Saturday, January 28, 2006

Eids, shaylas and the beach...

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA, it’s been a bit crazy around here. Eid-e-Ghadeer and Eid-e-Mubahila were fun and I tried to teach a bit about them to my four year old, don’t know how much really stuck since we only chatted about it and didn’t really do any projects or anything. Now that Muharram is going to start I definitely will be a lot busier, but inshallah will try my best to write whenever I can.

My sister went to Dubai about a month and ago and brought back some hijabs and some gorgeous shaylas for me. She also bought these adorable little shalwar kameezes for the girls and some toys. She lives in Toronto so she shipped it all and I just got the package yesterday. I love everything, my sister has amazing taste! So anyhow, here’s the dilemma. I totally suck at tying shaylas. What to do? I’ve had about two shaylas in my life and I have worn them maybe 2 times because I just can’t figure out how to wrap them properly. I’ve managed to do it once and it looked so nice but I don’t remember how I did it. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so it has to be absolutely perfect with every seam straight and no wrinkles, it’s very frustrating and time-consuming! For those professional shayla wearers, please HELP ME!!! Is there any REALLY good website on how to tie them? I’ve seen some sites but they just confused me more.

We went to the beach last week and I took some nice pictures so inshallah I’ll post them soon. The beach is so relaxing, just sitting in the sun and my girls love playing in the sand. I really need to get them into some swimming lessons soon, just haven’t got around to it.

I need to do some more highway driving, but now I’m coming down with a cold I believe. It never fails every year right before mohorram I start to get sick and then I end up missing the first few days of the majaalis. Alhamdolillah at least my girls are okay right now, I hope they don’t catch it from me.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Highway driving!

Okay long story short: I've never had a driver's license before until about a year and a half ago. Since then I've only driven on the highway four times while my husband was sitting beside me. I've wanted to get over my fear of the highway, so today I ventured out. Now please realize that this may seem trivial to you, but it’s a big deal to me. I have no fear of driving at all. I drive everyday for at least an hour all over the place; however I always find my way through small streets completely avoiding the highway. Well I’m sick of it and I wanted to be able to drive on the highway like a normal person.

My first time alone I wanted full concentration so left the girls at home with my husband and went for about an hour. When I first merged in I got the feeling you get when you really don’t want to go on a roller coaster but you do anyways and you’re sitting there waiting for it to start and totally regretting your decision. But finally when it does start you realize it’s not as bad as you thought and you even start to enjoy yourself. That’s EXACTLY how it was. I got on and thought: “WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!” But then it was all fine. I actually enjoyed myself. The freedom of being alone, which hardly ever happens, even in the bathroom; and the feeling of accomplishment.

It also helped that I didn’t have a toddler and preschooler yelling for my attention from the backseat! :)

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Stupid in America"

I just finished watching 20/20 tonight about education in America. Most of the things I was already aware of, but some things were definitely an eye opener.

It was shocking to see that it took them years to fire a teacher who sent sexual emails to one of his students just because they had to go through all the procedures that the teacher’s union has set up. The more I learn about the public school system the happier I am with my decision to homeschool. It’s not only scary, but also very sad. And it just seems to be getting worse.

Here's is the link to the news report:
Stupid in America

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Eid Mubarak!

Before I forget, Eid-ul-Adha Mubarak to you all!

The Holy Qur'an says in Sura Saffat verse 102:

"And when (Isma'il) became Baaligh, he (Ibrahim) said, "O my son! I saw in a dream that I am sacrificing you. What is your view?" He (Isma'il) said, "O father! Do as you have been commanded. If Allah wills, you will find me from the patient ones." (37:102)

My sweet girl.

Two nights ago my four year old walked into our bedroom around 1am, luckily I was still awake and didn't get completely startled. Sometimes when she has to go to the potty she'll creep in real quiet, come to my side of the bed and just stand there and stare at me. Now for some reason that ALWAYS wakes me up. It totally freaks me out having someone stare at me like that. I don't know why she does it, maybe she's too tired to talk or something.

Anyhow I digress; she came in very sad but was trying not to cry because she didn't want to wake up everybody. (She's so sweet like that.) I knew that she must have had a nightmare and pulled her into bed with me and held her close for a while. She felt better and then whispered that she had a nightmare so we just talked about it and she felt much better and was ready to go back to bed. I took her back to tuck her in and give her a hug and a kiss. She has got to be the absolute sweetest thing on earth. When I was about to leave she said to me and I quote, "mama thank you for taking care of me. You always make me feel better. I'm going to make a dua to Allah to thank him for giving me such a nice mama.” I could barely hold back my tears. She does this to me a lot. She will say these absolutely sweet and amazing things to me all the time.

She has got such a caring side to her. Whenever someone is sick, she will always try and take care of them somehow or help in any way she can. If people are sleeping she tries not to disturb them, and she always tries never to hurt anyone’s feelings.

My favorite part of everyday is when she hugs me in the morning and says “Assalam alaykum mama.”

Meanwhile, my two year old is her polar opposite. :)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

New Years Cupcakes!

I call these New years cupcakes because we made them together the first time on new years eve last saturday. My four year old and I love to cook and bake together, she especially loves baking. We also make an awesome chocolate chip banana bread together which I'll post the recipe of one day. I usually let her measure and mix and I take care of the clean up and oven stuff. (Of course she gets to lick the mixing bowl!) Baking and cooking together has also helped her math a lot.

After the cupcakes cooled she decorated these all by herself with icing and sprinkles. Needless to say she was very proud of herself and so was everyone else that saw them and tasted them, they were sooooo good. Here's the recipe below:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line 12 regular size muffin tins with paper liners.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; mix with a wooden spoon to combine.
4. In a small bowl whisk together the milk, egg, oil and vanilla.
5. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients; mix very well with a wooden spoon to combine well.
6. Mix in the chocolate chips.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the lined muffin tins.
8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
9. Cool, and frost with favorite chocolate frosting and decorate with sprinkles.
10. Enjoy and try not to eat all at once!

Model of the Kabah

Well here it is, as promised. The model that I worked a bit on with my four year old. Basically we just took a square shipping box, covered it with black construction paper and then added some strips of yellow construction paper on top for the finishing touches. She did most of the cutting, all of the gluing and of course her attempt at the Arabic lettering. :)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Dhilhajj

Well here it is, the month of Hajj. This month always makes me a little bit sad because I still have not been able to go for Hajj and now it seems like it'll be forever before I get the chance to.

I wanted to teach my four year old more about this month and about the things that people do when they go for hajj so here's what we've been working on. Recently I bought this book for her because she's been reading so well I figured she would be able to read this with no problems Muslim Child: Understanding Islam Through Stories and Poems by Rukhsana Khan.

This is such a great book and it also has a nice little section with a wonderful story on Hajj. We actually read it together and I had to explain a lot to her but she really got the concept of Hajj down from this book. It really is a great buy, it's filled with wonderful stories and poems! (By the way, there are many other books written by this author that my daughter really enjoys reading, you should check out her website: http://www.rukhsanakhan.com!

We've also made a model of the Kabah. It actually turned out better than I thought it would and she is so proud of it because I made her do all of the work by herself. Basically we just took a square shipping box, covered it with black construction paper and then added some strips of yellow construction paper on top for the finishing touches. We just completed it today and I will take a picture of it and post it soon, Inshallah.

I have some other ideas I want to work on for the rest of the week, perhaps talk more about the ihram. Speaking of which, I found this really cool informative site about ihram. It's really an interesting historical read:
DRESSED IN IHRAM: A digital exhibition about Hajj clothing

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy new year everyone!

I haven't written for a while because I've been a bit caught up with the girls. The weather was so nice and cool the past week in Orlando we went out to the park and did a lot of outdoor activities.

Then yesterday my FIL came back from Pakistan and it's been so much fun. My oldest is quite attached to him and was really happy to have him back. Of course she also loved all her toys and gifts she got. She started walking around in her new bangles and shoes right away. It's cute the way she loves to dress up. Lately she's been on a real dress-up binge. Every morning she gets up and picks out clothes to wear that are always fancy or flowery or very feminine. Then she will wear her little plastic crown all day and walk around like she owns the place. She even refers to herself as "Princess." Why does every girl always want to be a princess? Of course my two year old loves to copy everything her big sister does and has been picky about what clothes I pick out for her and also asking for her plastic crown and of course calling herself "pinsesss!"