Everyday Halal Living Has a New Address Friday, Mar 20 2009 

Thank you for visiting the Everyday Halal Living Blog. This site has moved to a new domain location, so please visit  at: http://www.everydayhalalliving.com to see the latest posts.

Additionally, if you like My Halal Kitchen (my other blog),  please note that it also has a new address: http://www.myhalalkitchen.com. Please visit me there soon to see what’s cooking in my halal kitchen…

Easy Ways for Muslim Women to Start Home Businesses Friday, Jan 16 2009 

My mother worked while I was growing up. I saw her trying her best to be the domestic mom who volunteered for everything from homeroom mother, to driving mom on class field trips, to baking sweets for holidays and shopping for teacher gifts. She hand-cleaned my clothes and sun dried them till they were crispy white, then pressed each garment to perfection. The house was spotless and you really could eat off her floor. On top of that, she cooked homemade meals (the gourmet crock pot varieties on the weekend), planted flowers in our yard and decorated our home so that it was the one place in the world I would come to love the most.

Needless to say, Martha Stewart didn’t impress me; my mother did.

Which is why I listened, finally, to this one piece of advice: “If at all possible, don’t work outside if you don’t have to. Focus on being a mom, on being a wife. If you must work, try to work from home.”

I’ve worked outside of the home before and began to truly understand the underlying stress my mom placed on herself to be everything, to everyone. There are only 24 hours in a day and a human has to sleep at least 6-8 of those hours to feel somewhat normal. Add an 8-hour workday and a 1-2 hour commute and there is very little quality time to be a quality family member.

I just don’t know how working, married mothers do it all. According to my mom, it wasn’t worth it to experiment- just take her word for it.

Two working parents can pose a big challenge on any family, let alone a Muslim one, where the roles of husband and wife are usually pretty well understood. Muslim women tend to take most, if not all of the domestic duties, like the cooking and cleaning. Many of our husbands would prefer we not take jobs outside of the home where mixing with men is prevalent and also because of the strain it puts on children, husbands, and aging parents who need our attention, care and nurturing.

They also want us to be around to cater to other family and community obligations where they really need us to partner with them from the home front.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to experience both working outside and inside of the home- on a cold Chicago winter day, who wouldn’t be thankful for not having to go out? I remember the long, long commutes in blizzards, feeling vulnerable to all the road hazards imaginable.

Today, I can equally appreciate working from home because I now have the ability to use my personal knowledge, an education I worked hard to achieve, and just plain old life experience in order to perhaps earn spending money, contribute to family savings and just keep my mind active all day long.

I also know plenty of other Muslim women who are smart, dedicated, hard-working, civic-minded, full of taqwa (fear of Allah), and just as determined to use their talents to leave behind a legacy of good deeds that are pleasing to Allah (swt). 

This small list citing possible work-from-home options is dedicated to all of those women, but, of course, is hopefully useful to anyone interested:

Elance.com

If you have work experience and/or skills that can be transferred by email or phone, this site may be for you. It’s a great opportunity to contract services such as editing, proofreading, translation, web design, graphic design, writing content for blogs and websites, even administrative support/secretarial services.

There are many more options, but it is well worth the time to see what’s available by going to the site yourself. If you decide to sign up, know that it does take some time to set up a profile.  Your skills must be very well clarified before you have a reasonable chance at winning bids on projects that clients will pay you to do.

Best of all, you choose the projects you want to bid on, and all your work can be done from the comfort of your home office (or living room, or extra bedroom, etc.)

Etsy.com

This is a site you should go to if for nothing more than to see the beautiful pictures of the artistry created by such talented individuals who sell there. You will find everything from cupcakes to vintage aprons to business card designs to knitted baby clothing.

If you can hand sew, machine sew, knit, crochet, bake, design or collect vintage items, you can sell on Etsy. You will need a digital camera to take pictures of your items and a few basic skills of cropping and uploading your images, but sign up is fast and easy and your very own Etsy ‘store’ can be live within a few minutes. 

I started mine a couple of days ago and added over 50 items, most of which are vintage pieces I’ve collected from boutiques, antique stores and thrift shops all over the country. Take a look here: http://www.yvanna.etsy.com. If you have any questions about setting up your shop, I’d be happy to answer your questions. Just send me a message from my Etsy shop at the address above.

Half.com

This is a site where you can sell textbooks, regular books, music, video games and other types of games for prices that usually go for half that of your local bookstore.

Unless you are a book wholesaler or very well stocked with a plethora of all of the above types of media, you might not be able to sell here on a full time basis. However, it is a great way to not only get accustomed to online selling, but also to clear up the clutter in your home while generating money for other things.

Sign up is super easy, but you do have to forgo some banking information like your bank’s routing number. I recommend setting up a separate bank account specifically for this purpose, just for safety measures and to calm your nerves. In the end, you might be amazed at how quickly your books sell and your money in the bank grows. 

Blogging

You are currently reading my blog, so you probably realize that I’m biased towards this media already. Well, take into consideration that I’m not getting paid anything to write it, so I have to love it first. Let’s look at not only the benefits of blogging, but the end goals of it, as well.

If you love to write- for an audience, that is-  then blogging is the social media for you. I personally feel it has been one of the best ways for me to utilize my own personal need to write as well as my desire to teach and share whatever I learn and know.

Next, all you need is something to write about. Do you love science? Want to share your daily life with your family overseas? Have a cause or organization you are passionate about? Want to have a continuous discussion on Islamic topics with other Muslims? Whatever it is you love to do, love to talk about and are willing to write about, you can create a blog as your platform to demonstrate it.

Blogs are easy to start up, even for those who are not so tech-savvy (like me). They usually come with build-in templates for design options and easy-to-follow instructions, so you can be ‘live’ and up on the web in no time. I recommend using WordPress (http://www.wordpress.com), but Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) also comes highly recommended.

Eventually, you can make money with a blog by posting advertisements on your site. This comes with time, experience generating traffic and a consistent audience following and commenting on your site. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is, but many people have had great success earning a real living at it. Check out the website Problogger (http://www.problogger.com) for more information on blogging as a business.

Start Your own Website:

I give you the advice I’m following myself, so I assure you I’m working on this one, too. The benefits of starting your own website are many, but when it comes to generating an income, you can immediately begin posting advertisements like those from Google Adsense (http://www.google.com/adsense) on your website and earn money each time they are clicked.

Now, you might ask yourself what on earth you would start a website about.

If you’re setting up shop on Etsy, then create an entire website for the product(s) you’re selling there.

How about all those hijab and jelbabs you’ve been trying to sell at ICNA and ISNA? Do you have a website for those?

If you sell a service like writing or design, create a website identifying who you are, what experience you have in the field of services you offer, list your prices, and talk about the project experience you have under your belt, if any. And if you’re also signed up with Elance.com- you’ve just doubled your advertising potential.

Ehow.com

You might have gone to this site while inadvertently Googling your way through a project, asking the search bar how to do something like ‘get rid of the beehive on your front porch’ or ‘teach your child phonetics’.

Well, everyone knows how to do something. Just by sharing your knowledge of what you know, you can earn a little or a lot, depending upon how many people view your how-to article on this site. It’s super easy to write and publish your instructions, not to mention very exciting to see your very own ideas and research come to life in this format. I’ve done one, but plan to do more soon, insha’allah. Take a look: http://www.ehow.com/how_4502974_pots-pans-using-toxic-chemicals.html

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. If you have any more ideas you’d like to share, please send me an email (everydayhalal@gmail.com) to share and I’ll post it up on this blog.

 

A Documentary to See With Your Children Saturday, Jan 10 2009 

Did you know……….

  • More than 2 million people die each year of waterborne diseases , mostly children under the age of 5 years old?
  • The world is running out of fresh water?
  • Without water we have no society, no economy?
  • We humans are 70% water and 30% solids and have a water cycle within us, just like the Earth?
  • About 40% of the illnesses you think are stomach flus or viruses are actually caused by polluted water?

If you haven’t heard of the award-winning documentary,  FLOW (For the Love of Water): How Did a Handful of Corporations Steal Our Water?,  seek it out soon because these questions are directly addressed there. If you have children, be sure to include them when you watch it.

I love to watch educational documentaries, particularly those about the environment, nature or history. In FLOW, you will learn about the historical usage of pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals and their impact on the natural environment and human health. You and your children will see real life examples of how polluted water has maddening effects on health in countries around the world- and not only poor countries.

Its messages and information is critical for everyone to learn, especially for those of us concerned about our future and the future of generations to come. And who among us is NOT concerned?

What kind of world will we leave behind to the young? How should we prepare them for the struggles they might realistically face if we don’t know what enivoronmental challenges we’re up against right now?

I also like this documentary because it helps to scratch the surface of the basic information we need with regard to the scientific research and proof behind environmental degradation caused by the many sources of water pollutants.

You can check out the film’s website for more information: http://www.flowthefilm.com. Check out your local library to reserve a copy of the film. Otherwise, find it on amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=1231567637/ref=sr_nr_i_1?ie=UTF8&rs=&keywords=FLOW&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AFLOW%2Ci%3Advd

Be sure to watch the ‘Special Features’ section of the DVD (i.e. Deleted Scenes, Extended Interviews, etc.). Once you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.

I’ll end with a quote given at the beginning of the film, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

Resources: FLOW: How Did a Handful of Corporations Steal Our Water? 2008. Oscilloscope Pictures.

Tom’s of Main is a Certified Halal Product Friday, Jan 9 2009 

We always buy Tom’s of Maine tootpaste, foremost because we know there are no haram (impermissible) ingredients in it- plus it is the best-‘tasting’ toothpaste out of the permissible ones I’ve tried. I just never realized that they are actually certified halal, until just now.

I was doing a search on halal products and came across this link to the Tom’s of Maine website where there is a product certification page. Scroll down and find the IFANCA symbol (crescent with an ‘M’), and a brief description of what halal means.

The site says you can even listen to Tom Chappell, cofounder of the toothpaste, talk about the certification, but that link to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network no longer exists.

Follow this link: http://www.tomsofmaine.com/products/product-certification.aspx

Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary Sunday, Nov 16 2008 

I found a great site I’d like to share with you- and one I’ll probably refer to quite a bit once I look into more cosmetics for their halal quality. It’s Paula Begoun’s Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary at: http://www.cosmeticscop.com/cosmetic-ingredient-dictionary.aspx.  This is a pretty extensive dictionary that will help unravel the confusing and often times inexplicable ingredients put into our lotions, moisturizers, toners and makeup. I hope you can use this as a reference. 

Paula Begoun is a renowned consumer advocate who has written numerous books with her advice and information about various consumer products. You can check out her website, ask her skin care advice and even sign up for weekly newsletters: www.cosmeticscop.com

Please, let me know how you liked this information.

A Beautiful Fall Day on the Gold Coast Wednesday, Dec 31 2008 

Copyright Everyday Halal Living 2008

Copyright Everyday Halal Living 2008

Here are some pics from our fall ‘excursion’ to the North Shore (Chicago), along Lake Michigan.
copyrighteverydayhalal2008

copyrighteverydayhalal2008

 

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A great example of what can be done to have some quality family time. I would venture to say that in the icy winter chill we’re experiencing now in Chicago, we’d all love to have a crisp autumn day like the one pictured here.

Free Paint at the Evanston Arts Center Monday, Oct 20 2008 

When I find great deals and bargains around town that I think will benefit you, I immediately want to share them. Having gotten out of a very large amount of debt recently, we had to be resourceful and creative with what we had and to make our money stretch far and wide. I learned a great big lesson in that as Muslims, we should be careful to stay away from debt, which means checking ourselves against an elaborate and expensive lifestyle, and of course one beyond our means. This is particularly true when our brothers and sisters are suffering around the world for want of the basics we take for granted- clean water and fresh air to breath, just as an example.

So, I’m open to great deals and bargains, as long as they are halal, of course. Here’s the story:

On a beautiful, crisp fall morning this Saturday, we decided to take a drive along Chicago’s Lakeshore drive so we could capture and share with you the beautiful fall foilage that abounds this time of year here in the Midwest. It was a great way to have a “mini, half-day vacation” without spending a lot of money or time away from the chores that await us at home.

Along the way, we had to pass through the georgeous university town of Evanston, IL, home of Northwestern University. On Sheridan Road heading south, with Lake Michigan to our left, we just happened to notice an ivory structure peering upwards through the autumn leaves of tall trees that surrounded it. This structure was the Gross Point Lighthouse, closed at this time of year. We decided to stop and talk a walk, anyway.

We parked our car and headed to the lighthouse, only to be pleasantly interrupted by the large but quaint English structure that looked more like a house than a small gallery. It was the Historic Clarke House, situated next to the Evanston Arts Center.

Surprisingly, it was open on a Sunday.

We strolled around the small gallery, its wooden floors guiding us to several small exhibits promoting sustainable living and educating on the gravity of global warming. The exhibit as a whole is called, Heating Up and runs from Oct. 5-Nov. 9, 2008.  Admission is free! http://www.evanstonartcenter.org/exhibitions.aspx

One presentation within the exhibit was that of a pyramid of recycled paint cans named “Loop Limited: Recycled Paints”, provided by People Powered. Actually, there were several platforms of pyramids, each showcasing a different color of paint: one a light blue; rose, pale yellow (which was completely out); leafy green; and dark mocha.  The amazing part was that hanging above the pyramids was a sign by Loop Limited briefly explaining the mission of the project and at the end indicating that we could take a can of paint home! I couldn’t believe my eyes, so I had to ask the receptionist who greeted us at the front door if this was for real. She said “yes” and actually encouraged us to take a couple!

Needless to say, I’ll be painting my home office a beautiful light blue, and thinking about the generosity of the company who gave it away. Allah sure has numerous ways of making things easy for us.

For more information about the Evanston Arts Center, click on the link below. They have a wonderful variety of art classes that are open to both residents and non-residents of Evanston, IL.  For example, they have Adult Workshop courses which comprise of things like Mosaics; Drawing and Painting courses; Digital Arts courses; Jewelry and Metalsmithing and even Youth Fine Arts courses. Check it out: www.evanstonartcenter.org

For more information about People Powered and Loop Limited, the recycled paints showcased at the gallery and free of charge for you to take home, click on this link:

http://peoplepowered.org/loop.html

As always, I welcome and look forward to your comments about this post.

Copyright My Halal Kitchen 2008

Copyright My Halal Kitchen 2008

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