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Umrah family travel tips

We recently visited the Holy cities in Islam, Mecca and Madina for what is called umrah. Umrah can be done anytime of the year versus the main Hajj, which is done at a specific time of year and consists of a lot more rituals spread over specific days. We decided to bring our children along in order to increase their love for these holy places and to make tangible some of the historical places of the beginning of Islam. I will not be sharing fiqh or ruling tips as there are plenty of scholars that have outlined those. These are more mommy tips.

Moms of boys, make sure you buy them a proper ihram belt. I made the mistake of listening to my husband that any old belt will do and come to find out, it won’t. I also wish I had special snaps sewn into the ihram because it can be a hard for a young boy to manage the special two pieces of cloth, especially if you are coming through Jeddah and straight to perform the umrah. It was super windy while we were getting off the plane and I was carrying luggage and couldn’t help the poor kid navigate the stairs and the wind and cloth ( the current Jedda airport does not have gates but buses to take you to the airport). Best advice would be to start off at Madina first and then head to Mecca. The lines at the airport for customs are ridiculous so make sure everyone has used the restrooms and have some snacks and water packed for the little ones. That’s probably the number one advice for the trip would be to always carry enough water and snacks for the kids. There are plenty of food options and most tours include meals but there may be off times when the kids are jet lagged and you can’t make it to the buffets. We were lucky to be able to travel with family and it made the trip much more memorable and fun. There are wheelchairs available to rent for the rituals that you can push smaller children in as they can get tired from tawaf and saee. We had the kids listen to lectures about umrah and tried to explain the rituals in ways they could understand. You can also try to make it more tangible in ways and ask them “do you think Bilal RA had the same view of the mountains during sunset?” in Madina? Sometimes it was necessary to split up as prayers were segregated. Marking clear meet up spots is essential due to heavy crowds in both masjids. Let them see the masjids during less crowded times and soak up the ambiance if possible. Have empty water bottles for zamzam water refills and thin bags with straps for everyone to carry their shoes in. Do any touring of other areas early morning as it gets quite hot during the day. There are pharmacies all over so you can always pick up meds if needed. Moms of little ones, always have a hand on your baby. I found a lost toddler and the guards could care less about helping to find the mom. There is a large building for lost children in Madina but no one wants that worry and heartache. Try to rotate with your spouse for some one on one worship time. Last piece of advice that’s not kid related is the shopping is cheaper in Madina. Leave any additional advice below, would be happy to hear it!

Hobby Lobby Challenge

Hobby Lobby Challenge

I’m not sure if you have heard, but there is a viral challenge going on. A bunch of teens started doing photoshoots in the floral section of Hobby Lobby. I was tagged in a lot of comments on the articles going around Facebook about it and thought “why not?”. As someone that dabbles in photography, I knew it was something that can be challenging. For those who don’t know what hobby lobby is, it’s a huge box store that sells all types of crafts and decor. The lighting is horrible and of course, there are regular people just shopping in there. I was lucky enough that my friend from Tasnia Malek photography was ready for the challenge and has the skills to match. I wasn’t the most poised model and was cracking up after shot but we got some good shots in and mainly, had tons of fun! If you’re tired of the same old photoshoot in front of the barn, think outside the box (or inside a store) for your next photoshoot. Here are some of my favorite shots.

Check out Tasnia’s amazing photography at http://www.tasniamalek.com!

https://www.tasniamalek.com/

Spring cleaning

Spring cleaning

Spring is officially here this week, (at least that’s what the calendar says but it’s still chilly). This is often a great time to take a peek at some of the home projects that we’ve let slip during the cold winter months. I usually like to tackle one, maybe two major things so that I don’t get overwhelmed. I have to add it to the calendar to make sure I get it done and then we commit to it. It’s usually pollen season in the south so it’s a perfect time to wash those drapes, wipe down the vents and make sure they’ve been changed. I get the kids involved by emptying out their closets and making donation bags. Now is a good time to get a deep clean of the carpets. Of course, now is the time to freshen up the garden and clean out the weeds and start planting. Here’s a helpful chart to help organize your spring projects.

What are some of your spring cleaning projects that you are planning? Leave your comments below, happy cleaning!

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Spring finds at target

If you want to try some of Spring’s 2018 trends but don’t want to spend a ton of money, take a look at Target. Lavender has been declared Pantone’s color of the year. This cute handbag is the right shade and perfect for spring.

https://www.target.com/p/women-s-mini-with-bow-crossbody-bag-a-new-day-153/-/A-53159524?preselect=52828057#lnk=sametab

Pink is always a color to add to any spring wardrobe. I saw these heels and couldn’t resist the color and cute ruffle details on them.

https://www.target.com/p/women-s-elisabeth-pumps-a-new-day-153-blush/-/A-53107308?preselect=52729216#lnk=sametab

Mules are also trending this season. I had purchased these on sale and looks like they’re all sold out but you can still find them on EBay and Poshmark, they are the matilda shoes from WhoWhatWear.

This dress was the perfect yellow shade and can brighten up anyone’s day. It’s long sleeved and doesn’t wrinkle easily

https://www.target.com/p/women-s-long-sleeve-floral-printed-tie-front-bubble-crepe-dress-xhilaration-153/-/A-53062377?preselect=52925237#lnk=sametab

Hope you are inspired to try some of these trends and can add some fashion to your target runs. Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions to try from target!

Not again

I have been feeling anguish since last week’s shooting in Florida. How is this happening again and again? I’ve been riveted and can’t comprehend how people are calling out the children, the innocent children who have lost their classmates and friends, for being manipulative? Have politicians lost absolutely all shame? Things that were unthinkable in my youth are commonplace now. We are desensitized to it all. All hope for change is being placed on the shoulders of the youth. I hope they can carry the burdens that we have placed on them.