Life's like that!

June 30, 2010

Treat Everyone As Special

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight.
Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.
Your life will never be the same again.


10 Principles for Peace of Mind

Received via a mailing list.

1. Do not interfered in other people's business unless asked.
2. Forgive and forget.
3. Do not crave for recognition.
4. Do not be jealous.
5. Change yourself according to the environment.
6. Edure what cannot be controlled or cured.
7. Do not bite off more than what you can chew.
8. Meditate regularly.
9. Never leave the mind vacant.
10. Do not procrastinate and never regret.


忘憂歌 葛蘭


好儿童- 葛兰唱


June 29, 2010

Friends Who I Treasure

All praise be to Allah SWT since DD2 was born, many teachers at the Islamic school where I used to work have visited me and brought wnderful gifts for DD1 and DD2. I am really touched by their kind gestures and generosity.

Before I left Singapore, I only have one person from my Junior College days as my good friend. We used to hang out together on weekends and talked on the phone all the time.

All praise be to Allah SWT I can connect with people easily but establishing friendships is not easy. I guess I'm kind of a loner and I tend to keep to myself most of the time. Working at the Islamic school has been a blessing to me. I have made friends with many wonderful people and I thank Allah SWT for the opportunity to be in the company of hardworking and trustworthy people.

I am also thankful to my sister's friend who lives in Massachusetts for being a friend to me. Although we live more than a thousand miles apart, she has been so kind and generous towards me with advises and concerns. Every now and then she would call me to chat with me, and her cheerfulness and words of wisdom always lift my spirits. Recently she sent a generous gift for DD2's birth and I am really touched by her kindness and generosity.

I thank Allah SWT for the friends that I have made in the US, and I hope that I have been a friend to them as much as they have been to me. May Allah SWT bless them and their families with good health and happiness.


Imam Hamza Yusuf on BBC HardTalk Part 1/3


Imam Hamza Yusuf on BBC HardTalk Part 2/3


Imam Hamza Yusuf onBBC HardTalk Part 3/3


Cooler Temperatures

All praise be to Allah SWT this week's day temperature will be in the lower 90s degree F. Last night we even had a thunderstorm! Our tomato and bell pepper plants will appreciate the much needed moisture from the rain.


June 25, 2010

Pronoun Bingo Lesson Plan

Subject: Grammar
Title: Pronoun Bingo
Approximate Time Length: 30 minutes

Standards: 1.5.5.F Edit writing using the conventions of language.

Use nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections properly.

Objectives: Students will be able to...
- Use pronouns correctly in a sentence
- Replace nouns with pronouns.

Materials: Bingo sheets, pronoun sentences, pronoun paragraph

Introduction: Ask students if they remember what a pronoun is and if they can give any examples. (2 minutes)
(A pronoun takes the place of a noun. Examples: he, she, it, they, we, etc.)

1. Go over the different types of pronouns (singular, plural, and possessive) and write them in a chart. (10 minutes)
2. Hand out a paragraph and have students underline the pronouns and circle the possessive pronouns. (5 minutes)
3. Go over the worksheet as a class. (2 minutes)
4. Explain directions for pronoun bingo. (10 minutes)
a. Students will write a pronoun in each square on their bingo board (They may use the chart on the board for assistance).
b. Read a sentence aloud and have students listen for the pronoun in that sentence and mark it on their board.
c. Once a student fills a whole line they will yell "Pronoun!"

Assessment: A clear understanding of pronouns will be assessed by observing students bingo chip placement during the game and through class participation.

Closure: Point to people or things in the room and students will say whether it is a he, she, it, etc. (1 minute)

Sample Pronoun Sentences:
I will be going to the store later.

He got lost in the mirror maze.

She has a beautiful singing voice.

If the map wasn't in the car we would have gotten lost!

Brian opened up his book to read.

The missing suitcase belongs to her.

Jeanne and Bob had dinner with us last night.

You will all be experts in pronouns!

The food is not as bad as it looks.

Will someone help me with this math problem?

They went to the baseball game and routed for the home team!

Did anyone remind them to bring in canned food for the collection?

Look at the breathtaking view from my window!

That is your decision to make.

The whale will find its way back to the ocean.

Come to our annual spring concert!

The students took their time on the test.

Hands off! That ice cream sundae is mine!

The car broke down, but theirs was available to borrow for the trip.

Of all the essays, yours is the best!

Finally the basketball trophy is ours!


Lesson Plan: Playing Name Bingo with Chrysanthemum

This lesson plan is obtained from the ReadWriteThink.Org web site.

State: Texas
Grade(s): 2
Standard: Subchapter A. Elementary: (2) Reading/Beginning Reading Skills/Phonics. Students use the relationships between letters and sounds, spelling patterns, and morphological analysis to decode written English. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth in increasingly more complex texts. Students are expected to:: (G) identify and read at least 300 high-frequency words from a commonly used list; and


This get-to-know-you activity gives every student a chance to be in the spotlight as they participate in the Name Bingo Game. After reading Chrysanthemum to introduce the topic of names, students make Name Bingo cards by writing the name of each classmate in a different square of a blank Bingo board. Next, students brainstorm personal questions designed to get to know one another. To play the game, the teacher randomly calls out a name, and students cover that name on their board with a marker. In this twist of the traditional bingo game, after each name is chosen, the student responds by answering one of the questions designed to help students learn more about one another. The game continues until someone gets Bingo. The winner then gets to add another question to the list before a new game begins.


  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes or a similar book that focuses on children's names and going to school. Other books that will work for this lesson include Ashok by Any Other Name by Sandra S. Yamate, The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi , and My Name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits.

  • General art supplies (markers, pencils, crayons, stickers)

  • Chart paper

  • Class list

Students will

  • listen to the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.

  • discuss the story concentrating on the importance of a name.

  • fill in and decorate bingo cards.

  • answer questions about themselves.

  • have the opportunity to participate in question-making decisions to be answered by their classmates (see their ideas in print).

  • recognize one another's names.

  • listen to the answers of other students and learn more about one another.

  • (optional) work cooperatively to play a game in the learning center.
  1. Introduce Chrysanthemum to the class and read it aloud.

  2. Pass out blank bingo cards.

  3. Using your class list as a guide, call out every student's name on the list. Write every name on the chart paper so that your students can copy the names. You may also wish to have name sticks so that you may draw names from a cup.

  4. Students write each name in a box of their choice on their bingo cards. Please note the names must be written in the boxes randomly to prevent multiple bingos.

  5. Allow the students to individualize their cards by decorating them with markers, crayons, or other classroom materials.

  6. Collect bingo cards so that you can play the game during the next session.
  1. Hand out bingo cards randomly to students. Explain the general rules for bingo so that students understand the game.

  2. Hand out plenty of Chrysanthemum markers for each student.

  3. Invite students to brainstorm 3 or 4 personal questions designed to get to know one another on the chart paper (for instance, What is your favorite color? What is your favorite book? Do you have any pets?)

  4. Begin the game by randomly calling out a student's name, or drawing a name stick from a cup.

  5. Students respond by placing their Chrysanthemum markers on the called name.

  6. The student whose name was called responds by answering one of the three questions on the chart paper.

  7. Continue to play until someone yells, "Bingo."

  8. The Name Bingo Game's twist is to reward the student who call bingo by giving them the opportunity to think of another question to be written on the chart paper.

Capitalize on students' excitement about Name Bingo to explore more about names. Have students see if their names or the names of anyone they know appear on the list of the most popular names compiled by the Social Security Administration. You can also use the Behind the Name site to find the derivations of students' names, though this site is not appropriate for direct student use. Students may also want to ask their parents how their names were chosen and share this information with the class.


Use the following checklist to assess students' work:

  • Did the student actively listen to the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes?

  • Did the student actively participate in the discussion of the story?

  • Did the student listen to and follow directions when filling in and decorating the bingo cards?

  • Did the student correctly copy the names of their classmates from the chart onto the cards?

  • Can the student identify the names of other students in the class?

  • Did the student actively participate in answering the questions during the game and/or creating new questions to add to the list?

  • Did the student actively listen to the responses of others during the game?

  • Can the student work cooperatively in small groups to play the Name Game in a learning center?


Bingo Across the Curriculum

Bingo Across the Curriculum: How To Make The Game Of Bingo Work For Almost Every Subject In Your Classroom
By Beth Lewis, Guide

Bingo is a wonderful teaching tool to have at your fingertips no matter what you are teaching. You can even make it up as you go along! The basic premise of Bingo is simple: players start with a grid filled with answers and they cover up spaces as the corresponding item is called from the Bingo "caller." Winners make a complete line going vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Or, you can play "Black Out" which means the winner is the first person who covers all of the spots on the card.


There are a few ways you can prepare for playing Bingo in your classroom.

  1. Buy a Bingo set from a teacher supply store. Of course, this is the easiest way, but we teachers don’t make too much money so this option may not make too much sense.

  2. A cheaper option requires you to prepare all of the Bingo boards ahead of time, making sure that all of the boards are configured differently from each other.

  3. For older students, you can hand over some of the preparation to them. Prepare one Bingo board with all of the options filled in. Also, keep a copy of a blank board. Make copies of each page, one per student. Give the children time to cut apart the pieces and paste them wherever they want on the blank boards.

  4. The most teacher-friendly way to do Bingo is give each child a blank piece of paper and have them fold it into sixteenths. Then they get to write the terms into their bingo sheet from your list (on the chalkboard or overhead) and voila! Everyone has their own unique Bingo board!

You can play Bingo with virtually any subject. Here is a rundown of some of the different ways you can play Bingo in your classroom:

Click ahead for specific ways to play Bingo, depending on the subject matter at hand...

Language Arts

Phonemic Awareness: Kindergarten teachers can use this type of Bingo to help students learn the sounds that correspond to the letters of the alphabet. On the Bingo chart, place single letters in each of the boxes. Then, you call out the letter sounds and the students put a marker on the letter that make each sound. Or, say a short word and ask the kids to identify the beginning sound.

Vocabulary: In the Bingo chart boxes, put the vocabulary words your class is currently studying. You will read out the definitions and the kids have to match them up. Example: You say "to find and bring back" and the students cover up "retrieve."

Parts of Speech: Get creative with using Bingo to help kids remember the parts of speech. For instance, read a sentence and ask the kids to place a marker on the verb in that sentence. Or, ask the kids to look for a verb that begins with a "g." Make sure there are all different types of words that begin with that letter so that they really have to think about it.

Math and Bingo? Yes, they really do go together...


Subtraction, Addition, Multiplication, Division: Write the answers to applicable problems in the Bingo boxes. You call out the problem. This is a great way to reinforce the math facts that kids must memorize. For example, you say, "6 X 5" and the students cover "30" on their game sheets.

Fractions: In the Bingo boxes, draw various shapes cut into portions with some of the parts shaded. Example: draw a circle cut into fourths and shade one of the fourths. When you read out the words "one fourth," the students will have to determine which shape represents that fraction.

Decimals: Write the decimals in the boxes and call out the words. For example, you say, "forty three hundredths" and the kids cover the square with ".43."

Rounding: For example, you say, "Round 143 to the nearest 10." The students put a marker on "140." You may want to write the numbers on the board instead of just saying them.

Place Value: For example, you say, "place a marker on a number that has six in the hundreds spot." Or, you can put a large number on the board and ask the students to place a marker on the digit that is in the thousands place, etc.

There are even more ways to bring the magic of Bingo to your classroom...

Science, Social Studies, and more!

Vocabulary: Similar to the vocabulary game described above, you say the definition of a word from your unit of study. The children place a marker on the corresponding word. Example: You say, "the planet closest to our sun" and the students mark "Mercury."

Facts: You say something like, "the number of planets in our solar system" and the children place a marker on "9". Continue with other number-based facts.

Famous People: Focus on famous people associated with your unit of study. For instance, you say, "This person wrote the Emanicaption Proclamation" and the students put a marker on "Abraham Lincoln".

Bingo is a wonderful game to keep in mind when you have a few extra minutes to fill in the day. Get creative and have fun with it. Your students surely will!

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Video: Pay Attention - Transforming Teaching Through Technology


June 24, 2010

Say "No" To Day Orphanages


Deflecting Arguments Against Staying-at-Home


Video: In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms


June 23, 2010

Video: Favorite Pancakes

1+1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk* (I use water when I run out of milk)
2 tbsp salad or vegetable oil

Sift together all dry ingredients.
Combine egg, milk and oil; add to dry ingredients, stirring just till moistened.
Bake on hot griddle. Turn when small bubbles burst and edge is brown.
Makes about 12 dollar-size or eight 4-inch pancakes.

*For thinner pancakes, add 2 tablespoons of milk to batter.


June 22, 2010

Video: Hash Brown


Video: Korean Dumplings 'Mandu'


Video: Japanese Fried Dumplings 'Yaki Gyoza'


Video: Turkish Meat Filled Dumplings


Video: Polish Potato Filled Dumplings


Video: Numa Numa


June 20, 2010

Teaching Kids to Communicate Better

The following extracts from an article is from this web site:

Nadine, the mom of three-year-old Curtis, asked my advice about an incident that happened at Curtis’ family day care site recently. Nadine explained that Curtis was riding a tricycle and he bumped into another child, who then fell off his bike. The teacher made Curtis sit on the steps for a time-out. Later Curtis was back on a trike, and this time he bumped into a little girl named Madeline, who fell off her tricycle and got a bloody nose. The teacher then told Curtis that he couldn’t ride at all anymore. Nadine asked me, “Is this a good way to teach Curtis how to get along with other kids?”

When Curtis got back on the tricycle the second time, he did just what he’d done earlier. The time-out hadn’t given him any new ideas about what to do instead of driving into other kids. What Curtis needed in this situation was to learn how to interact more positively with other children. Three-year-olds like Curtis tend to focus on only one thing at a time and don’t yet think logically about cause and effect, making it possible to crash into another child without any real understanding of the hurt this could cause. Children Curtis’s age need adults to point out, in concrete terms that make sense to them, how their actions affect others. This kind of intervention can help children develop empathy and caring and build awareness and skill about how to get along with others.

After first helping Madeline, the teacher could have brought Curtis over and said in a matter-of-fact voice without blame, “Curtis, Madeline got hurt and her nose was bleeding. She got hurt when you bumped into her. Can you do anything to help her feel better—can you say any words to help her?” The teacher might also have asked Madeline, “Do you want to say anything to Curtis?” or, “What can Curtis do to help you feel better?” Asking questions like these can stimulate children’s thinking and encourage them to invent for themselves the words to say, helping them build communication skills in a meaningful way.

When we send children to time out as Curtis’ teacher did, we aren’t giving them any new ideas or skills for how to get along with others. Especially today, as we see so many children in great need of learning social and emotional skills, we can do a lot to foster this critical learning by intervening in ways that encourage skill building. And as research now tells us, we’ll not only be helping children become more socially competent, we’ll be giving them tools that will increase their chances for academic success in school. A definitive meta-analysis of more than one hundred studies showed that students who had SEL not only got along better with others, but also learned more effectively and had higher grades and achievement test scores (Weissberg et al, 2007).

Although I am trying hard to 'listen' to DD1 when she speaks and be patient with her, sometimes it is just too tiring for me to do so when I am taking care of DD2. I always admire fantastic parents who have tons of patience while raising four or more children. Allah SWT willing I will try to use the above method with DD1 instead of using time-out.


June 19, 2010

The Mother Goose Treasury Vol. 1 & 2

I have been letting DD1 watch the Mother Goose Treasury Vol. 1 and 2 DVDs for almost half a year. She loves to imitate some of the characters in the nursery rhymes, like Mother Goose, Mary (who has a little lamb), Jumping Joan, and Little Miss Muffet. The costumes worn by the female actresses are quite conservative and appropriate for their characters in the rhymes. I like the way the rhymes are written into a simple script that DD1 enjoys watching.

All praise be to Allah SWT although these shows are not seen on TV, I am able to purchase the DVDs. It is so much better for DD1 to watch these shows rather than watching those junk cartoons on cable TV. She can watch the DVDs over and over again without getting sick and tired of them. Plus she has fun while learning about rhyming words.

Allah SWT willing I will be looking around for more educational programs for DD1.


Bantam White Leghorns

This morning husband and I brought the kids to the animal farm to buy chicken food.

Guess what we saw at the farm? A cage full of 4-month-old batam White Leghorns! All praise be to Allah SWT I have wanted to keep white chickens and I am so happy to find them!

Husband and I decided to get two hens. We went home immediately to get the new ladies settled in the quail house. Just now I saw them pecking at the white bobtail quails' head feathers, so husband moved the white quails into the brown quails area. I hope that they will get along well.

Since we do not want the 3 big chickens to intimidate the new arrivals, they will stay in the quail house for now. Allah SWT willing the new ladies will start to lay eggs only when they are about six months old.


June 18, 2010

Sharon, Lois and Bram: Elephant Show 'Mother Goose'


Video: Peanut Butter Soap Opera


Video: Put Yourself in the Other Fellow's Shoes


Video: Five Little Chickadees


Video: Little Bunny Foo-Foo


Wüsthof Come-Apart Kitchen Shears

I have been using my old kitchen shears to trim the plants on the front yard since the pruning shears has become rusty. After reading good reviews about the Wüsthof Come-Apart Kitchen Shears, I decided to order from

My mother started to use kitchen shears when I was in my early teens. I have to say that my mother is quite adventurous when it comes to new kitchen innovations. She has all sorts of kitchen gadgets and it was fun to watch her learning to use them. Most of the time, it just took up too much of her time and she would stop using them after few attempts. One useful kitchen tool for her is the kitchen shears, and she would always remind us to take good care of it. Her kitchen shears was a multipurpose tool that can also be used to open cans and bottles.

I received the Wüsthof Come-Apart Kitchen Shears early this week, and I am quite happy with it. I use it mainly to cut up whole chicken, scallions and chili peppers. I just hope that husband does not 'borrow' it and use it in the backyard garden.


Stop Pecking at Me!

Lately when I go out to the backyard, my 3 chickens have been pecking at my legs until I chase them away. Well I have not been out in the backyard because of DD2 and also it gets quite hot in the afternoon with temperature in the upper 90s degree F.

I'll probably hang a lettuce for the ladies to peck at later today. It'll be fun for them too.

Here is a scary news report about a 84 years old woman who lost a leg to magpie's pecking:

Woman Loses Leg to magpie's Pecking
November 3, 2008

NEW YORK -- After being pecked by a pet magpie, an Australian woman's leg was amputated in a rare medical case, as reported in the Nov. 3 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.

The bird had "often" called for scraps at the house and then became a pet, adopted by the woman's daughter.

Yet the seemingly benign incident turned tragic after the magpie pecked the 84-year-old woman above her left ankle in their home, near Newcastle, north of Sidney, Australia.

Initially, the "peck" site became swollen, red and was painful, but 11 days after the "pecking," the symptoms increased and the woman was taken to the emergency room.

Admitted to the hospital, she was prescribed a treatment of antibiotics and anti-fungal drugs to combat an uncommon human pathogen, Saksenaea vasiformis, as reported by Dr. Paul Wilson in MJA's "Notable Cases."

However, what was considered "just a peck" turned into gangrene, where the doctors were forced to amputate the senior's left leg above the knee.

Wilson, an infectious disease practitioner, says infections following pecking injuries are rare. However, such cases he knows of have included "septic arthritis of the knee after a chicken bite and a fatal brain abscess in a child caused by a rooster peck."

Read the rest here.


Mainly Mother Goose

DD1 has been really interested in learning Mother Goose rhymes, so I bought this CD 'Mainly Mother Goose' from after reading good reviews about it.

I am using nursery rhymes to teach DD1 rhyming words. The way that the music is arranged is lively and engaging. The performers are also quite creative with the melodies.

I remember when I was 6 or 7 years old, the only English cassette tape that my mother bought for us was full of Christmas carols for children. My siblings and I would play the tape over and over again on the tape recorder and we could sing the songs even though we rarely spoke English at home. My favorite songs were 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer', 'Frosty the Snowman', 'All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth' and 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'.

DD1 loves to sing 'Polly Put the Kettle On'. She looks so cute when she sings and act out this song.

My favorite songs in this CD? Five Green Apples, Little Rabbit Foo-Foo and Five Little Chickadees

All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
By Don Gardner

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,
My two front teeth, see my two front teeth.
Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,
Then I could wish you "Merry Christmas."

It seems so long since I could say,
"Sister Susie sitting on a thistle."
Gosh, oh gee, how happy I'd be
If I could only whistle.

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,
My two front teeth, see my two front teeth
Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,
Then I could wish you "Merry Christmas."

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
By T. Connor

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night
She didn't see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peep
She thought that I was tucked up in my bedroom fast asleep
Then I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night


June 16, 2010

A Father's Advice to His Daughters

Received from my friend Angela. Thanks!

Boxer Muhammad Ali's advice to his daughters

The following incident took place when Muhammad Ali's (KELAY) daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were not modest . Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:

When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father's suite . As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us . We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day .

My father took a good look at us . Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget . He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to . Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected . Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell . Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock . You've got to work hard to get to them . "

He looked at me with serious eyes . "Your body is sacred . You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too . "

Source: Taken from the book: More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali's Life Lessons Through His Daughter's Eyes.


June 14, 2010

Addicted to Sunflower

All praise be to Allah SWT two sunflowers have blossomed during the past two weeks. It makes me feel bright and cheerful when I see sunflowers. I started to enjoy looking at sunflowers when I was pregnant with DD2, and I thought this feeling would go away after I gave birth. Apparently it has not worn off yet.

Allah SWT willing next year I will grow more varieties of sunflowers in the backyard garden. Maybe it is not too late now to grow more sunflowers? I'll give it a go and see if it is not too late.


"Where is Po-Po?"

DD1 loves to watch Sid The Science Kid on PBS. Sid has a cool grandma who picks him up from preschool and teaches him wonderful things. I am glad that this animated series incorporate a senior citizen character to show kids that some old people are cool to hang out with.

My mother-in-law passed away in 2004 before DD1 was born.

My mother does not speak English and we converse mainly in Cantonese and Mandarin. Whenever she calls, DD1 would greet her and my mother would ask simple questions like "What is your name?", "How old are you?", and "Did you sleep well?". I have been teaching Mandarin to DD1 so that she can communicate with my mother. All praise be to Allah SWT she is able to answer those questions clearly now.

One day, out of the blue, DD1 asked me, "Mama, where is Po-Po?" I was quite surprised that she posed that question, so I told her Po-Po is in Singapore. She then asked me why Po-Po is not here (in the US). I told her that Po-Po lives in Singapore while we live in the US. At this point she seems satisfied with the answer. Several times she asked me when we are going to Singapore to visit Po-Po. Then she would say that when she visits her Po-Po in Singapore, she would bring me and DD2 along.

I guess when she watches Sid hangs out with his grandma, she assumes that she should be able to do that too. I believe that young children should have lots of opportunity to be around senior folks. This allows them to understand the concept of respecting the elderly and how to take care of them. I believe it also gives them a better grasp of the concept of life cycle.

Allah SWT willing when the kids are older, I hope to bring them to volunteer at the nearby retirement or nursing home. This way they will be able to develop compassion and learn to be patient with senior folks.


June 13, 2010

Cooking with Love

My mother used to say that a good meal can only be created when she was in a good mood. She tried to explain to me how her mood affected her cooking, but I never did understand that until I started to cook after I got married.

I did notice that when I was in a good mood, husband seemed to enjoy my cooking more. At times when I was tired or not in the mood for cooking, the dishes either were too salty or too spicy.

Tonight husband grilled t-bone steaks, tomatoes and bell peppers for us. All praise be to Allah SWT this delicious meal cost under $10. I guess husband 'cooked' so well was due to the fact that he took a four-hour nap after brunch (he was up last night to take care of DD2) while I took DD1 grocery shopping. I have to say that husband cooks better when he is in a good mood or well rested.

Allah SWT willing I will pass on this wisdom to my daughters as they grow up and hopefully they will remember this when they prepare meals for their husbands and children.


Extracts from Mom's Bathtub Reader

"Bitter are the tears of a child: Sweeten them.
Deep are the thoughts of a child: Quiet them.
Sharp is the grief of a child: Take it from him.
Soft is the heart of a child: Do not harden it."
- Pamela Glenconner

"The reason why mothers are more devoted to their children than fathers: it is that they suffer more in giving them birth and are more certain that they are their own." - Aristotle

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pies for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie." - Tenneva Jordan

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness." - Honore de Balzac

"It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human being." - Ann Landers

"My mother's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it." - Buddy Hackett

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind percepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." - Washington Irving

What's the difference between a Rottweiler and a mother? Eventually a Rottweiler will let go.

Did you hear about the cannibal mom? She had a husband and ate kids.

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June 10, 2010

TTU Librarian Receives Award from American Psychological Association

My ex-colleague at TTU, Brian Quinn, will receive an award for his hard work and dedication to the profession. He is one of the nicest people I've met since I came to the US. I enjoy working with him and appreciate his willingness to advise me on how to communicate better with faculty members. I am so proud and happy for Brian's achievement.

Librarian Receives Award from American Psychological Association

Brian Quinn, social sciences librarian at the Texas Tech University Libraries, will receive the American Psychological Association (APA)’s Excellence in Librarianship Award for 2010.

The award, in its fourth year, recognizes outstanding contributions to psychology and behavioral sciences in areas including instruction, project development, publications, research or service.

The APA’s award committee noted Quinn’s “excellent record of scholarship and extraordinary and proactive professional service” as keys to its decision.

A subject librarian at Texas Tech since 1995, Quinn described the honor as the pinnacle of 15 years of service and research, which focuses primarily on the psychological and sociological aspects of libraries; for example, studying how people seek out and evaluate information.

“For me, receiving this award is probably the most exciting thing that could happen in my career,” he said. “It is a national award from what many people feel is the premier professional organization in the field. For a social sciences librarian, I can’t think of many accomplishments as important as winning this award.”

Quinn will be honored June 26 at the Education & Behavioral Sciences Section Research Forum of the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.


June 09, 2010

One of the Worst Librarian Stereotypes in a Movie

As seen in the June/July 2010 issue of the American Libraries magazine published by the American Librarian Association.

Chainsaw Sally (2004)
. Drab Porterville librarian Sally Diamon (played by April Monique Burril) turns into an insane, cannibalistic, chainsaw-slinging, goth vigilante at night, dealing death to those who threaten her or her cross-dressing brother. She offs one male patron in the library men's room for being noisy, and brutally executes Tina in the woods for not returning the overdue Atkins for Life diet book.


Summer Reading Program

Half Price Books is having a summer reading program from June 1st to July 31st. This program is open to kids 14 and under.

Since DD2 was born, I have not been able to find time to read to DD1. So when I know about the summer reading program, I told DD2 that I will read to her for at least 15 minutes every day so that she can get more free books to read, Allah SWT willing.

It is quite tough to try to give adequate attention to two children, let alone three and more. My mother reminds me to spend time with DD1 so that she would not feel neglected. All praise be to Allah SWT DD1 helps me out with diaper duty and keeping the house clean. She try to be helpful whenever she can and she is happy when her efforts are being appreciated by husband and I. I think I'll have to make an effort in this area or else DD1 may not bond with her sister because of jealousy.

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June 08, 2010

Sprouts Farmers Market

A few months ago my dear sister sent us a can of Trader Joe's decaf French Roast coffee beans. Husband and I have been enjoying it and now we are running out of the coffee beans. I thought there must be some place near our place that sells decaf coffee beans, so I searched online for reviews.

One of the reviews that I found was about Sprouts Farmers Market's decaf French Roast coffee beans. All praise be to Allah SWT there is a branch in Dallas, so this morning I brought Sr. Zaleha and the kids to the store. I almost jumped with joy when I found a whole range of decaf coffee beans! But since husband and I prefer French Roast over the others, I bought one pound and it should last us for a month, Allah SWT willing.

The store has a good range of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. I am glad to find yummy fresh baked baguette at the store that cost less than the ones sold at Whole Foods Market. Allah SWT willing I will bring husband to the store soon.


红星大奖 2010 - Funny Skit

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June 05, 2010

Handmade New Baby Card

My dear sister made this card for DD2 and sent it to us after she went back to Ohio.

She is the best aunt ever!


Vegetable Garden Update - June 2010 (1)

The chickens have been pecking at our pole bean and bush bean plants. To prevent them from turning their attention to juicy tomatoes and yummy bell peppers, husband fenced up the garden bed last weekend.

Bell peppers growing well!

Better Boy tomatoes love the hot weather.

Summer squash flowers are so pretty.

Allah SWT willing just a few more weeks and we can harvest fresh bell peppers from the garden!


June 03, 2010

'The Shallows': This Is Your Brain Online

No wonder I get 'techno phobia' some times. I guess its my brain telling me to stop surfing too much on the internet.

'The Shallows': This Is Your Brain Online

Try reading a book while doing a crossword puzzle, and that, says author Nicholas Carr, is what you're doing every time you use the Internet.

Carr is the author of the Atlantic article Is Google Making Us Stupid? which he has expanded into a book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.

Carr believes that the Internet is a medium based on interruption — and it's changing the way people read and process information. We've come to associate the acquisition of wisdom with deep reading and solitary concentration, and he says there's not much of that to be found online.

Chronic Distraction

Carr started research for The Shallows after he noticed a change in his own ability to concentrate.

"I'd sit down with a book, or a long article," he tells NPR's Robert Siegel, "and after a couple of pages my brain wanted to do what it does when I'm online: check e-mail, click on links, do some Googling, hop from page to page."

This chronic state of distraction "follows us" Carr argues, long after we shut down our computers.

"Neuroscientists and psychologists have discovered that, even as adults, our brains are very plastic," Carr explains. "They're very malleable, they adapt at the cellular level to whatever we happen to be doing. And so the more time we spend surfing, and skimming, and scanning ... the more adept we become at that mode of thinking."

Would You Process This Information Better On Paper?

The book cites many studies that indicate that online reading yields lower comprehension than reading from a printed page. Then again, reading online is a relatively recent phenomenon, and a generation of readers who grow up consuming everything on the screen may simply be more adept at online reading than people who were forced to switch from print.

Still, Carr argues that even if people get better at hopping from page to page, they will still be losing their abilities to employ a "slower, more contemplative mode of thought." He says research shows that as people get better at multitasking, they "become less creative in their thinking."

The idea that the brain is a kind of zero sum game — that the ability to read incoming text messages is somehow diminishing our ability to read Moby Dick — is not altogether self-evident. Why can't the mind simply become better at a whole variety of intellectual tasks?

Carr says it really has to do with practice. The reality — especially for young people — is that online time is "crowding out" the time that might otherwise be spent in prolonged, focused concentration.

"We're seeing this medium, the medium of the Web, in effect replace the time that we used to spend in different modes of thinking," Carr says.

Read the rest here.


Easy Breezy Nursing

All praise be to Allah SWT, I am much more comfortable this time breastfeeding DD2. It has been a wonderful experience, minus the endless crying and stressful attempts to get the baby to latch on. I didn't expect it to be so easy this time, since DD2 was bottle-fed for the first 3 weeks since she was born. I am still amazed that she could latch on easily after that.

Last weekend when we visited the Lavender Ridge Farm and the Blueberry Hill Farms, it was a breeze to nurse DD2. No hot water bottle, milk bottle and milk powder to carry where ever we went. I have to thank my dear sister for her constant encouragement for me to breastfeed DD2. Knowing that she did it successfully for my niece really motivated me to continue trying to nurse DD2 despite my first few failed attempts.

Now if only the baby can sleep through the night so that I can have my beauty sleep back...


$13 Trillion Debt

That means $42,000 for every man, woman and child in the USA.

Federal debt tops $13 trillion mark

By Stephen Dinan

The federal government is now $13 trillion in the red, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday, marking the first time the government has sunk that far into debt and putting a sharp point on the spending debate on Capitol Hill.

Calculated down to the exact penny, the debt totaled $13,050,826,460,886.97 as of Tuesday, leaping nearly $60 billion since Friday, the previous day for which figures were released.

Read more here.


Heat Wave

Earlier this week husband told me that one of the brown quails died in the quail house, and he buried it in the garden bed. He thinks that it died due to heat stroke because temperature has been in the upper 90s degree F this week.

I suggested him to freeze water in a soda bottle and put the frozen bottle in the quail house so that it helps to cool down the quails. Starting this Saturday the temperature will be in the 100s degree F. I have been refilling Niko's water bottles every morning and checking the water level in the afternoon. The chickens have been staying under shaded area in the backyard to stay cool. Allah SWT wiling we hope that our animals will survive the heat wave.

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June 01, 2010

Blueberry Hill Farms

Last Sunday husband and I brought the kids to the Blueberry Hill Farms to pick blackberries. The farm is located about 2 hours drive away but we enjoyed the beautiful rural scenery during the journey. All praise be to Allah SWT the weather was beautiful too.

Gift store

Yummy blackberries picked by husband and DD1.

Very Berry Preserves bought at the farm.

Blackberry bushes.

Husband and DD1 had a good time picking blackberries. It cost $3.00 per pound if we picked our own blackberries which is so much cheaper compared to buying them at the supermarket. We stayed at the farm for about 30 minutes and had lunch at a nearby rest area along Interstate Highway 20.

The owner said that blueberries will be ready for picking in another 3 weeks' time. Allah SWT willing we will go back to pick blueberries to make a delicious blueberry pie!