Life's like that!

November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Field Trip

Local eatery with interesting exterior deco.

Denton City Hall

Yesterday husband drove daughter and I around North Texas. The weather was good, about 67 degree F, and traffic was light throughout the day. Before we left, I packed homemade popcorn, bread, cheese, tomatoes, olives, and root beer for lunch. Since sunset is around half past five, and husband doesn't see well at night, we decided to get home by 4pm so that we can reach home before sunset.
We visited the city of Denton where the University of North Texas and Texas Women's University are located.

Since students and faculty members usually go home to spend time with family during Thanksgiving holiday, the city is quite desserted. It was a breeze to sightsee around the city without much local traffic.

We also visited the Ray Roberts Lake State Park just to check out the place. Allah SWT willing we plan to do some camping and fishing there during spring.

We decided to have lunch at the City of Ardmore Recreation Park in the State of Oklahoma, where daughter had lots of fun at the playground. This playground is designed for 2-5 year old children, and daughter was able to climb up the playground structure by herself.

All praise be to Allah SWT, we had a great time together and we look forward to our next field trip soon Allah SWT willing.

November 25, 2008

Liars who give Islam a bad name

Recently I came across several web sites, mainly from USA, that use Islamic terms as web site address, and post false information about Islam.

This kind of despicable action really upsets me. If their intention is to give Islam a bad name, then they will surely fail. Allah SWT has said in the Holy Qur'an that the no one can alter the content of the Holy Qur'an and He will protect the Holy Qur'an against men's evil doings.

I am supportive of people's freedom to worship whatever they want. This is why early imigrants from England came to the USA - to enjoy the freedom of religion. But in this "modern and progressive time", where is the mutual respect for people's belief? Instead of establishing meaningful dialogues with knowlegable Muslims, these despicable people falsify information about Islam and do so shamelessly.

I can only pray to Allah SWT that on the day of judgment. He will have mercy on those people's souls for the evil rumors that they spread about Islam to the world.

November 24, 2008

Men's Perspective on Marriage

Sent via email from Sr. Norsofina. Thanks a bunch!

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy.
If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them.

The great question... which I have not been able to answer... is, 'What does a woman want?

Sigmund Freud
I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.

'Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.'

Sam Kinison
'There's a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It's called marriage.'

James Holt McGavran
'I've had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me, and the second one didn't.'

Patrick Murray
Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming
1. Whenever you're wrong, admit it,
2. Whenever you're right, shut up.

You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to.

Rodney Dangerfield
A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong.

A man inserted an 'ad' in the classifieds: 'Wife wanted'. Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: 'You can have mine.'

First Guy (proudly): 'My wife's an angel!'
Second Guy: 'You're lucky, mine's still alive.'

Sacha Guitry
After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can't face each other, but still they stay together.


Disorder in the American Courts

The following content is sent via an email from a friend, Sr. Norsofina. Thanks a bunch for the laugh!

These are from a book called Disorder in the Court: Great Fractured Moments in Courtroom History by Charles M. Sevilla, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-one-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one.

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitt'in me?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh.... I was gett'in laid!

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?

--- And the best for last: ---

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.


"It is not the critic who counts...

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and come short again and again, because there is no effort without great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

- Excerpt from a speech given by United States President Theodore Roosevelt in Paris in 1910.

November 23, 2008

Classroom Management

Last week I set up a teacher display area right next to the library door. This display shelf was purchased at the nearby Goodwill Store and it costs only $5.
This display area allows students to see at one glance what I will be talking about the also the Islamic calender "Hijri Calender". I want to set up a space where students, who are used to seeing this type of set up at public schools, can sense some level of familiarity.
I am beginning to run out of space on this display area as I have a lot more craft materials and tools to display. Allah SWT willing one of this days when I visit the nearby thrift stores I will find a bigger display area.

Student Project - Ka'bah Model

Here is a picture of students' weather dial that were done on November 15, 2008. A lot of them liked the idea of displaying their projects on the library door.

Last Saturday (11-22-08) 13 students brought models of the Ka'bah in Makkah while one student drew a picture of it. I am impressed by the different level of creativity among the students. Several came to me and said that they couldn't finish this project in time and I told them it will be fine for them to bring the completed projects next week.
I told the principal that all students who submitted their projects will receive a gift from the Library Treasure Box i.e. pencil, eraser, bookmark etc. for their effort. I also told him that I did not have any judging criteria, and I hope that by rewarding all students for their effort, they will try to find time to work on future assignments.
All praise be to Allah SWT I'm really glad that students and their parents are enthusiastic about this homework assignment.

November 21, 2008

Letting students know we care...

I spoke with the 5th grade teacher about feedback that I collected from the boys. All praise be to Allah SWT she took several measures to address students' concerns.

Inequality - Students names are now written on popsicle sticks and drawn randomly, so no one can say that the teacher favors girls over boys, or new students over old ones.

Distractions - Students' seating arrangement has been changed so that those who distract others are sitting elsewhere in the classroom.

Mini-groups - Certain students stay within their own circle i.e. chose not to interact with other students, so the teacher changed their seating arrangement to get a good mix of groups and also let those who seldom interact with others have more opportunities to do so.

Eventually the changes that are made let students understand that we care about them, and we will do our best to accommodate their learning and emotional needs.

November 20, 2008

"Come on, play!"

Nowadays daughter is constantly pulling my hand while saying "Come on, play!". Her other favorite phrase is "I don't want to sleep!" That silly girl of mine thinks that she can play all day and not sleep a minute.

Yesterday I tore a page from a magazine and let her tore it into small pieces. I then drew a big tree on a paper and let her paste the small pieces onto the tree. She seems to enjoy this simple craft. When husband came back from work, she proudly showed it to him. A big thanks to my sister's friend in Massachusetts for posting this great idea on her blog.

Daughter and I had much fun working together on this craft and I'm looking forward to doing one craft with daughter everyday, Allah SWT willing.

November 16, 2008

Craft - Makkah Weather Dial

Yesterday during library period, 3 group of students made a weather dial for the city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia.

Students are grouped in the following order:
1st group -comprises of girls from 4th grade and up (6 students)
2nd group - comprises of girls from kindergarten to 3rd grade (20 students)
3rd group - comprises of boys from 1st to 7th grade (two groups of 10 students each)

Before we start the lesson, I reviewed the classroom rules with them. I also told them about consequences for not following the rules. We then discussed about the types of weather in Makkah and they used markers to draw the weather dial. After they finished, I pasted their art work on the library door so that they and their parents and community members can admire their creative designs.

For next week's assignment, students are expected to make and bring a 3-D model of the Ka'bah for me. The aim is to let them have a chance to learn more about this special symbol of Islam. Some students said that they have no time or idea how to make one, and I told them that they can get help from parents, siblings and friends.

After the lesson, the principal told me that the students enjoyed their time in the library. A volunteer teacher, also a parent, told me that she is willing to donate funds to purchase library resources. All praise be to Allah SWT, I'm glad that the library is getting more support.


Mister and Miss Personality

Last Friday I subbed for the Pre-K4 teacher. All praise to Allah SWT Sr. Shabana, a parent volunteer, helped me to get the kids ready for the morning assembly. Sr. Nida, teacher assistant, later helped me in the classroom.

I am always amazed at the types of personalities displayed by the four year old kids. Since they are able to speak in complete sentence and tell the adults about their needs and wants, often they will display their personalities when they speak. I love to observe their behavior in class and take mental notes that my daughter will be at that age soon, Allah SWT willing.

November 09, 2008

Kids love the Library!

Yesterday I didn't have any students with me in the mosque library. All praise be to Allah SWT for that since husband had to work on some emergency issues for his project and he brought daughter to me at around 11am. I was just trying to keep daughter busy while tidying the library after kids swarmed to here whenever they have a quick break. After lunch, all the kids usually have about half and hour to play with their friends. The principal sent 8 boys (middle schoolers) to me after lunch and say that they were grounded and they needed to stay in the library. I told them to grab and book and read or they can talk among themselves. Surprising one of them grabbed the "I Spy" book and the rest start crowding around and had a blast looking at the pages. They pretty much behaved themselves in the library and I did not have to do much. Several boys tried to sneak out but I guarded the door and only allowed one at a time to go to the restroom or drink water.

Several Arabic/Islamic Studies teachers came and said that all the kids love the hang out in the library and it is the best room in the mosque. Even a 7th grade student, Noon, said that I have made the weekend school a fun place to be. I firmly believe that we must provide positive experience for kids when they are learning so that they will want to be here. All praise be to Allah SWT I am able to provide this positive environment and give the kids a sense of security and belonging in the library. Starting next week, I will have 3 group of students in the library from 10:30am to 1:30pm. Allah SWT willing I plan to let them do craft activities related to Islamic themes. With 40% and 50% discount coupons from Michaels and Hobby Lobby, I can get craft supplies at low prices for the students.

Preschool is FUN!

On Friday 11/7/08 I subbed for the Assistant Teacher, Sr. Nida, in preschool. I had so much fun with the kids, helping them with painting, singing the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and exercising in the mosque prayer hall. Since students are dismissed eariler at 2:14pm on Fridays, I picked daughter up at 3pm and went home. All praise be to Allah SWT I really enjoyed hanging out with the preschool teachers, Sr. Eram and Sr. Erika.

November 06, 2008

10 Frugal Tips for a Single Income Family

Now that I am working part-time in order to start preschooling my daughter, I need to be aware how we plan our budget. All praise be to Allah SWT I found this useful article from Dollar Stretcher ( about living a frugal lifestyle.

10 Frugal Tips for a Single Income Family

1. Don't think of being frugal as being cheap: This attitude is essential or you will never be able to keep to your goals. Remember that there is a greater reason for not spending the money.

2. Shop based on sales: When a store is having a sale on items that your household uses regularly, stock up on those items.

3. Know your prices: Compare the unit price of items commonly purchased for your home. Break the price down to the smallest unit (e.g. ounce). Keep these written down so that you can look and see if something on sale is a good deal or not.

4. Avoid the warehouse club stores: No one store is cheapest. Local grocery store sales can frequently beat warehouse club prices.

5. Plan menus around the loss leaders at your local stores: Don't make an arbitrary menu -- consult the sale flyers first -- then make your menu and grocery list.

6. Stock up on things you use when they are on sale: Get six weeks worth. That's about how often they'll go on sale again.

7. Cut back on meats: Try some beans and grain recipes, or have a soup and bread night. These are cheaper and healthier as well.

8. Cook from scratch as often as possible: This can be up to 6 times cheaper than buying a mix, frozen meal or eating out, and is usually more nutritious.

9. Don't spend money if it's not in the budget: Find the little unessential expenses that eat up your budget (fast food trips, toy stores, new fashions, etc.).

10. Replace entertainment with family activities or nature outings: Being together is the key, not how fancy the outing is.

Jonni McCoy


Carbon Footprint

Just got tested on this web site for my household's carbon footprint, and here is the result:

Total To Offset = 12.45 tonnes of CO2
-Your footprint is 12.45 tonnes per year
-The average footprint for people in United States is 20.40 tonnes
-The average for the industrial nations is about 11 tonnes
-The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 tonnes
-The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 tonnes

With increasing awareness for global warming, I want to make sure that we can maintain or reduce our level of carbon footprint so that our future generations can have a chance to breath fresh air. Allah SWT willing I hope that more people care enough to start making changes in their daily choices to reduce their carbon footprints.