Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest post: Sana on Celebrating Eid


Hey lovelies, want to introduce another beautiful lady today for another Eid post. Sana and I used to live in the same street almost 10-11 years ago, back in Islamabad. Her dad was in the Pakistan Airforce too and our families knew each other. However it wasn’t until recently that we got in touch through facebook and our mutual love for photography brought us together! She is a super talented photographer, lovely mom to two beautiful babies and has a love for interior décor. Her home is done up beautifully and hopefully we’ll be able to do a post only on her place sometime. Today though, she is sharing little pieces of her eid with us.

Read on to see what she said.


Name:Sana Khan
Location: Sheffield, UK


Tell us about yourself and your family

I'm a semi-professional photographer (why would I not be with a full frame DSLR? Hehe); have done the occasional paid work but most of it is my passion so would also consider myself as a hobbyist photographer.

Allah has blessed me with two beautiful children whom are 4 years old and almost 1 year old.

My husband works in the biotech and nutraceuticals having run his own company since we met.



What does Eid mean to you

A time of celebration; a time to give thanksgivings for the bounties of Allah, a time to remember those who made sacrifices before us (Allah shower peace and blessings upon them - Ameen!). It is also a time that hearts become unified and bitterness, hatred and enmity are all left behind.


Tell us about any Eid traditions at your parents house when you were growing up

There were many, but to name one that was the most memorable was travelling together as a family to my father's hometown/village and all the other families would also travel and it would be the meeting point and get together of everyone in the family, no matter how far away they lived. Then of course, seeing nearest and dearest and close cousins and the banter would continue until the early hours of the morning!


Does you new little family (now that you are married/have children) have any of its own traditions:

We do the best we can to emulate the Eids from the time we grew up, albeit with a little change to accommodate not living in our homeland! So not much travelling to do but we still rendezvous at my father-in-laws house now! And all the usual stuff, new clothes, gifts, etc. Oh yes - a lot more gifts need to be purchased now for immediate family, i.e. nieces and nephews!

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Has becoming a mom/wife changed your perspective on celebrating Eid

Yes and no. We are all still children at heart I believe and we covet what we once had but with those desires. We just transform them to fit our lives as adults rather than children!


What do you want your kids to remember about Eid at 'their parents' house

That it was a time of celebration and happiness and as they grow into their teenage years for them to understand the reasons and appreciate the need to celebrate Eid.

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(all pictures taken by Sana herself)

What do you miss most about Eids spent in Pakistan and how do you try to make up for it(if you do):

Of course, I miss the company of my parents. However, I have been rather lucky that my husband has been with me in Pakistan to experience at least 3 of the ways I spent Eid and my mother was visiting from Pakistan recently and has spent last Eid with me!


Thank you so much Sana for those beautiful pictures and for sharing thoughts and memories from your Eid.

To view more posts in this series go here.

Will be back with more. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Guest Post: Celebrating Eid with toddlers

For us in the US, Eid-ul-Azha was yesterday and to celebrate Eid on the blog, I’m so excited to be able to introduce some beautiful ladies over the coming week. They will all be sharing their thoughts on Eid, their own traditions, how they celebrate it. I think it will be fun to see how alike/different our celebrations are at the end of the day.


Today I’m so excited for this post from a childhood friend, Komal. We go a long way back with our parents knowing each other since even before they were married! It has been absolutely amazing knowing her lovely family over the years. Komal was there at my wedding and luckily I was able to attend hers. Now she is happily settled in Canada with her husband and the little man in their lives, Raffay.  Komal says she got inspired by the blog( yes, this little blog of mine) to make some eid traditions of her own. And she decided to involve her little boy in the Eid preparations from this young age. An idea I absolutely adore.

Here is what she wrote (Her intro made me kind of teary. Not sure how much I deserve her sweet words but well, I love you girl).


Hello Everyone, I’m Komal, an old family friend of Nataliya. We go back a long way when our fathers used to be in the Pakistan Airforce where we spent and made some fond memories that to this day I hold close to my heart Nataliya, a gem of a person. A true inspiration in every meaning of the word is the reason I am here writing on her blog and being part of a very interesting Eid series!

Lately I had been visiting her blog quite often and loved her approach towards motherhood. Of course, after viewing her blog, I would get this instant feeling to engage in the same activities with my boy – myself being a mom of a very active 21 month old toddler, but would always fall lazy. And I was getting tired of this attitude. So I thought to myself what better occasion to start than the coming Eid ul Adha. It is on Eids when I miss my home the most. My parents, my siblings, the food, the relatives, the whole Eid shabang. . It shows how my parents had made an effort to make those memories beautiful for us! For the past 3 years, I would always reminisce on Eid how wonderful it would have been if I were in Pakistan with my family, enjoying Eid in its full glory. Today the tables have turned, I am a mother who is blessed with a beautiful family and today it’s my turn to start making memories for my family so that one day when my son grows up, he would also think about his Eid celebrations with us in the same loving manner as I am doing today- of course while sipping on a hot cup of tea!

KOmal-craft table

So the week prior to Eid,I took out all my crafts supplies and laid the ideas on the table. From gifts that will be given as Eidi to cousins and friends, to wrapping papers, craft papers, balloons to fairy lights, all were literally laid on the table to inspire us.

I assigned Raffay (my Son) a project that he would do for his grandparents as a gift for Eid.




(all photos are taken by Komal herself)

The last photo is from my iPhone of the gift Raffay made with a personalized gift bag(using paper flowers I made). After a couple of tries on the rough paper I asked him if he would press his palm against the canvas paper and he blatantly refused! Finally after 2-3 failed attempts, I asked him to give me a high five on the canvas, which he did and that's how I got his palm impression :)

I cannot wait for their priceless expressions when Raffay hands them over his artistic creation.


Isn’t that just lovely? That we can involve our babies, whatever their age, in our Eid preparations and celebrations. I love it!

Thank you so much Komal for sharing a piece of your eid here! She will be back with another post soon!

Don’t forget to check back for more in this series.

Thanks for stopping by!

Eid Mubarak!

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Eid-ul-Azha mubarak to you and yours! With prayers for a beautiful day spent surrounded by the ones you love.

Will be back very soon with some guest posts on celebrating Eid!

Thanks for stopping by!


(FYI: Eid-ul-Azha is a holiday celebrated by Muslims all over to honor the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham to sacrifice his young son, Ismail as an act of submission to God’s command and his son’s acceptance to being sacrificed, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a ram to sacrifice instead.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Inspiring me lately

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Some recent inspirations from around the web.


Nice read on teaching your kids to share (Yes we have entered that stage!!)

This beautiful post by a dad actually, on how he handles the dreaded ‘pink princess’ phase. and how at the end we parents are filters to the world for our kids till they’re grown up enough to actually understand things better.

Following the Malala story is so inspiring and tragic at the same time. Love this article by Angelina Jolie on how she told it to her kids.

Beautiful little photo book of a mom’s letters to her little girl.

Great thinking tips to calm yourself down while your kid has a meltdown.


Home Decor

Swooning over this beautiful Oregon home. Perfect mix of the old and the new and the Coral wall is just LOVE.

Time Management

Very nice tips on managing your time better to get more done.


this little vase would be a perfect little cozy edition for the winters.

these little instagram canvases would be nice in a display.

these little comic book paper planes would be adorable for a little boys room. I just might do these for Anya’s room.


She always takes the most beautiful pictures of her kids doing their own thing. Love the light in this one.

Turn your cellphone pictures into a beautiful photo book like this.


This beautiful website about all thing blogging related.


This yummy cheesy baked pasta. Tried it twice in the last few weeks.

Enjoy! Will be back with some Eid related posts all through the next week! (Hint: There might be some guest posts from some beautiful ladies. Oh YES)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ramblings: We are our parents’ legacy

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As it gets closer to the end of the year, it also means it is nearing one year since the most devastating days, weeks and months of our lives. These days It is especially hard not to replay those images in our minds over and over and again. Those heartbreaking memories are still as fresh as the first day and many nights we still lie awake thinking of all that happened.

We can't help but start that countdown in our heads; Papa's last Eid with us, the last time we chatted on Skype, his last email to us, his last text, the last time we saw him well and healthy, his last day at his home.. It goes on and on.

And as we do that unconsciously, we are haunted by what those months brought. The things that happened, some too tragic to even talk to anyone about, because no words can explain what and why it happened. No words can describe the pain. It is still too very raw.

I guess we can never ever get past what happened. And that he is not with us anymore. I guess it will always haunt us. But slowly we are learning to live our lives again, slowly we are learning to even enjoy our lives again. Slowly we are learning to smile along with the tears. Slowly we are moving on, as they say.

Around this time last year, Papa had attended his very close friend's daughter's nikah. Around this time last year, we received Eid cards in papa's handwriting. Around this time my sister sent us pictures from last year's Eid. They were beautiful, and papa looked so fresh in them.

This time last year how unaware were we of the storm waiting at our doorstep.

This is real life. We humans are just dust, forever at the mercy of life's storms. We pretend to be many things, we pretend to know it all, we pretend to be able to deal with it all, but in truth we are nothing. Only puppets in Allah's hands forever dependent on Him. This is our reality.

What is in our hands though, is how we act through these storms, how patiently and bravely we endure, how well we fulfill our responsibilities through them or how bitter or cruel these storms in our lives make us. All this is in our control. And when these storms are over? It is in our control what we learn from them, and the people we become.

A friend of mine said the most beautiful thing in the months that followed since Papa's passing (Thank you Nafisa, if you are reading this. That phone call meant more than you will ever know). About how we are our parents legacy. They live through us, in the values they taught us, in the people we become as a result of what they taught us. In all that we pass on to our children. Even though we can never not need our parents, the truth is that we were lucky enough to spend many many beautiful years with papa, enough for him to be able to show us what he believed in, enough for him to pass on his values and the things he learned in life to us. Even though we will wish he had more time with us, we know we are lucky to have known him, to have been his daughters.

And how we live our lives today, without him, speaks more about him than anything else ever does.

Because every day, everything we do, has to reflect what we learned from our parents. We are a piece of our parents. And whether they are with us in this world or not, they live through us and in us!


picture taken by papa in ‘92

Thanks for being there in the good and the bad. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Toddler Activity: Artwork

Hey lovelies, been a few days since I shared anything here. Have a couple ideas floating in my head but not enough time to properly work on them yet so for today making do with another toddler activity share.

Anya and I tried our first little artwork together. I saw something similar on BabyTV a couple days ago and thought we can try it.

So I gave her a paper, and a little homemade paint like here, except didn’t add any food color this time. I only wanted it to act like glue so everything sticks to the paper. Gave her four bowls of different edible items like leftover sunchip crumbs, leftover cheerios and two types of sprinkles.

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Since she doesn’t like dirtying up her hands (starts making faces and saying ‘dirty hands’), I gave her a little spoon add it all to her paper.

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Busy little baby loved this little activity and enjoyed playing around with all the different textures. I had to help her to remember to add them to the paper. Soon she realized though that she wanted to eat all these yummy things so ended up eating all the leftovers:p

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I put the art outside to dry up and later on brought inside to show it to her baba. At this point though, Anya wanted to take off all the cheerios and eat them:p so poor artwork had to be thrown away and sadly there is no picture of the final outcome. It looked pretty much like the picture below! haha.

Overall a fun activity that we tried  again when Anya’s friend visited a few days later. Will share pictures from that later!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Ramblings: The perfectly imperfect life

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I have been thinking of this post for a while. There has been a lot of talk in the blogging community about how blogs can give the impression of ‘perfect’ lives. The truth is that this blogging world is beautiful and inspiring and I entered it to inspire myself and, in the process, all those who read this. I blog to choose joy even when its hard to find it, in the most ordinary of moments. I blog not to show how ‘perfect’ my life is, but to try to look for the good over the bad, the happy over the sad, and to make the most of this time in my life.

BUT it IS selective sharing. I mostly share the good and the beautiful, because who wants to see a dirty house honestly! Or who wants to read negative/depressing thoughts! It is just like photography is for me. When I take pictures of my daughter, when I take pictures of our life right now, I tend to focus on the beautiful, the positive. And maybe years later they will cloud our memories and we’ll think it was all good:). That being said, I never want to overwhelm the ones who come to read this little blog.

I realize that my pictures/posts might show you an inspired mom, a happy toddler and a clean house, but just like those moments, there are more than a few of the out of control mom-cranky toddler-dirty house type. When nothing’s going right, we're grumpy, and by the end of the day dying for the mister to get home so we can take a break from each other!

The truth is that just like most people out there, I find it hard to manage my time and activities better. I too get angry, I lose my patience, I spend more time online than I should. Just like other babies, my daughter cries (A LOT), fusses and keeps me on my toes. My house is also most days far from its best. In short, just like every household, there are many not so beautiful moments behind the scenes.

As you follow this blog, try not to judge yourself or me, for that matter. Neither is my life in order all the time, and neither is there any pressure for yours to be. Sometimes we have a tendency to be harder on ourselves than anybody else. We look around and we think how much better others are managing their lives and put ourselves down. I'm pretty sure you're doing the best you know how to. We all are different, and we all deal with things our own way. Luckily, this is no competition, and we are most probably the only ones judging here:)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I choose to look at the happy over the not-so-happy every single day. Because isn't that what life is really about? We all have our challenges, we all have our problems, we all have parts of our lives that are just out of our control but what matters is what we focus on at the end. So next time when you get the feeling how 'perfect' things are around here, remember that most probably they are not. I just choose to remember it that way:)

Thank you so much for all the love you guys are giving me!

Thanks for stopping by!


PS: Maybe someday I should do a messy house post;)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DIY: Chalkboard for the kitchen

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I have been wanting to do this little project for a long time, and I’m so excited it has finally happened! My kitchen has a chalkboard now!

I found the frame on my first trip to a thrift store. I went in looking for one specifically and found this one which I thought would work. I had wanted it to be more ornate and detailed but couldn’t find anything like that, but this was a good size.

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This sat in the garage for a couple weeks while I gathered my supplies and waited for a naptime where I could tackle this. Sadly the little one decided she doesn’t need naps anymore! So it took longer than expected. But anyways, couple of paint sessions later. Here it is.

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I used Martha Stewart’s chalkboard paint from Michaels. And I painted the front of the glass (I had found via pinterest that it works, and yes it does) instead of a board or anything. The frame was spray painted with two layers of Rustoleum spray-paint in glossy white, which left no need for a top coat or varnish. Super easy, except not so much if you try to spray paint in the backyard while trying to keep your toddler busy with other things. lol. But that is the wonderful life of a mom!

Here it is hanging in the kitchen!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Toddler Activity: Homemade Paints

Hey lovelies,

Sharing another little activity we did a couple weeks ago. Anya still loves to taste everything so I have been keeping away from real paints. Don’t know where I saw this but tried an easy recipe for homemade paint that is completely safe.


Nice and colorful, right?

Its basically half cup flour dissolved in a little less than half cup water (or more depending on the consistency you want). I divided the mixture into three and added a drop each of Wilton’s gel food colors. Super easy and super fun. 


Give it a try and share a picture if you’d like:)

Thanks for stopping by!

PS:Sometimes I try to go camera-less and only use my cellphone for pictures. These were taken on my Windows Phone and edited in the Instacam app. Sadly Instagram hasn’t come to Windows Phone yet

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inspiring me lately

I thought I’d share some latest inspirations. I read lots of stuff online (probably more than I should;), but anyways), and I pin lots of things too. I thought it would be a good way to go through my pins and sort of share the best with you all out here every little while.

Here are some things that I found particularly inspiring lately.


A beautiful response to the film made on the Prophet as well as the protests that followed.

Motherhood and raising babies

This beautiful post about teaching our kids to be empathic, and another one by Kelle on the importance of creating our own traditions for our families and this article on raising creative kids.


I’m really into lifestyle session these days like this beautiful in-home mom and kids one, and this family session.

Home and Living

Succulents on the window sill

DIY ideas

Some ideas I’m pinned this week were this cardboard playhouse, these diy shoes, this necklace and these pillowcases. And totally wish I could make this quilt.


I like this, maxi skirts in cooler weather, like this and this.


in love with this picture taken by my talented photographer friend/adopted little sister, Muqu Javed

Hope you all are having an awesome week.

Thanks for stopping by!