Thursday, August 6, 2020

Virtual School Room Tour!

It's 2020, and we're living in "a whole new world", but not in a good way. Due to the pandemic, a lot of parents are opting to do virtual schooling for their kids from home. It's something that is completely new to us, and the question arises, how do we set up?

I decided to set up the study area in our guest bedroom for my 2nd grader, so that it is a little out of the way and has less distractions than the living room or his bedroom. To see all the detailed videos about this space, check out my Virtual School highlights on my Instagram page (@simplyincontrol). I'll share a few photos here as well:
Here's a look at the desks. One for school and one for my husband's work when my son doesn't have live sessions. I also added a ring light for cloudy days when our townhome becomes really dark. All furniture is from Target!

Drawer organizers are a must for back to school from home. The last thing we need is to be running around looking for pencils and erasers when live lessons are about to start, so it's great to have them all neat and tidy in one space. I purchased this acrylic expandable organizer from The Container Store. I used poster putty to stick the tray inside so it doesn't slide around. On the right side of the desk I have a bookshelf with bins which is also very important in order to keep things orderly for virtual schooling. Got this one from Home Goods, and kept our printer on it as well.

It is not reasonable to expect preschoolers and elementary school children to sit in one spot for the entire duration of school from 8am to 3pm. Because of that, I made different zones for my son where he can choose to study. One is on the bed with a backrest and tray for his laptop.
The last little area I have in the virtual school room has a bean bag to sit and study on if he'd like as a 3rd option. Giving various options makes kids feel more in control of the situation and also moving around helps to concentrate better. I also kept a whiteboard to write down the live sessions schedule. This will help to keep things clear about timings.

I have linked similar products to the ones I used on my Amazon Recommendations page in the Kids section! Click on the affililate link to see some of my favorite purchases from Amazon in various categories!

Hope this post helped! What changes are you making in your home for a virtual school set up? I would love to hear from you! Follow me on Instagram as I continue to talk more about distance learning! See you there :)

Friday, July 10, 2020

Talaal and the Whispering Worrier Review

Anxiety. It's a word we talk about in adults, but tend to brush off if children feel it. We tend to forget that every emotion that a child feels is just as valid as an adult's, and instead of disregarding it, we should teach coping mechanisms so that the child grows up knowing about healthy ways of tackling big emotions.

This is what Talaal and the Whispering Worrier is about. Shereeza Boodhoo wrote a children's book about very normal feelings of feeling anxious in school as a young child. I am sure we all must have gone through these emotions at some point: nervousness when the teacher asks us to answer a question and not knowing if the answer will be correct. It is this nervousness that prevents a child from reaching his or her full potential.

Talaal and the Whispering Worrier has an interesting concept. It makes the idea of anxiety tangible by transforming it into something a child would understand. In this case, the anxiety is a Whispering Panda that tells the child worrying and unhelpful thoughts. It makes it easier to comprehend when the pictures portray some things, "making his heart beat louder and faster", and "making his hands jitter". Talaal is worried and would rather not go to school, but he sees his older sister in prayer and finds that she is in a state of calmness. That's when she starts to advise her little brother. 

It is rare to find an explanation for children on how to implement Quranic ayahs in their lives when they are feeling overwhelmed or down, but this book does just that. That sense of calm can come from various sentences in the Quran, and examples have been given to parents about which ones they can teach their kids. The book teaches that by turning to Allah, the child will attain a sense of peace which will enable him to feel more confident and conquer his fear. 

There are a few aspects I appreciated about the book and deserve a mention. There is diversity shown in the classroom, with children of all colors, a First Nations woman given the role of a teacher, a hijabi, and even a student in a wheelchair holding a basketball. This kind of inclusiveness is important to see from a young age. Also, a specific role isn't assigned to each gender, with the father being shown as the one cooking and the mother being shown as doing office work. The book rhymes as well, which makes it a fun read for kids. And finally, a bonus section is given for parents and caregivers about how to help children cope with anxiety. There are lots of great pointers given about which methods can help and which methods to avoid. 

One thing that I felt was missing in the section for caregivers is talking about how Quranic ayahs are just one way of bringing a sense of serenity if someone feels anxiety, but it is not the first and last resort. Some people need to take medicines and require a psychologist or psychiatrist, and it should be mentioned that there is no shame in providing therapy for kids if needed. 

Overall, a great book to teach kids the importance of reciting Quranic ayahs to avoid "unhelpful thoughts" as the author calls it. I would recommend it for children, especially if they have more of a sensitive nature. 

If you would like to purchase the book, you can contact the author at @TalaalsWhisperingWorrier to get 20% off and a free Talaal sticker, or you could purchase on Amazon using the affiliate link below:

This post was sponsored. I hope you found this honest review helpful! For more regular posts, follow my Instagram page on @SimplyInControl!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Ramadan Duas Printable

The last 10 nights of Ramadan are more precious than any other throughout the year. The night of Qadr which can fall into any of the odd nights is better for us than a thousand months, as stated in Surah Al Qadr. Apart from doing plenty of ibadah during these nights to attain rewards in multitudes inshaAllah, we should also focus on making plenty of dua these nights.

It can be difficult, at times, knowing exactly what to ask for, and not knowing where to start. I have compiled a list of supplications I wrote in various categories that you can take ideas from and read alone or with your family, and my sister @ilmspiration designed the background for these printables with stunning mosque designs from around the world! We have also included a blank page in the end so that you can add your own duas as you read through these pages during the last 10 nights inshaAllah. Don't forget to remember us in your duas!


Dua for Guidance

Gratitude and Asking for a Home in Jannah

Dua for Family

Dua for Seeking Protection

Dua for the Ummah

Blank Page for Personal Duas

And that's all! Again, you can CLICK HERE to print out all these pages. My sister and I hope you find them useful inshaAllah!

For more posts check out my Instagram page @simplyincontrol. Until next time, salams :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Erin Condren 2020 Planner Flip Through

Here's a flip through of the planner I'm using for 2020:

I've been using the Erin Condren planner for a few years because of the quality and how customizable it is. I love how you can add different things in the dashboard according to your own needs.

If you'd like $10 off your Erin Condren planner, you can do so by using this referral link:

Hope this helps! For more posts on organizing, check out my Instagram page!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

FREE Quran Key Bookmarks!

I'm sure we've all been there. You're reading the Quran and you see one of those small letters. Do I stop? Do I continue? Am I changing the meaning? These pretty bookmarks designed by @ilmspiration and I (@simplyincontrol) will help answer these questions. Please use these throughout the year and especially during the last ten nights of Ramadan.

Pro reward tip: Print these out, laminate them, add a ribbon, and gift them to your loved ones.  

Print by clicking here: Quran Bookmark Printables

Hope you find these bookmarks useful! Please remember my family and I in your duas! :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

FREE Ramadan Daily Planner!

Have you ever felt that Ramadan went by too quickly? Or maybe it was a slow month but you couldn't do as much as you had hoped for and you're not sure why?

I'm a huge fan of planners. You can achieve so much by just breaking things down and tackling small goals on a daily basis! Planners keep you on track, and that's why my sister @ilmspiration and I have collaborated together to present to you a Daily Ramadan Planner!

I love how she designed the cover, so beautiful!

The first page is for goals for the entire month. 

Some ideas could be:

1) To memorize a dua or surah
2) Recite one juz or however many pages you want of the Quran in a day
3) Donate $1 a day so that you're constantly giving charity all Ramadan
4) Send iftar to neighbors 
5) Do one good deed a day with your children
6) Write down a list of duas you have in mind and read it everyday before iftar etc.

Having goals planned ahead of time ensures that precious time isn't wasted during the Holy Month of Ramadan. What goals do you have for this time of year? Let's share some ideas!

Finally, there are the daily pages with different aspects for maximizing your Ramadan:

We added all of these aspects of Ramadan that you can focus on to make your month productive! From ibadah (worship), to taking care of others as your good deed, to meal prep...we've covered everything! My favorite part has to be the water intake geometric design which you color in as you drink throughout the night! I haven't seen that idea before and thought it would be perfect to add to a Ramadan Planner. We have converted the planner to PDF for your convenience. 

We hope that you find these ideas and the daily checklist beneficial for the upcoming blessed month, and we ask that you remember my sister Raabia and I (Seher) in your duas! May Allah SWT accept your ibadah and efforts, Ameen!

If you would like to continue getting updates on how to be organized and productive, follow me on Instagram at @simplyincontrol :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Prayer Area and Ramadan Basket for Children

The blessed month of Ramadan is almost upon us inshaAllah, and it's best to prepare for it in advance. It could be starting to fast some days so you have a little practice, or meal prepping, or doing a deep clean of your home so you don't need to worry about it during Ramadan.

This year, I have prepared for Ramadan by creating a serene prayer area for my 6 year old son and I. It's funny because initially I had made this area just for myself. I craved the concentration in prayer I used to have before having two little boys in my life, and tried everything to get that level of khushu back in my salah. It was frustrating when even after creating a peaceful space for myself, I couldn't find peace in my prayer because I could still hear the children being children, or needing me as soon as I start praying. It's the story of every mother isn't it?

It hit me recently that why am I trying to attain a different phase of my life right now? My children will get older soon inshaAllah, and that concentration will come back inshaAllah. For now, I need to focus my time and energy on the season of life I am in at this very moment, and that is that my older son is now 6 years old and has almost learned how to pray completely mashaAllah. This turning point in his life is a reason for joy and festivity, and so the prayer space has become a place for him and I to bond together in Ramadan inshaAllah. Just by adding a few accessories, I was able to create a warm and welcoming environment for him.

The Ramadan Kareem banner along with the Crescent and Star balloons from With A Spin made for the perfect backdrop. Just a few items like these can transform the look and feel of a whole space. 

This wooden Masjid Lightbox display is a unique item and I added it for a festive yet sophisticated look. Other places it would look great in are entryway and dining table for suhoor or iftar! It makes for a great centerpiece. I also have my Quran and some prayer beads for this area, and my son can read with me on the double rocker inshaAllah.

Finally, I have a Ramadan basket for my son every year, and in it are books and activities for the duration of the month. The most important new item being added this year will be his very own Prayer Rug, as he starts to pray with me inshaAllah. The prayer rug is designed specifically for children, and it makes them feel special.

Another crucial part of the Ramadan basket is the advent calendar, where I have slips of good deeds for my son to do for each day, and he gets a small treat or activity to do after the good deed. I will elaborate more on this in a future post inshaAllah.

Children love instruments, and I've included a Daff for doing nasheeds with them. The rest of the items in the basket have been pictured below:

Here's a list of the items:

1) Prayer Rug
2) "Shh, I'm praying" Door Sign
3) Ramadan Activity Book
4) Ramadan Celebrate the World Book
5)Ramadan and Eid Stickers
6) Eid Temporary Tattoos
7) It's Ramadan Curious George
8) Under the Ramadan Moon
9) Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns
10) Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets
11) Ramadan Mubarak Cake Topper
12) Coloring Greeting Cards

Stay tuned for more details on our Ramadan Calendar and the good deeds we do for every day of the month! If you'd like to get started on decorating for Ramadan, check out With A Spin's shop for all kinds of beautiful themes, and use my code SIMPLYINCONTROL for a 12% discount! 

I hope you found this useful and gave you some ideas on how to make Ramadan a memorable time for your children! Let me know in the comments what you're doing to make Ramadan special for your children inshaAllah!

Thanks for reading and don't forget to Follow Me on FacebookPinterest and Instagram for future posts!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Fridge and Pantry Organization Using Bins

Over on my Instagram page (@simplyincontrol), I just hosted a 3 week Kitchen Clean Out challenge, and today marks the last day! During the first week, my followers and I worked on our upper cabinets and the fridge. The second week was all about counters, sink and garbage disposal, stove top and the pantry. The final week concluded with lower cabinets and all drawers, as we completed a full decluttering and organization of our kitchens from top to bottom!

The most fun pictures are always of the fridge and pantry aren't they? Everyone enjoys seeing all kinds of food nicely organized in different stations :) In today's post I wanted to show you how I organize my fridge and pantry using bins to create zones.

Here's a look at my fridge from inside. It's so important to be able to see and access everything easily to prevent wastage of food. Because of this, I like to hold everything in clear containers, and I find acrylic to be the best quality.

Creating zones in the fridge and freezer is a great time saver for when you need to grab something quickly, instead of having to fumble around to find something. I have used some bins from mDesign to compartmentalize like items together. It pulls everything together really well!

A few other things I like to use for organizing are turntables, egg containers, can holders, and glass storage containers for leftovers. Glass containers are great for heating leftovers and you can clearly see what you have in the fridge so nothing is forgotten in the back! I'll link all of these items at the bottom in case you're interested.

Moving on to pantry organization!

Here's an overall look at the pantry. I've seen this sized pantry in most homes, but I moved into this townhome from a place with a pantry three times the size of this one, so it was a struggle to adjust! I think I've finally figured out a way to make it all work now! If you have a door for your pantry then an over the door organizer is a must. The one I'm using required no installation so that works great for renting.

Another thing I find very helpful is removing food packets from bulky boxes. It makes everything so much neater and easy to access!

There are all kinds of organizational components in the pantry.The acrylic bins from mDesign help to create zones so that everything can be found easily. The fabric bins on the top shelf are from Target and add a fun splash of color. The flour containers are from the Dollar Store, proving that you can still organize any space no matter what your budget is! And my favorite part? The lentils containers!

Who knew lentils could become a work of art? The airtight containers from mDesign and the customized sticker vinyls from Etsy made this pantry organization a dream come true!

Here are a few links of items I use to organize my home, for a look you can achieve as well!

I hope you found this post helpful and that it motivates you to clean out your fridge and pantry as well! 

Thanks for reading and don't forget to Follow Me on FacebookPinterest and Instagram for future posts!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

How to Start a Masjid Toddlers Club!

I started a series on Instagram (you can follow me on Simply in Control) about starting a Masjid Toddlers Club. A couple of friends and I started one in Roswell Community Masjid in Atlanta, and I wanted to share the process so that other masjids can get an idea of how to start a toddlers club too! 

Masjid Toddlers Club Series Part 1

Understand the Importance and Find your Team

As parents of toddlers, we are always on the lookout for activities that will interest them. We might find fun events at the library, mall, or at a fair, but something that's really lacking in our Muslim communities is having events at the masjid just for toddlers! We usually only cater to children 5+.

Time and time again toddlers are shushed at the masjid and mothers are told to keep their toddlers at home. We tend to forget that although these children are young, they still have feelings, and being stern with them will create an aversion to the masjid in their hearts. It's so important to create Love for Allah and the masjid from the very beginning, and taking them there will teach them etiquette from a young age.

Once you realize the significance of having events for toddlers, you need to realize that you can make a difference! Finding a couple of friends who will join your team will help you get a club started. When we started #rcmtoddlersclub back in January, the Executive Director of @roswellmasjid asked us if we were committed to this club for AT LEAST six consecutive months. If you find a hardworking and passionate team who will not back out easily you are good to go! We have 3 people in our core team and we handle all of the organizing for 40-50 toddlers a month. 

Masjid Toddlers Club Series Part 2

Raising Funds

After you've found your team to work with and gotten permission from the Masjid to start this club, it's time to start collecting items for the toddlers! Keep in mind that this kind of club will be more in demand than you expect. We were expecting 15 or so toddlers and we have 40-50 sign up every session. Side note: 50 became too much for us to handle because of the noise level, so we cap at 40 every session now. We are blessed to have a large multipurpose hall at our local masjid because it works really well for these events.

Our masjid gave us $150 to start with almost a year ago, and we used that money to revamp our children's library and toy room, and also bought craft supplies for the first few sessions. The room is used during prayer times such as Jummuah or Taraweeh where children play under a babysitter's supervision.

A lot of the large toys we use during each club session are our own. You'll need to be ready to share items because funds can be tight if you don't charge parents for each session. I bring my own slide, parachute for nasheed time, and masjid blocks every session, and my friend brings a tunnel and beach balls. We don't want to charge parents for every session so that everyone can attend equally. The masjid should be welcoming to all backgrounds. So, we run entirely on donations.

Make it easy for people to donate. We have an online link in our registration forms so that they can donate while registering, and we also have a box at our events where they can drop in cash. This money is used solely for craft supplies. 

Our most effective donation method was creating an Amazon Wish List of books and toys for the club. Almost everyone has Amazon Prime these days, and they can donate an entire item at whatever cost price they can afford easily and the items arrive at the masjid. We got almost all of our Islamic books from the Amazon Wish List, and quite quickly! Just make sure a lot of people share it so it spreads widely. 

Masjid Toddlers Club Series Part 3

Staying Organized

When you're hosting an event like a Toddlers Club, it's essential to plan everything out properly. Here are a few things that helps our team stay organized:

1) Make A Schedule: Before every session, I write up a detailed schedule of what we will be doing for each 10 minute segment for the hour. I write mine up in the notes section for every month in my @erincondren planner (message me for a discount!), but any notebook would work for this as well. This way, our event transitions smoothly and my team and I are not standing around wondering what we should do next. Swipe to see examples of a few of the sessions we've done so far. I also include my intro to the topic of the month and a list of items for my team and I to bring to the event. .

2) Delegate Tasks in Advance: Each team member should know what is expected of them in advance and should focus on that, otherwise if everyone does a little bit of everything, it can get messy. For example, I am in charge of writing up schedules, introducing the theme to the toddlers, buying craft supplies and explaining it to the parents with my display, communicating with volunteers, and also editing pictures for social media. My group members are in charge of emails, story books, the speaker system and projector screen at the masjid, library books being checked out, play time nasheeds and all of the registration information and table. Delegating tasks helps make things less overwhelming for one person and helps the club to run in a more organized manner.


3) Create a WhatsApp Group for Volunteers: Volunteers play an essential role in any event, and Toddlers Club is no exception! Make it easy for them to understand the different roles available by creating a form on WhatsApp as shown in the last picture in this post. It's the fastest way for them to sign up and help out, thereby making the event more successful and less burdensome for the core team. .

Masjid Toddlers Club Series Part 4

Keep them Interested!

The attention span of toddlers is very short, and they aren't able to sit and listen to the same topic for a long time. At #rcmtoddlersclub, we make sure to change up our activities every 7 minutes. Here's a look at how we spend the hour:

I introduce an Islamic topic for around 7 minutes, making sure that I'm speaking at the level of toddlers. My intros always have some kind of activity so that the kids are not only sitting and listening. For example, for Diversity, we compared how we all look different. For Ramadan, the kids sampled dates. For Eid, they hugged their moms while saying "Eid Mubarak". For Hajj, they listened to their dads recite "Labaik" after which the kids drank Zamzam. For SubhanAllah, they sampled colorful fruits. Bottom line: keep it interesting! Always make the parents involved in the activities as well since this is a great time for them to bond with their children.

After the introduction, both of my team members read 1 book each. They make sure to always keep each page interactive, as they ask questions and tell the kids to do actions shown in the pages. The kids love it and listen attentively! 

We then do some kind of action song to get the kids to stand up and start moving. Toddlers really enjoy repeating actions and it's a great way for them to learn to obey instructions. 

The children's favorite activity is Parachute play with nasheeds, and they love jumping up and down while the parents hold the parachute. I think this is a must need item if you're interested in starting a Toddlers Club! It's affordable on Amazon! I will link it below this post.

Finally, we end our sessions with a craft. I'll be going into more details on crafts in my next post iA, but for now I'll just mention that you should have a craft that the parents can get involved with since this IS a bonding activity, but it shouldn't be too hard that only the parents are doing it. Our toddlers spend around 15-20 minutes on crafts, followed by clean up time which we all try to do together. .

Masjid Toddlers Club Series Part 5

Have Age Appropriate Islamic Crafts

In the final part to this series, we're going to be discussing all things craft! It's really important to consider a few things while coming up with craft ideas for the Masjid. The themes should ideally be Islamic because it's hard to find such crafts in places like day-care or the library. This will require some creativity because there aren't a lot of Islamic craft ideas online for 1-5 year olds. The crafts should be time consuming so that it isn't complete in 2 minutes. Also, it shouldn't be too difficult that only the parent is able to do the craft because that defeats the purpose. Here are some crafts we have done at #rcmtoddlersclub, swipe to see all of them:

1) Bismillah door hangers to be used for the toddler's bedroom so they say Bismillah before they enter. The kids decorated these with markers, glitter glue and stickers.

2) Allah is our Creator craft (inspired by A Crafty Arab) required a hand print, foam sticker flowers and crayons for the pot.

3) Ramadan craft was all about making Sadaqah (donation) jars. We decorated them using washi tape, star stickers and ribbons

4) Eid craft was simple because we had a big party with lots of fun activities. It was about decorating a plate with the Eid moon.

5) The Hajj craft was making a sheep with cotton, crayons and googly eyes. We also did a Mini Hajj session in this event.

6) Diversity theme had two crafts. The first was sponge painting with man shaped foam and we used various skin shades for paint. The second was about making a new friend and presenting them with a small gift of decorated popsicle sticks.

7) For the SubhanAllah theme we made Fall trees using bubble wrap as a form of sponge painting and also used crayons to color the SubhanAllah calligraphy. Our next sessions will be Alhumdulillah and Allahu Akbar iA :)

A sweet follower on Instagram, @minimalmuslimama, offered to help me make a checklist so that it's easy for you to see how to make a Toddlers Club in a glance:

To start a Toddlers Club, here are a few items I would recommend. They are quite reasonably priced on Amazon, so perhaps one member of the community can buy one item each and bring it every session (click to go to link):


That concludes my post on how to start a Masjid Toddlers Club! I hope you found it helpful and that it inspires you to start one in your own community! It's so important to make our children feel welcome to the masjid from the very beginning. Please share this post so that we can get The Masjid Toddlers Club Movement started! :)

Thanks for reading and don't forget to Follow Me on FacebookPinterest and Instagram for future posts!

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