you just have to wait for the 2 week period to end so you’re all better, and during those 2 weeks, you can either complain and be miserable, or you can try to rest and hydrate and look after yourself. The time will pass either way, but what you do with that time is what matters.
So here we are, waiting for this economic crisis and pandemic to end, and in the meantime, I will read, write and watch movies. I will call my family and hug my son. I will eat ice cream and watch youtube videos. I will work on self improvement and focus on self care.
And occasionally, maybe not today though, I will take a walk to the park and reconnect with nature.
But most of all I will pray, and wait it out…

How being productive can get in the way of being mindful

This is my to do list for today. I just wrote it down at 5am while struggling to read quraan. It’s Ramadan, and I’ve been reading 1 juzu of quraan a day at dawn. Starting yesterday, I began struggling with reading the whole juzu (20 pages) at a time.

Today is no different. As I try to read, my mind is racing with all the things that need to be done today. I figure if I pause reading and write them down, I’ll feel better. So I write. Now I’m overwhelmed with how long my to do list is. My anxiety is kicking in. I start to panic.

Then I think to myself: When did all these things I have on my list become things I have to finish in order to tick off? When did they stop being things I wanted to do?

How did I go from “yay I get to read” to “I must read or my productivity percentage will decrease.

This was my to do list yesterday. I scored 18/24, which is 3/4 or 75% productivity. If you look closely though, you’ll see that the things I didn’t do were actually really important. I didn’t read or write, and as a result i was drained emotionally. I didn’t exercise, which left me feeling exhausted. I didn’t score high on the spiritual level either, which is the biggest fail because that is my main target during the month of Ramadan.

Bottom line is, I got so caught up in being productive that I forgot to be mindful. I socialized a lot yesterday, and socializing takes time. I’m not the type of person who talks to someone on the phone while doing something else. When I talk to someone, I give them my full attention, and it’s not just because I have a low attention span 😂

So today, I will try to focus on being more mindful of the spiritual side of my list 1st, and then move on to housework. I’ll probably be exhausted because in order to do housework with my son in the house, I have to stay up after dawn.

So I’m going to post this and then go offline because I got things to do.

Conclusion: Be productive, but don’t forget to be mindful and to practice self care.

How to make the most of this Ramadan while in quarantine

This is a post about Ramadan. If you’re not a Muslim and you don’t know what Ramadan is but are curious to know, check out this video that explains everything. Even if you are a Muslim but aren’t practicing or want to know more about this month, check it out.

So Ramadan is in a week, and I’m anxious excited. I have been mentally prepping myself for Ramadan for the past 2 weeks. I downloaded Ramadan plannars, printed out a checklist, created my own checklist, saved a lot of pins to my Ramadan pinterest board (click here to see them), but there is one thing bothering me:

We’re in quarantine!

Even for me, the introvert, i feel more spiritual when I go to the mosque for fajr and taraweeh prayer. I haven’t been able to go since i delivered my son, but I was hoping this year, I would be able to at least go to fajr prayer. It’s such a bummer that we will be at home instead of having iftar at each other’s houses, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pray together as a family 👪

Maybe this is what we needed to bond. Maybe this Ramadan can still be spiritual, even with kids at home testing our patience. Maybe we can instill the love of Ramadan in our kids this year by making them feel a part of it! Christians involve their kids in Halloween and Christmas and Easter activities (all of which are celebrations that should not be celebrated by Muslims), so why not us Muslim moms involve our kids with Ramadan?

If you don’t have kids, you can still make the most of Ramadan by decorating your house and reading more quraan and praying together with your family. The pinterest board has ideas for kids and for adults. You can also read more about Ramadan and about the story of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and do your own lanterns if you’re into arts and crafts.

Normally,I’m too lazy to include my son in activities that don’t interest him, but this Ramadan, I’m going to try to pull him in gently through the two things he loves: Animals! And junk food!

Some kids have a natural tendency to get excited about Ramadan and will try to immitate you in the acts of worship. If your kids are like that, God bless your soul and protect your kids from the evil eye. However, some kids need further encouragement. I, as a mom, definitely need the further encouragement to get up and make fun Ramadan-related activities for my son while still making time for my ibada (worship) with the limited energy I have (we all have different levels of energy, and I, for one, get tired easily, especially when I’m fasting).

So without further ado, here are my top tens ideas to make Ramadan fun and memorable with my son (let’s hope we do each one of them at least once):

1. Get him to pray with me. How? I printed out worksheets where he gets to color a part of a flower for every prayer he does. If he prays all 5,he colors the whole flower pot. If he doesn’t, it gets colored black. My son is just 5 and has never prayed with me before, so i feel if he prays 1 prayer with me a day, I’ll call it a win. The age of teaching kids how to pray is 7, so i won’t focus on this point. I just want to encourage him to love prayer. I will try to explain to him why we pray (to thank God for everything he gave us) if he resists, and if it comes down to it, I’ll offer a weekly reward of sweets.

2. Get him to memorize short verses from the quraan. Different kids have different memorization abilities, and some are more resistant than others, but i will try to put on videos for him where they say the Quraan and he repeats after. I will offer a reward for each surah he memorizes. This is the playlist i will depend on (because trying to teach him myself didn’t work as I lack patience and consistency).

3. Do Ramadan related activities with him. I printed out worksheets from pinterest (word search, connect the dots, mazes, and such) and I’m hoping we do them all during Ramadan.

4. Get him to do charitable acts. I have a worksheet for that. I will introduce the concept of doing good deeds for the sake of God and how they are rewarded in heaven (he already knows this but I’ll emphasize) and I’ll explain that good deeds are multiplied 70 fold during the month of Ramadan.

5. Make a lantern with him. I’ve been begging him to do a lantern with me for 2 weeks. I even printed out a template a week ago but he says he won’t do it until Ramadan begins.

6. Read him Islamic stories about Muslim children around the world (we already started this one). I bought this book a year ago and he wasn’t interested because it had no animals in it, but a week ago when i told him it was my book and I wanted to read it by myself, he got jealous and claimed it and every other day i read him a story from it (the key with kids is to not do the same type of activity everyday or they’ll get bored easily). You can download storybooks for free as pdfs or you can buy from Amazon. There is an abundance of books available online in english (not sure about the Arabic).

7. Tell him Ramadan related stories (example: how the quraan was revealed or maybe a personal story that happened to you in Ramadan)

8. Read quraan aloud next to him to get his attention and when he seems interested, explain the meanings of the ayat to him (if you don’t know the explanation, you can search online and watch cartoon explanations together).

9. Baking cookies shaped like a crescent moon, mosque, stars, and such. You can either involve your child in baking and have them make shapes with their hands or, if you’re anything like me, just let him make the shapes with cookie cutters. I plan to do this the day before Ramadan only.

10. Explain to him about Ramadan in a fun way (why we fast, do’s and don’ts of fasting). Kids are curious, and it takes a keen eye to notice when a kid is willing to learn and some patience to answers their questions.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you have any questions or more ideas on how to make the most of this Ramadan in quarantine, comment below.