Monthly Archives: September 2011

Visit to Royal Tyrrell Museum

Here are some pictures of our visit to the Royall Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta.

Ibraheem and Ilyaas looking for fossils

Field scientist explaining about fossils found








A Hadrosaurus (duck-billed dino) remains. They call him Rusty!









Prosaurolophus - type of Hadrosaur

Long-Necked Plesiosaur



















Can't remember this one, sorry!

Zakariyya mesmerized by the sturgeon.







Hoodoos - rock formation

Completing giant puzzle - Alberta during the dinosaur times.








This trip was wonderful for our boys who are fans of dinosaurs. They enjoyed the field trip that involved looking for fossils and seeing a real fossil in the ground – Rusty the duck billed dinosaur.

It was also an opportunity to reinforce the greatness of Allah. We explained to the children, how Allah created all of these dinosaurs and then He also made them die. Many of the dinosaurs were big and powerful, but they were still destroyed. And new life were replaced after the dinosaurs. Allah is Al-Muhyi (the Giver of Life) and Al-Mumeet (The Creator of Death).

In its death, Allah preserved their remains and has made it a lesson of His greatness for us. For Ibraheem (8) we related the story of people of Lut (Alaihissalaam). It was such a similar situation. We did tell him though that in the case of dinosaurs, they were animals and were not destroyed for any evil actions.

We were also able to witness Allah’s kudrat in how some of this prehistoric creatures have evolved and still exist today like the sturgeon fish.

Another amazing feature of the Drumheller area are the Hoodos. These are rocks carved and shaped by the forces of wind and water over thousands of years.


Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Outings


stART – Dino Fossil

This was a project we did in our excitement about our visit to the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

We have many dino related books. However, this Usborne one has to be our favourite one.

I printed out a simple outline of a T-Rex (this is what Ilyaas wanted) and gave the children some pasta to glue onto the picture. We were careful about gluing along the outline of the picture.

Pasta dinosaur

I also pre-made some play dough using the recipe I found here. We rolled out the play dough and carefully pressed our pasta T-Rex onto it to create a cast. These were the fossils we created.

The children also did some dino footprints using figurines.

Dinos stuck in the mud.

Walking with the dinosaurs . . .

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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Art & Craft



U for Upside Down Cake

U was a difficult letter to find an ingredient to work with. There was udon noodle, but we had already done noodles and udon are quite thick for children to eat.

After some research on the internet I decided on doing Upside Down Pineapple cake. This is a dessert we normally just buy. Even though there wasn’t a strong letter association to this recipe, I thought the whole experience of making a cake and then turning it upside down will be an interesting for the children.

For this recipe we followed the recipe from here. We used a regular yellow cake mix for the batter. We also used glazed cherries instead of maraschino. Both Ilyaas (4) and Zakariyya (2) were involved in making this cake.

Dumping brown sugar into cake pan

Arranging pineapple rings and glazed cherries in pan

Pouring cake batter into pan

Then it was the waiting part. Once the cake was baked, I gathered the two children . . . . then did all the sound effect, then I carefully flipped the hot cake onto a tray. They were excited to see all the pineapple rings showing on the top of the cake.

Alhamdullilah this was our Upside down pineapple cake (there wasn’t enough pineapple rings in one can to cover the entire pan!)


Posted by on September 19, 2011 in AlphaFood Venture, Cooking/Baking



T for Tofu

Tofu is quite a staple in our home. It is high in protein and comes in a variety of forms that is easy to incorporate into our meals.

Tofu dessert a.k.a Tau Foo Fah

Tofu dessert is the type of tofu that my children have most of the time. It is affectionately known as Foo-Fah in our home. These are the flavoured type tofu.

For our letter T AlphaFood Venture, we did two different recipes using two different tofus.

First we examined the two types of tofus.

Tofu puffs and firm tofu

I chose these two types not only for their usage in the recipes but also for the difference in colour and texture.

Tofu puffs (on the blue plate) are deep fried tofu that are hollow. The white block on the right is just a regular firm tofu.

Lets touch . . .

Immediately upon touching the puffs Ilyaas (4) was just amazed. They are basically like sponge balls. When he touched the firm tofu, it almost felt like a rubbery ball to him.

Also the puff tofu are oily to the touch as they are fried and the firm tofu was wet as they are usually packed in water just like feta cheese.

We also made an uppercase T with the tofu puffs (on the blue plate).

Lets smell . . .

Ilyaas was just reluctant to smell the tofus. Just for the record, they really do not have any distinct smell.

Lets see . . .

Ilyaas made an observation that both the tofus look like boxes. The first step to knowing cubes Insha-Allah I hope.

Recipes . . .

For the tofu puff recipe, I cut a hole on the top part of the puffs. I then helped Ilyaas scoop meat mixture into the hollow part of the tofu puff. We used baby feeding spoons for this. The meat mixture is just shrimp and some chicken with seasoning. Basically a wonton filling.

Filling tofu puffs with meat mixture

Once this was done, I deep fried the tofu puffs.

For the second recipe that uses the firm tofu, I had to fry the tofu block first.

Stuffing tofu with veggies

We talked about the shape of the fried tofu i.e. a triangle. Next, with a sharpe knife I made a slit along the longest side of the fried tofu. Ilyaas then  stuffed some shredded carrots and cucumbers into the slit tofu. In Malaysia this in known as tahu sumbat (stuffed tofu) and is usually a tea time treat.

Alhamdulillah our tofus were served with some chilli sauce for dipping along side a hot cup of tea! Unusual combination, but it works for us.

Stuffed tofus

For those of you who have been sceptical about tofus, I hope you will be encourage to try some after reading this post. You can find a whole array of tofus at your local oriental supermarkets. If you are in Canada, T&T Supermarkets are a good place to start. You can also read descriptions of different types of tofus here.


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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in AlphaFood Venture, Cooking/Baking



S for Strawberry Jam

Taking advantage of the summer season, S had to be for strawberries.

We started off by examining the actual fruit. Ilyaas(4) was just so cute when he grabbed his magnifying glass to examine the strawberry.

Observation: “It’s red!” . . . “It has leaves on the top!” . . . “It has seeds on the outside!”

I thought he is getting a good hang of these type of observations.

These were our jam making process . . .

Weighing strawberries

Removing leaves (hulling done by me!)








Chopping strawberries

Adding sugar








I do not own a hand chopper. Instead I gave Ilyaas a pastry knife to “chop” the strawberries. The recipe for this jam was from here. After adding all the ingredients, we just left the pot on low heat until the jam was at a consistency we wanted. Waiting was probably the hardest part of this recipe for Ilyaas!

Alhamdulillah it was nice to have homemade jam . . . for the very first time that is. As soon as the jam cooled down, Ilyaas wanted to have it with toast Masha-Allah.

Our homemade strawberry jam.

Every summer I try to plant a few strawberry plants in deck planter box for the children to get excited about. Alhamdulillah, this was our plants for this summer.

Our strawberry plants

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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in AlphaFood Venture, Cooking/Baking



R for Rice

I decided on rice for letter R. Rice is a staple in our home and Ilyaas(4) often measures the rice for me.

He started of by measuring the rice. He tried his hand at rinsing the rice as well. I used a strainer . . . I did not want the rice to end up in the drain!

Rinsing rice

Rice dumped into strainer








For this activity we added raisin (another R ingredient). I got golden raisin, sultanas and regular SunMaid raisins. We talked about mainly the different colours. I had some fresh grapes at home. When I  showed him the grapes and told him that they dry into raisins, Subhanallah he just could not believe it.

I was hoping to dry some grapes over summer to demonstrate this to him. Unfortunately that just did not happen.

Frying raisins in ghee

I did the frying part as Ilyaas watched the raisins balloon up. He was amused. After this step, he dumped the strained rice into the pot. He helped measure the water and poured it into the pot. We then just put it into a rice cooker. The end results . . .

Raisin rice

To be honest Ilyaas was a little disappointed. This is like what he has so often for dinner. I had to make it a little special for him. So I threw in a sensory activity.

I gave him a little cup of a clear liquid. He observed, dipped his finger. Then the smell caught his attention. Rose water! Another R ingredient. He absolutely loved it. He sprinkled the rose water over the rice and then asked more to rub on himself 🙂

Rose water. Available at Middle Eastern or East Indian grocery stores.

We found this book at the library. It is a non-fiction title. The pictures were really great to talk about how rice is grown and rice in different cultures.

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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in AlphaFood Venture, Cooking/Baking



Q isn’t quitting!

Our quail egg project was a smelly disaster, Innalillah. This made it even harder to make a recipe for letter Q. I would have bought another case of quail egg and retried the whole thing. However I was grossed out and I had a plea from my husband. In his words, “Can you please stop experimenting food on me.” Granted he is not as diverse in his palette as I am, but so far he has tugged along and I was compelled to show mercy.

So were we quitting on letter Q ???????

Alhamdulillah I figured out something with what I had on hand. We made cheesy letter Qs using crescent rolls.

Sprinkling cheese on crescent roll dough

Putting egg wash on letter Qs

Baked crescent roll letter Qs

Together with the cheese we did sprinkle some herbs into the dough. This turned out to be cheesy chewy recipe that could be used to form any shape Insha-Allah. My one idea did not realize, but Alhamdulillah I discovered a versatile use for crescent roll dough.


Posted by on September 8, 2011 in AlphaFood Venture, Cooking/Baking



Q for Quail Eggs

The next few post will be the continuation of our AlphaFood Venture that we had completed before Ramadhan. Just that I did not have the time to write the post.

Letter Q was a tough one to pick a child friendly recipe for. I decided on quail eggs as I have had them back home and they were cute that I knew the would be a hit.

We started of by viewing some pictures of quail online and doing a coloring page we found here.

Then I boiled the eggs. The idea was to create a nest using fried vermicelli noodles and then placing the tiny eggs on them.

As the were boiling, there was this strong eggy smell that filled the kitchen.

Quail eggs and chicken eggs

Once the were boiled we examined the colour and size of the quail egg in comparison to a regular chicken egg.

Peeling quail eggs

Then Ilyaas (4) and I peeled off the shells. By this point I was sure this was not how quail eggs were supposed to smell like even though it has been ages since I had one. Ilyaas and I were grossed out! (Check out his nose twitch in the picture LoL!). Thank goodness for the garburator.

That night a quick phone call to my dear sister-in-law Nor, hearing my description she chimed, “Dah rosak lah tu!” Translated, IT IS ROTTEN.

We plan and Allah plans better. So much for my quail egg nest 😦

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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in AlphaFood Venture, Cooking/Baking



Eid Decoration

Our Eid decoration this year was displayed around our fireplace mantel. This was our first Eid in this house and the fireplace in the family room was just the right place for all the decoration to go on . . . I might have started a new Eid ritual for our family 🙂

Decoration for Eid over the fireplace mantel

Below are the details of the different decorations we had put up.

Lego Mosque

Ibraheem (8) made this mosque out of Lego blocks to be put on the mantel.

Eid Topiary

This started out as our good deed tree for this Ramadhan. The instructions for this project is here. The end result was a pretty topiary to be displayed on Eid day. The children we proud of themselves that the tree got filled up with flowers.

Eid topiary

Eid Wreath

This started off as an advent calendar for Ilyaas(4) and Zakariyya (2). The instructions for this is here. After 60 Hershey Kisses, 25 more cloth peg and some painted wooden letters to spell out Eid Mubarak, and Masha-Allah we had an Eid wreath.

Children adding more pegs to the charger plate

We added more peg just to give a more filled up look. I think spacing out the pegs will work too. In total we had 85 pegs.

Eid wreath made of cloth pegs and charger plate

Eid Popsicle Stick Stars

Making popsicle stick stars

This is a great project that Ilyaas(4) and Ibraheem (8) worked on. We used short popsicle sticks for this project. And the way I explained it to Ilyaas (4) was that he had to make letter “V”s.  Every time he made five “V”s, Ibraheem (8) helped him stick them all to form a star. We used tacky glue for this as the regular white glue just was not drying up quick enough for a preschooler to lift the stars and toss them around!

We then smeared glitter glue on the stars and decorated them with some stick on jewels. I also used a crescent moon wooden shape to add a little more Eid detail to the stars.

Eid popsicle stick stars


Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Art & Craft, Ramadan & Eid Crafts Ideas


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