Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend: Sunday

Salam 3alaikum ya banaat!!

This weekend my husband and I decided to spend some time outdoors. It rained for most of the day on Saturday, but Sunday and Monday brought really great weather alhamdulillah.

On Sunday we went to visit a nearby city. They had a really beautiful park next to the river with walking trails.

During the walk I took some pictures of the flora and fauna! A few of these pictures are from a garden inside the city. Can you tell which ones?



Saturday, May 26, 2012


Salam 3alaikum ya banaat!

This is so hilarious. I was looking for a picture of a beanie like the one I have and I came across this instead...


bahahahahahahahahaah sooooo awesome!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sadaqah Button ~~>>>>

Salam 3alaikum sisters,

I just wanted to bring your attention to the "Chip In" widgit over on the right side of my blog >>>

I am currently working with the group Pious Muslimah Initiative in order to collect donations to feed orphan girls from Mombasa, Kenya. These little girls are all under the age of 13 and are receiving an Islamic education mashaAllah even though many Kenyans are distrustful of Mulims.

Apart from money transfer/wiring fees, every cent you donate will be going straight to the care of these girls.

Even just $1 can buy two meals for a little girl.

Please consider donating for the sake of Allah!!!

Jazakum Allah Khair <3<3<3<3<3

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hair Removal: Halawa

Salam 3alaikum ya banaat!

One thing I had to be much more diligent about when I got married was hair removal. Because of my skin type/condition hair removal is very difficult, tedious and often painful. I am very prone to razor burn and ingrown hairs because of all that extra keratin my skin/follicles are producing.

The best method I have found for hair removal is halawa. Some people might know it as "sugaring." (halawa just means something sweet)

Because finding anything useful in my hometown is incredibly difficult, I had to learn how to make halawa in my own house. It takes some time but you can make a big batch and put it in little plastic tupperwares to keep it fresh. If you live somewhere hot it might be better to keep it inside the fridge so it will last longer, but generally I keep mine in a airtight container in the cabinet (not in the bathroom... it gets too hot in there).

So the method for making halawa is like this:
(this is for one batch, you could very easily double or triple it if you like, it wont make any big difference)

1. put 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, juice from 1/2 lemon into a small saucepan
2. simmer on low heat until the sugar has started to caramelize, turning a nice dark amber color.
3. stir every 5 to 10 minutes, this size batch usually takes me about 30 minutes. larger batches might take longer to finish cooking.
4. be careful not to let it go too long.... if you cook it too long it turns into hard candy lol
5. let it cool a little in the pan, then distribute into containers. if i make a double batch i like to use several small containers which i use to delicate areas like face and bikini area and a couple bigger containers to use for larger areas like my legs.
6. when you want to use it, like it sit in some warm water for a little while so that it will loosen up from the sides a  little and come out easier. otherwise you will have to wrestle with it to get it off the plastic.

note: if you find after it has cooled that the sugar won't form a soft ball because it is too sticky, you can just put it back in the pan and cook it a little longer. there isn't a good way to save it if you cook it too long, but you could always eat it like candy :-P it actually has a nice and interesting flavor!

The color should come out something like the picture on the right inshaAllah. It looks a little goopy in the picture since it is still a little warm.

InshaAllah I will put together another post on how to use it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

First Time for Everything: IKEA

Salam 3alaikum sisters!!!

A few days ago I went to IKEA for the very first time ever in my whole life! I grew up in an area that didn't (and still doesn't) have one.

I told my husband that I would really like to visit one since I had never been before, so he drove me half an hour to the nearest one.

When we first got there we had some cinnamon rolls and hazelnut chocolate. Then we walked around the show room. I really really love how they can make such incredibly tiny spaces seem complete and functional. It's freakin amazing! I also liked that everything is pretty affordable. Right now we are only planning to live here for another year or year and a half tops... for us there is no point in investing in heavy furniture pieces.

After we looked around the show room we went downstairs where they have all of the small sale items and the warehouse area. They had so many really nice items that were even cheaper than what you find at the dollar stores! We walked through isle after isle of kitchen supplies and I felt like I was in my element. I wanted two of everything.

Some things I love about the store:

  • the flow was really great and keeps you moving forward
  • it was clean and organized
  • decent quality items, especially for the price
Some things I hated:
  • if i had been separated from my husband, i would have never found him again. the show room is set up like a big maze and there was no phone service in the building
  • i wanted to spend way more money than we had
  • it was pretty far away
I ended up getting:

A coffee table, two plates, two bowls, a laptop stand, a pan, wooden spoons,  and a silverware organizer. Plus the earlier chocolates, cinnamon rolls, lays chips and a pepsi.
All for $35!!! Can you believe it?? I felt like I bought a cheap coffee table and got all the other stuff for free mashaAllah alhamdulillah.

So I think it is safe to say that IKEA is now one of my favorite places ever. I can't wait to go back inshaAllah ^_^

Monday, May 7, 2012


Salam 3alaikum ladies!

I know the "official" start of summer isn't until later, but in the south summer starts on May 5th.

May 5th starts the strawberry season and strawberry season starts the summer y'all!

So here is the new banner and icon for the occasion!!! Enjoy!

Email from a Friend

salam 3alaikum girls,

I received this email from a sister of mine, my bff from South Africa. MashaAllah it is sooooo good! Just read... you'll see.

Oh Allah.
I told you: I'm in pain
     You said: 'Do not despair of the mercy of Allah' (39:53)
I told you: Nobody knows what is in my heart
     You said: 'Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest' (13:28)
I told you: Many people hurt me
     You said: 'So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them' (3:159)
I told you: I feel I'm alone
     You said: 'We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein' (50:16)
I told you: My sins are so many
     You said: 'And who can forgive sins except Allah?' (3:135)
I told you: Do not leave me
     You said: 'So remember Me; I will remember you...' (2:152)
I told you: I'm facing a lot of difficulties in life
     You said: 'And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out' (65:2)
I told you: I have many dreams that I want to come true
     You said: 'Call upon Me; I will respond to you.' (40:60)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Arabic Links

salam 3alaikum ya banaat!!

So now I am back with a little bit more casual posting. I am excited to talk about things that randomly pop into my mind for a while instead of trying to stick with a theme.

For my first post back I am doing a link dump. YAY!!

All of these links are great (FREE) ways to study Arabic. Personally I have no $$$ to spend on Arabic classes or tutoring or lessons so free coursework online is great for me. Many of these can also be opened on a smart phone if you have a pdf reader and internet connection!

1. Live Mocha: This site offers vocab lessons, review sessions, writing prompts, and speaking prompts. All submissions are reviewed by native speakers for you and they give you tips on improving your language. You can also chat with native speakers in order to practice and review other people's submissions in your native language and help them learn as well! You can move at your own pace and be as active or as absent as you feel necessary. They offer many more languages beyond Arabic as well.
Practices: Listening, Speaking, Writing, Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar

2. Understand Qur'an: Understand Qur'an focuses on learning Arabic through Qur'anic vocabulary. They introduce vocabulary and grammar concepts using common Islamic phrases, du3a, and verses. They program they use to introduce grammar and conjugation is really easy to remember mashaAllah and is worth it, even if you don't finish the rest of the course. The course includes text book, workbook, instructional videos, power points, quizzes, tests, posters, vocab sheets, and audio.
Practices: Listening, Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar

3. Foreign Service Institute:  FSI has put together many language texts that are now in the public domain. The Arabic courses include Written Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Saudi Arabic, and Comparative Arabic. They include student texts and audio files for listening. I haven't looked through all of the courses but the Saudi Arabic course has a good focus on conversation examples and dialect explanations which is really nice if you want to be able to actually talk to someone.
Practices: Listening, Reading, Writing, Vocabulary, Grammar, Dialects

4. Islamic Online University/ Fanar Institute: They offer free online certificate/diploma courses in Islamic Studies. They are less intense than degree courses. They offer one introductory Arabic course for free in the diploma section that is for beginners called "Arabic reading and writing made easy." I assume it starts from the very beginning, but I haven't actually started it yet. I haven't started any of the other courses from this site either as I haven't confirmed if it is giving correct knowledge.
Practices: Will update when I start the course inshaAllah

5. Madinah Arabic: Offers free Arabic courses for learning to read and beyond. They have flashcards and a text that is pretty easy to navigate. You can read the text online or they also provide a .pdf file you can download and print. I think this is better for reading and writing since it is missing the listening/speaking sections.
Practices: Reading, Writing, Vocabulary, Grammar

6. Kalamullah: Kallamullah has many Arabic textbooks for free download. Many (but not all) come with downloadable video or audio content to accompany the book. This is great for those of us who really prefer independent study and having a lot of options or variety in study materials. This resource also includes many English/Arabic dictionaries and articles with advice on learning Arabic as a second language!
Practices: Listening, Writing, Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar

7. Cartoons: Never underestimate media as a tool for learning a new language! I prefer watching kids shows since generally they don't have the sex or violence in adult movies and the language is usually at a lower level and easier to grasp. This site has a lot of Arabic cartoons posted and even movies that you will recognize that have been translated into Arabic from English. A really good one believe it or not is Dora the Explorer (search دورا on the website). They throw in some English words every once in a while to help get your bearings, they repeat phrases often so you can get the idea and the vocabulary is basic.
Practices: Listening, Vocabulary

You can add a speaking component to each of these courses by simply finding someone who will take it with you and practice together! Don't have someone willing to take the course? At least find someone to tell about what you learned even if they have no idea what you are talking about lol, just saying it out loud to someone will be very helpful.

If you know of any other good, free sources for learning Arabic, please let me know!!