Monday, December 15, 2014

In-House Evil-Eye (Harmful Envy) Family Activity

Within families, and between siblings, there can exist a certain amount of jealousy and or envy. For some time I have considered the possibility that someone could have put the ayn (evil eye) on another within our nuclear family. I ensure that hasad (envy) in its various forms is clearly explained to the childen in their Islamic studies classes, however I recently had a brainwave, al hamdul'Illah.

After the subject of giving wudhu water to remove the ayn from an afflicted person was raised in a lesson, later in the day it was decided that we all give each other our wudhu water, to eradicate any ayn that could be on us. This ended up being a really positive and fun family activity. We all ended up with a big yogurt bucket each with the wudhu water of all the other family members wudhu water to fling over ourselves before our evening shower.

It was kind of funny, as everyone was trying to check themselves to see if they noticed a difference after the activity. It was an excellent reminder of how important it is to say maa shaa Allah, Allahumma baarik. There is a heightened awareness of the importance of saying maa shaa Allah, with far more reminders if it is forgotten, and a genuine desire to avoid giving anyone the ayn intentionally or unintentionally. We have decided to make this part of a yearly "maintenance program" within out Islamic curriculum. Al hamdul'Illahi Rabb il aal ameen!

Monday, November 10, 2014

HENNA: Carrot Cake

One of the governing precedents for everything we eat is that it needs to be healthy, as far as possible organic or non-toxic, and good for you. The hardest aspect of this is having truly healthy and delicious recipes for foods we love. We will share easy recipes we have personally had success with and sites that are reliably good. Today, it is the recipe for carrot cake.

Fantabulous Whole Wheat or Wheat Free Carrot Cake


2 cups flour (whole wheat/spelt/or a gluten free blend)
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free, like Rumfords)
1.5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground vanilla bean or non-alcoholic vanilla
3/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup honey or date syrup or maple syrup
4 eggs
2 cups finely grated raw carrot
1 cup crushed pineapple (preferably fresh chopped up finely or processed or canned packed in its own juice)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (the first 4 or 5 on the ingredients list).
Add the wet ingredients (i.e. the butter, syrup, and eggs) and beat until smooth.
Then add the carrots, pineapple, and walnuts and mix through well.

Spoon mixture into two 9 inch round cake pans or equivalent.

Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for about 25 minutes or until they are dry on top and the middle springs back when touched. Do not overcook, as that will reduce the wonderful moistness of the cake.

Let the cakes cool completely. Ice with a cream cheese frosting as follows:

Cream Cheese frosting

(This makes enough to ice the top and middle layers of cake. If you want a thicker layer, or good coverage of the sides, then make one and a half times this amount.)

1x 8 ounce pack of cream cheese (preferably organic or at least without RbGh)
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean or non-alcholic vanilla
1/3 cup of powdered organic sugar or liquid sweetener like honey or maple syrup

Cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add the sweetener of choice gradually, to taste.

Recipe adapted from: Fantabulous Wholewheat Carrot Cake

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Healing Earth Family Cemetery

Another thing taken care of over the summer was the designation, zoning, and permission to have a private cemetery on our land. This, by the Mercy of Allah, was an extremely easy thing to do. We now have an area of between a half to one acre plot which will be used as a family cemetery, al hamdul'Illah.

It is part of our compulsory learning to know how to prepare, bury, and pray for a Muslim - males and females. This will also end up being the subject matter of yearly workshops to teach others, thus ensuring that we are prepared when someone dies,  inshaa Allah.

Inna l'Illahi wa inna ilayhi raaji'oon - We come from Allah, and to Him we return!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our New Schedule

Everything we do is, in some way, training for this life and the Next. We have changed our daily schedule for this school year, in order to prepare ourselves for the daily structure we will have when we return to Healing Earth next summer, inshaa Allah. We will have to stay up after fajr prayer to feed and milk the animals, our school day will be split up to ensure the the focal point - Islamic education - has greater weight, and the times are conducive to the milking and farm chores.

To get everyone's internal clock  adjusted, we all stay up after fajr prayer and walk to a local park. There are three within a 10 to 20 minute walk from our building. There, the children have a chance to play while we catch up on our reading. The school schedule is five days a week, but Arabic and Qur'aan are every day of the week, as they must be an integral part of our everyday life.

5:30 – 6:45 a.m.
Walk to Park  (children play & parents read)
Walk to Park
Walk to Park
Walk to Park
Walk to Park
Walk to Park
Walk to Park
7:00 – 8:00
Shower & Breakfast
Shower & Breakfast
Shower & Breakfast
Shower & Breakfast
Shower & Breakfast
Ghusl & Breakfast
Shower & Breakfast
8:00 – 9:00
Arabic Lesson
Arabic Lesson
Arabic Lesson
Arabic Lesson
Arabic Lesson
Arabic Lesson
Arabic Lesson
9:10 – 9:55
Qur’aan & Tajweed
Qur’aan & Tajweed
Qur’aan & Tajweed
Qur’aan & Tajweed
Qur’aan &
Qur’aan & Tajweed
Qur’aan & Tajweed
10:00 – 10:45

10:55 – 11:40

11:50 a.m. – 1:50
Break time to include lunch and salaat.
Break time
Break time
Break time
Break time

2:00 – 2:45


2:55 – 3:40


3:50 – 4:30

Social Studies
Social Studies

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summer 2014 Progress Report

We plan and Allah Plans, and Allah is the best of Planners! This summer proved to be a lesson in acceptance and priorities. We quickly ran out of money, but we improvised, overcame, and adapted as Allah's Plan unfolded. Al hamdul'Illah!

Out of the big list of things we hoped to accomplish:

  • we bought a used stock trailer;
  • hosted a family for a couple of weeks;
  • hosted another brother for four days;
  • planted trees along the alongside the dirt road inside the gate and some along the fence;
  • got some wooden cable spools for use as tables;
  • got 8 telephone poles for our projects next summer;
  • built wooden "lovable loos";
  • did a bit of soil preparation and landscaping; and
  • built a solid, wooden 10' x 10' structure comprising 2 bathrooms and a kitchen.

We bought the stock trailer in Tennessee, on our cross country drive to Healing Earth, maashaa Allah. It proved very useful, as we were able to transport our saplings, straw and hay bales, and various other supplies in it. We later used it to carry the wooden cable spools and to transport a live sheep that we slaughtered. We actually used it as a kitchen after that until the kitchen and bathhouse were built. As I whipped up honey soy salmon, egg fried rice, stir fried veggies, and Thai corn fritters for iftaar, we could see the potential novelty in taking it on the road as a traveling restaurant!

We managed to build a wooden 10'x10' structure, divided into three parts comprising two bathroom units and a kitchen. It was difficult, because Shariyf had to do it virtually alone, bi idhn Illah, as neither the girls or I had the strength to be of much use. We did what we could to hold up 2x6 boards as he hammered them in, but in the end it was through his sweat, backache, callouses, and cuts that Allah provided us with our little building. To us, with all it's imperfections and things still to be done, it is a beautiful blessing, al hamdul'Illah! I enjoyed cooking in comfort in the kitchen for the last week or so of our stay there...a huge difference, maashaa Allah.

We did not plant our sunflower seeds this year, deciding it would be best to do it next year when we are there to both tend to them and reap the seeds. Another reason was that Allah blessed us with many sunflowers already growing near the borders of our land, which came into bloom near the end of our stay maashaa Allah. With the plentiful rain, we had thousands of wildflowers, beneficial herbs, and edible plants interspersed throughout the wheat and blue grama grass that grew as tall as three feet in places.  It was very encouraging to know there was plenty of grazing for animals as soon as the rains came.We dried some of the herbs, such as fringed sage, snake broom, and a type of mint. Next year we hope to harvest and dry the majority of the different herbs for our own use and sale in our farm shop inshaa Allah.

We took a road  trip over the Eid ul Fitr where we first went to Santa Fe for the first day of Eid. We then visited Patricia in Chimayo, who breeds and raises Mammoth donkeys with her husband. We were welcomed and she took time to show us the donkeys, considering which would be suitable for our family and needs by next summer, and generously offered to train us, wa al hamdul'Illah. We now have things in place to go spend a few days' of training there next summer and buy a Mammoth Jack and a Jenny. We particularly want to raise these donkeys, as they are becoming rare to find, are larger than horses, exceptionally strong for work, intelligent, and very gentle for learning to ride on.

Our trip continued up to Taos and the following day we went to Robert and Joy, of, up in Questa. They warmly welcomed us and introduced us to their cows, chickens, and other animals. Here we were convinced that a Jersey cow was the best option for us and changed our minds from our original plan to get a Dexter cow. We felt a real connection with Robert and Joy, especially as they started out on their 5 acres with nothing and are building it from the ground up, just like us. They have offered to do a private training program for our family next summer, when we will spend a few days there and purchase our pre-trained dairy cows inshaa Allah. It was the third day of Eid and we mentioned that our visit to them was part of our Eid festivities along with plans to make some ice cream. Such a generous soul, Joy gifted us a quart of raw cream, 2 lbs of fresh butter, and 6 of their freshly laid eggs, wishing us a very happy Eid!

Many other connections were made over the summer, including enhancing and developing our relationships with the people of Roy, and Mosquero. We joined the Chamber of Commerce and were put on specific task forces - I am helping produce the Chamber's newsletter and Shariyf is part of the Geo-caching and Internet advertising. We learned what businesses are desperately needed there and what jobs are available and trades required.

Shariyf has been accepted as an apprentice by Ken Garrison of Star G Honey, to learn all about the business, from the planting of specialized crops and positioning the hives, to harvesting and packaging of raw honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and beeswax. He has also offered to sell some of our baked products alongside his honey at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market. Tyler, the most amiable and helpful teenager in Roy, has agreed to teach Shariyf about raising goats.

Esther Mitchell is looking forward to learning to build with cob and coming to monthly "Meet Mai" afternoons, where I will teach sustainable homesteading skills, including cooking from scratch, making your own personal care products, and utilizing all the plants indigenous to our area inshaa Allah.

Both the residents of Roy and Mosquero have bemoaned the absence of a bakery, and we hope to meet that need by selling organic baked goods in Healing Earth's Farm Store and perhaps even a Tea Room, inshaa Allah. Left, right, and center Allah has presented us with avenues to make a living and learn the valuable skills that we will need to run our farm sustainably maashaa Allah.

We also have been greatly helped by Shelley Summers, who is the drop manager for Azure Standard, in Las Vegas, NM. She offered to pick up our initial order and keep it for us, so we had our bulk food supplies immediately upon arrival at Healing Earth. She gifted us with organic veggies she is growing as part of her CSA. She gave us a wealth of information on others doing similar things to us within a 300 mile radius. She showed us where to go for raw milk and cheese and informed us of a Muslim in Las Vegas who owns Blue Moon Fashions. Shelley gave us plants that were established so we could eat from them during our stay, seeds, a big bag of her delicious dried peaches, and some pinon salve that proved fantastic for all those bites, cuts, and scrapes.

For all these connections and so much more, we thank Allah - the Most Perfect Provider of every need! After that epic post I will end so you can rest your eyes, LOL, unless you want to see a few photos on the facebook page!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer 2014 Plans

We will be at Healing Earth from 28 June to 20 August 2014 inshaa Allah. During that time, we hope with Allah's Permission, Blessing, and through His Rizq and Mercy to complete the following:

  • purchase a used stock trailer
  • plant 100 tree seedlings (50 hazelnut, 50 Honeylocust)
  • plant some quick growing vegetables for summer consumption like lettuce, spinach, etc.
  • plant 2000 sunflower seeds around the perimeter of the 28 acre piece of land
  • build 3 x 144 sq.ft. bathroom structures
  • build a 200 sq.ft. kitchen structure
  • build a 200 sq.ft. farm store
  • build two of the four 200 sq.ft. barns we will need
  • add playhouse, slides, hammocks, sand box, picnic area and more to the children's playground
  • construct a combination football/soccer/rugby field
That is what we are focused on doing this summer. If you are wondering why everything is 200 sq.ft. or less, it is because no permits are needed for such structures.

If time and money permit, we would also purchase a 3000 gallon water tank, build 2 cob ovens, and put up a 2 1/4  acre fence around the barns. We pray that Allah enables us to complete these things and more.

Want to visit, learn a little, join our Ramadhaan studies, or help out? Drop us an e-mail on inshaa Allah!

Sustainability: looking at what's around you...

So much about sustainability is meeting your needs with what is available naturally around you. The state plant for New Mexico is the Yucca plant. We are in the northeast, where it is too cool to grow it without  greenhouse, but it is easily available from other areas of the state and can be bought in farmers markets.

I have just read these amazing instructions on how to make soap and shampoo from the Yucca root. Just HAD to share these links!

How to make soap from Yucca roots

Yucca root powder shampoo

Monday, May 26, 2014

Parenting without "Punishment"

Terminology is very important. We often, as parents, use the term punishment with our children. They, in turn, use the word and think of whatever they face in response to incorrect or bad behavior as punishment. However, I realized something about the whole issue and feel it is important enough to write about. It is important to understand the reactions, the reasons, and the process as parents and as children. If we have correct understanding and thinking about how we respond  to our children, we will find ourselves naturally choosing appropriate strategies for their discipline and correction.Inshaa Allah, you can explain to your children as I have explained to mine.

When they do something wrong, the initial reaction from us as parents may vary. If it was something dangerous like playing with the stove/fire, then they might have a smacked hand to instantly make them retreat from the danger. If they do something immoral, like lying, they might have a spanking or be told to face the wall. These are instant deterrents. Actions we take to immediately stop or respond to the incorrect behavior, that are meant to be unpleasant and so make the children refrain from doing it again. These should come with a clear explanation of what wrong action is being responded to and why. For example, "I smacked your hand away to stop you burning it on the stove. You must not reach for the pans or try to touch the fire on the stove, because you will get burned and it will hurt you." So the instant response is a "deterrent."

Some behaviors are only addressed by a deterrent and an accompanying explanation. However, if those deterrents don't work, then parents must look for alternative strategies, such as taking something away from the child that they like each time they repeat the  undesired behavior. This has to be something that is effective for that individual child and their circumstances. If you tell the child they will not be allowed to play in the yard for that day, but they don't like playing in the yard and sit for hours with video games (may Allah protect all our children from that!), then it isn't an appropriate or effective correction strategy. The correction strategy must be based on things that the child will not like or want on a continual basis, to make them stop the undesired behavior.

In addition, there are bad habits or behaviors that may require a more lengthy correction plan. These are called, rectification programs. An example of this would be a child who continually speaks badly or causes fitnah amongst their siblings. That child may be separated from the others for a period of time, effectively cutting off communication until the self control to communicate positively is acquired or put into practice. During that period, it is important to provide them with the tools for rectification such as quotes from the Qur'aan, ahadeeth, and articles or books from scholars that address the behavior(s) to be corrected. It is best to make the rectification program for a short period of time, and then test the waters to see if there is improvement. If not, the program can be extended and further developed or intensified.

Throughout the process of addressing a child's dangerous, undesirable, or incorrect behavior, it is important that you explain what you are doing, advising the child that it is meant to set them right so they will please Allah and have a truly happy and successful life and aakhirah. In using the terms deterrent, correction strategy, and rectification program, you are informing the child of the purpose for your actions and also reminding yourself. You will find that you come up with far more appropriate and effective responses to your child's behavior when you think in those terms. Rather than take a blanket approach of looking at the wall for every offense, you will understand that different actions require different reactions and inshaa Allah find more success in your relationship with your children.

Parenting: Communicative Problem Solving - Understanding Sorry

As parents, it is vital that we inculcate in our children the true concept of feeling sorry, having regret for wrong actions. This is because being sorry is a key ingredient in the recipe for tawbah - sincere repentance to Allah. If there is no regret and sorrow at doing a wrong, then there is no sincere repentance and also no conscience, which is part of developing morality - the knowledge of right and wrong. These are the questions posed to our children  


  • What does it mean to be sorry about something? 

  • What kind of actions might someone feel sorry about?
  • What are some actions that you feel sorry about?
  • Is is good to feel sorry about something that Allah sends us, like the life He decreed for us, a punishment, or a test? Why or why not?
  • Why is it important to feel sorry about doing haraam actions and things Allah dislikes (makrooh)?
  • What happens if you don't feel sorry about doing those things?
  • If you say you are sorry to someone, but you keep doing the same thing to them or being rude or mean to them, are you really sorry or just saying it?
  • If you did bad actions to a few people, but only say sorry to one or two, what does that mean?
  • Can you tell if people say they are sorry to you, but don't mean it? How can you tell?

The extension is an additional few prompts or reminders to correct thinking or bring about more in-depth thought on the subject.

If Allah sends us a punishment or test, what is the best thing for us to say? What is the best reaction to have  in such situations?

The Sad and Bad of "Sorry"

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Natural Gnashers, Choppers, or in plain talk, TEETH!

One of the major issues in personal care is dental health. While we have striven to avoid commercial toothpastes containing SLS, chemical, and artificial ingredients, it is only this past year that we switched to making our own toothpaste and tooth oil. As we are living in Madinah, Saudi Arabia for 10 months out of the year, we are limited in what we can obtain. I have come up with these recipes, based on what is available.

Tooth oil:

I used a tooth oil years ago that was excellent, but very expensive. It was simply a sweet almond oil base with spearmint and peppermint essential oils, in a specific proportion. Well, I decided to make my own tooth oil, obviously at a fraction of the cost, and after experimentation, changed the recipe to this. Please note that I make this in a small essential oil bottle - 10 ml I believe.


Coconut oil (this has proven benefits for oral health and we found it preferable over the almond oil)


20 drops each of spearmint and peppermint essential oil
40 drops of sweet orange essential oil
5 drops of thyme essential oil
5 drops of 4 thieves oil (or the equivalent blend - we use Germ Killer)

These amounts can be adjusted to taste, and the oils can be changed to others that are also beneficial to oral and dental health. Simply put two drops of the oil on a wet toothbrush and brush teeth, gums, tongue, and roof of mouth thoroughly. Although this is perfectly safe to swallow, you will have brushed the toxins off your teeth and mouth and you will be swallowing those as well, so it is best to rinse your mouth out thoroughly afterwards. You will have wonderfully smooth teeth and fresh breath, inshaa Allah.

Our homemade toothpaste:

This is a real mix and match of recipes I saw online and what worked for us.

Baking soda (fill 1/2 of a 4 fluid ounce container)
Essential oils: 50 drops sweet orange oil, 20 drops peppermint, 20 drops spearmint, 5 drops 4 thieves/germ killer oil, 5 drops thyme...or oils to your needs/taste.
Raw honey - add honey up fill the 4 fluid ounce container to 3/4 full (in other words, 1/4 measure of the container/`1 fluid ounce)

Stir up and add a few drops of water (or coconut oil) to the desired consistency.

Other recipes:

I plan to make this once we can obtain the ingredients inshaa Allah.



As for toothbrushes, we still haven't given them up (old habits die hard) so since last summer we made a conscious decision to buy sustainable, good toothbrushes. We all use Radius Source toothbrushes -

even the baby, maashaa Allah.

That said, our goal is to become totally comfortable with the full time use of miswak, thereby having a totally natural toothbrush from the twigs of the neem or arak tree. This is, by far, the best toothcare option as we know the Prophet Muhammad - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - said he would order us to use them before every prayer if it wouldn't be a hardship.

Oil pulling:

I have practiced oil pulling before and am looking into resuming it. While it is controversial as to how much it really does, aside from cleansing the mouth well, it certainly does cleanse the mouth well! You can find many resources on oil pulling, but one is here:

Tooth healing:

We have looked at these reports and others like them:

and plan to get these books this summer, inshaa Allah.

What we're reading in May 2014

This month is rather busy for us, as we finalized our Permaculture design project, are looking at the money available for the summer and prioritizing what needs to be done, and are trying to pack and prepare for our summer at Healing Earth. Reading has been very focused on what we need to know for the farm and preparing a new curriculum for our homeschooling. The girls are knitting gifts for their grandparents, who we will visit in England for 10 days before heading on to Healing Earth inshaa Allah.