And one by one they disappeared…..
The serene and sweet month of Ramzan came and went. Like always the start was rocky and needed some adjustments but once the body learnt the rhythmic melody it became second nature.
I always feel sad when Ramzan ends because for a lot of reasons that month is sacred and special. Prayers, actions, devotions, control, charity, food, sleep anything you name, tastes better. It’s as if you are feeling that feeling for the first time.
When you look forward to folding your arms to pray…..
When thinking of less blessed people makes you more and more grateful and humble……..
When food eaten at Sehri and Iftar has a unique flavor……..
When you try to find reasons to be good……
When you do zikr into the wee hours of the night and that even with full concentration trying to shun the sleep away……..
Such is the blessed month of Ramzan.
Every year I hope to carry on the torch of Shukar, Yaqeen and Sabr with the same enthusiasm but once Ramzan ends, the light starts to flicker making me realize that the efforts needs to increase.
If you make a lot of promises to yourself or desire to do a lot of good things even after Ramzan ends and are not able to live up to to your own expectations, don’t get disheartened. It’s okay to fall off the train, the more important thing is to get up and board it from another station because there is a train waiting for you at every corner. All you have to do is to take the first foot forward. Start small and build on it.
Let us keep on encouraging each other to be good and do good because this something the world needs today. Do a random act of goodness every day be it as small as brining a smile to someone’s face.
May Allah accept our prayers and fasts and bless us and write out names in the lucky people who will be blessed with Ramzan next year.
Thanks to my friends, here is sneak peak into some of the yummy food I enjoyed this Ramzan. You will be in a food coma just by looking at it 🙂
Growing up whenever there was any kind of celebration, this sweet yellow rice dish would always be the grand finale of an amazing day. From weddings, babies, jobs, religious festivities, get together…..Zardah was always the star of the night. It is extremely popular in the South Asian region.
I have memories of my Bari Ami (grand mother) and later my Ami (mother) making this on numerous occasions. This wasn’t a dish they would make in a hurry. In fact it was like a baby…..gently cared for, loved and nurtured. From using special Sela rice, special food coloring, right kind of almonds, plump raisins and Murabbas (Candied Fruits), this is one royal dessert.
The word Zardah has its roots in the Urdu word Zard meaning yellow, hence the yellow color. Some people add other colors too but in my home we always stuck to the yellow color.
I decided to step out of my comfort zone and finally try making Zardah. I know I can never make it the way they did so after playing around with their recipe I finally came up with an easier version. As I love me my short cuts, here is an amazing recipe which will give you pretty much the same results but with less than half the effort 🙂 and trust me your mother will think you spent hours in the kitchen 🙂
I don’t like candied fruits or a lot of nuts so I kept it simple, but you can go ahead and add as much as your heart desires. Also I don’t like super sweet Zardah so I’ve kept the sugar a bit less. Feel free to add more sugar if you like your desserts with a kick of sweetness. Some people also top it with khoya and shredded coconut, so decorate it what ever way your heart desires.
Let’s get started…..
Ever since I watched the commercials of KFC Zinger Burger I have been craving a good juicy chicken sandwich.
Halal burgers near me have ground chicken patty but since I was craving a spicy,crispy chicken fillet one, I had to make one myself. As compared to a lot of online recipes, this recipe uses fewer ingredients.
I kid you not, it tastes more yummier (if that’s even a word 🙂 ) than the KFC Zinger Burger back home and since I made it myself, I had control of what goes inside.
The ingredients are simple and readily available in all pantries.
Enough said…..Lets get to work…..
Last week was my younger son’s graduation. His teachers worked so hard, year around that I really wanted to give them something special as a token of thanks. And so began my internet search for gifts ideas.
The most important thing when planning farewell/ graduation/ appreciation gifts, is to have a budget or else you might end up over spending. Also adding a little note or a hand drawn card by your kid works like magic dust and makes things unforgettable.
The internet is loaded with ideas. Some are pretty simple while others tend to be too elaborate. Here are a few ideas. Click on the pictures and it will take you directly to the concerned website.
SUCCULENTS/POTTED PLANTS WITH OR WITHOUT GIFT CARDS:
This is something which I personally did. It is simple yet adds kind of a pleasant personal touch. You can add a gift card or just add a sweet personal note for the teacher.
TEA/COFFEE GIFT CARD WITH A CUTE MUG:
When in doubt, choose tea or coffee. Get a cute mug or tumbler. Add a gift card or some teabags/coffee sachets and wrap it all up with a personalized note. Voila! You have a perfect gift.
HAND SOAP/LOTION/BODYWASH/SPA CARD WITH CUTE TAGS:
Who doesn’t get mesmerized by the indulgent hand lotions, body wash smells. Dress them up, add a handmade card and you have a clean gift 🙂
Scarfs and small trinkets are always welcomed by the teachers as you can never have many scarfs. Discreetly ask the teacher her favorite color or jewelry item and surprise her all boxed up in a beautiful wrap.
COLLECTIVE GIFT FROM THE CLASS:
Instead of giving individual gifts, all parents can pool in money and give one big gift card bouquet from the entire class. We did this last year and it was a biiiig hit.
Hasan Minhaj is a writer, comedian, actor but is mainly known for his political satire.
He is a senior correspondent on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and recently hosted the White House Correspondent’s Dinner (WHCD) for which he got much applause since it was a hard gig to pull off without the presence of the President himself.
Homecoming King is his first stand-up special aired on Netflix, in which he mainly talks about what it is like to be an immigrant in America. The show is the story of his life, lit with photos and seasoned with Urdu/Hindi phrases which makes it more entertaining.
From pressures of immigrant parents to being bullied at school, to the aftermath of 9/11 and so on and so forth, this is one comedy which is totally relatable to anyone belonging to the South Asian Belt. I totally understand that it might not seem funny to people who don’t share the same cultural background but it will be interesting and educational for them.
The main reason why I really enjoyed the show was that it wasn’t full of the typical desi style humor or simply talking in a different accent. Hasan covers harsh topics like racism, bullying, effects of 9/11 on immigrants in a light tone.
The stories are simple and to be honest not something unheard of, but what sets him aside is the impeccable timing, dialogue delivery and the way he keeps the audience smiling by either squeezing in a joke here and there or by showing photos which make it personal. Yes, there are times when the show falls flat but overall as a first time comedy special, Hasan has done a good job.
Head over to Netflix to watch the special.
First of all why a special diet?
There is a very famous quote by Hippocrates which says:
“LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD”
It’s a no brainer that how we feel depends a lot on what we put in our mouths. When there is a special health condition, it is plain common sense to avoid foods which aggravate the condition and instead, give the body healthy nutrients for it to thrive. It does not mean that you are depriving the body, instead you are helping it to heal from inside and function like it is meant to.
When it comes to Autism, there is no fixed diet. In fact, there is nothing approved which will have a sure shot affect on the overall health of the child.
However, that being said, there are a couple of diets to try, which many parents (including myself) swear by. The benefits of these diets include but are not limited to :
-Refined social skills
-Better eye contact
-Reduced hyper activity etc.
Like I said in the previous Autism related posts, since it is a spectrum, the progress varies from kid to kid.
A general rule of thumb is to try the diet for good 3 months and if you see no improvement that means that it is not working for your child. Also make sure during the three months, that there is no cross contamination.
Keep a notepad handy to take notes on your child’s mood, health, sleep etc. so you know the reaction to certain foods. Do not however, expect to see overnight progress. Healing with food is a slow process with loads of trial and error.
Let us now discuss the diets in detail.
GLUTEN FREE/ DAIRY FREE/ SOY FREE DIET(GFCFSF)
This is perhaps the most popular and the most tried diet when it comes to ASD. It includes removal of gluten and dairy and soy products from the diet.
Gluten is a protein found in many grains including Wheat, Barley, Spelt, Rye etc. Unless the Oats are grown in a gluten-free manner, they too come under the gluten umbrella.
Casein is a protein found in all mammals milk.
Most of the Soy Crops in America are highly genetically modified therefore it is best to avoid them.
Kids with ASD and ADHD generally have elevated levels of Gluten, Gliadin and Casein and have gastrointestinal problems. Eliminating these proteins helps in reducing the gut inflammation and help lift off the foggy effect off the brains.
SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET (SCD) AND GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME (GAPS) DIET
SCD was created by Elaine Gloria Gottschall who based her research on the findings of Sidney Haas, M.D. More details on SCD and her research can be read in her book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.
This diet severely limits the carbohydrates. The model is based on the theory that most carbs convert to sugar and are difficult to digest so by allowing only specific carbs which require minimal digestion, gut inflammation can be reduced.
GAPS diet is derived from SCD diet and is created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. More details on her research and GAPS can be read in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia.
The GAPS diet focuses on removing foods which are difficult to digest and replace them with nutrient rich foods which gives the body a chance to heal.
People usually combine the SCD and GAPS diet and find a good medium which fits their need. One concern about this diet is that it is very restrictive and must be supplemented with vitamins and minerals to make up for the nutrition lost.
THE FEINGOLD DIET
This diet has been said to work wonders for kids with ADHD.
Feingold Diet is an elimination diet created by Benjamin Feingold M.D. The theory behind this diet is that food additives can cause hyperactivity in children and by elimination of those additives one can figure out which food acts like a trigger for their hyperactivity.
Sheri Davis’s book All Natural Mom’s Guide to the Feingold Diet: A Natural Approach to ADHD and Other Related Disorders is an excellent resource for trying out this diet. She writes in detail how to do this diet, what to include and what to eliminate and also how to reintroduce things back to the diet.
Other notable mentions are
A very good read by Julie Mattews , Nourishing Hope for Autism: Nutrition and Diet Guide for Healing Our Children [Perfect Paperback] talks in detail how nutrition affects children with ASD and the different types of diets to try. If you are unsure which diet is right for your child, this book will give you a good idea firstly on how different foods can cause certain behaviors and secondly, a guideline on how to carry out the diet.
My kid has been following the GFCFSF and mostly low sugar diet for the past 4 years. It works for us.
How you ask?
The day my kid has a regular muffin or dairy, he is bouncing off the walls, inappropriate laughter kicks in and he has a hard time falling asleep.
Since I can safely call myself a pro at the GFCFSF diet, I will do a detailed review and help you do this diet, step by step, if you want to try it with your kiddo too.
Feel free to contact me via email if you want any kind of help regarding your kid’s diet.
(DISCLAIMER: These are my views and should be taken for information and education purposes only. Not two on kids on the spectrum are alike. If you think someone you know needs help, please talk to the concerned Pediatrician today.)
My life has soo many rich, vibrant, eye-popping, nose opening, jaw dropping lessons that it was honestly hard to choose which one should make the list. But since I am suffering from short-term memory loss these were all I could remember. Maybe more later.
Without further ado and in no particular order here are the valuable lessons learnt:
1. Elves are not real. I leave my house upside down every other night but they never show up. Maybe the shoemaker is seriously keeping them busy.
2. Low quality canned Beets taste like old sweater tucked at the bottom of a tote/trunk laden with Moth Balls.
3. On a 16 hour-long flight if your seat is next to a bathroom you will have an aromatic journey.
4. On the same note, wearing headphones do not conceal your farts. Unfortunately people travel with their nose and ears.
5. Life was giving me lemons until my neighbor chopped off their lemon tree. Now I have to buy them like everyone else.
6. First it was the parents now its my kids. Why can’t I ever find the remote when I seriously need it and how come they know the exact scene to make an entry?
7. Why does my GPS think that by now I can tell the difference in 1 mile and 200 ft. I am still learning distance so it needs to take it slow.
8. Everything brown is not chocolate. Especially if you have kids.
9. Miracles happen. You can happily recover the cake, you trashed a while ago from the bottom of the bin and just by removing a thin-film of coating eat it too.
10. Clothes do not walk out of the dryer into the closets on their own. They need assistance.
11. You are never first. So don’t rejoice. There is always someone who has already done what you thought you would be the first one to achieve in the entire human race.
12. Disney should have a ” Patience Award” for watching the same movie over and over again without complaining.
13. A bad joke is still a joke.
14. Buying cleaning products does not guarantee a clean house.
15. You can join the green bandwagon by turning your chicken curry into Biryani or using cookie tin to store sewing stuff.
That’s it folks….
Is 2017 running a marathon?
Last I checked it was still January and we were unpacking from our trip back home. And in the blink of the eye its April?? And not the start but the tail end?
I seriously think 2017 has a hidden agenda 😉
Anyways, back to the topic. Don’t you think the word “FAVORITES” is hypnotizing? Any where you read this word, you automatically have the urge to dig deep and find out the lucky winners who made this list.
I am just like you. I luuuuuuuve (yes its serious) to google/watch/read favorite stuff. Sometimes the stuff is soo real that the very next day I run to the Target nearby to get it but other times I am left confused as to why….
I also love-making small lifestyle changes which make our family happy and healthy.
For me favorites can be a product, lifestyle change, a podcast, a book or as simple as……
Here are some of my random favorites lifestyle/products:
Every night after dinnertime, once the kids are in the bed, me and my husband enjoy a cup of soothing herbal tea, sometimes with a sweet bite, other times on its own. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long busy day. This is the time where we discuss our day and everything around it. Sometimes the chai is accompanied with a show on TV.
My current favorite is Pukka Herbs Tea Herbal Three Fennel while he enjoys Tapal Green Tea 30 Tea Bags (Mint).
If you are like me and love-making lists then this is App is just for you. Now you don’t have to make multiple lists every time you switch device. You can make lists, write notes or snap photos to Google Keep. If you are pressed for time, then record a voice note and it will be automatically transcribed.
Accessible from computer, tablet and phone. Everything you add, gets synced to all the devices which makes it so convenient. You can also color code the lists/notes which makes it super easy the find them in a jiffy.
The reason why I love it the most is because of its organization and accessibility across the devices.
Check out more at: Google Keep
Do you want to be happy, contented, healthy, optimistic???
This is one habit which has brought immense positivity in my life. When you take out time to say “Thank You” for all the blessings in your life, no matter how insignificant, your outlook will change.
Tashakkur has a chain reaction. When you start being grateful for little things in life, the blessings keep on multiplying. You realize that you might not be the richest person in this world when it comes to money, but you are richest when it comes to contentment. A feeling money cannot buy.
At this very moment, take a look around you. I can safely say that you can find at least 5 if things, if not more, to be grateful for. The first being the ability to read.
There are many ways to show gratitude. By praying, meditating, penning your blessings in a journal etc. But the simplest way is that whenever you feel blessed or even if the thought of the feeling arises, say ThankYou God or ShukarAllah.
And now on to some of the products I am currently enjoying…
Scrub & Protect
Thanks to the unpredictable Californian weather my skin has been acting very strange. There are days when it gets super oily while on the other days its soo dry that I am one flaky mess. Also as the sun is super Sunny here, my body is now an array of colors.
I tried a couple of products but nothing seemed to fit the bill.
I am a DIY type of girl and sugar with some olive oil and lemon is the best scrub on this whoooole wiiideee world but sometimes a girl has no time to whip up some magical concoction and most of the times when the thought of DIY arises I am already in the shower 🙂
First time I saw Soap and Glory was back in 2015 while walking the heavenly aisles of Sephora (Don’t you love it?).
I loved the packaging but didn’t get it then and later when I went to get it, found out that they don’t carry this brand anymore. Oh well….
Last month while shopping at Target, I saw these cute pink packages again. I was already looking for a scrub so picked up the Sugar Crush Body Scrub and Sugar Crush Body Lotion. To be honest, I didn’t have much expectations as more pricier brands had disappointed me.
Moment I opened the jar and took a whiff, I knew ….THIS IS IT!!!
It smells like fresh lemon with the warmth of brown sugar and a musky hint of vanilla. It scrubs and exfoliates. DO not over wet the skin as the oils melt with the warmth of your hands and they will flow instead of scrubbing. If you have dry/ flaky skin you can comfortably use it 2-3 times a week. For oily skins, one a week is enough.
Follow it with the luxurious lemony, AHA fruit complex infused with kiwi water and lime seed oil Body Lotion.
With Summer almost here, get ready to sweat…..
I have been religiously using Schimdt’s Deodrant for the past few years and still am their loyal customer. You can read my detailed review by clicking the link below:
I love me my chewing gum. My latest love is these Glee Chewing Gums which are Non-GMO, natural chewing gum with no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. They are available in the regular flavors like all kinds of mint and cinnamon but there are some sassy flavors too like lemon-lime, tangerine, and wild watermelon.
Check them out at your local natural stores or via amazon Glee Gum 6-Flavor Variety pack, 16-Piece Packages (12 Total Packages) 2 of each flavor
A Child of Books is the story about a girl with no name, who sails her raft on a sea of words and arrives at the house of a boy who is lonely. Since he doesn’t like to read, he feels forgotten and bored. She then invites him to join her on an adventure.
Together, they go on an adventure climbing mountains of Peter Pan typography, playing hide and seek in the forests where the tree trunks are books and the branches are made up of classic fairy tales, escape monsters and much much more.
In the beginning of the book there are bland colors depicting lack of imagination but as their creativity grows we start seeing a pop of color here and there until there is a Big-Bang-Bloom of colors.
In the end the boy returns to a much colorful home, happy with a book tugged under his arms and an army of words trailing behind him.
Throughout the book, the images are made up of words. The water is words, the path is words, the clouds are words, even the shout is words. The best part is that these are not just any random words but each image depicts a classic fairytale.
The true message of the book is that you are never alone if you get in the habit of reading. As you open a book, you enter a new realm and since imagination and fantasy has no bound you will never be bored.
I love that there is a key on the last page with a tag reading “FOR IMAGINATION IS FREE”…… .
So true! All you have to do its open the lock of your mind and flow with the flow.
To buy the book vis Amazon click the link A Child of Books.
The prose style poetry and the illustrations by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston are charming and enchanting. The kids will enjoy this book due to the illustrations but the adults will love it for the message it brings.
Perfect bedtime book for both adults and kids, one which you will want to look/read over and over again.
Happy Reading 🙂