Please change your links NOW please:
just a friendly reminder :)
In times of loss
Shoo Akhbarik (what's up)
The Blessings around me
Thoughts on Islam
The Imam's Daughter
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Saturday, December 2, 2006
Moving to Wordpress!
Topic: Shoo Akhbarik (what's up)
I am so excited! I am in the process of moving to wordpress.
Unfortunately, there are no tools yet made to transfer tripod blogs to wordpress so i will have to do it all by hand. It will be very painful and long. But it has to be done because i just cannot stand the ads at this site anymore. This latest one with sound just pushed me over the edge. People are having trouble with this site and i as well am having problems with it.
With myMinaret site powered by wordpress, i have several 'mosque' themed styles to choose from, which fit with my title, (though there are many other themes also, very beautiful ones might i add) in addition to the following features:
- Categories (very important in order to have a truly useful and beneficial blog)
- Password Protected posts (can't wait to use this feature!)
- Can enable or disable comments for each post
- a 'pages' feature which lets you put non-blog content on your site. I will use this to transfer my Hajj Journal, Mother's Group, & Mother's Prayer Manual pages to my blog. So in a sense my website and blog will combine to one site and you won't have to go back and forth to find something. And All my links can be in one place instead of two.
- see the other features here: http://myminaret.com/features/
Slowly but surely, i will be moving my links, posts, and website pages to the new blog. Please update your bookmarks. This blog is now closed, but will remain up until i finish moving everything and everyone gets the new link. New posts will be up on the new site. I apologize to my dear readers for the annoying ads and other problems you have encountered on my site.
Maliha of the Lightness of Being Blog said it beautifully in her old blog, and echoes my same sentiments, subhanAllah, in a poem she wrote to explain her blog move:
.forever in flight.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Children's Medical Reference Book
Topic: Child Rearing
By Janet Zand, N.D., L.Ac., Robert Rountree, M.D., & Rachel Walton, MSN, CRNP
A medical doctor, a registered nurse, and a naturopathic physician all together wrote this book!
It is a practical A-to-Z reference to Natural and Conventional treatments for Infants & Children. (and i would say pregnant women as well - there is a section on healthy pregnancy and what herbs can be used during pregancy as well as newborn care).
Their philosophy is that all of the various types of health disciplines like herbal medicine, homeopathy, diet, nutrition supplements, and acupressure, and including modern medicine, can be used, even together, to help the child when they are sick. This is called Complementary Medicine.
The authors state: "Some of the most important decisions parents have to make in caring for their children concern health care. Yet often thay are not aware of the full range of choices available to them. The goal of this book is to offer you information on a variety of approaches that will help you create vibrant good health for your child. The authors believe in an integrated approach to health care that considers all treatment possibilities and draws on what works. Sometimes this will be an herb, sometimes an antibiotic, sometimes both. We believe it is just as significant that a particular therapy has been used effectively for hundreds or thousands of years as it is that a scientific paper substantiates a particular approach. Taking advantage of one form of knowledge does not necessarily preclude using another."
The first part of the book details the various elements of health care, the history of it, and description of each type of treatment, benefits and drawbacks.
Part two is A to Z reference guide. For each condition, let's say Fever, it has a very detailed description of it. I was impressed with all the information and i learned several things i didn't know before.
Then it lists:
1- Conventional Treatment - this refers to modern medicine: tylenol, ibuprofen usage, side effects, etc.
2- Dietary Guidelines - what the child can eat/drink while he has a fever (water, soup, diluted fruit juice)
3- Nutritional Supplements - the vitamins that would be helpful (C)
4- Herbal Treatment - the herbal remedies, such as chamomile, lemon balm, peppermint, ginger, (and that a nursing mother could drink these teas and it would pass to the baby) garlic, wrapping the child's feet with a cloth that was soaked in lemon juice to bring down the fever.
5- Homeopathy - for each kind of fever there is a suggestion on homeopathic elixers and how to give them. these are available in natural health stores but the common ones can now be found in pharmacies like the teething, coughing ones etc.
6- Acupressure - it tells you the locations in the body that can be massaged to effect the particular area in the body that is sick. For fever it is the left hand and left foot.
7- General Recommendations - other info, like dressing the child in cool pajamas under a light sheet, sponging child with warm water or a tepid herbal bath (pour several capfuls of fever-reducing tea of the ones mentioned above and chamomile tea). not to add rubbing alcohol to the bath water, not to sponge with cold water (this i didn't know!), not to give a bath with cold water and why.
8- Prevention - things you can do to prevent it from occurring. (not much when it comes to fever but other conditions could be prevented)
So please, go and get this book! We need to get out of our brainwashing by the medical industry and use the natural remedies that people have been using since the beginning of time and not just rely on drugs completely, though they are important too ofcourse, but it's not the only solution, nor the best solution in most cases, when our kids are sick. But i'm so excited that there's finally a book that is all-inclusive to help us decide what is the best thing to do in each case.
This book also opened my eyes to Naturopathic medicine & Complementary Medicine. The homeopathy was stuck in my mind and i didn't realize there are other, more inclusive disciplines out there. My voyage of self-discovery through reading, rather than jump into formal study and courses, is going slowly but surely and inshaAllah will lead me to the right path of study. But all us mothers need to be 'doctors' in a sense, for the sake of our children and families. So let's be informed ones!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Q's: Teaching an active child & My satellite
I received two questions for my homeschooling entry below that i'd like to share with everyone incase others are wondering the same thing but are too shy or busy to ask.
Sr. Khalila asked me in comments about how to teach an active child that likes to play a lot. I responded with the following:
1- choose the right time (if you see my HSing schedule, i start at 9:30 after they have their free play time).
2- make it a daily lesson(s) at the same time every day (i take friday/sat/sun off so for me just mon-thurs) if you choose every other day it might be more confusing for the child.
3- Give a clean-up warning of 5 minutes about 10 minutes before the lesson time. Then help them put away all the toys. This acts as a transition activity that they can associate with lesson time. Small children need this kind of warning and transition because they can't tell time.
4- persistance, don't give up, it takes several weeks. If you give up they won't get the message. Keep telling yourself you are doing everything right but it takes time. Be confident and firm in voice.
5 - You have to make the lesson appealing. Connect the lesson to their everyday lives. Use simple words. Use a 'fun' tone of voice. Sometimes you can try to make it into a story or song. If you can follow the lesson with a relevant worksheet/coloring page/or activity then they will absorb it more. Try to use all their senses. You have to be really really creative and think hard. At this age it's best to learn by playing, easy worksheets in large fonts, arts and crafts, flashcards, songs, stories, etc.
6- patience when it just doesn't work sometimes. I find that mondays they are out of the routine and give me a hard time to start the lessons but the other days they are fine. Sometimes i just give in and let them play while i say the lesson anyways. Occasionally they will look at me and i'll see that they are listening, especially when i say something interesting that is easy for them to understand. Sometimes i get them to stop playing by taking them to the computer and letting them listen to Qur'an or use the Arabic learning software i have.
7- Even when you give up, don't. Like they say, if you can't beat them, join them. So join them in their play. There are many lessons than can be taught through play. All toys have colors, shapes, things to count, names of the objects where you can try to sound out the letters, and sometimes even stories from the Qur'an and other lessons about God as the Creator. You can even use this kind of play as an activity for certain lessons when you don't have a worksheet prepared or feel like the kids need a change. So instead of a worksheet on circles and squares, i will take out the shape sorting toy i have and give them turns sorting the shapes and naming them and noting the colors, how many squares etc. And ask them what objects around them are square shaped.
The other question i got by email was about my satellite system. I got it from Sadoun.com with the Free-to-Air receiver. So i get all the free channels. I just paid for the satellite (motorized) and receiver and the installation. No monthly fees. There are hundreds of channels of countries all over the world. I get the following Arabic channels: Jordan,, Qatar, , , Morrocco, , , , , Tunis, , , Palestine, Al-Jazeera English, . I often have several cartoons to choose from in the morning, which is good because not all cartoons are suitable for small children.
Some families get dish network but my friends tell me that currently there are no arabic cartoons on it that they know of. But if you know otherwise let me know because most of my friends have dish network and they would be interested in knowing.
If you have the Free-to-Air satellite and you'd like to know the channels that have cartoons email me. Off the top of my head i think currently it's Qatar, Syria, Jordan. Every few months the cartoons change, the number of channels with cartoons change, cartoon times change, etc.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Sunshine on a Rainy Day
Mood: hug me
I just wanted to tell all the mothers out there one thing: R-E-L-A-X . And i am telling this to myself first, and to you second. Life is too short with too many unknowns. Motherhood is so overwhelming, marriage is overwhelming, and life ebbs and flows with hardships.
But we can't live out our lives as if we have trees strapped on our backs, leaves covering our eyes, and rain drops freezing on our hearts.
There are little beings that call us 'Mama' that need our love and compassion. Don't forget to give compassion and mercy after discipline. Don't forget to hug them. Don't forget to tell them you love them.
We don't know it will be our time to leave this world. We don't know when our little ones will die, before us or after us. We don't know if disease will affect us or our husbands or our children or our parents. Yet we live as if there will always be tomorrow. As if we will always have our health. As if we will always have all our loved ones around us.
Please mothers, let us all wake up. Let us all just accept our lives as they are and be happy with what we have and take advantage of all our blessings. Be kind, be generous, be forgiving, as much as you are firm, strong, and smart.
Expect mistakes and accept all mistakes. Accept them as opportunities to learn and grow. We make mistakes, our husbands do, our parents do, and are children will naturally make much more.
Try to turn stressful times into fun times. It's all how you look at it and decide to deal with it. It's always up to you - you can start screaming or you can deal with it the correct way. But remember that there will always be an opportunity to fix things. Your mistakes are also opportunities for deep thinking and problem solving.
But most of all, i want you to remember how much your children and husband love you. Remember how beautiful their smiles are. Remember those times you made them laugh and how easy it was. Remember all the hugs and kisses that came when you least expected it. Remember how nice it feels to be touched. Remember them climbing on your back or sitting on your lap. Remember when they combed your hair, or brought you water. You see, it's these little things that matter. We can either feel them or keep our hearts frozen with despair and worry. And remember - there is always sunshine after a rainy day.
There is something i want to say after all this. I am very much in need of all your prayers. I cannot explain as there are too many blurkers here, forgive me. I belive in the power of prayer and i strongly believe that the more people you have pray for you the better it will be in some way shape or form, God willing.
Monday, November 13, 2006
My 2006/2007 Preschool Schedule & Curriculum
Yeah, i know what you're saying... what? watch TV is part of the schedule... well IT IS. I have a satellite (free-to-air receiver) where i get several Arabic channels and the cartoons happen to come on at that time. I do not allow English in any form in my house, and that applies to TV as well, except in rare occasions or when the DVD player is not working. So the alternative is Arabic cartoons and it helps them learn classical Arabic as opposed to a certain dialect. It helps to have Arabic as much in the environment as possible if you want to keep up their Arabic in an English speaking country. I tape the cartoons, my DVD player can record, and my daughter watches it after she comes home from school. I make sure they are of the innocent kind - no violence or scary characters. And once in a while there is an educational program like once there was Barney translated, an Arabic letters learning show, etc.
As for Dhuhr prayer, i have them pray 2 rak'ah sunnah with me. Then they play quietly in the corner where i have a box with some toys while i pray Dhuhr in peace. Took me a while to find a solution for this but finally worked something out. Because Dhuhr prayer is a silent one, and a full 4 rak'ahs. The sunnah prayer one can recite aloud which keeps their attention and they can recite with me. And 2 rak'ahs is just short enough for them to stand for. And i give them a kiss and a hug if they keep praying until the taslim. They have their own big girl/ big boy rug and scarf/ kufi. I have those small prayer rugs but they feel 'big' with the big ones.
Also, lunch is early in the schedule because they often have a light breakfast and are hungry by that time and i don't want to fill them up with snacks and then lunch time would come and they wouldn't eat but a little of their food. So i switched it around.
The outdoor play time was a much larger block of time earlier in the year when the weather was nicer. It's gotten cold here so i've shortened it and moved it to noon time when it's a bit warmer and the sun is strong.
Um Ibrahim 2006/2007 Preschool Plan for the Year
QUR’AN & TAFSEER
Month 1 – Fatihah
Month 2 – Naas
Month 3 – Falaq
Month 4 – Ikhlas
Month 5 – Masad
Month 6 – Nasr
Month 7 – Kafiroon
Month 8 – Kawthar
Month 1 – Shahada
Month 2 – Du’a for Sleeping
Du’a for Waking
Month 3 – Du’a for Dressing
Month 4 – Du’a for Before & After Eating
Month 5 – Du’a for Sneezing
Month 6 – Du’a for Leaving the House
Month 7 – Du’a for Riding in a Vehicle
Month 8 – Du’a for Entering Home
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Month 1 – Allah, Shirk, Tawheed, Review
Month 2 – Al-‘Alameen, con’t, Al-Ghaib, Review
Month 3 –Kutub, Nabeeyeen, Yawm AlQiyamah,Review
Month 4 – Jannah, Jahannam, Du’a, Review
Month 5 – Salat, Zakat, Saum, Review
Month 6 – Hajj, Jihad, Isti’aanah, Review
Month 7 – Tawakkul, Dhabh, Nathr, Review
Month 8 – Al-Khabeer, Al-‘Adl, Al-Aziz, Review
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Month 1 – Alif, Ba, Ta, Tha
Month 2 – Jeem, Hha, Kha, Review
Month 3 – Dal, Thal, Ra, Zay
Month 4 – Seen, Sheen, Saad, Dhaad
Month 5 – Review, Tta, Thah, ‘Ayn
Month 6 – Ghayn, Fa, Qaf, Review
Month 7 – Kaf, Lam, Meem, Noon
Month 8 – Ha, Waw, Ya, Review
Numbers , Colors Shape
Month 1 – Wahid, Ithnan, Thalatha, Ahmar & Asfar, Daairah
Month 2 – Arba’a, Khamsa, Azraq & Akhdar, Murabba’
Month 3 – Sitta, Sab’a, Thamaniya, Burtuqali & Arjuwani, Muthalath
Month 4 – Tis’ah, ‘Ashara Review, Mustateel
Month 5 – Ihdash, Ithnash, Talatash, Bunee & Zahree, Nijmeh
Month 6 – Arba’tash, Khamstash, Ramadi & Mushmushi, Hilaal
Month 7 – Sittash, Sabatash, Tamintash, Aswad & Abyad, Baydawi
Month 8 – Tisatash, ‘Ishreen, Review, Qalb
(2 to 3 numbers a month, two colors a month, and one shape a month)
A homeschooling post is long overdue!
This curriculum is based on Ad-Duha Institute ALP Preschool Curriculum, but the Arabic & Math are re-arranged into shorter daily lessons & also the english parts of the curriculum (letters/numbers/shapes/colors) were removed and will inshaAllah be done next year but i'm focusing this year on Arabic only. Alhamdulillah it has been a lifesaver to have a curriculum to go by and not having to do it on my own.
The Qur'an is taught through Baba Salam laptop & Islamway kids recitation.
The Tawhid lessons are given in a Ad-Duha workbook where the lessons are taught through stories of a little girl and boy with a page to color of an object from the story.
Islamic Studies is really just teaching the various daily du'as. Also use Baba Salam laptop which comes with the package.
Arabic, i am making my own worksheets. They only provide flashcards, software, activity ideas, and arts & crafts supplies. I arranged the curriculum as you see above, they have a totally different way. I felt it is important to have Arabic everyday, not once a week. And it was too much for my son to learn 3 letters a week.
Math, i am also making my own worksheets. Their worksheets are too difficult for a normal 3 yr. old. (this ALP program is geared towards gifted children so it's really intense). I also arranged the curriculum so that Math is once a day and in smaller pieces.
My ability to re-arrange was helped be removing the english sections which gave me room to expand the arabic sections into smaller chunks. Hopefully next year i can use the curriculum as is - if they learn the arabic well enough this year, then next year it will be just like a review and practicing their writing skills more, and the new info will be the english letters/numbers/colors/shapes inshaAllah. Then they will be ready for Kindergarten.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Palestinian Women of Beit Hanoun: We Overcame Our Fear
Topic: Current Events
1st Watch This:
2nd Read this:
The following is written by Jameela al-Shanti for the Guardian newspaper. She is an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council for Hamas. She led a women's protest against the siege of Beit Hanoun last Friday.
Jameela al-Shanti in Beit Hanoun
Thursday November 9, 2006
Yesterday at dawn, the Israeli air force bombed and destroyed my home. I was the target, but instead the attack killed my sister-in-law, Nahla, a widow with eight children in her care. In the same raid Israel's artillery shelled a residential district in the town of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip, leaving 19 dead and 40 injured, many killed in their beds. One family, the Athamnas, lost 16 members in the massacre: the oldest who died, Fatima, was 70; the youngest, Dima, was one; seven were children. The death toll in Beit Hanoun has passed 90 in one week.
This is Israel's tenth incursion into Beit Hanoun since it announced its withdrawal from Gaza. It has turned the town into a closed military zone, collectively punishing its 28,000 residents. For days, the town has been encircled by Israeli tanks and troops and shelled. All water and electricity supplies were cut off and, as the death toll continued to mount, no ambulances were allowed in. Israeli soldiers raided houses, shut up the families and positioned their snipers on roofs, shooting at everything that moved. We still do not know what has become of our sons, husbands and brothers since all males over 15 years old were taken away last Thursday. They were ordered to strip to their underwear, handcuffed and led away.
It is not easy as a mother, sister or wife to watch those you love disappear before your eyes. Perhaps that was what helped me, and 1,500 other women, to overcome our fear and defy the Israeli curfew last Friday - and set about freeing some of our young men who were besieged in a mosque while defending us and our city against the Israeli military machine.
We faced the most powerful army in our region unarmed. The soldiers were loaded up with the latest weaponry, and we had nothing, except each other and our yearning for freedom. As we broke through the first barrier, we grew more confident, more determined to break the suffocating siege. The soldiers of Israel's so-called defence force did not hesitate to open fire on unarmed women. The sight of my close friends Ibtissam Yusuf abu Nada and Rajaa Ouda taking their last breaths, bathed in blood, will live with me for ever.
Later an Israeli plane shelled a bus taking children to a kindergarten. Two children were killed, along with their teacher. In the last week 30 children have died. As I go round the crowded hospital, it is deeply poignant to see the large number of small bodies with their scars and amputated limbs. We clutch our children tightly when we go to sleep, vainly hoping that we can shield them from Israel's tanks and warplanes.
But as though this occupation and collective punishment were not enough, we Palestinians find ourselves the targets of a systematic siege imposed by the so-called free world. We are being starved and suffocated as a punishment for daring to exercise our democratic right to choose who rules and represents us. Nothing undermines the west's claims to defend freedom and democracy more than what is happening in Palestine. Shortly after announcing his project to democratise the Middle East, President Bush did all he could to strangle our nascent democracy, arresting our ministers and MPs. I have yet to hear western condemnation that I, an elected MP, have had my home demolished and relatives killed by Israel's bombs. When the bodies of my friends and colleagues were torn apart there was not one word from those who claim to be defenders of women's rights on Capitol Hill and in 10 Downing Street.
Why should we Palestinians have to accept the theft of our land, the ethnic cleansing of our people, incarcerated in forsaken refugee camps, and the denial of our most basic human rights, without protesting and resisting?
The lesson the world should learn from Beit Hanoun last week is that Palestinians will never relinquish our land, towns and villages. We will not surrender our legitimate rights for a piece of bread or handful of rice. The women of Palestine will resist this monstrous occupation imposed on us at gunpoint, siege and starvation. Our rights and those of future generations are not open for negotiation.
Whoever wants peace in Palestine and the region must direct their words and sanctions to the occupier, not the occupied, the aggressor not the victim. The truth is that the solution lies with Israel, its army and allies - not with Palestine's women and children.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Cute Kid Quote
Topic: Child Rearing
I'm in the kitchen slicing up some (homemade) pizza for the kids when i overhear this cute conversation.
The kids are on the front steps, waiting for their pizza. (It happens to be a mild day in Mass today.)
A neighbor, an old grey-haired man, is walking from his car to his unit says to my kids as he passes them: "Hi there kids! Are you going out trick or treating?"
My just turned 5 year old daughter says: "No, We are Muslims."
The man says: "What?"
daughter: "We're Muslims."
The man: 'Oh.'
Me: quietly snickering with a wide smile.
Want to know Islam's position on Halloween, see here:
"So many people participate in these celebrations without even understanding the history and the pagan connections, just because their friends are doing it, their parents did it ("it's a tradition!"), and because "it's fun!" Allah described such people in the Qur'an:
"When it is said unto them, 'Come to what Allah has revealed, come to the Messenger,' they say, 'Enough for us are the ways we found our fathers following.' What! Even though their fathers were void of knowledge and guidance?" (Qur'an 5:104)"
"Holidays are not just excuses to binge and be reckless. In Islam, our holidays retain their religious importance, while allowing proper time for rejoicing, fun and games.
"Finally, Allah warned us about following in the footsteps of those who discard faith:
"Has not the time arrived for the believers, that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed to them? That they should not become like those to whom was given the Book aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors." (Qur'an 57:16)"
Thursday, October 26, 2006
** EID MUBARAK **
Topic: Current Events
(cute pic i found on the internet)
I hope you are doing well and had a happy Eid. May Allah accept our good deeds from the wonderful month of Ramadan. We had a very nice Eid alhamdulillah. All 3 days were full of activity that were finished off with my sister Heba giving birth to a baby boy last night, with her husband arriving from Lebanon last week just in time, many many thanks to God.
Physically and mentally i am very tired: waking up early for Suhoor & Tahajjud, Fasting, Homeschooling my son and another girl, AfterSchooling my daughter, Iftar dinners at my place a couple times and at friends or parents place several times, Islamic school iftars on saturdays, spending more time in salat and after salat, and ofcourse Tarawih.
But spiritually i am recharged and fully motivated. I could tell because when i read Qur'an last night for my sister while she was in labor (surat Maryam), just the sight of 'The Day of Regret' in an ayah made me start sobbing. (I was reading the english translation before reading the Arabic to make sure i understood everything because my Qur'an Arabic is 50/50) I don't want to have any regrets. InshaAllah.
I am thankful to Allah for letting me live through another Ramadan and Eid, for my children and husband, for my parents and siblings, my health, the health of every joint and part of my body, my shelter, my food, this computer, my car, my phone, the dishwasher, the heating system... ok this could go on forever, literally... ok so i'm thankful for everything i have and every person in my life, for the opportunity to re-connect to God this month and create more good habits and remove some bad ones, and for God's help.
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