Grey Sky Morning

My brother emailed me last night asking if I would consider blogging about home edding since I love it so much alongside writing. Thanks Bro. You reminded me of this blog that I have left defunct for some time now.

If you’re reading me, you would notice that too! Sorry. Part of Spring passed. The entire Summer rolled by. And today nature cues in a grey sky morning, which is the perfect weather report to pick up blogging again.

As you may have noticed, I never posted LBTL Day 5. It’s all right. I completed it but was exhausted and some other personal things came up thay are beyond the content of this blog, hence my hiatus.

Nevertheless, I have decided to play catch up and add on my articles that have been published as well as home ed resources that – my brother insists – will help other interested families.

So, I am back. Insha Allah. Eye bags, typos and all. It’s nice to be back.

LBTL Day 3: the lethargy sets in –

I would say that i was faring well yesterday. I was up last night working on an assignment and didn’t feel too exhausted despite the usual hectic day with the kids, but the fatigue paid me a visit today after a rushed breakfast – honey on toast, a banana, and coffee.

Turns out it wasn’t enough. And between watching over the kids and brainstorming some ideas, I zonked out in the middle of the day.

Another luxury was having the husband around today who was also working from home so I could let go and live a little for that hour. That really means, I got to nap.

I was reading updates by other LBTLers and turns out I wasn’t alone. It is tiring when you feel you’re not getting enough calories in.

And for lunch and dinner, I stirfried spaghetti with yesterday’s mushrooms. I added my 2 eggs for dinner. Again, all in a rush.

This is what it looked like. Total cost is about 75p (minus the eggs) and shared by everyone in the family and consumed for both lunch and dinner, so again, very much within the budget.

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I realise how hard it is for those in poverty keeping energy levels up. It’s a big thing.  I work from a computer. Those who are are vocationally skilled, working outdoors, with little protection from the weather, need far more food than me and plenty of clean water. Alhamdulillah, I have both.

So we are past the half way mark. I admit that it feels restricting to keep watching the budget. On my way to fetch the two older kids from their youth club, I bought GBP4 of yoghurt for the two youngest ones. Imagine that? That could last for 3 days to a week+, depending on their raging appetites.

Those moments that remind me of all the conveniences and resources we readily have. And alhamdulillah those kiddos have no issues with energy levels.

LBTL Day 2: Back to the work-at-home drill –

The 5am biological clock went off but even after prayers and forcing myself to sleep, I found myself wide awake.

So I made lunch and dinner. This is something I normally do before 9am – just so I can have the day free and since I’m big one one pot meals, this works well.

The leftover lambstew was brewing with something else for the non-LBTLers. I’m an up-cycler in the kitchen. And I decided for eggs and beansprouts for me. Boiled eggs go great with the leftover lambstew because it quickly turns into gravy. Unfortunately the store was out of beansprouts so I sauteed mushrooms and a tomato instead.

Frugal, much?

Since I had eggs allocated for the rest of the day, this is what breakfast looked like:

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Ah. Energy, much- with honey drizzle and coffee. In fact, it was two cups because I had not realised the milk had turned, *gag*, so the husband made me another mug.

But this was not long after trying to list down the bajillion things causing mayhem in my mind.

Deadlines, a new project, pending tasks, the never ending beading ideas, all of which I enjoy, over and above home-edding. And then the backlog of emails that I don’t enjoy 😦

I tried to catch some shut-eye while the kettle was boiling, but my to-do list was running hurdles in my brain. At least my brain cells aren’t lonely. And by 6.30am some of the house began stirring and the sun turned full yolk, so I took the opportunity to snap pictures of those bookmarks I had made yesterday and read through the latest book project. Some other voluntary work requests were coming through my phone.

I love what I do, but it can be so overwhelming, especially with our decision to home-ed. But as hectic as it is, working from home *and* home-educating are luxuries in leaps and bounds. I can’t imagine doing it any other way, and I always pray that these luxuries are keepers. We may have dwindled down to bare-necessities, sans the *materialistic* luxuries and choices that have inevitably have raised eyebrows in a world where the slight obsession with consumerism is the norm. But that in itself is *the* luxury that we live.

Families in poverty don’t get to “wait-it-out” at home. What’s the internet to mothers in East Africa? How many jobs does a man have to hold down to feed his family and elderly family where there is barely economic sustenance? What is getting up early, or late (for that matter), mean to the children of Syria?

And even this lunch cum dinner probably cost 50p, how many families in poverty can actually afford this.

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It’s just mushrooms and eggs (and a tomato and onion), but it’s not openly available to every single person in the world – especially those living in rural areas that don’t have stores – or buses to get there. We take the bus to our store, stock the trolley, and an hour later, (because we don’t have a car), the groceries are at our door).

Real poverty doesn’t come with fringe benefits like this.

And, of course, my kids had extra food as well.

They did their *schoolwork* leisurely (a luxury) in the morning, and after lunch, we trotted off to the park (another luxury) – clean air, clean grass, getting to make new friends, while I sat on the grass with a manuscript I am working on – *major luxury*

And we whiled away a good portion of the day. Life may be simple, work may be crazy in seasons, the kids may seem really testy (but arguable, they’re better today because I’ve adjusted to the GBP1 challenge and not so h-angry today. Actually, I’m not at all h-angry today, alhamdulillah again). And that’s humbling as well. I’ve managed to adjust slightly, but also because I have luxuries to fall back upon. I don’t have to worry about so many things over and beyond the bajillion stuff that haunt me daily.

Like my deadline tonight. And some other email backlog. And this other request. And the volunteer work. And the fact that the 7yo found enthusiasm in Geography that he completed his year’s worth of curriculumn in 3 months and now is badgering me to move on to the next level.

But, back to the challenge to at least create awareness of global poverty, alhamdulillah, I feel comfortable within the budget today. I pray that all the sponsorship will feed those in need.

If you would still like to sponsor me, but not sure how – here is the link.

And if you’re interested in beaded jewellery, here is my store. All proceeds go towards supporting a family of seven, living in excitable mayhem and delirious chaos, every single day.

 

LBTL Day 1: It starts with the distraction called coffee –

I tried my best to delay breakfast, but the coffee was gone before I even took the picture. Which was what I needed anyway – I don’t delay coffee, especially when I wake up with a raging appetite.

So, that was breakfast, and I’m writing this just after lunch, while I’m semi-contemplating another mug of the black stuff with a dash of milk and spoon full of sugar. It would sure help the medicine go down right now! Hehe. But alhamdulillah, it’s close to Dzuhr, which will force me to take a time out for a bit.

The morning was unusually eventful, with our new washing machine arriving. I thought it was quite a poetic prelude to this 5 days below a quid each, to have five days without the washing machine. It makes me all that more grateful for the luxury of clean clothes, and the obvious fact that we didn’t run out inventory either, alhamdulillah. But that was also due to the husband taking some dirty clothes for a spin in the bathtub.

Besides that though, there’s nothing more likely to both a morning routine with two workmen stomping up and down the apartment and in and out of the kitchen trying to install it.

 

And the inevitable happened. They found such shoddy work by the previous plumber that these guys decided to tidy it all up. Only that they couldn’t do it in the morning and they will be back in the evenings, which is brilliant – because there’s nothing better than workmen stomping up and down the house and in and out of the kitchen in the evenings. But on the plus side – besides these guys being really great – is that I’ll probably not be hanging around the kitchen much, and that will curb any urges to snack. 😀 All is fair in love and war.

So the home-ed schedule got knocked sideways a bit. I tried my best to distract myself (which really wasn’t necessary), with the 8yo working on her new geography book, and the two boys (7, 4.5yo) working on *their* new maths books. Everything is exciting when the books are *new.* The tot and the baby entertained themselves by throwing pencils at each other.

And I found a packet of special – and made these while waiting for the kids to complete their work, and the workmen to discuss the fate of the two washing machines.

 

Oh, wait. Here’s a closer look:

I’ll be getting closer still, as and when I upload them here, at my cove on Etsy.

Right then. That was a lunch update, which ultimately looked like this:

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I made my customary weekend lamb stew yesterday. I didn’t think I would, but it made the most sense given the circumstances after all. Everyone ate heartily, so this is the leftover broth with mostly potatoes, tomato skin, onions, and shreds of the meat. By the looks of it, it may stretch over until Day 2 and half of Day 3 – that’s leftover cooking for you. But it makes it worth it 🙂

Now to decide on the second mug of coffee –

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This is post-dinner, which was essentially a similar bow of lambstew (just potatoes), plus bread with honey drizzle. Gosh, I felt I went overboard. I also had coffee and a banana some time during the day to prevent h-anger – which is essentially hungriness + anger.

I have to admit watching the kids wreck havoc and eat practically everything in the pantry was testing my patience, especially when they took forever to tidy up. It’s quite a chore when you’re h-angry.

But alhamdulillah, they’re well fed 🙂

If you’re wondering, my phone ran out of batteries and I was too lazy to go upstairs to have it charged, hence the reason why there aren’t any more pictures, not even the lunch shot. Seriously, it wasn’t all that enticing either – but you know, we take food for granted.

I’m so thankful that I have food when I need it, and after this 5 days lapses, I can eat as and when I need to. I really feel for nursing mothers who struggle with tight budgets. I know what it feels like to wake up at 3am, absolutely starving, and just go back to sleep due to exhaustion. But at least I can still have something filling for breakfast.

Besides all that, I’m running low on my protein intake – I get the 2 eggs is half the nutrition (daily intake) required for a healthy pregnancy, (I’m not pregnant,) but nursing 24-7 comes close. I think I have to work out how to get more protein in during the day – at least more than a few shreds of lamb.

As for tomorrow, I foresee distractions while I reignite my affair with 6 days worth of dirty laundry. Taking the new machine out for a few spins would probably while my time away.

Islamic Nursery Rhymes – a New Muslim Parent’s Treasury

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When I picked up Elizabeth Lymer’s book and looked at the title, I just assumed it would sound much like the Little Muslims’ CD by NoorArt. I bought that CD a few years back, when the older ones were little. While we thoroughly enjoyed it, there’s something about the continuous singing and clanging of whatever instruments they were that made my head spin, a bit. Just a bit. After all, after x number of children, the noise level doesn’t make much different, unless you muffle out the sounds with a duvet. And I mean, muffle my ears, not them. Just to keep the record straight.

But of course, I was going to be proven wrong. Because, *this* is a book. And for someone who has a slight obsession with books, and a colossal preference towards them, over and above CDs and over and above kids yelling their lungs off, I was really excited to read this.

Needless to say, the children came rushing to my side, crashing into each other at the mere sight of this Treasury.

What can I say? I LOVED THIS BOOK. We loved this book.

The illustrations are so intricately beautiful. De-facing characters is actually something new to me, and I appreciate how illustrator made all the pictures look very elegant.

If you were brought up in the West (or maybe the “modern East”), you would probably be used to most of the rhymes in here. I only couldn’t sing along to two. But the way sister Elizabeth puts the Islamic twist in these rhymes really did send a few handful of shivers down my spine.

To be honest, it’s not so much of turning conventional or traditional nursery rhymes into Islamic ones. People talk about “Islamic” like it’s a subject at school, or a sub-segment of life. Oh, why don’t you write something Islamic. Why don’t you do something Islamic. Bah, he’s not studying anything great, just Islamic studies. JUST (?) Islamic studies?

The Islamic thought process is one that encompasses all aspects of life. Yes, the nursery rhymes have been reworded to fit the mindset and conversation of parents raising Muslim children, but it’s more to that – page after page, the entire book changed the thought process of a person into one thinking out of the Qur’anic lens. And because of that, this is a great introduction for babies to Allah (swt), His angels, His Messenger, His Book – or should I say, *great reminder,* because babies are from Jannah anyway ❤

Babies and toddlers are inevitably going to grow up singing nursery rhymes, and funnily enough, they commit them to memory very quickly. It shows that these first impressionable years get absorbed into their subconscious without second thought, and it’s a great reminder that whatever we feeding their minds, we feed their souls too. Why not fashion their minds to fully absorb (and later, understand) the roots of aqeedah from this vulnerable young age.

Children are exposed to all sorts of rubbish in today’s world, and 1yos are not alien to the media that surrounds us. We can’t run away from it, but we can fashion the reality with proper focus and the adequate filters. I strongly believe that this will help them in the long run.

If you know of parents who are expecting a newbie in the few months to come – this is a wonderful gift for them. In my humble opinion, it’s never too early to buy books for children, and what better more something as soothing and beautifully written as this one.

 

Showtime *gulp*

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GBP1 a day, for 5 days.

Total expenditure on food and drink for five days: GBP5.

Just to put things in perspective.

But I guess what I’m doing isn’t exactly that. I’m not carrying that fluffy purple purse around to buy food and drink and keep within the 1 quid budget per 24 hours. My strategy is to cook as per norm for the family and eat and drink within the budgeted portion – ensuring I keep within the obvious budget during the day time, and try to sleep for as long as possible. Kidding. But, not really. I still get that luxury, see.

Those who struggle with poverty may not even have the means to get a fairly good night’s sleep, so I’m thanking all my blessings right now, even though, every parent knows that good sleep is part of historical evidence that we once did not have children. But nonetheless, at least the better sleepers in the family get decent sleep.

But back to LBTL, I can’t say I’m totally psyched. I know the children will still need me to be on top of my game in terms of energy, and they are already making outing plans for the week, which I cannot turn down. And despite all the calculative budgeting that I’ve done, I still don’t feel entirely prepared, and I’m afraid I may *cheat* by accident.

Nevertheless, I have Adam and Laura to thank for sponsoring me – as well as the 11 other someones. I wish I knew all of you so I could thank you personally, but I really appreciate it, as I’m sure Human Care Syria appreciates the humble GBP260 that came in, and I believe there are plenty of other global citizens out there donating to them too.

They even send me this – received it yesterday.

It came with a whole booklet of Arab-ish dishes and recipes that fall within the budget. It’s kind of too late for that, but I guess they could be projects post the 5 days, insha Allah.

I guess it’s safe to say that there’s no turning back now. Goodbye chocolate, for 5 days – I shalt see thou next Saturday.

 

*smirk*

I’m pretty sure it was an 80s thing. Oh no, wait. I’m giving away my age!

But oh so cool for those homeschoolers – how could I ever forget how many fights broke out because of this.

We’re playing it tomorrow!

Because we don’t fight enough. Ever.