Thursday, December 31, 2009

Campbell's Halal line


If you went to RIS then you probably already know from the flyer that Campbell's has a new halal line. I think this is awesome because now vegetable soup will actually be halal instead of containing beef broth and cream of broccoli will actually be an option now too. Other products which were already ok will also be labelled halal now by ISNA. Now if only they could incorporate halal meat into their products, what a great shopping experience that would be! Remember to thank them here.

The recipe for this is on the back of the cream of broccoli soup.

January Book Club Pick - Stones Into Schools

Hopefully you've all read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. This leaves off from where that one ends. I love how the cover says "Promoting peace with books, not bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. " So pick up a copy of Stones into Schools and join me for this month's book pick.

Zeitoun -December Book Club -review

This is the last day of December so I hope you have all finished this month's pick - Zeitoun. First of all I have to say that this was an awesome book; a real page turner. Although this book was written by a non-muslim (I'm assuming) about Zeitoun and his family and experience he was very respectful and precise about Islam. I really related to Kathy, his wife, who is a convert like me. I loved how they told her story as well as his including their families'. Although I felt very sorry for the main character and his family too, I felt that this book only further emphasizes how important shura (consultation) and the use of Istikhara in making a decision that can affect so many lives. But khair insha Allah because as you can see with the list on the back of the book there are so many organizations that are benefitting from the sale of this book to help rebuild New Orleans.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Toronto Muslimah Store

Want something for pregnancy or nursing? Need a niquab,long khimar? Looking for something very modest? I've just come across this store and I've never ordered from them before but its another option for the Canadian sister and they also ship worldwide..even Malaysia. They also have giveaways! Just tell them what is important to you when you look for an abaya and you could win this month.

Reviving the Islamic Spirit

This is a shout out to all the attendees at RIS this year. May Allah increase you in ilm and taqwah. Today is the first day of the conference there are still two days after that too so its not too late to change your mind and join everyone else. I'm not going this year but I will be there in spirit! I'm happy to know that Barakah Life will be there this year as well as Soundvision. This conference is really growing. I wish I would have went though when Raihan had come to perform. Here are some tips from a former attendee: put your bracelet on really tight or you will lose it and have to buy another one and bring a backpack or bag for all your belongings and keep it close. Also bring a notebook to jot down anything inspirational and bring a list of books you've spotted on my blog (hehe) that you would like to buy. Remember to give salaams, give charity and make new friends/contacts. Use this opportunity to gain great barakah. Have fun too! Read an article about the first day here.

Food Inc.

I watched Food Inc. last night and although it was no surprise because this information has been 'out' for awhile it still made me upset all over again. What can we do to make a difference? The movie says vote with your dollars. What bothers me the most is the lack of organic zabihah meat. I'm already driving over an hour to get zabihah meat but to get organic zabihah meat it would be a drive of 3 hours. For those of you in the GTA then you can go here. I think this store should really be called M & M's meats; Mennonite and Muslim. The Mennonites raise their animals organically and the Muslims slaughter them Islamically. I don't know of any muslims though raising their animals organically in Canada though. But then again all the muslims are engineers and doctors right? I think we need some muslim farmers!

The Kindness of Strangers



My kids inspired by their older sister wanted to make a house too. So we went to the furniture store to get big boxes and they told us they had just thrown some out so the kids did some dumpster diving and got 3 large boxes to take home. The next day I brought them to the decorating store to get those old wallpaper books they always throw out when they get new styles. Apparently they had already gotten rid of all of theirs but they took our name for next time. So I went to another store to see if they had any and this was my last resort; remember I live in a small town. They told me they don't sell wallpaper anymore but asked me how much I needed. I told them just a little bit so the kids could decorate their little box house. So she said follow me home and I'll give you some old rolls we don't need. Can you imagine? Talk about customer service er helping out a moocher. So I follow her and she gives me 3 rolls of wallpaper for my kids project. She said so you have 4 kids? I told her no 10 and she said oh I'm the oldest of 15! and I raised 6! We were like kindred spririts and the world was good :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Need Advice?

Canadians can now get fatwa advice by going to this website by Ahmad Khutty. If you need personal advice as a muslim you can call Naseeha. They've been around for awhile now and are a great resource. Americans even call in as they have no such resource apparently. Something troubling you? Then reach out.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Spy Bag giveaway Winner!!!!

The I spy bag giveaway winner according to random.org is number 9 ; the Soap Corner. Congratulations! Handmade Beginnings will be contacting you to send out your choice of I Spy Bag. Thank you to everyone for participating and all your lovely answers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Another Canadian Muslim Clothing site

I've heard of this store before but forgot about them and came across their site today. I see they have a lovely satin baby friendly number. The hijabs are very lovely but not my style. One is on sale for only $3! Check it out here.

Mamma mia itsa pizza cake!

My two favourite foods are pizza and cake. Looks like Cake boss might feel the same way. Check out this episode where he makes not only a pizza cake but an actual pizza to compete against his father-in-law. If and when I ever take the Wilton fondant course I'm gonna see if the teacher will let me make a pizza cake insha Allah. Talk about the best of both worlds! Bellisimo.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lenticular technology -kids books

My 4th daughter found an amazing 'moving' book from the library. You move the book and the pictures changes; seems to be moving. I remember gettting these kinds of things in the popcorn; little cards and the picture would change when you moved them. These pictures don't change into a different item but change positions. My daughter just loves these books, so far they only seemed to have produced two in the series. If your kids are getting bored of the same old-same old then get your hands on these.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Do Muslims read?

I'm not asking if muslims are literate that's a whole other topic but for the ones who are do they read and what? From my experience the raised muslims who were raised overseas mainly read schoolbooks and of course that's because they have to. They don't seemed inclined to read otherwise unless its the Quran. I could be generalizing here but its been my personal observation. When visiting homes I noticed that the only book to be seen was the Quran and nothing else. As for raised muslims living here in Canada I noticed that the religious ones do have a lot of islamic books while the rest tend to be the Harry Potter type. What about converts? Good question. I think I don't know enough to really tell. I do know that a lot of converts have started writing books and magazines though which inspires hope. I myself was raised to love books;bedtime stories, trips to the library etc So do you read and what? Non-fiction? Regular fiction? Islamic fiction? Muslim fiction (fiction by muslims with no Islamic content), newspapers, islamic newspapers, magazines, islamic magazines. I know you're reading blogs that's for sure! And if you are reading then where do you buy your material? Bookstores? Bookfairs? Online?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Growing Up X

Growing up X is a book written by Malcolm X's daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz. I will be adding this to my must read list insha Allah. She will also be talking to Islam Online on December 20th. She is certainly following in her parents footsteps. I remember it took forever for the movie theatre in our city to get the Malcolm X movie and in the meantime I read the biography from the library. Although the movie is great as usual the book was even better.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kid Creations





The kids are at it again; creating all sorts of things. My 3rd son has taken up weaving with a loom I got him from the dollar store. He keeps making me pot holders and wants to go into business too! My 3rd daughter has been making brownies (find the recipe on the back of the Fry's Cocoa Can), painting and making drums from old cans. My 4th son is busy designing a boat made from old cardboard boxes.

New December Book Club Pick - Zeitoun

bSo after abandoning Rice Mother I wasn't sure which book to go with since my top picks hadn't come in yet. But today I picked up Zeitoun finally from the library. It looks brand new, I think they bought it because I requested it, masha Allah. So grab it if you can and start reading along with me insha Allah and we can discuss it before January's pick. Thanks for your patience.

Shukr coming to RIS

This time at RIS Shukr will have a few booths. Sadly I won't be going this year but for the rest of you be sure not to miss this chance. Insha Allah an interesting speaker will be there too for the first time, as far as I know; Tayibba Taylor who is the owner of Azizah magazine. Yusuf Islam(Cat Stevens) will be there too insha Allah but I'm kind of disappointed in where he's taking his music career. I'm really going to miss the bazaar in general but especially the book fair. Gotta love having Popeyes for lunch and dinner, lunch and dinner...hey there's no Popeyes where I live..give a woman a break, lol.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Raising the Roof -Chez Toit

This is an organization that is raising money for youth homelessness by selling toques. If you're Canadian you will know that toques are winter hats. The French words for the campaign are so catchy - Chez Toit, it would usually be Chez toi - your place but instead its toit meaning roof. Its cold out there and there's no reason anyone should be homeless in a rich country like Canada but its happening so I think its best to help out. You can purchase toques online, by cheque or at a Virgin Mobile store. Here's the link.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Muslim Home Decorating

Although a muslim's life is supposed to be very simple it is still halal to have a little decoration in your home. Pictures of animate life is forbidden though including photos on the wall. Quranic verses are also used as decorations but scholars say it is only halal if they are actually being used to remind the believer and not just being ignored. A picture of the kaaba (without the worshippers around it) in the direction of Makkah is a very useful reference point as well as visually lovely. Even a lovely library of Islamic books in their rich colours with gold coloured printing provide a beautiful backdrop. Duas for entering and exiting on the door are also a nice touch. Beautiful prayer mats and garments and quran holders also put the believer in a tranquil state of mind. Geometric designs also have always been popular in the islamic world as well. Happy decorating.

I Spy giveaway!



With the launch of my daughter's Etsy shop; Handmade Beginnings, I thought I'd offer a giveaway from her shop. The winner (Canada & US only) gets to choose any I spy bag from her shop and it will be mailed out to them. Contest closes December 22nd, 2009 (midnight tonight). Winner will be chosen randomly. No anonymous comments. Package to be sent the same day.

So here's the question : What is your child's favourite handmade toy that they own?Also please state which I Spy bag from her shop is your favourite.

Insha Allah your child will love this prize.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Favourite blog?

What is your favourite blog and why? My daughter says hers is Chasing Cheerios. I really like Happy Muslim Mama and was following it even before I ever had a blog. There are so many inspiring blogs out there. I am really enjoying the blog world; so much creativity and insight. So please share your favourite blog so we can enjoy your treasured pick.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Instructables

My daughter passed on a great site to me called Instructables. People share ideas with each other about how to make and build things. This is great for homeschooling. I saw great ideas for catapults for my third grader. Cake decorating and playhouse making are among tons of ideas from the mundane to the quirky to the outrageous. Get ideas, share ideas and become a member to get even more content.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I want to be a ...... when I grow up.


Someone suggested that I get my kids to learn about what they want to be when they grow up as a homeschooling activity. So I asked them all what they were interested in and then got stacks of books and movies about each thing. My second son who originally wanted to work for NASA now wants to save the orangutans in Sabah and is reading this. My third son is interested in electricity, heating and cooling and construction and has built a lighthouse that really lights up. My fourth son is also interested in construction and wants to build a mosque when he grows up. My third daughter is interested in massage therapy, carpentry and firefighting; previously she was fire chief for a day. My fourth daughter says she wants to be a teacher and a doctor. Insha Allah they will all do things to benefit the ummah.

"My First Cake"



Here is my 3rd daughter's first creation made with her Eid gift; Easy Bake decorating kit. I'm gonna have to fight for baking time now.

Homeschooling series

Islamonline has a new series about homeschooling. The first installment is here and addresses different methods. There is also a Q & A session here. Keep an eye out for more installments. Its nice to see homeschooling being addressed by a muslim website. The muslim homeschooling scene has been quite quiet recently especially compared to 10 yrs ago when it seemed red hot.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book memories 2009 and book dreams for 2010

Quick what Islamic books did you read this year? Did they impact your life? Which were your favourites? What is on your must read list for next year?

This year I read ( among others)

Enjoy Your Life I loved this book and would highly recommend it - life changing.

Beyond The Kitchen For anyone who works or intends to.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel Stories for teens but I loved them too.

Realities of Submission Really explained the whole salafi movement.

Release Your Inner Queen of Sheba For anyone who wants to be inspired and motivated.

For the future I am looking at these gems insha Allah.

Ameena's Ramadan Diary Should have gotten this earlier right?

The Size of a Mustard Seed Interesting islamic fiction.

Turning the Tide Introspective.

Stories from the Muslim World For kids.

Once Upon a Time For kids.

UFO's in the Quran Cuz I'm crazy like that!

Healing Body and Soul Wholistic.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Canadian Housewife -An Affectionate History

I just finished reading this. Its an historical account of housewives in Canada since the 1600's to the 1950's. After that we all know that women started to go to work in droves so I guess that's why it ends there except for me still plodding away in suburbia. They even mention housewives in suburbia too as it was the 1950's when suburbs were first created apparently thanks to the motorcar. This book is quite fascinating and although we know so much of this from our history class and from oral reports from our mothers and grandmothers there are still so many tidbits we never heard tell of. For example did you know that the first woman amongst the filles de roi to get married was a moor? Or did you know that divorce used to be illegal in Canada? If the guy was a jerk you were stuck with him for life! One can only be amazed by the fortitude of these women and what they went through. For most of the women their lives back in Europe were a lot better in every way so it was a great sacrifice for them to come here. But what begs to be asked is what about the lives of the native women? Were they not housewives as well during this time? Not according to Edna Jacques in "Housewives of Yellowknife" p81 which is quoted on page 197 of this book. "To be honest about it, there are no original housewives in this far land, unless you would like to call a native Indian woman at the door of her shack, a housewife." As a woman with native heritage (I'm ojibway) I'm appalled and insulted by this remark as well as the fact that native housewives aside from this quote are never mentioned in this book aside from an Inuit woman being told to give her baby formula. Perhaps there was no written work left behind like the european women had but wasn't there any observations made by europeans either in this regard except negative ones? I'd love to know for example how the Hurons kept their longhouses. Another shocking thing is the way women and children are portrayed in advertising and newspaper columns. On page 207 its says "Most husbands, nowadays, have stopped beating their wives, but what can be more agonizing to a sensitive soul than a man's boredom at meals?" This was in an ad for Heinz Soup! On page 211 Margaret Munnoch in the Toronto Globe and Mail complains about accent pillows for decorating and says " It is too small to fit behind your back, too large to stop the mouths of howling children, too hard to rest on and too bizarre to ignore." Its 2009 and I'd like to say "you've come a long way baby!" but I wonder if that's true? After reading this book though you'll never be able to complain about housekeeping again; we have it so much easier than they did. When was the last time you had to make your own bread, butter and clothing?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Book Club Pick

I'm still waiting to get a particular book but not having any luck so this month will be another non-islamic, non-muslim author book choice. However it is about Malaysia again. Its called The Rice Mother. The main character is Indian. Its set during the same time period as The Gift of Rain.
Insha Allah next time we will be reading about Malaysia from a malay/muslim point of view.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mothers of Many Share Their Secrets

The Autumn edition of Sisters magazine is out and one of the topics is Mothers of Many Share Their Secrets. I'm featured in this article. You will have to buy it to read it though. Can you guess which one is me? So I guess this makes me famous! Masha Allah.

Sweetness in the Belly

Today is the last day of November so I am assuming that you have all finished the November book club pick. If not then skip this post and come back when you are done, lol. My daughter is still wading through hers and having some interesting conversations with her classmates ie explaining to them what the Kaaba is and where Mecca (Makkah) is. First of all I'll start off with what I like about this book. I like that its about a white girl/woman going through an historically charged time in Ethiopia so that we see the world through her eyes and feel that we can relate more closely. Usually we have a tendency to shut out the world and see things as happening to those people over there. What I didn't like about the book was the fact that the story is based on the sufi practice of Islam rather than Sunni which can really leave non-muslims confused and at times disgusted. She does point this out though but overall I still think they would not really understand why these muslims are doing things that are so unislamic including the cultural things they are doing like chewing qat (drugs). I also didn't like that in a couple of spots there was some haram intimate moments mentioned. For a muslim its an interesting read to see how misguided some muslims are in the world but I wouldn't recommend this book to non-muslims or they would have a very poor estimation of the islamic religion.

Eid Miracle



This Eid instead of house hopping I got everyone to hop on over to my house. The miracle was that I actually cooked and that people liked it and that people asked for the recipe, rofl. So here is the recipe that made everyone ooohhhh an ahhhhh. Hope you like it. Once again its from Company's Coming page 132. The last time I made this was like 7 or 8 years ago. I guess I should dust off my cookbooks more often eh?

Update:

It doesn't seem to be showing up so I'll put the recipe here.

Curried Beef

(lots of saucy fruit and beef to serve over rice)

Beef stew meat,cubed 2/12 lbs
All purpose flour 1/3 cup
Cooking oil 1 tbsp
Can of crushed pineapple, drained 14 oz (398ml)
Can of tomato sauce 14 oz
Can of sliced peaches, with juice 14 oz
Medium onion,chopped
Raisins 1/2 cup
Garlic clove, minced (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
Beef bouillon powder 1 tbsp
Curry powder 2tsp
pepper 1/4 tsp
Ground cardamom 1/8 tsp
Ground coriander 1/8 tsp
Ground cumin 1/8 tsp

Coat beef with flour. Heat cooking oil in frying pan on medium-high. Brown beef until no longer pink. Turn into 3 1/2 quart (3.5 L) slow cooker.

Mix next 12 ingredients in large bowl. Stir. Pour over beef. Cover. Cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours. Makes 8 cups (2 L).

Friday, November 27, 2009

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak - Blessed Eid- Selamat Hari Raya Aidil-adha. May Allah accept your good deeds.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Customize your cheesecake!

My son is making cheesecakes (his choice) and the package only has a plain recipe so I went to the website and found this awesome cheesecake customizer option. Its so fun! You choose what you want from the options and then a recipe is generated that you can print out and follow! Show your kids they are sure to love it!

Malaysian No-Bake eid goodies

This eid insha Allah we will be making onde onde and agar agar (when something is said twice in malay it means its plural). Here is a recipe for onde onde.

Onde Onde (Tapioca Balls)

2 3/4 cups glutinous rice flour
1 1/2 tbsp tapioca flour
1/2 cup palm sugar
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp pandan extract
3/4 cup coconut

1. Blend or process flours and sugar until well combined. (keep the palm sugar separate for later)

2. Combine water and pandan extract in a bowl; mix well. Add flour mixture to pandan mixture to form a firm paste. Roll tablespoons of paste into balls. Insert small piece of palm sugar into the middle and close up the hole.

3. Cook paste balls in batches in boiling water about 5 minutes or until they float to the surface. Remove from water with slotted spoon, roll in coconut.

Makes about 30.
Best made on day of serving, cover at room temperature, do not microwave or freeze.

Tough Muslim Women

If anyone of you were following headlines a few years back you will recognize the name Monia Mazigh and know about the terrible ordeal she went through to secure her husband Maher Arar's release. She also wrote a book about it called Hope and Despair. There is another woman like her from the US and her story is unbelievable since her husband was arrested for being a good samaritan. The book is called Zeitun after his last name. You can read about it here. This is on my must read list.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

No bake goodies for Eid

Just two days away so we started making some no-bake goodies. First we made Rice Krispy Squares with chocolate rice krispies and halal marshmallows. Next we made the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups from Top Secret Recipes and finally the TV roll from Company's Coming.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Deen for little learners.

If you are homeschooling and live in GTA specifically Mississauga ( I can only wish and of course make dua) then you can join this homeschooling group for great islamic activities. If anyone reading this ends up going, please let us know how it went insha Allah. They also have arabic classes for women with the first two classes being free!

From Out-er Space

This a new book by a woman from Kelantan (my hubby's state in Malaysia) that I want to get my hands on (its only available in South East Asia) She lived overseas in Australia and the US so had a hard time adapting when she came back home. I can totally relate to not being able to adapt to Kelantan;I lived there for 4 months and it was more than I could bear. I think the only way to not experience major culture shock in Malaysia is to either be an expat or a tourist. Living like a local is no picnic. Since this book is not available here it makes me wonder how many wonderful books we are missing out on. Also makes me wonder if Kindle or Nook have a feature to download such books as these.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Homeschooling mamas need a break too!

Just read this lovely article about a homeschooling mom who makes her own bath products and then gets to chillax! I can't imagine having the time to make these concoctions but if you have time get cracking then get some soothing spa breaks.

My new toy

Sometimes the shoe gets dirty, ok all the time, but housekeeping is a chore. Right? So therefore it should be avoided. It takes a lot to motivate me but this H2O Mop is so much fun! Not only that but its good for the environment which equals good wife/mother and good viceregent rolled up in one! And its fun! Did I just say that? Hopefully the novelty won't wear off but at least my floors will be clean for Eid insha Allah. My floors can wait for another 10 months after that,can't they? What?

Eid Decorations

Just a reminder that my daughter's online shop carries handmade Eid Mubarak banners. She has also added an arabic numbers matching game which would make a great gift.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Writing on the Wall

Iqra is the first word revealed in the Quran meaning read or recite. So I am always appalled by the illiteracy problems in the muslim world. But what about right here in Canada? Well the majority can certainly read but what are they reading? According to the documentary Writing on the Wall by Indigo/Chapters there is a crisis here in our schools. The books are so out of date, worn out and non-existent that the children are suffering. It sounds unbelievable but if you watch this video you will see what is happening in our schools. When I grew up we had a lovely large library in our school with up to date books and a full time librarian and even had to go to library class once a week. These things are mostly a thing of the past with only 13% of schools having librarians now. My second daughter watched this documentary too and verified that indeed the library at her school had no up to date books especially science books. What on earth is going on in Canada? Where are our tax dollars going to? If you are upset click on the link, watch the documentary, then sign the petition and donate to the reading program or just simply donate to your child's school. I never thought I'd see the day when Canada would go so far downhill; healthcare is a mess,jobs are being outsourced,schools are going downhill and libraries are underfunded. Education is the light of the world, don't let the government snuff it out.

Cake decorating kids


This year I took a cake decorating course (Wilton's #1). The teacher let me bring my daughter with me and once I brought my son. My daughter took pictures so that I could refer to my lessons later and she also was my right hand woman, lol. She didn't really get to try anything though and because I don't want her to use my stuff, we got her this for the upcoming Eid. Last year her sister got her a matching hat,apron and baking gloves set and this year a fondant kit. All she needs now is an Easy Bake Oven.

Out of the mouths of babes


Last night we went to a pre-eid sale. There were clothes for sale, food, face painting and henna. So far, so halal but then there was also loud music playing with quetionable lyrics and in the corner a place to try your luck? Luck? My third daughter got up and turned down the music. I didn't tell her to she just got up and did it. I thought someone might get mad but the guy at the next table gave her the thumbs up. Looks like there were others feeling the same way. My second daughter didn't find any clothes she liked (none of them were really appropriate;too thin, too sparkly, too short) so we went to the mall. At one store where we amazingly found a ankle length skirt but for the awful price of $145, my fourth daughter decided to pass the time chatting with customers. She asked the woman what her name was and told her hers. Then the woman started talking to her about Christmas shopping but my daughter told her we don't do Christmas but Eid. So the lady started talking about how grown ups don't eat for Eid for a month but I kindly corrected her and said that was Ramadan and that this was a different Eid to celebrate the end of the pilgrimage to Makkah. Then she asked my daughter what we did to celebrate and so I reminded her to say we go to the mosque and then she said we go to the mosque and then we have an Eid party! Subannallah. Sometimes you think your kids aren't learning anything but then they turn around and change the haram with their hands and do dawah with a stranger (of course under my watchful gaze).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Conservation areas

Apparently homeschoolers often go to conservation areas. I love nature but for some reason I don't think I've ever been to a conservation area although I could be mistaken. All I can ever remember going to are provincial parks which are beautiful and I've been to many, alhumdullilah. But after watching this video it will be on my list of must do's and they even have educational programs. Besides a house of God is there anywhere you can feel such a spiritual high? Alhumdullilah the whole world has been made a masjid for us.

Have you gone to one with your homeschooling group or with your family? Which ones have you been to? Which ones did you love and would recommend?

KitchenAid

KitchenAid is offering a $75 mail- in rebate that I thought you would be interested in, until December 31st. I still have my eye on a mixer and with all the sales on now (Walmart and Zellers) plus this, it might just be the best time to get one. Imagine the ease of mixing dough and frosting! Ahh. With all the space it takes up too, it would be a good incentive to declutter my countertops or maybe my island or both!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Handmade Beginnings Etsy Shop -Grand Opening

Handmade Beginnings ( my daughter) has opened up her own shop on Etsy with the same name. Masha Allah. She will be making learning toys for children insha Allah. Her first item in the shop is an Eid Mubarak banner just in time to be ordered before Eid. The bright colours and block letters will really appeal to kids.
Check out her shop and be sure to tell all your friends!

Islamic activity pages

I found some more hajj activity pages here and some islamic pages here. If you live in Toronto then you can do these real activities here and here. Today is Dhul-Hijja and the kids will be learning their islamic months from a reproducible in their Eid Mubarak book by Susan Douglas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kindle in Canada

Apparently Kindle is finally available in Canada; I assumed it was already here. Don't know what a Kindle is? Check it out here. I'm not sure if I want one. I usually just get my books for free at the library. I'm willing to pay for islamic books that I can't find in the library or that I want as a reference but I can also lend those out to family members. Kindle doesn't allow lending to another Kindle. Also how much Islamic material is even available to be downloaded? And finally there seems to be no colour so goodbye to coffee table books, magazines and newspapers that are finally in colour. What's your take? Do you have one? Would you get one?

Update: Barnes and Noble is selling an ebook reader now and it has colour and touchscreen features. It called a Nook and you will be able to download books from B&N. Cost is competitive at $259.

Islamic video games.

Sorry folks but there isn't much out there. A great game that we have, is on sale right now though at SoundVision called Abu Saleh. I also found some online games here and here. If you have an Ipod you can download this arabic letters game. A learning game can be found here but its the first I've heard of it so can't say anything about it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Eid gifts for kids.

Besides Soundvision one can get kids gifts at many places. One new place I just discovered is this one. Masha Allah everything all under one roof. Other places I have ordered from in the past are Noorart and onlineislamicbooks and Multivisions. Why not get your child an islamic gift this eid?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ramen Girl

Last night I watched a movie which really touched me personally. Its about an American woman in Japan left by her boyfriend who then decides to become a ramen chef. Most sane people would just jump on the plane and go home but not her oh no! There is so much to learn from this movie about eastern vs western culture but also about the human spirit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Juggling Ball craft


Today we went to the library and the theme was juggling. First the kids heard a story and then got to make juggling balls. This is how they did it. First they poured 1/2 cup of rice (I would suggest sand instead as wasting food is just wrong!) through a funnel into a balloon. Then they made sure the rice was all in and squished down. Next they tied a knot close to the ball part. Then they cut off the excess. After that they took another balloon and cut both ends and were left with the middle part which they wrapped around the ball. A third balloon was then used the same way. Multiple colours adds to the fun. Finally they were given sheets that taught them how to juggle and colouring pages of jugglers and shown books about juggling that they could borrow. This could be a great activity for homeschoolers or anyone too for sure. Happy Juggling!

Hajj Season


The hajj season is almost upon us so I will be focusing my homeschooling on that and Eid-ul-Adha. A great social studies book for this is this one by Susan Douglas. It talks about hajj and eid in different countries with lots of activities to reinforce learning. Will also be reading the book The Three Muslim Festivals to them and getting them to watch this movie. After that I will take my teen daughter's advice to implement cooking into the curriculum and get my kids to help out with Eid dinner. Insha Allah. I just found a game to play too. Check it out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November Book Club Pick

Hopefully you have all finished reading The Gift of Rain and if so please feel free to comment on it in my former post. For this month I have chosen a book that my daughter has chosen from a group of books offered for her English class. Its called Sweetness in the Belly. This sounds like a very interesting book as it is about a non-muslim raised by muslims. Its also written by a Canadian author. My daughter has a pretty cool teacher; she also offered Three Cups of Tea.

Go to cookbooks.

What are your go to cookbooks? After years I've realized that I keep using the same ones over and over again. Besides the Malay one I mentioned before and Top Secret Recipes I really love cookbooks by Margo Oliver. As a child she used to have a series in the Weekend magazine that used to come with our newspaper. My mother used to make her New Brunswick bread recipe which was like smelling heaven when you opened the door after coming home from school. Another great cookbook author is Jean Pare and her series Company's Coming. She has a new cookbook just out called Inviting Asian Flavours which features Malaysia and Vietnam among other countries. Both of these women are Canadian which is kind of rare in the cookbook world.MARGO OLIVER'S WEEKEND MAGAZINE MENU COOKBOOK

Eid Baking Decorations

More demands! My 4th daughter has asked me to make eid cupcakes. Did you know that there are companies out there that sell decorations for your cupcakes? I don't mean frosting either. If you want to make things a little more festive check this out and this. For other party stuff check out Soundvision. If you want to save some money I'm sure these things could be made at home on your printer then just coloured and stuck on toothpicks.

What Muslim Women want ...for Eid.

I came across this article by a man no less explaining what Muslim women want for gifts. I read through the list and it seems the guy really gets it! So if there are any men out there reading this then take some notes. For the women be sure to forward this to dear hubby. As for me just check out my post on what to get the baker on your list. ;)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Eid- The way it should be!

Insha Allah Eid will be on November 27th this year..Eid-ul-Adha that is or maybe not...gotta wait for the moon that starts the Hajj season..the Islamic month of Dhul-hijja. When I first became muslim Eid was pretty lonely with just the family. Some years I invited other converts I knew. When I moved to another place I found that no one was interested in inviting or being invited and it felt very sad. Now that two of my kids are grownup its like they are the guests and they come and it feels festive. No one should be alone on Eid. If you know someone with no muslim family members or family members only overseas please invite them. Why? Because Eid should be like this!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Halal Candy

Its hard when you convert and find out how many things have pork in them, including candy especially if you are just a kid at heart and if you have kids. Its goodbye skittles (I got to eat some at the ISNA conference though and RIS conference), some jujubes, marshmallow cones and candies of all kinds. The hard part is you remember how these taste unlike kids who grew up in Islam unless they have those parents who never bother to read ingredients like the ones who keep trying to give my kids tootsie pops! So its nice to find places to buy halal candies. One place of course is the halal meat/grocery store but be careful sometimes even they might have things that haven't been checked over. Another place is oriental stores which often have Malaysian and Indonesian halal candy. And online there is this new place called The Souq which also sells hijabs and pins. Insha Allah you can still have time to stock up for Eid.

The Story of Stuff

A new art store has opened up here and yes its big news because we've never had one here before. I was talking to the owner about how I like handmade stuff because its more lasting and unique too. For example I just bought a purse and within days the zipper was broken! I just want to buy something and have it for years and just forget about it. I could care less if its in style just as long as I like it and it lasts. So then last night dh tells me hey come and watch this and I'm thinking you are preaching to the choir! My mother taught me all these things since we were small;she was way ahead of her time. This is our role in life; we promised to be good stewards/viceregents. And this ties in nicely with my St.Jacob's post;handmade vs Walmart. I think I should be getting this purse; its recyled and long lasting. Love that her shop is called Rumah Kampung; malay for Village House.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Big muslim families?

According to rumours muslims are having so many kids that they are going to outstrip everyone else. Really? Can someone please tell me where these so-called big families are? Every blog I come across that talks about big families is Christian! Most muslims I've come across limit their kids to 2 or 3 kids. If you do have more they chastise you. Yet these rumours linger. Have you ever seen a blog about big muslim families? If you have please direct me to it. I expect to be disappointed. If you have ever wondered what its like to live in a big family then read this, its from a Christian family but its so true that I couldn't stop laughing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Top Secret Recipes


I have the book and there is also a site you can go to with even more recipes. I have made the Mrs. Fields recipe and my kids too so many times the page is covered in dough splatters. I also make the Orange Julius recipe and yesterday my daughter made Reese's Peanut butter cups. My daughter forgot the cupcake holders but they still turned out fine. These were yumalish! These would be great for Eid! (why do I keep adding to my eid list?) Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Malay cooking

Cooking is not my favourite thing to do but when I do, I like to make things simple. One of my favourite things to make is rendang. This is eaten in Malaysia but is really considered to be Indonesian. I love to use Asian Home Gourmet spice packets to make this. Along with this I make nasi lemak (creamy rice) found in the Easy Malaysian Style cookery cookbook. They have other asian lines as well as Indonesian such as Vietnamese. If you're feeling adventurous try it out. Oh and be sure to add sliced cucumbers; they help with the heat. A new kid on the block right here in Ontario and hailing from hubby's country are Wau Inc. I haven't tried out their products yet but I have met the owners. I will put it on the top of my list of must buys when I am back in the area. I personally love satay with rice cubes and peanut sauce myself so can't wait to try their's out. I also like onde onde which I sometimes make for Eid.

Canadian Muslim Fashion Stores

Besides Shukr there are a few other muslim stores online in Canada. I don't shop from them because they rarely to never are baby friendly. But those of you who are interested I thought I would post them. In Quebec there is n-ti who also have a real store and in Ontario there is anja. Anja does have one nursing abaya here. Both of these companies have shown their wares at RIS. A third online store is CanadianMuslim. I'm not so impressed with the 3rd one, the clothes are too tight and the website really needs to be cleaned up. There are 2 others that I know of but they haven't updated their websites in years although they are still in business. If you know of any others, please share the links here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yogabbagabba and ya kabah kabah

Cake requests are already coming in from my kids for eid. My 4th daugher who asked me for the Dora cake last time has asked me for a yogabbagabba (plex) cake. Her older sister gave her a plex for eid last time hence the interest. Since it will be eid-ul-adha though I would also like to make a kabah cake. I'm thinking a layered cake using square pans. Gonna have to get that black Wilton's dye though for sure. My older kids have asked for a pokemon cake which actually has a pan so that makes things easier. And there is also this homemade pokeball one.

The Gift of Rain

Yesterday my book choice for the book club was due so I hurried to finish it. Insha Allah you have all finished it too. I chose this book because it is about Malaysia; the homeland of my spouse. The author is chinese and the main character is half Chinese and half British. The story takes place mostly during the second world war. Overall I like the writing style of the author but I did find the story a little dragged out. I learned a lot about the Japanese occupation in Malaysia which was of interest to me since my in-laws lived through this time. Aikido was also a big part of this story and I felt like I had martial arts on the brain all the time due to this book and my kids Tae Kwon Do lessons. Penang Island is the exact location for most of the story and its a place I haven't been to in Malaysia so the description was also very enlightening. Although this story takes place in Malaya (Malaysia pre-Indepence) the emphasis is mostly on Chinese,British and Japanese people. This feels odd because the majority of people has always been the Malays. They don't seem to figure at all in the story though and seem more like wallpaper. I know that they weren't part of the main story but it would have been nice to see a little malay culture or one malay character in the book besides the use of the word lah and a few malay words like makan and a few malay dishes. Next time I read a book about Malaysia I hope to find better malay characters and references. This was a very dark story about a very dark period of time but I liked the conclusion at the end about the meaning of life; it sounded pretty islamic even though it was reached through a combination of Buddhist and Christian theology.

Eid gifts for the baker on your list.

I've always wanted a stand up mixer and after years of going through hand held ones which have fizzled out accompanied by the stench of motor burnout I have longed for one even more. A double oven is also a dream of mine. You can bake a cake in one oven and supper in the other ie lasagna. On etsy I also found a lot of great items that any baking lover would sure to show gratefulness. Check out these finds here,here, here and here. This is also a great find from the Cake Lady. And if you've ever thought of starting a baking group then read this article for inspiration. Imagine, baking as dawah, who knew?

English Roots

Well I'm not English but it is my mother tongue so that is the language my kids speak and in which I'm homeschooling. My father tongue though is French and until homeschooling my kids were going to French school. They are bilingual and for French I use Instant Immersion French Deluxe which has "advanced speech recognition and analysis features". I actually bought this for myself as my parents didn't teach me french but it is so handy for my kids to use too. But I digress. Back to English and its roots. On another blog I found these flash cards for learning the Greek and Latin roots of English words. We also have lots of words from Arabic so I searched and came across this interesting book. But aside from these roots English is made up of so many languages and it is what drives immigrants mad when they have to learn the spelling of them. Scientifically speaking the learning of these roots is a phenomenal boost to the dissecting of words. I will consider getting these as an enrichment activity later in the year when they have covered most of the curriculum and are starting to get bored.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Culture Clash

Socializing with female friends has different parameters in different cultures much to my chagrin. The canadian way is free spirited; stick hubby with the kids in the evening and take off for a coffee or whatever. The immigrant muslim way is get together in the day with your kids at their house. Okay that is what we would call a playdate not a fun time for friends. But they don't see it that way. Apparently when thier husband is home he needs their full attention and there is no gallivanting around with friends. Not only is this not my culture but I also homeschool so it makes no sense. How about weekends? Looks like those are only for your husband too! So you would think why not just find a convert who agrees with me. I can't seem to find any around me for one and a lot of them have been convinced by their hubbies that they should be stuck at home when they are there. I understand spending quality time with your hubby but where do friends fit in? Oh yeah between 10 and 11 am, weekdays only.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Skantily Dressed

Now muslims can be skantily dressed, not to be confused with scantily dressed or skankily dressed! If a skirt crossed with shorts is a skort then a skirt crossed with pants is a skant right? If you love the look of a skirt but want the ease of pants then check out shukr's new jeans and pants here. Yes I love shukr!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vegan face and body products

Since we want to avoid pork in our products and non-zabihah meat, its nice to find vegan products. Lush has a lot but be sure to check which ones. This Ontario company with 3 locations and online ordering has a nice selection as well. With Eid coming up these would make for lovely gifts too.

Would you convert for a toaster?

You just have to see this video lol. Just goes to prove its not that easy to get people to convert, lol. And by the way I am still waiting for my toaster!

American Muslim Mom

Just found this site today and it looks awesome with so many topics. I was especially surprised to see my daughter's website mentioned here. Just scroll down to the ramadan info and you will see them recommending her site for the ramadan advent calendar. They are also advertising a conference about marketing to the huge muslim community in the US. Some of the posts are a little old and the book section has no mention of adult books so you'll just have to keep coming here to find out about new and exciting titles! :) Now if someone would just start a Canadian Muslim Mom website!

Note: for some reason the link isn't working...here it is http://americanmuslimmom.com/category/islamic-studies-kids

Cold Weather Picks

With fall now here you may be thinking of some warmer choices for clothing. Shukr has some nice baby friendly choices like this poncho and this long sweater and this jilbab. The sweater is almost running out though. Insha Allah they will get more and hopefully in all the colours that the US is offering. Al-Hannah also has a long sweater, but it doesn't look as warm. What have you been wearing with this chill in the air? I still have a jean hooded jilbab I ordered from Shukr 6 yrs ago. Still love it! Masha Allah.

Monday, October 26, 2009

They're blinding me with SCIENCE!


My son is studying cells and the use of microscopes. Today I got him to draw and label all the parts of the cell; animal and plant. I also found this for him. My other son rushed along and finished both biodiversity and flight and started his electricity unit today. He used his electricity kit to turn on a light switch, buzzer and twirl a windmill. My daughter was learning about joints and my son in grade 3 was continuing his learning of plants. Pollination was the topic for today and this website was a great help. A good project for this can be found here. Now I have been inspired to take a trip here. I wish I had learned more about science when I was young. I always shunned it but becoming muslim really piqued my interest and homeschooling reinforces that.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Letting go of stuff.

Since my house is small and I can't maximize the space any more I've decided to pare down. Oh it is hard. I have to let go of kids clothes that I've kept over the years because there is too much of them. Some of them are now out of style, some of them are not to the liking of the new owner and some are older than the newer ones that have been given to us. No kid can wear this much clothes after all so I will find them a better home. I have gone through one daughter's clothes but I need to go through more. I've gone through my clothes as well. Today I went through my cookbooks. Oh yes I have those even though I detest cooking. Did you ever have something because you think that one day you will morph into that kind of person? Don't do it! I kept all the baking ones of course or most of them but the cooking stuff just had to go. I can't keep telling myself that one day I will make those recipes but if I really need a recipe I am sure I can find it on the net and just print it out. I'm going to have to look through my kitchen stuff too and see what can go but that's for another day. Its not that its physically hard but its emotionally hard to let go of the past and all those memories and hard to let go of the possible future that never seems to materialize.

Helium

When I hear the word helium I think baloon. How about you? But recently I found out from my second daughter that Helium is a site kind of like youtube where instead of uploading videos you write articles and get paid for them. There are actually writing assignments for you to choose from. If you want to debate that's available too. If contests are your thing, you can enter those as well. Many topics are available including religion. Here is the link to Islam. So what colour is your balloon?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Storage solutions?

When you live in a shoe with so many kids you don't know what to do,things can get a little cramped! So off I went to a free organizing seminar. We got some coupons and a handout with tips first of all,then we watched a slide show with more tips and some before and after photos. I didn't feel like I had learned very much since I noticed that I was already implementing her advice. At the end there was a draw and lo and behold I was the winner of this. I decided to talk to her personally and she said I could either get another shed,rent storage ($100 a month..so not happening) or build an addition. So I'm no further ahead except for my lovely parting gift masha Allah.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grandma

In the fall an old woman's fancy turns to....baking. I woke up this morning with a craving for molasses cookies. My favourite brand is Grandma molasses and its all good because yes I am a grandma. Its also what I grew up with. I was going to just buy store bought cookies but when I read the ingredients,well forget it..they had fake sugar; sorbitol. I don't do fake. Butter never margarine, sugar never aspartame etc..just real ingredients for this old woman. I also have oatmeal on the mind. Not the kind you eat for breakfast all hot and mushy, no sirree but the type you eat cold and use for baking. So I think I'll round myself up some molasses oatmeal cookies and call it a day. A nice, clear, crisp fall day.

PS. I brought some over to a neighbour I'd never met before.

Old Woman in the Shoe activities

You knew it was coming right? Here is a craft for a magnet. And here is a cake design. And here is a colouring page. Be sure to give the mother a hijab ok? ;)

Six degrees of separation?

Is it just me or does anyone else notice that in Canada every muslim is connected in some way to every other muslim? I guess its because there are so few of us but it seems like instead of 6 degrees its more like 2 or 3. I cannot believe how many of my friends have mutual friends even though we don't live anywhere near each other. This happens so often I just feel like bursting out laughing. I guess when the muslim community grows much larger, people will never feel this connected again. We are living in a unique period in history, in the growth of ummah here in North America. Generations from now they will never know the sweetness of this type of real social networking. And then of course there is the whole idea of being conscripted soldiers (kindred spirits) as per the hadith. Quadr Allah. Subhanallah.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Flag Bearers

We are always hearing about how muslim women are the flag bearers of the religion considering that we wear hijab. But did you ever consider how the hijab also attracts other muslims and identifies us? Take this example. One day we went to the gas station and dh and another guy saw one another but nothing really happened. Then I got out of the car and the guy got that aha look on his face and gave dh salaam. Without me there neither one knew the other was muslim. Then there are the women who don't wear hijab and you never know they are muslim either but they see you wearing it and a conversation ensues and maybe you have a new friend. Funny that there are unknown benefits to Islamic requirements that we didn't forsee when we converted. Think of all the salaams we would have missed had we not covered and all the muslims we wouldn't have met.

Etsy sisters

Have you ever checked out Etsy? Its a place to buy handmade goods. I wanted to see what our sisters were selling and came across this. Pretty cool eh? And you can also find hijabs, eid cards, jewelery, paintings, buttons, t-shirts etc. Its nice to find something a little unique in this day and age. What's your favourite shop? Have you found anything amazing there or on similar sites? Share your gems with us today! And not to leave out our non-muslim sisters, take a gander at some of these awesome finds here, here, here and here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Book Club

Currenlty I belong to the book club at my library but I thought it would be fun to start a book club here on my blog. I wanted to start off with Islamic books but right now I have exhausted my collection. The book I have just started is called The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (a Malaysian). I saw this book on a friend's facebook account (before I left) and decided to give it a try. So please read along with me and we will discuss it insha Allah together in a few weeks. Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bonnets and Buggies


Last weekend we went to St. Jacob's. We planned it even before we realized it was part of the grade 3 curriculum social studies unit about settlements in upper Canada (the previous name of Ontario). St. Jacob's is a mennonite village. Arrriving late we missed a lot of attractions unfortunately but we had previously paid someone a condolence visit so that was the priority. We were able to see the museum to learn the history of the mennonites here and we did get to see them on the streets in their horse and buggies. At the bakery we saw mennonite women working. Although there are also mennonite women in our little town too, I've never seen them working at a store before. One of my friends has just had a baby so I thought I'd get her a handmade gift. I checked out the baby quilts but yikes for $100 I just couldn't afford that. Not to say that they weren't worth every penny considering all the work that went into them but I think we are so used to Walmart sweatshop prices that realistic prices floor us. There were also baby bonnets and those were for $20. I was thinking that if I gave it to her she would assume that it was a $3 bonnet from Walmart and wonder at my lack of generosity so I passed up on it. But they were so cute. Insha Allah we will go back in the spring so we can do the trip justice this time. At least though we did pretty much cover the mennonite settlement in upper Canada requirement.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hey I want that 'Jilbab' !

The other day I saw a commercial that caught my eye because the cartoon character was wearing an awesome 'jilbab'. Of course my kids had to point out to me that it was not a jilbab and that it was a male character on a nintendo game who was wearing it. But I don't care; I want it! Tell me what you think. Here it is.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Magazine On the Block

Some of you may know that Muslim Girl magazine disappeared last year. I wasn't entirely thrilled with that magazine anyway but there were some good things about it. It was also the only muslim magazine I have ever seen sold at corner stores right here in Canada. I remember when the fall issue was about to come and I expected it to be called the Ramadan issue but instead they said it would be the election issue. Are you kidding me? After that they had some kind of publishing problem. But now there is a new magazine out. I'm not sure who's putting it out but its called Muslimette. Check it out! I haven't read it but it looks promising. If you get it let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Socialization factor

Everybody knows that the first thing people point out when you say you are homeschooling is how are your kids going to learn to socialize. But I am taking care of that; I've signed them up for gymnastics and oh joy, oh bliss Tae Kwon Do right here in this little town! Also I've joined two homeschooling groups in the area so we can participate in field trips and activities. The kids had their first Tae Kwon Do lesson last night. Next week they will get their uniforms which will be white instead of black like their former Kung Fu uniforms. The belts are different too as some levels have stripes. Tonight will be gymnastics and lucky for us this is the first year they will be having kindergym and they have brand new equipment too. On top of this the kids will continue to take arabic and Islamic history classes at a school in which they get to play in the gym during the break.
Masha Allah, alhumdullilah for everything.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saturated

Seems the world has gone so far the other way and things have become so extreme that people are waking up and saying enough! On Oct 11th catch the documentary or watch it later online.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mommy friendly clothes

Here is another company (but sadly in UK) that provides maternity and nursing abayas; something really hard to find. If you know of any North American links please share.

1000 visits

Masha Allah my blog has had 1000 visits. Sure I know some of them were from me (why do they count me anyway?, lol) So its that time of the year again. Time to pack up the summer clothes and take out the winter ones. Got that done yesterday. Hubby told me to stop having 4 seasons which of course means hey if you just would have stayed in Malaysia then you wouldn't have to be doing this. What else is on my mind? Well I'm worried about that whole socialization and physical activity thing for my kids. Yesterday I got Wii Fit Plus which has kung-fu on it since there are no martial arts classes here. But hey my kids need friends and real exercise. I'm on the hunt for a solution. This town has very limited choices. My daughter did go skating yesterday though which is good. Insha Allah I will be able to solve this problem as well.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Net full of homeschool supplies.

Well to tell you the truth as of yesterday I really felt like giving up. Today though alhumdullilah I netted some good finds. From an educational toy store I got an electricity kit for my sixth grader and a magnet set for my third grader. At a teacher's store I got 4 books, two from S & S, one from Nelson and one from Geowat Innovative Teacher Publishing. Finally I went to Toys'r'us and found the Complete Canadian Curriculum series (they don't have grade 8 though). I also got magnetic letters and numbers there for my kindergartener and a microscope for my eighth grader. Best of all Nelson and CCC both have answer keys. I think now I can finally make it through those rough seas insha Allah.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sea legs.

I guess when we make a sea change we have to find our sea legs. I am really wobbling through this deja vu experience called homeschooling. Yes I did it 10 yrs ago but with only 3 kids and two toddlers playing around. This time there are 5 kids (those two toddlers are now in grade 8 and grade 6) to teach and a toddler and a newborn. I decided to buy an easel to keep the SK and preschooler occupied while I teach the others. Otherwise I've been teaching the SK one how to write letters and her name by writing with markers on a wipe off book I got from Avon. I highly recommend it. It also comes with books for numbers, colours and shapes and cd with songs about these topics. Haven't played it yet and wonder what sorts of instruments might be used. As for the bigger kids its been tough as I realize I have missing parts of the curriculum and have had to order all sorts of books from the library but they are not textbooks or workbooks but more like the types of books you borrow to do a project. So I am not really satisfied with this cookie cutter option. Also I must hunt down a microscope for grade 8 science. He has to learn about cells. I checked Walmart's kids section but nothing there. I intend to check The Source. On top of all this I have the added problem of having no answer keys for the textbooks and workbooks I have. I guess I could order them but that would cost a pretty penny. The sea is very rough now but I hope I can get over this patch and experience some smooth sailing. Any advice from homeschoolers out there? I'm all ears. Oh and if you are wondering what happened to all my old homeschooling stuff, well most of it I sold and the rest is stuck in Malaysia.

Friday, September 25, 2009

K2

As an accompaniment to 3 Cups of Tea I got the book K2 (natural wonders). Today I read it out loud and got the kids to answer the true and false, short and multiple questions in the back. My kids in grade 6 and 8 did really well with this but it was a struggle for the grade 3 and 5 ones. For their homework assignment I'm getting them to each do a different project; the kheer recipe in the book, a tourism ad, a picture of the mountain's vegetation and an essay about interesting historical facts of your choice. Insha Allah this shall be interesting. Next week we will begin with the real Ontario curriculum insha Allah.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First Day of Homeschool

So technically this is our first day of homeschool although the kids have done a few activities these last few weeks which were learning opportunities. I read the book 3 Cups of Tea; young readers edition out loud and then got them to each answer on paper the 6 questions from the back. I didn't have time to read the interview with Amira though as the book was due today. I also got the kids to look up the different places mentioned in the book in their Atlas. For the final activity I got them to choose someone to write to about the book, the choices were the author himself, a friend, the principal or the newspaper. 3 of them chose friends and one chose the author. I was impressed with their answer to number 6 about what the book meant to them personally; what lessons they had learned. There are a few mistakes in this book; cultural things that the author thinks are really islamic like the bride price but overall the book is a great motivational book and a good example of helping others without having to impose one's ideology.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Open House Hopping

This Eid after the prayers where we had a lovely khutbah, snacks and chocolate for the kids we travelled to visit my daughter. We were supposed to just go to her house but the night before we were invited to 2 open houses so we went. The first one was a Malay one and the second was a Pakistani-Turkish one. Then we went to my daughter's and exchanged gifts. At the first open house we were invited to a third open house for today which was a Malay home again. So in 24 hours we were at 4 different homes. What an eid! So different from our usual quiet family get-togethers. Masha Allah the GTA rocks islamically!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eid Mubarak - New Dates and Old Friends

Looks like its Eid tomorrow. This last day of Ramadan at one halal meat store, I was reconnected to an old friend who was instrumental in my conversion, who I haven't seen in years. In another halal meat store I got to try fresh dates for the first time in my life. Masha Allah they taste better than the dried ones. So happy Eid and here's to both keeping the old and the new in our lives!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Eid Song

If you're not excited for Eid yet then listen to this song..the kids will love it.

Eid Baking


Today insha Allah is baking day in anticipation of eid (will it be Sunday, will it be Monday?). My daughter will be making her truffles again (see iftar post for pic), my other daughter will be making banana bread with chocolate chips from the Margo Oliver cookbook. Masha Allah. I'll be making two recipes from the latest Azizah Magazine; the Marzipan Apple Cookies and the Snow Heart Cookies plus a Dora cake as promised to my 5 yr old daughter. What's in your oven?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Eid Dress



My daughter made me my Eid Dress from this pattern shown. I like it because its flowy and baby friendly too; the top is elasticized. Thanks honey! Check out her blog!

Once in a blue moon -ramadan art.


For our ramadan art project I got the kids to make crescent moon pillows. I bought the material and stuffing from FabricLand and got the idea from the book I mentioned previously. I picked this out because it gave the kids the chance to do some handsewing. Afterwards they decided to go over it with our little Barbie sewing machine. They also sewed thier initials into it.

Making a change

I don't know about your mosque but ours has no change table. Not only that but there is really no room for one in the washroom or anywhere. Our mosque doesn't have a nursery either. I suggested one but no one agreed with me. So whenever I go to the mosque I have to resort to changing the kids in the car. I mean you can't do it in the prayer area or the on the tables where people are eating can you? So I got an idea..I should invent a portable change table, lol. But as with all my great ideas, someone has already thought of it, made it and marketed it. So here it is! Great to be used for our travels too where there are bathrooms with no change tables or any other place we find ourselves. What family friendly features does your mosque have?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ramadan dawah booth.

This is my second year to do a dawah booth during Ramadan. No I didn't do it at the mall or any huge public thoroughfare but in my front yard. I was a one woman show. Its a pretty simple affair; a big sign and a basket full of pamphlets and booklets and qurans. Lots of people passed by and some even waved but no one stopped except my daughter's little friend who took one pamphlet, alhumdullilah. No one but Allah knows the power of one little pamphet; who will see it, who will read it, how many times it will be passed on. Not to mention the number of people who saw my Happy Ramadan sign and realized that Ramadan was taking place. Last year when I did the booth one neighbour took a quran and one later told my son who is her paperboy that she wanted to stop but didn't have time so I made her a bundle of materials. Its a simple act and no one can complain that we disturbed them by knocking on their door.

My daughter's Aqiqah cake.