Do not let your child wear earbuds.

The problem with ear buds:
Three weeks ago I took my daughter to the doctor. She was complaining of ear pain and that she couldn’t hear very well. In the two weeks before the visit she’d had the same complaint. I tried to help her by using an over-the-counter ear wax removal kit. This was the second time in the last year that I had to remove impacted ear wax. Although at first it did give her some relief, the problem reoccurred.
I believe the problem was caused by the ear buds that she uses for her phone. She wears these buds almost non-stop. Sun up to sun down. If you see her, you see the wires coming from her ears. I strongly discourage this usage. But at sixteen I am allowing her a little more freedom to make more choices for herself. Her choice – ear buds!
When I tried to remove the ear wax the second time, it only gave her minimal relief. The OTC medication suggested trying the removal for several days. Several days later, she could barely hear out of her ear and the pain was excruciating. I looked at the ear buds in frustration. Now she was only wearing one but she was still using the buds. I took her to the doctor. The doctor confirmed my hunch. Ear buds are a problem. Teens push the buds down into the ear canal. Ear canals were not designed to have things inserted into them. This can lead to impacted wax and directing loud noises into the canal can lead to hearing loss. But her doctor understood my struggle. She told me, her own children insist on wearing the buds. And she has concerns about their long term hearing ability.

What are the dangers:
According to the Whittier Hospital Medical Center’s blog: Earbuds can hurt our ears in 3 ways.
1. They prevent was from secreting out of the ear canal. This causes wax to build up and become impacted.

2. The buds carry dirt and bacteria which can cause ears to become infected.

3. Excessive sound volume can damage the eardrum and the inner ear.

What are the solutions:
1. Try to convince your child to use traditional over the ear earphones. They still pose some concerns, but the danger is less.

2. Reduce or restrict the time that your child can wear earbuds.

3. Teach them to make sure their earbuds are always clean, every time they wear them.

4. Use the phone or device settings to reduce the volume levels.

5. Teach your child what is a normal volume. The setting should not be much higher than conversational speech. If you can hear what they are listening to – it’s too loud.


Would it be easier to just ban all earphones?
Yes, that would be awesome! But very unlikely. Headphone have become a part of our lives. While they may not be particularly healthy they are useful. My children use it to listen to the Quran when they are all studying at the same time. Al hamdulillah, this modern invention allows them to listen and recite with reciters from all over the world. It also allows them to listen to and be entertained by their devices without disturbing other family members. Family members who may be praying or reading the Quran. So, headphones can be beneficial to us as Muslims. They can be used to help us encourage our children in acts of worship. But like everything else – moderation and balance is key.

Conclusion:
Let them wear the headphones. Encourage the over-the-ear phones and avoid ear buds. Try to follow the recommendations listed above. Be quick to respond to any symptoms. I waited two weeks before I took her to the doctor. During this time her infection increased in both severity and discomfort. I wish I had at least called the doctor and gotten her advice. I assumed that the problem was impacted wax. But I never imagined that this wax could cause an infection. As parents we have to be vigilant about our children’s health and safety. But we also have to teach our children to be just as vigilant. May Allah protect our children from every possible harm, Ameen.

(Author’s note: this blog is an opinion piece and as such is not a substitute for advice from a licensed professional.)

Adventures in Healthy Eating: Soup!

O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you… Holy Quran 2:172

If you follow Mommy Muslim then you know that I struggle with getting my kids to eat healthy food. I also struggle with eating healthy. Sometimes we do great and then other times, not so much. But as fall approaches, I know I can turn to a great healthy option, soup. Soup is a wonderful way to sneak in many healthy vegetables. This is great for my daughter who asks me when I serve multiple veggies; “Should I pick the vegetable I want?” She is convinced that a complete meal consists of just one vegetable.


Isn’t Raw food better for you?


According to Wikipedia: “Raw foodism, also known as rawism or following a raw food diet, is the dietary practice of eating only or mostly food that is uncooked and unprocessed.” Raw food enthusiasts believe that eating vegetables raw is healthier. Raw foods allow the body to consume all of the nutrients of the food. Nutrients that might otherwise be lost during cooking. However the Centers for Disease Control states on their website that: “…sometimes raw fruits and vegetables contain harmful germs that can make you and your family sick, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. CDC estimates that germs on fresh produce cause a large percentage of U.S. foodborne illnesses. The safest produce is cooked; the next safest is washed.” Some nutritionists also believe that eating some foods raw makes them harder for the body to process. Cooking also increases the antioxidant content of some foods. Foods like asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, legumes and potatoes are all better cooked. While foods like broccoli, onions, garlic and cabbage are better for you raw or cooked only minimally.


Any vegetables are better than no vegetables.


No matter where you stand on the raw vs cooked spectrum, you would probably agree that any veggies are better than none. I would love to see my kids eat a plateful of vegetables every day. But it doesn’t work out that way. They have their go-to-vegetables that they prefer. Broccoli, string beans, spinach, and corn are the only veggies that all three love. Any other vegetable, excluding salad greens, is going to leave someone unhappy. Usually two out of three will hate it! My goal at all times is to get them to expand their veggie palate.


Soup to the resuce!


When cool weather approaches, I turn to soup as a healthy alternative. Soup allows me to combine vegetables in a tasty mix that is generally appealing to them. It gives them the chance to eat a wider variety per serving. This means that, although it may have less nutritional value than its raw counterpart, they are eating more of it. Soup also retains some of the vitamins that are lost during the boiling process. (When we boil vegetables some vitamins can leach into the water. Typically we pour the nutrient rich water down the drain!) During the cooler months warm soup also acts as a comfort food.


Soup as medicine.


We have all heard of the folk remedy, take chicken noodle soup for a cold. Health experts believe that this soup actually does help!. The soup thins mucus, decongests, and has mild anti-inflammatory properties. A lemon rice soup with a little celery and spinach can give a boost of vitamin C. According to some studies; the ingredients ginger and garlic are anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. Mixing fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, sage and basil are easy ways to boost your soup’s anti-oxidant content.


But my kids don’t like soups with vegetables.


The beauty of soup is that you can hide the taste of the veggies with your soup base. My soups usually have one of three bases. The first base is a tomato base. This was my go-to base for a long time. The tomato covers a lot of complimentary tastes very well. And you can hide your vegetables by blending them into a broth that you mix into the base. String beans, carrots, spinach, and broccoli all mix very well into a tomato base. My good friend Zainab introduced me to the cream base. This base relies on heavy whipping cream, milk, coconut milk, butter, etc. This base mixes well with spinach, corn, potatoes, broccoli, and asparagus. My third base is a meat based broth. This is where I use my chicken or lamb stock to make a soup. Sometimes the meat is included, for example in lamb stew or chicken noodle soup. Sometimes I use the broth to make a vegetable soup. You can blend a soup as long as it doesn’t have any bones. This works well for children who are resistant to having a bowl of soup with visible chunks of vegetables. These kids enjoy slurping soup down from a mug.


Conclusion:


With fall approaching we could all use a healthy boost from our favorite comfort foods. When we cook these foods for our children we are serving them foods that will comfort and nourish them for a lifetime. May your soup be full of love, health and blessings – Ameen.


Be sure to share your favorite soup recipe in the comments or join the conversation at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/701687213752206
Pick up your copy of my blank recipe book, perfect for recording your favorite recipes. The book is divided by sections. The “Appetizers and Salads” section is the perfect place to save your delicious soup recipe! https://amzn.to/2SbsbxG

    

Get kids out of the house on time with… The tomorrow box

Salaams, (peace to all)

“I can’t find my shoes!!!”  Words a mother dreads.  They inevitably come as soon as the final countdown to leave the house has already begun.  On various days I could substitute; coats, mittens, socks, glasses, homework, backpack and of course hat for “shoes”! It really didn’t matter what the actual item was, the result was the same.  LATE…AGAIN!  I know there are mom’s who have this problem well in hand, but I was not one of them.  In my house we resolved the problem with frantic searches, empty threats, tears and angry sparring.  After one terrible morning, of letting my frustrated and crying daughter out of the car fifteen minutes late, I decided this was no way for either of us to start the day!

One of the hardest things I’ve done is get my household organized.  Together my daughter and I have devised a solution that works for us.  The Tomorrow Box.  The tomorrow box, is a little canvas box that stores all of her items that she needs for the next day.  Items go in the box in the order that they should come out.  So undershirts, for example, are on top and shoes are at the very bottom. Even her eyeglasses, in their case, are on top of the shoes.  The only item not in the box are her coat and her toothbrush.  Absolutely EVERYTHING else is included.  School clothes are already pressed and folded neatly.  If you live in an organized house this small step probably seems unnecessary to you.   But in the organized chaos that is our home and her room, this was a lifesaver.  Or maybe I should say relationship saver.

When she goes to bed at night we both make sure the tomorrow box is completely equipped for the next day.  Now when we leave for school, on time, we arrive with smiles on our faces.  We give salaams, a quick kiss and the day is started the way Allah intended it…PEACEFULLY!

an ayat a day

ASA,

Salaams all.  Recently I was sitting in on my kids’ Quran memorization class.  The instructor was trying to encourage them to memorize the quran and become hafiz.      He started throwing out stats like if you memorize these many ayats a day you will be a hafiz in these many years.  One child, trying to be funny, raised his hand and asked what if I only memorized, one ayat a day?  The teacher responded, it would take you 20 years.  The kids laughed a bit at that, but I thought…GREAT!

Since becoming a mom, I can barely remember where my keys are!  Any dreams I had at memorizing the quran have long been just that…a dream.  I tell myself, I am doing great just to retain, what I already know.  But I was greatly inspired by his challenge.  Memorizing an ayat a day for 20 years means that by the time my infant is in college, I could be a hafiz.  Even better if we are hafiz together!  I told myself that I can do this.  InshaAllah.  I struggled the first week but with advice from friends, I came up with a few simple tips that helped with the memorizing.

Tip Number 1:  Start with a clear intention.  (Remember, actions are by intentions!)

Tip Number 2:  The best time for memorizing is immediately after fajr prayer.

Tip Number 3:  Try to repeat your ayat in every rakat.  (That way you have reviewed it at least 17 times that day!)

Tip Number 3:  Practice with the children.  (They will love helping you especially if you give a reward for whoever remembers the best.  the more excited they are the more they will remind you and keep you focused.)

Tip Number 4:  Give yourself a reward.  (Allah always rewards us when we try to do something good.  So set small goals for yourself and give a reward as they are reached.)

Tip Number 5:  Be clear on why you are doing this, InshaAllah for the sake of Allah.  If you do it for the sake of pleasing Allah, drawing closer to Him and preserving your deen in your heart and the hearts of your children, then you can’t fail!  Even if you memorize very little.

Lastly:  Give yourself a break!  If you skip a few days or forget an ayat, don’t give up!  The only perfect one of us is Allah swt.

 

children at war

Salaams (Peace)  All,

And I really mean PEACE.  As I sit here with my precious children, I pray for peace.  It nearly knocked me off of my feet, while I was changing my daughter recently, that we are at war.  AGAIN.  In the seven years of my firstborn’s life, she has not lived in a country that was not at war.  We are at war!  It doesn’t seem real, because we don’t see the bombs falling from the sky.  We aren’t putting our children to bed to the sound of gun fire.  Our food, water, gas is not rationed.  So we go on with our comfortable lives.  We complain about the internet; it was slow so we couldn’t download our movie or music.  Disney world tickets increased again, so now we might have to get the 3 day hopper pass instead of the 4 day.  We  complain that, movie tickets are now $10.00.  Not for an instant thinking that today our country bombed another and 13 people died.  Do we really wonder why people from other countries hate us?

War should never be this clean!  If you are at war it should feel like war.  No pretty words to tidy up our events, saying it’s just a conflict.  We are raising war time babies.  As mothers, as parents we should be as aware of that fact as a mom is in Libya, in Iraq, in Afghanistan.  We should worry about the day we are no longer able to keep the war safely overseas.  Because that is the war our children will see.  As parents we should be firmly on the side of peace.  As Muslims we should despise fighting, as the Prophet and his companions did.  They didn’t want to go to war, they did it when they had no options left.  And after being commanded to do so by Allah.  Fighting only to end oppression and religious persecution and only until, the people stop fighting you!   We should absolutely…want for our brother what we want for ourselves!  If we don’t want our children bombed or in harms way then we shouldn’t want ANY children bombed or in harms way!

Today my prayer is for all of the mothers who worry what this conflict will bring for her family tomorrow.  My prayer is for all of the children who will be traumatized or orphaned by these conflicts. I am not for or against the policy our government is taking.  I am for PEACE at home and abroad.  And if we do have to fight and I know that sometimes we might.  Then let it be for the reasons Allah ordained.  To end oppression, to stop persecution, to protect the weak and helpless.  And not for nationalism, and not for political gains and NOT FOR OIL.

I pray that Allah brings peace to these conflicts, as swiftly as possible.