Category Archives: Lifestyle

Coming Up with a Great New Years Resolution

By  Elaf Salim

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As I watch the snow fall in my backyard, I can’t help but think about the past year, 2015 and all the events that happened changing my life and the lives of people I know. The year has come to an end, wrapping up all our accomplishments and our struggles. If you are a fan of personal growth and development, it is a good practise to set yourself some goals in the beginning of the new year to work on them and hopefully achieve them by the end of 2016. Having hopes and aspirations for the new year is a beautiful habit but if you would like to actually achieve them I have some tips for you.

1-      Step into Reality

It is very important to understand your current starting point, all you have achieved so far and all the strengths and weaknesses you have before you choose your goals. Grab a piece of paper or your journal and start describing your current life. Write about your family, relationships, friendships, health, career and financial situation.

2-      Decide Where You Want to Go

Where do you wish to be by the end of the year? Write down a detailed description of your life and the accomplishments you would like to achieve. If you don’t know your destination, you will end up somewhere else. Also make sure your goals stretch you beyond your comfort zone but are still achievable. For example, if you live in a one bedroom apartment and would like to up-level, you can set a goal to move into your first town house, instead of your dream 10 bedroom mansion. While Allah can absolutely make all your dreams come true and everything is actually possible, it is better to set a goal that you believe you can achieve within a year.

3-      Choose Your Set of Measurable Goals

The key here is to choose a few tangible goals so you are not overwhelmed and to make these goals measureable and specific. For example, instead of hoping to ‘lose weight’, set yourself a specific achievable goal such as, ‘lose 10 pounds’. This will help you a lot in planning and decision making and will keep your momentum going throughout the year.

4-      Write the Detailed Steps

You need to have a plan, in order to achieve these goals by the end of the year. So write down the actionable steps you need to accomplish for each of the goals to come to life. Try to be specific and detailed so you can track your progress throughout the year.

 

Here are some of my goals for inspiration. You may relate to some of them but your goals will be different since you are a beautiful unique human being and your life is different:

-          Spend 1 or 2 hours of quality time with my son everyday

-          Read at least 1 page of Quran everyday

-          Visit friends and family and enjoy their company twice

   per month

-          Take two weeks of vacation and travel back to Egypt

-          Strive to achieve a consistent level of monthly income

   from my business – add your specific number here ;)

-          Eat healthy meals at least 4 times every week

I hope you have a wonderful new year and may God give you all your heart desires.

About the Author:

Elaf Selim is a Software Engineer, a Jewelry designer, a blogger and a Mom. She is the owner of SkiesAndSparkles.com, a handmade artisan jewelry shop. She loves photography, writing, historical architectures and nature in all forms.

 

 

Taking Children Out of School- Pro’s and Con’s

By Mona Ismaeil

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Winter (Christmas Break) comes at such a great time for Airlines but such an inopportune time for the average traveler. While children are conveniently out of school and most companies are giving time off, hotels as well as airlines and any travel related company are making you pay for those conveniences! Many families try to take their winter vacations a little earlier or a bit later to outsmart those corporate savages! Before, you get too excited thinking you’ve pulled a fast one, think about how this will affect the education of your children.

Pros: 

  • EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES: Not to say laying poolside drinking as many virgin margaritas as you can isn’t a fantastic way to spend your vacation; it is; but opting for a trip with some sites, history, and culture is a better choice. Children can learn a great deal by travelling. We open their eyes to a world that most text books can’t do justice.
  • Family Time: This is very important. Time well spent as a family is vital for the emotional and psychological development of children. Our lives are chaotic and often the only time we get with our children after school, work and extracurricular activities is just a meal here and there. Getting downtime to laugh, tell stories and make memories is priceless!
  • Seeing the World Through New Eyes: Children experience the world very differently than we do. Travelling together can teach both parents and children a whole lot.

 Cons:

  • Missed Important Exams: Timing is important. Leaving school close to the end of semesters or report card terms can being detrimental to your child’s education.
  • Falling Behind on Curriculum: With lots to learn and just barely enough time, every moment in the classroom is vital. Depending on the length of time of your trip, students can miss a great deal of instruction as well as the activities and projects that go along with it.
  • Change of Routine: When in school, students get into a good routine. A steady routine that includes school, studying and extra-curricular activities. While on vacation those routines change and for some students it takes some time to get back on track once the vacation is over.
  • Extra Pressure Afterwards: With any time missed, assignments, projects and assessments will pile up. Students will still be expected to complete those assessments and learn the material. This can put more pressure on them as well as you and the teacher.

 Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Timing: Choose your travel time carefully. Like mentioned before, it is important to plan your trips around significant assessments, report cards, parent-teacher interviews, etc. It is ideal of course to plan trips to coincide with given holidays or long weekends.
  • Length of time: There is a big difference between being gone for a week and being gone for a month.
  • Age/Grade: Younger students will generally be affected less than older students.
  • Ability: This is probably the most important thing to consider. You need to be honest with the fact that some students should not be missing in class instruction. As much as we may want to take that trip if our children are unable to handle the pressure of being out of school, then we need to put their best interest first.
  • Teacher’s Input: Ask your child’s teacher their opinion about your travel plans. They know best when it comes to what your children need from an academic perspective.

Wherever you go, enjoy every moment with your family. Travelling with children can be tough but incredibly rewarding! It’s about that moment when they say: “Mama, remember when we went_________ and saw________?” That is just priceless!  Safe travels!

What are your thoughts about taking children out of school? What are your experiences?

 

About the Author:

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

 

 

 

 

Tips for Getting Winter Ready

By Iman Khan

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With the arrival of Fall, can winter be far behind? As we are headed for another season of sub-zero temperatures and heaps of snow, here is a list of do’s and don’ts for Canadian immigrants who are new to the experience of living in a snow country:

Preparing your house:

1. Make sure you have a well-functioning heating unit ready to be put to a fair bit of use as winter commences. Keep a list of maintenance and emergency after-hours contact numbers ready for if and when you may need it, while in the midst of the colder months.

2. Snowstorms and resulting power outages are common during winters. Make sure to have an emergency light source, portable mobile charges and extra sets of batteries within an arm’s reach.

3. If your home is equipped with a fireplace, keep stock of dry firewood or logs. Have the chimney or flue inspected by a professional.

4. Always have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors serviced before winter kicks in.  This is especially important due to rising levels of dangerous gases when space heaters and other heat-inducing sources are being used indoors.

5. Be wary of tree branches that may fall or freeze on electrical wires during a snow storm or severe weather.

6. Purchase bags of Rocksalt to de-ice your driveways for when the snow hits. It aids in melting the snow and makes it easier to shovel and clean.

7. Stock up on warm comforters, quilts or an electric blanket for use while at home.

 

Getting your vehicle winter-ready:

  1. During the peak winter season, avoid long-distance travel or minimize to when it is absolutely necessary.

  2. Check the coolant system on your car for the antifreeze level. Add more if needed.

  3. Your automobile should be outfitted to drive in snow as roads tend to get slippery and consequently risky for safe commute. Investing in a set of studded winter tires will prevent the vehicle from skidding or sliding on icy roads.

  4. Carry an ice scraper and a shovel in your vehicle throughout the winter months.

  5. An extra pair of gloves, hat and scarf, torchlight and emergency flares should be kept handy in the car.

 

Kids’ winter-shopping:

  1. Dress up the children in several layers so that their body warmth is completely trapped in. Make sure you have the following prepped for your little ones:

    1. 2 sets of inner thermals to wear under their clothing.

    2. Set of snow pants and jacket.

    3. Warm muffler/scarf.

    4. 2- 3 pairs of woolen gloves/mittens (extras as these tend to get misplaced quite often).

    5. Pair of well-insulated (-30C) snow boots is a must-have to keep toes warm and beat the wind chills during the winter months.

    6. Wool hat or headgear to avoid heat loss through their heads.

Important! Always keep yourself updated with climate reports and severe weather advisory warnings so that you can plan ahead and stay on top of your schedule. Watch out for black ice on walkways. Being oblivious to them can cause devastating falls and injuries.
Finally, winters need not be all doom-and gloom! It is also the time to engage in fun sports for kids and adults alike. Tubing, skiing, tobogganing are just some of the activities that you can indulge in as a family to beat the winter blues and burn off some of the extra holiday pounds while you are at it!

About the Author:

Iman Khan is a new immigrant to Canada, and lives with her family in Mississauga, ON. She is the creative founder of hijabistas.net, and manages the online operations for luxury Muslim boutique –kaamilahonline.com

Planning a Fun and Memorable Eid Party

By Nasreen Faiz

Eid Mubarak

 

The holy month of Ramadan is almost here and preparations are in full swing for many families. 

As an event planner, I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to plan a variety of events, everything from weddings to aqeekas to corporate social gatherings. With each and every event, one thing has always been the main focus; guest experience. The same should hold true for an Eid party.
Ramadan 2015 isn’t here just yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start planning for Eid already! Here are a few pointers that will help in making any Eid party a fun and memorable one!

Decorate the Home

This goes without saying. There are tons of cute Eid specific decorations that you can splurge on to liven up your home/venue. If you’re in Toronto, SalamShop, Modah and Kaamilah Boutique are great places to start. If not, there are plenty of small but fiercely creative shops on Etsy selling Ramadan and Eid specific decor. For example try Path of Light Designs.

Wear Your Best Outfit

You’ve dressed up your home, now it’s time for you to get ready. Be sure to wear a new outfit, or if not new, something that is special to you. Whether you’re throwing an Eid party with a guest count of over 200, or a intimate dinner with just close family, asking your guests to where formal attire will certainly help in creating a festive atmosphere.

Secret Eidi

This is a great way to get everyone (regardless of age or gender) involved! Ever heard of Secret Santa? The concept is quite similar to that. Essentially, you’ll need to:
     - Set a budget between yourselves. It can be $10, $20, $100, whatever you are comfortable with.
     - Write down the name of each person who’ll be participating on a slip of paper.
     - Fold their names and put it in a bowl
     - Go around the room and have everyone pick a name. This is the person who’ll they’ll be getting a gift for.
     - When everyone arrives at the Eid party, ask all of the guests to put they gifts in a communal area.
     - Once everyone has arrived, you can hand out to each guest the present that has their name on it.
     - The guest first has to guess who got them, but after one guess the person reveals themselves
There is one other variation to this game that you can consider using.
If you wont be able to meet with the guests prior to the party to pick the name slips, you can simply ask each guest to bring a gift that is suitable for anyone to the party. Once all of the gifts are at the party, you can label them all with a number.
Write down the same numbers on a slip and have each person pick a number.
A third option is to use a site called Drawnames.com to draw names and even add a wishlist.

Date Cake

Dates are an essential when opening up a fast, so why not celebrate by making a date cake for Eid? Here is a link to one of my all time favourite recipes; Easy Date Cake. You can even add your own little twists to the recipe by adding ingredients such as toffee.If you don’t want to serve it as part of dessert, you can even cut the cake into tiny bite size squares and give them as party favours. A couple whose wedding I planned recently gave date cakes as a favour to their guests and they were a hit!

Make Gift Baskets

We should do our best to help those around us, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. This year, create a new family tradition by making small gift baskets for women and children in need. It’s a great way to give back to your community. You can create small gift baskets for kids by adding a few toys, clothes or (my personal favourite) halal gummies! Blossom & Bean sells them in packets, or you can contact them about buying in bulk if you plan on making quite a few. You can add Pashminas for women, chocolate, gift cards,  etc. Work on them during the month of Ramadan, and then deliver them to shelters on Eid.
What are some of your Eid traditions? How do you liven up your Eid Parties? Comment below and let me know! :)

 

About the Author

Nasreen Faiz is a professional wedding planner and designer at Rangeen Weddings and Events. Life should be rangeen (colourful) which is why her main focus is to always create luxurious designs within any given budget.

Grow Your Own Vegetable – II

By Sana Athar

Grow your own vegetables

Continuing our gardening series, today we will focus on five more veggies and herbs that you can grow in your backyard.

Lettuce

This is a half-hardy vegetable that you can keep growing all season long by planting one small crop at a time. Days to maturity tend to be short. Lettuce is a cool-season crop that grows well in the spring and fall in most areas. Lettuce seedlings will even tolerate a light frost. Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost date for earliest crop. Harden off seedlings for about one week, and transplant outside between 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after last spring frost.

Lettuce will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytime—even in the heat of the day—to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate. Planning your garden so that lettuce will be in the shade of taller plants, such as tomatoes or sweet corn, in the heat of the summer, may reduce bolting.

Lettuce should be harvested when full size, but just before maturity. You want it young and tender.Before maturity, you can harvest leaf lettuce by simply removing outer leaves so that the centre leaves can continue to grow. Mature lettuce gets bitter and woody and it will go bad quickly, so check your garden everyday. As time passes, you will want to cut the whole plant from the ground. It’s best to harvest in the morning before leaves have been exposed to sun.

Grow Your Own Lettuce

Mint

Mint is a perennial with very fragrant, toothed leaves and tiny purple, pink, or white flowers. It has a fruity, aromatic taste. The mint family has many varieties, but it will take over your garden,so be careful where you plant it.For growing outdoors, plant one or two purchased plants (or one or two cuttings from a friend) about 2 feet apart in moist soil. One or two plants will easily cover the ground. Mint should grow to be 1 or 2 feet tall. In the garden, plant mint near cabbage and tomatoes.If you don’t want an entire bed of mint, buy some plants or take some cuttings from a friend and plant them in containers filled with potting mix enriched with compost. Remember to keep the plants in a sunny spot.

Minimal care is needed for mint. For outdoor plants, use a light mulch. This will help keep the soil moist and keep the leaves clean. For indoor plants, be sure to water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Right before flowering, cut the stems 1 inch from the ground. You can harvest one mint plant 2-3 times in one growing season. You can also just pick the leaves as you need them. You can also grow the plants indoors for fresh leaves throughout the winter.

Onion

Onions are a cold-season crop, easy to grow because of their hardiness.Onions grow well on raised beds or raised rows at least 4 inches high. Select a location with full sun where your onions won’t be shaded by other plants.Onion seeds are short-lived. If planting seeds indoors, start with fresh seeds each year. Start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before transplanting.

Generally, onions do not need consistent watering if mulch is used. About one inch of water per week (including rain water) is sufficient. If you want sweeter onions, water more. Cut or pull any onions that send up flower stalks; this means that the onions have “bolted” and are done. Be sure to harvest in late summer, before cool weather. Mature onions may spoil in fall weather.

Grow your own peas

Peas

Peas are a cool-season crop, and come in three separate varieties : Sweet peas, Snow peas and Snap peas. To get the best head start, turn over your pea planting beds in the fall, add manure to the soil,and mulch well. Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F (7 degree C). Peas are best grown in temperatures below 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Water sparsely unless the plants are wilting. Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced. Keep your peas well picked to encourage more pods to develop.

Pick peas in the morning after the dew has dried. They are crispiest then. Always use two hands when you pick peas. Secure the vine with one hand and pull the peas off with your other hand.

Grow your own bell pepper

Pepper

Peppers are a tender, warm-season crop. Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date. After the danger of frost has passed, transplant seedlings outdoors.

Water one to two inches per week, but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive. If you live in a warm or desert climate, watering everyday may be necessary. For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days later.

Harvest as soon as peppers reach desired size. The longer bell peppers stay on the plant, the sweeter they become and the greater their Vitamin C content. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut peppers clean off the plant for the least damage.

Stay tuned for the third and last part of our gardening series. We hope it starts you on your gardening journey and you can enjoy the fresh, green right from your own garden!

About the author:

Sana Athar is a stay at home mom to her three little angels. She lives in Milton, Ontario where she works on her passions: gardening and cooking for family and friends. An MBBS from Karachi, Pakistan, Sana is currently working on obtaining her license to be able to practice medicine in Canada.

Images: 123RF

Fathers; A Blessing to Have

By Aruj Sipra

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‘When you’re little, there is nothing that brings as much light into your life as standing in the shadow of your father. And, as you grow old, there is nothing that brings as much light into your heart as those memories of standing in the shadow of your father. ‘Susan Gale

Indeed, Fathers are the biggest source of strength for a child. The innocent eyes of a child perceive father as the all-powerful, most knowledge, truly affectionate and the most important person in the family. For daughters, fathers are the first men they admire and fall in love with. While for sons their fathers are the strongest person they know and someone they hope to compete with. Even for the grownups fathers are someone whom they look up to for the most experienced and honest advice that is always in the best of their interest.

In the Qur’an, appreciation and treatment of parents is described beautifully in Surah Al-Isra in which Allah (swt) says,

“Your Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness lower to them the wing of humility and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.’” (Quran 17:23-24)

Children blessed with a loving father should consider themselves fortunate. For, they have someone to take care of their needs and interests and someone to stop them when they are going on a wrong path.

My Father died 14 years back but his memory is still fresh in my mind.Imti (short for Imtiaz) as he was lovingly called by his siblings, was a man of great wisdom and high caliber. He was difficult to understand and hard to come to grip with but at the same time, a lovable person. He went out of his way every single day of his life to make sure his family was well taken care of. Everything he did for us was done out of love, nurture and care. He lived for his family, and I know the sky was the limit when it came to any one of us.

There is a proverb,’ “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” All we need is a sense of direction, or an inspired road map, to help us achieve the very best and the best person to tell us, the father. He has desire of looking his son or daughter at the highest point of success. His will to be a successful father never goes end. He wants to see his children at the peak of achieving new targets. My father had been an extraordinarily talented athlete in his younger days and has a roll of honour (Pole Vault) from Government College where he did his Masters in Psychology. He wanted to see his three children excelling in sports and other fields just like he did. He always believed in us, and any time he saw us be passionate about something, he let us do it. After few trials and errors when we finally succeeded, just like the sun from behind a cloud, his eyes would light up and whole face would shine telling us he is proud of us.

Love is shown by words, actions and the time spent with one another. Showing someone you love them isn’t by the material things you give them. It’s the people we love most that we take most for granted! It’s easy to spend less time with your family because they will always be there for you (or so you assume). It’s easy to put off conveying your love to your loved ones because there seems to be no urgency at play. It’s easy to let home relationships slip because you assume there are more pressing things to deal with. But what could possibly be more important than your family? Is there any wisdom in being successful yet alone?

Every one of you who is reading this article have parents that are aging if you are still blessed enough to have them on this earth. No matter how old your parents are the reality is that any of us could lose our parents at any time. Let’s all make an effort to make more time for them, express more love for them, and make sure they feel appreciated while we still have them with us.

I am  proud and have the great privilege of receiving posthumous medal -the highest civilian award (Pride of Performance) awarded by the government of Pakistan in acknowledgment of my father’s life long services rendered in sports Journalism.

What is your most fond memory of your father?

About the Author

Aruj Sipra is the Community Manager at MuslimMoms.ca.  Just as Father’s Day was approaching Aruj had to face another tragedy of losing her father in law on the Eve of Ramadan . A wonderful man;  he will be missed terribly . This article is a tribute to him too.

Deerhurst Resort – Kid Friendly, Quick Getaway!

By Sameera Ali

Deerhurst Resort

We have spent so many vacations at home that we have even run out of ‘fun’ activities for the kids to do at home. The idea of spending one more vacation cooped up in an endless routine of ‘push, cry, complain, time-out’ made me frantically search for an escape this past March Break. I was looking for someplace fun and affordable where a 3-4 day getaway won’t make a big dent in the wallet. That’s when I came across the Deerhurst Resort.

Embracing Peninsula Lake, Deerhurst Resort is a year-round retreat in Muskoka, one of National Geographic Traveler Magazine’s ‘Best of the World 2012′ recommended places to visit. It is also just a short five-minute drive from downtown Huntsville and 45 minutes from Algonquin Park which makes it easy for you to check out the area.

It was just a short 2 and half hour drive from our home in Mississauga which was great for my family as I have four kids ranging from 10 to 1 year old kids. Short trip also means less pee pee breaks! Score!

Indoor pool at Deerhurst Resort

The resort offers hotel style rooms that are located in the main building or condo vacation rentals, which are one bedroom suites complete with a working  kitchenette that includes all the essentials. They also have a separate living room, complete with a fireplace, TV and convertible sofas for family time. For our family of six, this was the best option.

We got there a little before check in time at 4 pm and the staff was courteous and efficient and all our keys and towel passes – to access the pool area – were ready for us. Once we entered the suite, we were pleasantly surprised to see the suite looked exactly as advertised on the website. The view over the golf course in winter was very pretty.

A concierge called us promptly to ask if everything was ok and if we wanted any help. She also let us know about all the activities and events happening at the resort that day which I found to be very helpful. In the coming days we also received daily emails keeping us up-to-date on daily March Break activities. Being a busy mom I really appreciated that.

Deerhurst Resort

March Break activities included:

Indoor rock climbing  was inlcuded in the March Break package, reservations are required.

One had to pay extra for dance classes, Kids and Critters, Dog Sledding,  Horse Sleigh rides  and Decades – The Musical. 

Use of 11,000 sq. ft. holiday play zone including a variety of giant inflatables (slides, jumping castles, ball pits, army style obstacle course), Xbox stations and much more all guaranteed a great family time together.

Pony riding at Deerhurst Resort

My kids did the Pony program at the Stables and we were so impressed with our guide Stephanie. She was really great with my kids and took extra time with us. Well worth the money.

We spent most of our days at the playzone or in the pool. Both were not too crowded and were considerably clean. My kids had a blast at the indoor pool! The daily family movie nights were another hit.

For food we passed on the Eclipse Restaturant located right at the resort, instead we got Pizza from Ginos one night, made sandwiches from patties I had brought from home the second night and had Dinner at Kelseys the third and last night. We also did breakfasts (eggs, omelettes, toast) and lunches (pasta, sandwiches) at the suite. It was a little bit of work for me, but the nifty little dishwasher made it easy for me to clean up.

Decades - The Musical, Deerhurst Resort

The highlight of my visit was the Decades Musical Show presented right within the resort! Oh what a marvelous production!

Canada’s longest running musical variety show and also renowned as the show that helped launch Shania Twain’s career, Decades mixes chart topping hits from the 50s to present day incorporating a wide range of artists from Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga. The 2014 line up has been revamped with newer content and hits than ever, including songs by Pharrell Williams, Mumford & Sons, Lorde, Katy Perry and Robin Thicke to name a few. The theatrical performance features over 65 songs and300 costumechanges in 90 minutes, all delivered by an incredibly talented cast. It was a feast for my eyes and ears and I totally got ‘Jiggy With it’ when a cast member pointed at me!

All in all it was a great stay, one we will remember for a long time. Infact we will be back soon in fall to check out the amazing Muskoka fall colors and go hiking along the Algonquin trail.

About the author:

Sameera Ali is a full-time freelance content writer /SEO expert and a mom of four wonderful kids who keep her busy and forever thankful.

Arrive In Style, What To Wear When Travelling

By Mona Ismaeil

Arrive In Style, What To Wear When Travelling

Don’t you just envy those women who have been on the same ten hour flight as yours but look like they just stepped out of their homes? I do! If I did before and after shots of myself while travelling to the homeland, you would think I had walked all that distance from how disastrous I look when I disembark at my destination airport!

Let me paint you a picture of what I usually look like: my hijab is a total mess, wrinkled clothing, a blotchy face… and … I’m sure you can imagine the rest. On my last trip to Egypt I decided I had to find a way to leave home and arrive there looking somewhat decent. I hated feeling like I had to put on makeup and fix my hijab in the last 20 minutes of the last flight and if luck really wasn’t on my side there would be a huge line up for the lavatory and I’d have to get to the first bathroom before clearing customs. As if travelling with a kid isn’t stressful enough!

Here are some tips that I learned on my trips to make your next long haul trip an easy breezy one, insha Allah.

Keep colors simple

Since accidents happen while travelling, try to stick with darker colors; black, grey, navy, forest green, maroon, etc.  Patterns also help detour the eye from the juice your daughter spilled on you.

Comfort over style

I tend to travel in jeans and a solid long sleeve top. Sounds boring? Add a cardigan and a hijab/scarf and your outfit is complete. I’ve also travelled in yoga pants and an athletic jacket. These are great because they dry quickly in case of spills.

For shoes, I wear boots, flats or some cute sneakers. No need to do a heel!

Keep Makeup Basic

Unless you have a very short flight, it is not the time to play around with exciting shadow colors and liners. Keep your make-up as basic as possible. Wearing too much can start to look quite bad when it starts to wear off. Instead stick to a base product, a light-weight foundation or tinted moisturiser, maybe a bit of blush and your favourite lip product.

Easy Breezy Hijab

All those tutorial videos you have been watching should not put into play during travel. Keep your hijab style as simple and ways as possible. That way, if you have to adjust it or redo it in the lavatory, it’ll be quick. You won’t be spending forever trying to re-create it while frantically searching for your pins because the seat belt sign just came back on.

If you want a super simple option, you can do a one or two piece Amira hijab. These are perfect slip-on and go hijabs. They are comfortable and look great! If you are more of a Shayla kind of girl, try a nice cotton jersey hijab. These are very easy to wrap and most often do not need pins.

Jewelry?

Nothing is more embarrassing than beeping your way through security because you piled on those bangles. Aside from perhaps your wedding band, keep your jewelry to a minimum. I sometimes slip on a cuff or bracelet but I like to do wood or plastic beads. Also, you don’t want your favourite necklace to get caught on something in the travel chaos and lose/damage it forever.

These tips are not just applicable to airport travel. This would be the same for car or train trips as well. Keep travelling and keep looking fabulous while doing it!

About the author:

Mona Ismaeil, the associate editor at MuslimMoms.ca is a teacher turned blogger and writer. She’s the owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

 

What tips do you have for looking great while travelling?

Adventures of the Travelling Muslim Moms; Part II

By Muslimmoms.ca Team sunset-landscape--colors_19-135709

Here we are again with more “funny” stories from the travels of our Muslimmoms.ca Team. If missed our first segment, be sure to check it out on our website! Enjoy Adventures of the Travelling Muslim Moms; Part I.

Enough is Enough!

We went to India with a 5 year old and a 1 year old. On the way back, I packed about 15 diapers in my diaper bag. My daughter started to have terrible diarrhea one hour into the flight. I changed her diaper 45 times throughout the journey. Funny part was: there was another baby with diarrhea and air hostess said that their diaper supply is finished as well, so if either of us need more diapers, we would have to take it from other parents. Alhamdollilah we didn’t need any extra 45 was enough. This was NOT funny at the time! -         Bushra Aafaqi

The Mystery of the Great Suitcase Switch

My story is so sad it’s funny! When I accompanied my husband to travel to Canada two weeks after getting married, we stopped over in London UK for our “honeymoon” for a week. We had packed just one suitcase for our stay in London and the rest of the luggage was locked and stored at a family friend’s place. Trouble was discovered once we landed in Toronto, and I decided to finally unpack all my luggage! I opened one of our largest suitcase (which I knew had contained most of newly made bridal outfits) only to discover it was full of some old cotton western clothes! At some point in our journey from Khi, PK to London, UK to TO, we had lost our luggage, instead picking up someone else’s identical suitcase full of junk!!!! It’s been 22 years and to this day, I sigh when I think about this incident. The worst part?! That suitcase also contained my mom’s black and gold Kashmiri shawl which she was given at her wedding! Okay I am going to go cry myself to sleep now! -         Rahila Ovais

I am Woman, Hear Me Ignore You!

Mine would be before I got married. I was working for a TV channel in Dubai and when I boarded my flight, the head of the news department, and my boss was also on board (I’d fought with him to get my vacation). He was at the peak of his career and loved to brag. The entire cabin crew was fawning over him. I was seated next to him because he did not want a mother/child sitting next to him on our two hour flight. Anyways, once we settled down he proceeded to tell me that he had to go to Islamabad to interview the PM. That was my cue to start heaping praise on him, instead I told him he would probably need to rest and took out my book to read, ignoring him for the rest of the journey. Needless to say, I could not last long at the channel! I still find the whole episode funny… especially when I returned and my colleagues shook their head in dismay at my having wasted a golden opportunity to ingratiate myself into the inner circle and fast track to promotions! Absolutely no regrets! -         Aaisha Zafar Islam

Not Without Our Luggage!

We travel to Pakistan every year. We are a family of 5 so when taking international flights we are allowed a luggage allowance to 2 pieces per person. Of course being typical Desi’s we always travel loaded with gifts and every knick knack on the planet. Heaven forbid I won’t be able to find the exact shoe to match my outfit in the entire city of Karachi so I must travel with at least 10 pairs of shoes. Every year, it’s a joke(a rather painful one) that we all squeeze in to a minivan with 8-10 suitcases, get off at the airport where everyone stares at us, some with disdain some with sympathy and understanding. Since our kids were too small to help us move the trolley,s my husband and I would have to take turns to actually move 4 odd trolleys through the airport until we check in. Needless to say, our toughest ordeal is actually getting to check in, the 18 hour flight is a piece of cake in comparison! -     Muneezah Jawad

Hello? It’s Nature Calling!

I enjoy travelling with kids by air and by road. We usually take road trips to the US with a bunch of friends so we have a decent group with kids. 
The funny part of these road trips are when we get sms’s or calls for a pit stop when someone’s kids want to go to washroom in the middle of now where. Everyone starts searching for a nearest Rest Area or a fast food chain to stop at. Once we all had to stop on a road side to accommodate one such incident. The hilarious part was all 5 vehicles standing with hazard lights on and every other car would stop by to check if all was well. Poor family and kid were very embarrassed. Until now we recall that one incident of a sudden emergency… when nature calls you have to answer! -         Rumina Rizvi

Vacationing in the Caribbean- the Halal Way

By Anisa Tayab

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I always wanted to go away somewhere down south, sit on a warm beach and enjoy a mocktail!  I was always afraid to take a trip because I didn’t know what to expect and if it would be appropriate for my kids to be around people drinking and in swim wear all day.  I just didn’t know how my kids would react to so many “new” experiences around them.

When my boys were 5 and 3, we decided to take the plunge and took a trip to Mexico.  After weeks and weeks of researching we chose a resort that we thought would accommodate our needs the best.  We wanted to have a relaxing time while not comprising our beliefs or having to explain the actions of others to our kids.

Location, Location, Location

Cancun is known to be a party city in Mexico.  The hotel zone is full of hotels, clubs and lots of party goers.  It is a popular destination for spring breakers.  We knew we wanted to stay far away from that environment.  We chose a five star resort in hopes the other guests at the resort would be mature guests and not the party crowd.  This made a huge difference in my opinion.  Once we got there, most of the other guests were mature adults, young families or extended families vacationing together.  We also chose a resort that was away from the hotel zone.  We were not able to walk to another resort on the beach so it was completely private.

Dining

I have yet to find a resort that offers Halal options (wouldn’t that be great?!) but most resorts do have a variety of seafood and vegetarian options.  If you mention your dietary concern to your wait staff immediately they may even be able to “cook” something special just for you.  Mention your dietary concerns at check in so there is a note on your file in case you order room service.  From my experiences I found that most staff is more than willing to help you out to make sure your stay is enjoyable.

Since most resorts are all inclusive, you’ll find a lot of people drinking around you.  Your kids will see multi-coloured drinks and want to order them.  Keep in mind, almost everything you see can be made “virgin” which means non-alcoholic.  Some of our favorites are Mud Slides (Banana and Chocolate Milk), Virgin Pina Colada (pineapple and coconut) and Miami Vice (strawberry and pina colada).  Keep in mind the juices are fresh so we would order pineapple juice and mango juice all day.

To avoid any confusion with our order, we always take our own tumblers with us.  Tervis and Contigo make great ones.  The staff will rinse it out between drinks and they will learn that your cup means no alcohol!

Staying Cool

Can’t wear a bathing suit? No problem?  We all know about the burkini but you don’t have to invest in one.  I always wear a bathing Anisa iPhone-04262013 1046suit and cover it up with a rash guard on top and active wear (tights or lounge pants) on the bottom.  This gives me the chance to change my outfit every day.  There are so many rash guards to choose from and they protect you from the UV rays.

I also found by lounging around the kid’s pool you see more modest swim wear since it is all families.  Most moms have the same concerns as each other.  What surprised me was that my kids didn’t even mention anything about the exposure around them because they were too busy playing and having fun.  I think adults tend to pay more attention to those around us than kids do.

The sun in the Caribbean is very hot! I didn’t think I would burn (I’ve never burnt in my life) but not only did I burn but my entire family did.  It’s so important to wear a strong sunscreen and keep re-applying.  There is nothing worse than burning on vacation. Always wear sunscreen and a hat!

Nightly Entertainment

Most resorts offer entertainment at night.  We asked for the show schedule at check in so we could pre-plan our nights.  Most resorts have family friendly shows: Michael Jackson, Circus themed and Fire Acrobats are some of our favorites.

Relax and Enjoy

An upcoming vacation is a great time to teach your kids about different countries, the currency used there and the culture of the country.  We always try to learn the native tongue of the country we are visiting together as a family before our trip.

Don’t forget why you wanted to take a vacation.  Sometimes it’s hard to just relax but it’s important to take a break from our daily routines and enjoy our families and make memories.

 About the Author:

Anisa Tayab is a working mom to 2 boys.  She enjoys taking trips to expose her sons to various cultures and sites.