Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Alavi Family

Okay this is going to seem weird but I have no idea what I was searching for when I happened to have come across this very interesting website that I wanted to share with y'all.

I just found the pictures and stories of the people on here so fascinating!

http://www.barjesteh.nl/alavi.htm

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Surat Al-Ikhlas

I finally got around to recording my three year old reciting Surat Al-Iklas. It's too funny the way she recites it. As you will hear she started to get really excited while she was reciting and even started talking in the middle of it, which I had to edit out. It was so hilarious!



Of course now that she has discovered that she can speak into the microphone on my computer and have her voice played back to her afterwards, she wants to do it non-stop! LOL

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More eid stuff!


This year we did not have a lot of time to do a whole bunch of Eid decorations so we improvised and stuck them on a wall that already had some Islamic stuff on it. I think it turned out pretty well. For the Eid banner we cut construction paper into four smaller rectangles. Then on each rectangle I printed the letters in pencil. My five year old traced over my pencil with Elmer’s 3D Washable Paint Pens. Then we punched some holes on top of it and put some string through it and voila! This project was really quick and easy and it was enough to make the girls happy. :)


This Eid we also gave them two more muslim dolls to add to their collection. They also have the Little Farah Talking doll which we bought them a few years back. It’s very adorable and says lots of Islamic phrases and their meanings like, “Subhanallah, Glory be to Allah.” But my girls really enjoy playing with the Razanne muslim dolls a lot. They take those and their other Dora the explorer dolls and some other baby dolls and have pretend tea parties and birthday parties and they go to the mall shopping, etc…. I love how both my girls play together, use their imaginations and just go crazy with it.


The Razanne muslim doll is available through the Noorart.com website. They have lots of other excellent Islamic toys that I’ve also got from them. Check it out, they have great stuff!

Eid Song

When the month of Ramadan started I found a Ramadan song on a website (sorry I don’t remember which website, if you know please leave it in the comments). Anyhow so I printed the song and took it to Madressa and we taught the students the song on the first day of Ramadan. This is the song, which you sing in the tune of “London bridge is falling down.”

Ramadan is here today, here today, here today
Ramadan is here today, let’s all fast.
Everybody fast and pray, fast and pray, fast and pray
Everybody fast and pray, and be good.


This morning on the way to Eid prayers when we got into the car my five year old started singing this new version of the song:

Ramadan is gone today, gone today, gone today
Ramadan is gone today, let’s all have Eid.
We will get lots of presents, lots of presents, lots of presents
We will get lots of presents, and we’ll love them forever.

I turned around and asked her where she heard that song and she replied, “No where Mama, I made it up!” :)

She sounded so adorable I had to record her singing it.




I hope you all had an awesome Eid. The girls have been so happy and hyper all day playing with their new Eid toys! :)

E I D M U B A R A K ! ! !

Monday, October 23, 2006

Eid Mubarak!

"Oh Allah, we repent to You in our day of fast-breaking
which You have appointed for the faithful a festival and a joy and for the people of Your creed a time of assembly and gathering….

Oh Allah, with the passing of this month
make us pass forth from our offences
with its departure make us depart from our evil deeds
and make for us from its most fortunate people…."

- Imam Ali Zaynul Aabideen a.s.
- Saheefa Sajjadiyyah, Du’a no. 45

I pray that the month of Ramadan was fulfilling and enlightening for you all and I want to wish you all a very happy and joyous Eid-ul-Fitr!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New things

This week three new things have happened:

1. We have new muslim neighbors. The girls and I were taking our bike ride to the park when a few houses down from ours a young husband and wife with 4 kids came running out of their house to greet us. It was very sweet of them. They recognized that I was muslim because of the hijab of course and the best thing is that they have a daughter that is 6 years old so inshallah we’ll get the girls together soon.

2. We bought a new car. It’s a brand new Scion, dark blue and very nice. I drove it around the neighborhood so far, so much quieter than our old Mazda and I cannot believe how much room there is in that car. It’s just MASSIVE inside. Anyhow, it’s a little boxy looking but I like it. Especially that new car smell, mmmmmmmm.

3. And finally, something that came as a real shocker to me as well, my three year old has memorized Surat Al-Ikhlas. For the past few weeks I’ve just been getting her to repeat it after me before going to bed, in separate short syllables and now she says I can do it myself, I don’t want your help. Her pronunciation is atrocious but oh my goodness sooooo adorable. I need to record her before she starts pronouncing it better. LOL

Friday, October 20, 2006

Desktop wallpaper

I taught my five year old how to change the desktop wallpaper on her computer just once several weeks ago. Now every time I see her computer she has a different wallpaper. At first she was just playing around with the ones that came with the computer like tulips, moon flower or bliss. But a few weeks ago I walked in to see Hello Kitty on there. I had no idea how she did that so I asked her and she very confidently tells me, “Oh it’s so easy Mama. I just went to the Hello Kitty website and then went in the play games section and in that section there’s another section called downloads and in the downloads section they have lots and lots of desktop patterns that you can just right-click on and set them as your background.”

I was speechless!

Now there’s a new Hello Kitty on her computer every day.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The last Friday of the month of Ramadan

Well the month of Ramadan is almost over and Eid is approaching so I thought I would share something for the last Friday of this month.

Hazrat Amir-ul-Mo'mineeen (A.S.) said that any person who has
accumulated a lot of qazaa namaaz (missed a lot of salaats) and does
not have the strength to offer them should offer Namaaz-e-Qazaa-e-Umr.

This namaaz is the kaffara to cover 700 years of qazaa namaaz. One
person asked Wali-Ullah "but the people of the ummat of Nabi live
only 70-100 years at the most?" Hazrat Ali (A.S.) replied that the
namaaz-e-kaffara covers your whole life's qazaa namaaz, your
parents, your grand parents, your great grand parents and others
going back up to 700 years qazaa namaaz.

When to pray:

On the last Friday of the month of Ramadhan before sunset.

How to pray:

It's a 4 rakaat namaaz with one salaam. In every rakaat recite
sura-e-fateha (Alhamd) once; followed by Sura-e-Ahad (Qulahwallah)
25 times; followed by Ayatul-kursi once and followed by Sura-e-Kauthar
15 times.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lessons, lessons and more lessons

I wanted to cover a bit more about what we’ve been doing in the lessons with Connections Academy. They are just so easy and we breeze through them I just never really feel the need to talk about it. Well here’s what our lessons and schedule is like.

Basically my five year old has eight courses. Technology (her favorite), Social Studies, Science, Reading and Writing, Music, Math, Art and Activities. On average we do about six lessons a day (but sometimes A LOT more than that). We do Reading and Writing and Math everyday and then we have different days for the rest of the subjects. Most of the lessons she finds very boring and just speeds through them. She likes to do the work but doesn’t like it when I follow the lesson manual exactly word for word like they tell me because she says she knows all that already. I still try and go through it, but in a more interesting way. Sometimes I’ll ask her to explain things to me, instead of vice versa. Then she’ll just zip through the assignments/worksheets in a second. We’ve been going so fast that three of these courses will be finished in November and then two more will be finished in December; which leaves us with 3 courses for the rest of the year. So I’ve talked to her teacher and she has suggested some electives. But they don’t really have as much to offer in electives that they thought they would. I’m going to start Spanish with her, Inshallah. And then the teacher said if she finished math early she can send me the curriculum to grade one math. Math is set to finish some time in February, but I have a feeling it may finish before then.

The other elective they have is hooked on phonics, but I don’t know if my daughter can actually use that. I know they have different levels of it, but what if she’s already reading at 2nd grade level or higher? What level of hooked on phonics does she use then? Is hooked on phonics even worth spending our time on? Have any of you ever used it before? What do y’all think of it?

She is really enjoying the stuff though, even though she does find it to be really easy. She loves Science and all the experiments we’ve done so far. She also loves social studies because there have been a lot of fun assignments. I think the most boring for her has been the Reading and Writing though because it’s just so monotonous and so easy. But I’ve learned to get go through the boring stuff pretty fast and put more emphasis on the handwriting, assignments/worksheets or book reports part of it.

She was really enjoying math as well at first but now I see her sometimes talking to the worksheets saying, “Okay already I already know this, why do I have to do this again?” or she’ll say “Hello, can this get any easier?” It’s funny because she’s not actually talking to me; she’s told me she’s talking to the worksheet, LOL.

Going for a bike ride!

A few times a week the girls and I go to the park that is in our neighborhood about half a mile away from our house. They ride their bikes and I walk fast or jog along with them. Anyhow, it takes about 10 minutes to get to the park, then we spend about 30 to 45 minutes at the park, and then head back. I try to go earlier in the day a little after breakfast so it's not so unbearably hot out. They love it because they get to ride their bikes really fast leaving mama behind trying to keep up with them and for some reason they get a huge kick out of that. So I play along on purpose just to make them laugh some more. Well a few days ago I decided to bring my camera along so I made some movies and took a thousand pictures, mostly of them swinging on the swings and pretending to cook with the mulch/sand on the floor.

Here’s a video I shot of them, you can see my three year old speeding up and then turning around slightly to see how far away I am. My five year old is way ahead of us, like always. She races ahead and feels very proud when she beats us to the park. But this time she slowed down and let her little sister get there before us. She said she wanted her sister to have a turn at winning the race.

To fast or not to fast?

On Saturday my five year old kept a half fast. She really wanted to keep a full fast so I told her to start with a half fast and then we’ll take it from there. So she had a big breakfast in the morning and then stated that she was only going to eat at iftar time, but we made a deal that she still had to keep drinking water if she was thirsty. So that was decided and when lunchtime rolled around and her three year old sister was having lunch she decided she would just have a very small teeny tiny lunch and then continue with her fast till iftar time. My husband and I could barely stop ourselves from laughing but we managed and we were happy that she was still content with her “half fast.” Then it was about an hour from iftar time and I could tell she was getting hungry so I told her she can have something small right now and then eat with everyone later but she said she wanted to wait it out, and she did. I was proud of her for at least lasting that long. It was so VERY hard for me to see my child hungry, even for a few minutes. I can’t imagine what mothers all over this world go through.

Al Muhajabat

I just wanted to tell you all about the wonderful stuff I just bought. I got three children’s hijabs, three underscarves and four shaylas from Al Muhajabat Islamic Clothing and I received this whole shipment in excellent condition within one week. They are also having a sale on shaylas right now till Eid I think. They have wonderful and beautiful shaylas. They were all in perfect condition and so soft and bright. It was all very nicely packaged and the service was fast and easy. Check it out if you are interested in getting something for eid.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mr. and Mrs. Pumpkin

Every Saturday morning our local Michael’s (The Arts and Crafts Store) has a program called Kid’s club. Children aged 5-12 are welcomed to come and do a different craft with them every Saturday morning from 10am-Noon. It costs $2 and they have a different craft each week. Two weeks ago they had these lovely pumpkins to decorate (these were not kids club though, they were another special one-time event the same day). The local store also lets me bring my three year old as long as I can keep an eye on her and thank goodness for that because she has to do EVERYTHING her big sister is doing. Anyhow, last week they decorated dragonflies (not real ones of course) which we didn’t make it to. This week they are doing leather bracelets. I don’t know if this is the same for every Michael’s nationwide but you can visit their website, sign up with them and then check out your events for your local store. The girls love it, it’s fairly inexpensive and they give you so many different things to utilize. For these pumpkins my girls used model magic, paint pens, pipe cleaners, sharpies, glitter glue, etc… It’s lots of fun!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Naade Ali

One of my favorite duas (prayers) is Naade Ali. Every time I get into my car or feel a little scared I just recite that dua and it makes me feel so much better.

This is my five year old daughter reciting Naade Ali:



She reads this to me every night before she goes to bed, every time we get into the car and any other time she feels like it. She has told me that it is one of her favorite duas as well and she loves to read it. I'm so happy to have passed this wonderful prayer onto my first born and I absolutely looooooooooooooooooove hearing her read it to me.

Let's Get to Know Imam Ali

We have this book, "Let's Get to Know Imam Ali" and I have to say it is an excellent book. It has wonderful, bright, colorful pictures and is easy to read. It starts from his birth in the Kabah to his death. It's short and simple and very easy for small children to understand. My five year old loves reading it by herself and we have been discussing his life and his death, so this book fits in very nicely.

You can buy it at the Al-Khoei Online Book Store, it's a great investment!

Laylatul Qadr – The Night of Power

The Night of Power is here already and there are about 12 days of this wonderful month left. This is the night that the Quran was revealed, this night is better than a thousand nights. Those who spend this night in prayer experience a feeling of great bliss. The next few days I will be busy with the Amaal of Qadr and also the death of Imam Ali (as). I am planning on talking a little about the next few days with my five year old, and once again we will do the amaal at home together as a family, Inshallah.

Please remember my family in your prayers.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Prayer

You know what really makes me feel absolutely amazing; when my children want to pray with me. This evening when it was iftar time I was starting my prayer anxiously because I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the yummy samosas! Anyhow, my three year old demanded that I help her spread out her prayer mat so she can pray beside me. The girls have their own hijabs and prayer mats in our prayer room so they can pray with us whenever they want. I was a little annoyed for a split second because my hunger pains got the better of me, but then I realized it had been a while since she had prayed with me and I remembered the wonderful feeling I got when she did. So I quickly helped her spread it out. I started my prayer and she just followed doing the actions along with me. Up and down, raising her hands for the dua, it really gives me such joy having her pretending to pray beside me. My five year old also joins us very often.

Then at the end I was quickly putting away my hijab because all I could think about were the samosas, LOL, and she says, “But Mama, we didn’t do ziarat! My three year old was reminding me to do ziarat because she’s used to us doing it after every prayer. It was so adorable.

A little later when I was putting the girls to bed, my five year old asked, “Mama did you open your fast?” (She didn’t see me opening it today because she was busy doing some work) I said yes and she answered, “that’s good, I hope you had lots of samosas because they were good.” LOL

Sunday, October 08, 2006

15th of Ramadan

Tomorrow is the 15th of Ramadan, which is the birth of Imam Hassan (as) (and also the day I was born :) ). I was in the process of searching for different arts and crafts I can do with the kids at Madressa today when I found lots of informative sites about him, so I thought I would share:

1. AlMujtaba.com – Very informative website, has oodles of informative articles and some great images!

2. An introduction to fourth infallible Hazrat Imam Hassan (AS) - Great site for kids.

3. Imam Hasan 'The Myth of his Divorces' - by S. Saeed Akhtar Rizvi

4. Hasan ibn Ali - Wikipedia

5. Shia.org - Taken from Know Your Islam by Yousuf N. Lalljee

Friday, October 06, 2006

New Look and more updates...

In the spirit of the month of Ramadan, I decided to change things up a bit and go green. I was getting bored of the old template and I’m starting to feel real cozy with this new one. So tell me how you like the new look, or should I go back to the old simpler template? I’m really liking this one though. :)

We got my 5 year olds portfolio back from her teacher in the mail today. She got perfect on all her assignments and just sat their examining all the comments that her teacher had left for her. Her teacher was very caring and wrote some very encouraging comments. She also sent her a certificate and candy. Needless to say, my five year old is very satisfied. :)

My three year old has been really into her Story Reader these days. While her sister and I do school, she’ll usually sit in the corner of the room listening to one of the stories and today she was even playing with her “My First LeapPad” which she hardly ever does. She was actually understanding everything, following all the instructions to the game, getting it all right and really enjoying herself. It was funny to watch. I’m planning on starting the book “Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons” with her in a few months if she wants to. Her sister already did some lessons with her a few months back (which was hilarious) so my guess is the first few lessons should be pretty easy for her.

After homeschooling my 5 year old in the morning I had some cooking and other work to tend to so I was busy most of the day. However I was also keeping my eye on the girls at the same time and it was funny how well they play together now, Alhamdolillah. Before there used to be a lot of fighting and my two year old's tantrums, but now it's like they are the best of friends. They really use their imagination a lot too. They make castles with chairs and pillows and blankets. They make tents and play hide and seek. They have tea parties and "feasts" as my five year old put it. But the best of all is watching them all curled up on the couch together while my five year old reads to my three year old. They seem so content and so happy to be all huddled together and sharing the story. May Allah (swt) always keep them this happy and safe.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Eid Decorations

Ever since the month of Ramadan has started, this has got to be the number one search topic that has led people to my site. I’m not sure what kinds of decorations everyone is looking for, but you really don’t need to purchase any because you can make so much on your own and with your kids.

Here is something me and the girls did last year on Eid:
http://flickr.com/photos/highheelz/73906331/
It’s not too hard at all. A big banner that says Eid Mubarak, we used a roll of kraft paper for that. Then a simple paper chain, which my girls LOOOOVE making for some reason. Some moon and star arts and crafts and some coloring pages and we had a nice little Eid wall. Another thing you can do is blow up plain balloons and decorate them with a permanent marker yourself. You can make moon and stars on them, write Eid Mubarak and let your kids go crazy with them.

Here are some more websites that had different arts and crafts ideas for Ramadan, Eid cards, presents and decorations:
1. Eid Decorations by Aniqa Hasan
2. Crafts for Ramadan that can easily be made into Eid crafts
3. More Crafts for Ramadan

And if you REALLY feel the need to purchase decorations instead, then here are some websites you can purchase them from:
1. Eid Decorations at Astrolabe.com
2. Ramadan and Eid party gifts at Islamicbookstore.com
3. Eid Banner at Soundvision.com
4. Eid Decoration Pack at Soundvision.com - This pack has balloons, banner, henna, streamers and itar!