Life's like that!

October 31, 2011

Learning at Home Norms

Adopted from here.

In Our Home:

1. We celebrate each other's success.

2. We create.

3. We are a team.

4. We learn from our mistakes.

5. We respect each other.

6. We try our best.


October 30, 2011

Free washer-size boxes

For the upcoming Hajj Simulation event at the school, the teacher-in-charge needs large boxes to make a model of the ka'bah.

Last week, she said to me that she could not find refrigerator or washer/dryer size boxes at Lowes, Home Depot or Sears. She asked me to help her get large moving boxes if I am unable to find those free ones.

Yesterday, I googled for 'free refrigerator boxes' and found several postings by teachers who mentioned that they were able to find free refrigerator/washer/dryer size boxes at local appliances stores and Rent-a-Center stores.

In the evening, I was on my way to get grocery with DD1 and DD2 when I drove past a Rent-a-Center. I decided to stop by the store and ask the manager if they have any boxes. She replied that I might be able to find them next to the dumpster behind the store.

I drove the car to the dumpster and all praise be to Allah SWT, I found five of them! Although they were a little bit torn in several places, a duct tape should be able to fix these issues. I folded them and tried to pack them into the car, but they were too big to fit in. So I decided to leave the boxes next to the dumpster, go home and get husband to pick them up for me. All praise be to Allah SWT the drive home took only 10 minutes. On the way home, I called husband to tell him about my discovery and have him get DS ready in the car seat so that we can leave when I got home.

Husband drove us back to the dumpster and tied them on top of the car roof. All praise be to Allah SWT we made it home without any mishap.

I am so thankful to husband for his skills and creativity. I bet if I were to ask him to bring an elephant home for me, it would be a piece of cake for him!


October 29, 2011

Should I be a teacher?

In the middle of this week, a middle school teacher suggested to me that I might be interested in becoming middle school Social Studies Teacher.

She said that since I am enthusiastic about teaching and imparting knowledge to students, that would be the perfect job for me if I was to decide to be a teacher.

Honestly, I have thought of pursuing this career path after working as a teacher's assistant last academic year. I enjoyed facilitating students' learning and learning from them. I can find lots of useful resources to make lessons fun, engaging and hands-on for students.

Allah SWT willing I'm going to give this a serious thought. Who knows? Like the saying goes, 'You never know until you give it a try.'


School Poem

Emailed to me by DD1's lovely teacher, Auntie B.

I had a dream of school supplies,
where paperclips could talk;
where poster paper hung around
with marking pens and chalk.

The stationery idled
while the pencils madly raced.
The clocks went 'round in circles,
and the glue sticks merely paced.

The binders were inseparable.
They bonded with the tape.
The workbooks exercised
and helped the stencils stay in shape.

Some calculators added
to the numbers in this land,
and music was provided by
a singing rubber band.

My dream was strange and truly cool,
but this was even cooler:
The dictionaries all looked up to me.
I was the ruler.

--Kenn Nesbitt


October 24, 2011

Sphere Shapes

This week, DD1 has a family fun project that requires us to look for sphere-shaped objects inside and outside the house.

This evening, we found:
1. a big red bouncing ball
2. a small squishy basketball
3. a hair band with green pearls
4. a globe shape pencil sharpener
5. a box of swirl glass marbles
6. a Winnie the Pooh rubber ball
7. a  small red plastic ball, and
8. a yellow ball that is in the rabbit's cage

After finding the objects, we drew pictures and wrote about the objects on pieces of white paper. I helped DD1 to make a booklet and used a blue ribbon to tie the pages togethers.

We really enjoy making this fun project together. Allah SWT willing maybe we can make a cone-shaped booklet later this week.


October 22, 2011

The Green Team

Yesterday, I almost got a heart attack because of 5 caterpillars.

One of the 3rd grade teachers has a butterfly farm in her classroom where 5 monarch caterpillars are residing. She ordered a kit that comes with a milkweed plant for her 5 green friends whom I will call The Green Team.

Yesterday, after school dismissal at 3pm, she came to tell me that The Green Team has eaten all the leaves on the plant in less than a week. They were so hungry that they were munching on the plant stem. I almost fell off my chair when I heard that.

Now, I am not the biggest fan of those wriggly squirmy caterpillars, but I could not just ignore the fact that they might die if they don't get more food. So I helped the teacher to look up a nursery garden that sells milkweed plants. All praise be to Allah SWT, we found one that is about 45 minutes drive away. The bad news was the teacher has no idea how to get there.

So since DD1 was having a play date at the babysitter's house, I offered to drive the teacher to the nursery garden to get the plants. All praise be to Allah SWT, we made the trip to and fro safely despite heavy traffic due to highway construction. I also happened to find out that that nursery garden sells live chicken on the 3rd Saturday of every month from 9am to 2pm.

So now The Green Team should be  munching happily on fresh delicious milkweed plant leaves. I hope that I'll have the chance to see them become beautiful monarch butterflies.


October 21, 2011

Bad Boss Behavior

I love to read this blogger's column in the American Library Association's monthly magazine. Here is an abstract from his blog about bad boss behavior.

While many aspiring supervisors learn their supervisory behaviors from bad bosses, a few insightful staffers watch the bad boss and learn the “don’ts.” Here is where, with your help, this blog can be a great resource for the library profession.  Off the top of my head I am going to list some of the bad boss behaviors I witnessed in my working days.   Then in the comment section, I want all of you Unwinders to list bad boss behaviors you have seen.  Then on a sidebar I will compile the entire list and hopefully this list will make the rounds in libraries big and small and maybe we can change some bad boss behaviors.  Although, I have to ironically admit that one of the defining characteristics of a bad boss is an unwillingness to admit faults.  Oh well, let’s try it anyway.  Here are my DON’TS.
  • Don’t raise your voice when you are wrong.
  • Don’t ask for workplace ideas and then ignore them.
  • Don’t say you have an open door policy and then continually look at your watch when someone enters.
  • Don’t put up a sign on your office wall that says…WHAT PART OF NO DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?
  • Don’t preface every meeting with an employee with the question: “Is this going to take long.”
  • Don’t put a bumper sticker on your car that says: MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.
  • Don’t bring in a box of donuts on Friday and then eat half of them.
  • Don’t center your “morale program” around a pot-luck.
  • Don’t time your employees when they take a potty break.
  • Don’t send someone an e-mail to give them bad news when their cubicle is 3 feet from your office.
  • Don’t tell us about your PhD from the School of Hard Knocks.
  • Don’t ask for a doctor’s note when someone calls in sick.
Finally don’t say any of the following things:
  • This is the way we’ve always done it.
  • It is what it is.
  • If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
  • That won’t work.
  • We don’t have any money for that.
  • This community is not ready for that.
  • A word to the wise: if you want to get ahead in this organization don’t make waves.
  • Our director is a Luddite.
  • We tried that 30 years ago.  It didn’t work then.  It won’t work now.
  • Don’t stir up a hornet’s nest.
  • Your idea has never been field tested.
  • Our patrons like things just the way they are.
  • Do you want to be branded a troublemaker?
  • This is the real world; not a library school classroom.
  • I love your enthusiasm, but your idea is impractical.
  • If you want to be a change agent go work the cash register at the circ desk.
  • Right now is not a good time for change.  Maybe later.
  • That’s an interesting idea, but let some other library implement it and work out the bugs first. We don’t like to be the guinea pig around here.
  • In my day we had to hand crank a ditto machine.   Our computer equipment may be old and out of date but it’s a heck of a lot better than what I had to work with when I was your age. Try stamping books all day with a hand stamp.
  • Have you thought about the unintended consequences of your idea?
  • This could be a CLM on your part….a “career limiting move.”
  • It’s too risky.
  • Don’t upset the City Council (Library Board…Board of Regents…School Board, etc.)
  • Folks around here don’t cotton to outsiders coming in and shaking things up.
  • This is a conservative town.
  • Put your idea down on paper then we’ll consider it along with 159 other proposals in our 2012 budget cycle.
  • Where is the money going to come from for this?
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  • I’ll think about it in due time.
  • This is not a good time for me personally.  Do me a favor and don’t complicate things any worse for me. Forget your idea.  It’s just going to cause trouble.
  • As your friend let me tell you confidentially that your idea is idiotic but I’ll save you the embarrassment and I won’t tell anyone else about it.
  • You’re trying to make us look bad.
  • Don’t get all hot and bothered.  Your time will come….eventually.
  • Thank your lucky stars you have a job.  Don’t rock the boat or you’ll end up on a layoff list.
  • Patience is a virtue.
  • Things move slowly in government.
  • The status quo is good enough for government.
  • Let’s stick with what we know works.
  • That’s just change for change sake.
  • Been there done that.  It doesn’t work.
  • We’ve gotten along just fine without it.
  • I’ll get back to you on this.
  • Let’s put it on the back burner.
  • It’ll never fly with admin.
  • This dog won’t hunt.
  • Great idea but it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell getting past the City Council.
  • Pick your battles.
  • Don’t bend your pick on this.
  • Wait till the time is right.
  • Keep your powder dry.
  • Right now we’re just trying to tread water financially.
  • In life timing is everything and this is just not the right time.
  • We’re in cutback mode and you want to innovate?
  • Look, everyone here is already overextended.
  • That’s not in your job description.
  • We’ve heard this a million times.
  • Who the hell told you to do this?

Read the rest here.


Note From My Girl

No words can describe my gratitude and joy when DD1 presented this note to me yesterday.

Dear Mom, I hope your wrist feels better. Love (you) Mom.


October 19, 2011

Learn to Read

I have been coaching several 1st grade students in reading and math since I started work this month.

Boy, oh boy, it was an eye opening experience for me.

Many times, I find that the main reason students do not do well in math is because they cannot read the instruction. Usually once I read the instruction to them, they are able to solve those math problems.

I remember when I was at that age, I was struggling in my homework because Cantonese was the main language spoken at home with my mother. My test scores usually hoovered above the 50 percent mark because my father communicated with us in English.

Many students who struggle with school work speak a foreign language at home. Although I try to get DD1 to speak Mandarin with me, our primary language medium is still English. I read more English then Chinese books with her, and we watch more English programs on TV. Based on her teacher's feedback, she is able to comprehend instructions in class.

I am thankful that I am able to help out in the 1st grade classes to coach these students. This experience helps me to better understand the impact of parents' support for children's success in school.


Brand new niece

All praise be to Allah SWT, my younger brother and sister-in-law welcomed the arrival of their fifth child last Friday, Oct. 14th.

The baby girl and mother are doing well at home since they were discharged last Sunday.

Thanks to my dear sister, who knew about it but conveniently 'forgot' to tell me, I learned about this news from my mother when I called her last night. I am thankful that there was no complications during the delivery.

Can't wait to see baby photos soon, Allah SWT willing.


Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

Received from a community mailing list.

"Wherein is fruit, the date palm and pomegranate .Which is it, of the favors of your Lord, that ye deny?"- Quran

Sweet pomegranate are preferred over the sour. The juice stems coughs. All kinds of pomegranate settle palpitations of the heart.

Sayyiduna Ali said that the light of ALLAH is in the heart of whoever eats pomegranate.

It is also reported that one who eats three pomegranate in the course of a year will be inoculated against ophthalmia-( inflammation of the eye) for that year.
Pomegranate "cleanses you of Satan and from evil aspirations for 40 days." Hadith

11 Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
Several recent studies have shown significant potential health benefits from drinking pomegranate juice. Here are eleven:

1.Fights Breast Cancer
Studies in Israel show that pomegranate juice destroys breast cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. It may also prevent breast cancer cells from forming.

2.Lung Cancer Prevention
Studies in mice show that pomegranate juice may inhibit the development of lung cancer.

3.Slows Prostate Cancer
It slowed the growth of prostate cancer in mice.

4. Keeps PSA Levels Stable
In a study of 50 men who had undergone treatment for prostate cancer, 8 ounces of pomegranate juice per day kept PSA levels stable, reducing the need for further treatment such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

5. Protects the Neonatal Brain
Studies show that maternal consumption of pomegranate juice may protect the neonatal brain from damage after injury.

6. Prevention of Osteoarthritis
Several studies indicate that pomegranate juice may prevent cartilage deterioration.

7. Protects the Arteries
It prevents plaque from building up in the arteries and may reverse previous plaque buildup.

8. Alzheimer's Disease Prevention
It may prevent and slow Alzheimer's disease. In one study, mice bred to develop Alzheimer's disease were given pomegranate juice. They accumulated significantly less amyloid plaque than control mice and they performed mental tasks better.

9. Lowers Cholesterol
It lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL (good cholesterol).

10. Lowers Blood Pressure
One study showed that drinking 1.7 ounces of pomegranate juice per day lowered systolic blood pressure by as much as 5 percent.

11. Dental Protection
Research suggests that drinking pomegranate juice may be a natural way to prevent dental plaque.
Other Health Benefits - Pomegranate

The Pomegranate has been touted as a superfruit due to its amazing health properties. This is because Pomegranates are rich in Potassium, folic acid, Vitamins (rich in Vitamin C) and Antioxidants called polyphenols (some studies suggest that they contain 3 times more antioxidants than red wine or green tea).

Antioxidants are chemical substances which help in the prevention of cellular damage (said to be a common pathway for cancer, heart problems, aging, and a variety of diseases) and are the main reason for the big obsession.

Much research has been done to show that Pomegranates may be able to reduce blood pressure, LDL cholesterol build up and even slow down prostate cancer.

There are Three references of the Pomegranate in the Qur'an under the name of Rumman (its Qur'anic name).

The references can be found in;
"We bring forth the green blade from, which we bring forth the thick clustered grain; and from the date palm, from the pollen thereof, spring pendant bunches; and (We bring forth) gardens of grapes, and the olive and the pomegranate, alike and unlike."[Surah vi,Verse 99]

"He it is Who produceth gardens trellised and untrellised, and the date palm, and crops of divers flavor, and the olive and the pomegranate , like and unlike. "Surah vi,Verse 141]

"Wherein is fruit, the date palm and pomegranate .Which is it, of the favors of your Lord, that ye deny?" [Surah LV ,Verse 68]

There are also a number of hadith on the Pomegranate;

"There is not a pomegranate which does not have a pip from one of the pomegranate of the Garden(of Jannah) in it."[Abu Nu'aim]

"Pomegranate and its rind strengthen digestion (stomach)."
[narrated Ali(radhiyallahu anhu), Abu Nuaim, Al-Jozi]

A pip of Jannah - Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

Some research has also evaluated the antioxidant nature of pomegranate juice and its usefulness in fighting certain forms of cancer.

Pomegranate juice has been tentatively shown to reduce incidence of breast and skin cancer. It has also been tested and shown to slow the growth of prostate cancer in mice.

Another interesting study has evaluated pomegranate juice and osteoarthritis. Pomegranate juice tends to act as an inhibitor on enzymes responsible for damaging cartilage.

These studies applied extract of pomegranate directly onto damaged cartilage. More research would have to examine a cause and effect relationship between oral ingestion of pomegranate juice and reduction in cartilage deterioration.


October 16, 2011

Library book sale

Yesterday, I brought DD1 to the public library to check out some videos.

Instead, we spent an hour at the library book sale.

All praise be to Allah SWT, I bought some Chinese books about how to work smarter. I also found a book 'Asian Health Secrets' by Letha Hadady.

This book seems to have a substantial amount of information about Chinese herbs because it is 512 pages thick! Here is the review on

This comprehensive work by an acupuncturist and herbalist brings the ancient knowledge of Chinese, Indian, and Tibetan herbal medicine to Westerners. Tools for self-diagnosis emphasize treating the person, rather than the illness, to ensure a healthy harmony of body, mind, and spirit. Herbs are recommended for a gamut of problems, ranging from eating disorders, arthritis, and PMS to sexual dysfunction and depression. Hadady tells how to prepare herbal remedies at home but also includes mail-order sources. A cross reference of herb names to their Chinese names and a general index and herb index are provided. This thorough volume is recommended as a definitive resource on Asian herbal medicine for popular alternative medicine collections. (Indexes not seen.)?Nancy Myers, Univ. of South Dakota Lib., Vermillion

Allah SWT willing, I hope to find time this week to read this book.

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October 14, 2011

I Love Kindergarten!

DD1's teacher is such a fabulous lady.

Every time I pick up DD1 from her classroom, I always get to learn something new from her teacher. This week, the class got to do some activities about their neighborhood. They even learned about the song 'Who is the person in your neighborhood?' from the Sesame Street.

It's so cool to be in kindergarten!


October 12, 2011

Behavior Chart - Three Color Traffic System

Yesterday, when I was assisting in the 1st grade classroom, I noticed that the teacher uses a traffic system for students to monitor their own behavior.

She placed cloth pins for all students next to the green light. Every day all students start off from the green light. When a student is out of line e.g. not following directions, not keeping hands and feet to him/herself etc., she moves the student's cloth pin next to the yellow light (warning). Should the student chooses to continue his/her inappropriate behavior, she moves the cloth pin to the red light (consequences). When that happens, the student loses his/her privilege e.g. no craft activity, sit on bench at the playground etc. This system works well for Pr-kindergarten to 3rd grade students.

I just made a similar chart to use it on DD1. Now that she is 5 years old, all praise be to Allah SWT, she knows quite well about the behavior rules at home. I think this visual reminder will help her to be more independent in her self-monitoring awareness.

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October 09, 2011

If I knew you were coming I'd would bake a cake

If I knew you were comin' I'd baked a cake
baked a cake, baked a cake
If I knew you were comin' I'd baked a cake
Howd-ya do, howd-ya do, howd-ya do
Had you dropped me a letter, I'd a-hired a band
Grandest band in the land
Had you dropped me a letter, I'd a-hired a band
And spread the welcome mat for you

Oh, I don't know where you came from
'cause I don't know where you've been
But it really doesn't matter
Grab a chair and fill your platter
And dig, dig, dig right in

If I knew you were comin' I'd baked a cake
Hired a band, goodness sake
If I knew you were comin' I'd baked a cake
Howd-ya do, howd-ya do, howd-ya do


Working from 6:30pm to 3:30pm

Last week was quite an interesting week for me. I felt comfortable to be back to work, even though I am taking on a whole different responsibility at the school.

I am now working from 6:30am till 3:30pm because I enjoy working early morning. Since I do not have any dismissal duty, I can pick up DD1 from the kindergarten classroom and go to the babysitter house to get DD2 and DS.We usually get home by 4pm and so have free time to hang out together before husband comes home at 6pm.

As I am still nursing DS, I experimented with expressing my breast milk before lunch, and felt that this worked for me. I try to remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day by bringing a water bottle along whenever I leave the computer lab.

I am now 'stationed' in the computer lab so that I can help out the Technology Application Teacher whenever needed since she has three large classes of about 28 students. I don't mind working in a busy environment because even at home, I usually turn on the radio for background sound.

Apart from the website, I am also assisting two first grade teachers for two periods, and taking on marketing and PR for the school.

On Saturday, we had a workshop on Professional Learning Community (PLC) and the speaker highly recommended the book "Learning by Doing" by Richard Dufour et. al. I quite enjoy the workshop because the presenter, who is a Muslim lady, was engaging. Allah SWT willing I think I'll get a used copy from Amazon to read about it.


I feel pretty, oh so pretty...

Last Thursday, as I was preparing to get back to work after prayer, a 2nd grade student walked up to me and said in a gentle voice, "You are pretty."

I was quite surprised to hear her say that because I don't think I've taught that student, and I never expect to hear this from anyone.

Thanks to her compliment, it sure made me feel good about myself for the rest of the week!


October 06, 2011

No uniform day

Yesterday, the school had a No Uniform Day.

DD1 wore the pretty pink dress that my dear sister in Ohio sent to her last month. DD1 was so happy that she had the chance to show her classmates how her aunt dotes on her. DD2 and DS also received cute outfits from my sister. The kids know that although she lives far away from us, she is always close to our heart because of her love and care. Thanks to technology, we get to skype with her and chat with my niece and nephew.

Can't wait to visit her next Summer, Allah SWT willing.


October 05, 2011

Busy like a bee

Today is my third day back to work, but I already feel like I never left the school.

Since Monday, I've been getting hugs from former 4th grade students whenever they saw me. It's great to be back to work and get to hang out with teachers and students. I am now working in the computer lab, but may have to move when the new part-time technical support person is hired.

Today, we started the Wednesday Winners drawing when two teachers are picked to receive goody bags. Students always root for their teachers, and teachers feel extra special to win prizes.

I'm still nursing DS, so when I have free time, I would express breastmilk in the restroom. Allah SWT willing I'm hoping that I can nurse DS for at least six months.

Apart from maintaining the school website, I am also the assistant teacher for two first grade classes. Each class has 24 students, and there are about 2-3 students who need extra help with class and homework. So my job is to coach these students. I enjoy giving individual attention to students and encouraging them to try their best.

Allah SWT willing I hope this school year goes smoothly and safely for everyone.


October 02, 2011

Back to Work

Tomorrow is my official first day of work.

Actually I have been working from home since Wednesday to get some documentation ready so that I can get up to speed when I return back to work full-time. I am excited at the opportunity to develop the school's website and improving school processes. Husband will also be helping me out with the website development so that I can focus on the web content.

I will miss my kids but I know that they will be in good hands with Sr. Salma.

Best of all, I'm on a 10-month contract so I'll get to spend summer vacation with my kids! All praise be to Allah SWT!