Life's like that!

May 27, 2012

Successful Fundraising

Last night, I volunteered at a fundraising dinner for the building expansion project while husband watched the kids at home.

All praise be to Allah SWT, the event ran smoothly and on time. About $80K was raised by the time it ended at 9pm. Here are some lessons that I learned from observing the event organizers.

Enthusiasm - The enthusiasm of all event organizers rubbed off on me positively. I felt energized and eager to get to my work area. I also felt that other volunteers and I were working together in an encouraging and productive way.

Willingness to trust in people's ability - No one was micromanaged throughout the event. The organizers trusted that people knew what they were doing and to put in their best efforts to manage their tasks well.

Challenge - If there is a more effective and efficient way to manage a task, then we were challenged to think about it and to follow through. Flexibility was definitely required to be able to come up with better procedures to get the same job done faster and accurately.

Although I was there at 2pm and stayed till 9pm, I did not feel exhausted a bit. With Allah SWT's blessing, I was able to play with DD1 and DD2 for one hour after I got home. Allah SWT willing, I hope to involve them in this type of fundraising activity when they get older.


May 21, 2012

Dream Garden

All praise be to Allah SWT, we received invaluable help from Sr. Maryam and her kids to prepare the vegetable garden for planting seedlings.

Yesterday, husband worked on a new fence so that the chickens cannot nibble all the yummy leaves from our precious plants. We also bought 4 bell pepper plants, 1 cayenne plant and 1 jalapeno pepper plant from Home Depot.

I took about 20 minutes this evening to transplant them in the vegetable garden.

May Allah SWT bless us with an abundant harvest so that we can share them with Sr. Maryam and her family.


May 20, 2012

Billy Stewart - Summertime


SUMMER (Original Full-Length Album Version) - War


The Malibooz & Dean Torrence - "Gonna Hustle You"


Dick Dale - Let's Go Trippin'


Summer Sand - Tony Orlando & Dawn


Percy Faith - Theme From A Summer Place


Bruce and Terry - Summer Means Fun


Connie Francis - Vacation (HQ)


The Jamies - Summertime, Summertime


First Class | Beach Baby | 1974


Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest


THE YOUNGBLOODS / Let´s get together (1967)


Martha & The Vandellas "Dancing in the Streets"


Freddy Cannon - Palisades Park


The Ventures - Wipe Out


Cliff Richard - Summer Holiday


Nat King Cole - Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer


Wise words from the Cat in the Hat

Source: via Yvonne on Pinterest


Love Letter to the World


This is your life


May 19, 2012

Brain Break


Healthy rules to live by


The best thing about a picture is...


Doggie Language

Source: via Adriana on Pinterest


All I need is patience...

I am praying that Allah SWT grant me the patience to deal with the trouble at school.

Last year this time, when the 4th grade teacher encouraged me to apply for the school administrator position at the school, I did it because I truly appreciated her confidence in me to contribute to the school's success. This year has been an eye-opening experience for me. I saw, up close and personal, how power struggle, lack of people skills and disorganization from top management can cause so much grief for teachers, staff and students.

One of the experienced and dedicated teacher, who is also a close friend of mine, is actively seeking employment elsewhere because she could no longer deal with this dysfunctional workplace. Another experienced and outspoken teacher is also seeking early retirement due to this.

Husband has tried to convince me to quit and work elsewhere where I will not be exhausted by this type of mindless stress. I am so tempted to do so, but when I think of the warm greetings from students, sincere appreciation of my co-workers for my hard work and the close proximity to DD1, I told him that I will stay as long as I can mentally handle the stress.

For next school year, I indicated on the intent to return form that I would like to go back to the classroom as an assistant teacher or be assigned non-core teaching subjects. I really have no interest to be a part of the drama in the school administration, and Allah SWT knows my sincere intention to serve hardworking teachers and precious students in the most effective and efficient way.

This past week, I have been staying home with the kids because they contracted hand, foot and mouth disease. I am thankful that I can take off from work to enjoy some quality time with them and get away from the stress.

I am praying that Allah SWT grant me the patience to deal with the trouble at school.


Article: Top 10 Pregnancy Procedures Reject (What to Reject When You're Expecting))

Received via community mailing list. Thanks!

Seen here:

1. A C-section with a low-risk first birth
2. An automatic second C-section
3. An elective early delivery
4. Inducing labor without a medical reason
5. Ultrasounds after 24 weeks
6. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring
7. Early epidurals
8. Routinely rupturing the amniotic membranes
9. Routine episiotomies
10. Sending your newborn to the nursery

10 Things You Should Do During Your Pregnancy1. Set your due date
2. Make a plan-have a backup
3. Consider a midwife
4. Reduce the risks of an early delivery
5. Ask if a breech baby can be turned
6. Stay at home during early labor
7. Be patient
8. Get labor support
9. Listen to yourself
10. Touch your newborn

5 Things to do Before You Become Pregnant1. Take folic acid
2. Stop bad habits
3. Take control of chronic disease
4. Watch for harmful drugs and supplements
5. Avoid toxics


May 18, 2012

How To Begin Whole Brain Teaching: 2


How To Begin Whole Brain Teaching: 1


Video: Whole Brain Teaching - The Basics

Allah SWT willing, I am going to try this on my kids!


Video: Whole Brain Teaching aka Power Teaching


If I were to become a teacher or librarian again, I am going to try literacy centers in the classroom or the library with middle school students, Allah SWT willing.

Seen here:

1. At the SMART Board were two Anagram games for practicing spelling words. Each game had only five words, so they played both of them. They had done these same games a week or two earlier.
2. Sentence Revision: I wrote three sentences on different colored sentence strips. I cut the strips apart and put the pieces in a zip-lock bag. I told the students that there were three sentences in there, each a different color, and they were to figure them out and write them on a half sheet of paper. One paper per group.
3. Critical Reading: At this table was a short (3 paragraph) article, which was followed by four multiple choice questions. They were to read it aloud and decide together on the correct answers to the questions. One of the questions required them to make an inference.
4. Reading food labels: I collected some chip and Cheeto bags from the students after a recent field trip. I brought in a Coke and a bottle of Gatorade. Students had to pull data from the nutrition labels of these packages, and then answer some analytical questions about them. This center was more time consuming than the others, so students were instructed to just collect the data here and wait until they had downtime at another station to answer the questions. This worked very well.
5. Brain Gym: I have been reading some brain research over the past couple of years, and every so often I pull out a couple of exercises for the kids to try. This center had instructions for three exercises, and told them what they were good for (reading comprehension, focus, retention of information, etc.) We practiced these three exercises the day before the centers activity.
6. Prefixes: This station had a worksheet from Skill Sharpeners 3 which included 20 words with prefixes. It involved matching prefixes and definitions. The group was to do it together, only completing one sheet.
7. Cause and Effect: This was another worksheet similar to the previous one, from the same source. It was a little tricky, which made it more challenging for them. Again, they only did one of these for the whole group.
8. Greek and Latin word roots: I have made some sets of “Word Root Dominos” and we played them as a class a week or so ago. In this station they were to play the game until they had collected at least 10 connections between roots and their meanings or a word that contained them.
9. Reading a Manual: I copied a diagram of the remote control from my cable company. I asked four questions about it, the answers to which were found on the diagram.

The Results
My Opinion: I was pleased with this outcome. The students were engaged most of the period, far more than in a normal situation with me directing everything. The things that made it work (I think) were these:
* We had done all of the activities ahead of time, so they weren’t mystified by new skill requirements.
* I kept them outside the room until everyone arrived, and I got all of their attention before they entered the room, so I could explain what they would find there. This helped set the expectation for order and calm which doesn’t always happen with these guys.
* I watched the time carefully, adapting as I saw them finishing sooner than I’d expected.
* I saved time at the end for the students to answer three reflective questions about the day. This gave me valuable feedback as well as made them feel like part of the process.
* I was careful to intersperse the activities so that each station was a different sort of task than the one before it. The three worksheets did not follow one another, for example.
The students said:
* Thank you. This was really fun.
* They wanted to do it more often. (3 times a week!?)
* They needed a little more time at each station.
* They felt more confident working with their friends.
* It provided a good review.

A Teacher's Prayer

O Lord, grant me your STRENGTH,
so I WILL HAVE COURAGE in every situation;

Grant me your LOVE,
so I WILL NEVER GIVE UP on anybody;

Grant me your WISDOM,
so I WILL SHOW others the path to success;

Grant me your MERCY,
so I WILL FORGIVE those who have hurt me;

Grant me your PEACE,
so I WILL FIND THE BEST in everybody;

Grant me your HOPE,

Grant me your JOY,
so I WILL BE THANKFUL for all my blessings;

And grant me your GRACE,
so YOU WILL ALWAYS be by my side.

- David Bennett


Top 10 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft Scams

Seen here

1. Disguised phone call scam

2. Smishing - Often times a link will appear in the body of an email or a text on your phone telling you to “click here” for your prize.

3. Fake emails

4. Computer virus

5. Child social security number theft

6. "Skimming" credit card scam

7. Mail fraud

8. Missed call scam

9. Marriage fraud

10. Electronic pickpocketing

11. Medical identity theft
12. Online dating scams
13. TypoSquatting (URL hijacking)
14. Home improvement scams
15. Check fraud


May 13, 2012

Mythmatical Battles - A fun way to learn the time tables

Image from

Product description from the company:

Mythmatical Battles is a dueling card game for two players or two teams. It blends mythology and multiplication to create an innovative game which lets kids drill multiplication while engaging in epic mythological battles. 

Each player uses his own Mythmatical Battles Deck, with 55 cards featuring gods, heroes, and monsters from Greek, Celtic, Norse, or Egyptian mythology. Every card has one multiplication equation for its attack strength and one equation for its defense strength. A single deck contains all the multiplication equations from 1x1 to 9x9.

The players take turns drawing cards from their decks, placing them face-up to the "Field" (known to grown-ups as the table, desk, or floor), and challenging their opponent's cards.  The card with the highest product wins.  But look out --Magic and Weapon cards can change card strengths, and weaker cards can team up to conquer a powerful card.

Each defeated opponent's card goes into the player's "Plunder" pile. The game ends when one player's deck is exhausted. The player with the most cards in her "Plunder" pile when the game ends, wins.

A full deck game takes 45 minutes to play. Or you can play time limit games to fit into a busy class or home schedule. To win a time limit game the person with the most cards in his "Plunder" pile when time's up wins.

Mythmatical Battles is designed for kids in the 3rd to 7th grade. Any kid (and there are millions) who's played with other dueling cards will quickly catch on to the rules of Mythmatical Battles, but, in the process, they'll learn classic mythology and rock solid math.