Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) parents, youth, and fellow readers,

Today,our mini-men enjoyed their first life skill lesson for this semester – making cookies! We are pleased to report that all of our youth are big-time lovers of sugar and chocolate chip cookies. Sadly we must begin this post with a small confession – the title of this blog post would seem to suggest that our youth tried their hand at making homemade cookies. This would imply that our young brothers used a combination of flour, sugar, butter, milk, and miscellaneous ingredients to make their cookies…unfortunately we ended up using pre-made cookie dough from the store. Yeah we know, we know – this isn’t quite “homemade”; but imagine giving 5-7 year-old youth a giant mixing bowl and raw ingredients (milk, flour, sugar, butter, etc.). We think it is safe to say that at least 25% of those ingredients would have ended up somewhere else besides the mixing bowl (most likely in their mouth). Thus we went with pre-made sugar cookie dough instead.

After cutting the dough into 1/2 inch circles, our youth mentors taught our youth how to make beautiful thin circular cookies using the palm of their hands.

Abdelrahman, Hamza, and Hasan make nice circles from their cookie dough. Excuse us Hasan, can you please look at the camera?

Fahad shows the young lads how to make the perfect sugar cookie. Murtaza seems to be trying especially hard to make his cookie evenly shaped.

After gently shaping the cookie dough into nice round circles, our youth shouted “Jamba” as they tossed the cookie onto the baking sheet. Why did we shout “Jamba?” It sounded cool at the moment. After 20 “Jambas” the mentors began to feel the early symptoms of a headache emerging.

"Jamba" yells Abdelrahman after tossing a rather nice looking cookie onto the baking sheet.

Circle cookies are nice and all but the real fun comes when you use cookie cutters. Thus before we placed our baking sheets in the oven, we gave our mini-men the opportunity to make cool shaped sugar cookies using different cookie cutters. What emerged was…umm…interesting…

Hasan carefully presses down on the race car cookie cutter. More muscle young friend! Ooo look, it is a plane!

Mohammed decides to multitask - he cuts his cookie using the race car cookie cutter as he carefully observes something in the distance. Ahmed seems a little concerned about the cookies; don't worry Ahmed, the cookies will be fine in shaa Allah.

"This...is...hard!" Mohamed squishes both hands down on top of the cookie cutter. Behind him Salah looks on carefully.

Salah went a little crazy with the cookie cutters and decided to put them all on the cookie dough at once. Yep we agree with you Abdelrahman and Hasan...that is a LOT of cookie cutters!

After placing all of our raw cookies carefully on the baking sheets, we transferred the precious items to our oven to bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the battle of cookie cutter versus mini-men...the mini-men emerged victorious. Is it just us or are there more race car cookies than airplane cookies?

How many cookies can we fit in one oven? Apparently four trays worth!

As our youth patiently waited for their beloved sugar cookies to finish baking in the oven, we took a moment to learn a very valuable lesson. Before we begin almost any activity (making wudu, the daily prayer, before we eat or drink, etc.) our faith teaches us to say “Bismillah,” or “In the Name of Allah.” After completing an activity, we are encouraged to thank Allah, azza wa jal, be saying “Alhamdulillah,” or “All Praise Belongs to Allah.” To re-enforce this lesson, our mini-men took time to color-in a drawing with this message.

As our youth patiently wait for their cookies to finish baking, they take part in a nifty coloring lesson. Yes Murtaza you can borrow the yellow marker now.

A few of the umm finished products. We promise you we asked our mini-men to draw between the black lines...some of our youngins didn't quite get the message.

After a short wait, our cookies returned from their journey to the baking oven! Next, our youth took tubes of frosting and beautifully decorated their final products.

A few of the final baked products - it looks like the cookies expanded in the oven. Hey cookies, stop touching each other!

Hamza's pride and joy - the smiley face cookie! Umm...YUMMY!

Murtaza would like y'all to meet the cookie monster - no, not the one from Sesame Street!

Yes that is a blue hot dog made out of frosting sitting on top of a cookie...enough said. Onto the next photo!

Finally our youth got to complete the most important task of the afternoon – EATING! Though our mini-men claimed they could easily eat 5 or 10 cookies, most of them barely finished two cookies. The rest of the cookies were packaged and taken home as a gift for our youth group families.

Finally, we get to eat! Ahmed enjoys a BIG bite from his delicious sugar cookie.

It looks like the cookie and Hasan seem to be doing battle. Is it just us or is that not one GIANT cookie?

The mentors enjoyed spending quality time with our mini-men this afternoon. In shaa Allah we’ll meet again soon! Until then, enjoy the pictures which accompany this blog post.