April 30, 2011

A give-away!!!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So I wanted to do a contest; I think most people do them to generate hits so they can get more "traffic" and thus be able to advertise on their blog. Most, but I'm sure not all.

However, I really just wanna do a fun giveaway. Nothing big, mind you (especially as the chance of it being shipped internationally is quite high!) just something to say "thanks for reading!" I've had over 20,000 hits now (since I started keeping track) and I wanted to celebrate. I write cause ya'll read and I'm always hoping I can say one thing to make somebody think or open their minds to a new way of viewing the world. :-)

I was trying to decide what to give away and came up with winner's choice of the following:

1. Animal print black and pink compact mirror- really cute little mirror. :-)

2. Lanyard for holding work i.d.  Great for nurses or those in security sensitive places. Suitable for sisters only, FYI.

Says "give peace a chance" :-)

3. 2 small, handmade sarubobo (from yours truly) or a small cross-stitched picture, either your name or flowers in colors you choose. :-) I don't know if the cross-stitch would be framed or not; don't want any disappointed viewers out there.
Not mine; I give away all my projects but it would be something petite like this. :-)

Hello, it's me, cute sarubobo!

OK I think that's about it. Rules for entering:

*You must be a follower of my blog. Hey, I gotta get SOMETHING out of it.

*Anyone is allowed. Um well not brothers/men (sorry for any men who might read this) because well... you should know why. :-)

*You don't have to be a Muslim to enter. Probably self-evident but just wanted to be sure you knew. ;-) We are equal-opportunity here.

*Please be patient; if you choose the hand-made option it could take up to 2 weeks before I ship it out. :-)

How to enter:

Please leave a comment below; I would love to know what type of posts you like best or if you have a favorite post of all time. :-) No constructive criticism, please. lol 

Contest ends in one week. This is just in case some of my dear readers are out of town, sick, or just tired of being chained to a computer. Fair 'nough? Yep, I thought so.

I'll let the winner know with a post on here and then you will know to contact me. If you have a blog or blogger id I'll also try to get a hold of you that way ok?

Alrighty, let the fun begin!

April 28, 2011

Finally, a cute sarubobo :-)

See? Brave enough to enlarge this photo. :-)
A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So I made another one; I couldn't wait, the last one was just sooo... Oh I don't know, like the fat girl who doesn't get invited to the dance, or the stupid cousin you'd like to erase from your family tree. :-)) I felt after TWO craftin' failures in a row, I really had to get back my street cred.

Such as it were. Ahem.

Anyhoo... sorry I'm a little annoyed now. Just got a call from Yousef's school saying we needed to meet with the principal and his teacher because the teacher apparently had been trying to get in contact with A and could not. Wait a minute, WTHeck? I spoke with this teacher at the beginning of the year and he offered to send home a daily report (Yousef, my stepson, has some behavior issues) which would detail his behavior plus his homework.

IT NEVER CAME. Can you do the math? That was in September, now it's almost May. It never ever ever came. I even spoke with the Asst. Principal about it a few weeks ago. So now suddenly THEY have been trying to contact us? Hmmmm. Don't think so.

This is gonna lead me to another little rant. I hate hate hate hate despise when people assume because we are practicing Muslims (read: beard and abaya sportin', they know nothing about our ibadah) that we are ignorant. It makes me want to get a PhD in ass-y-ness (as this principal apparently has!!) just so I can saunter in and say, "No, actually, its' DOCTOR Umm Aaminah." LOL

They always, always act surprised when a) I speak correct english, b) understand what they are saying and c) actually have some original and pertinent thoughts of my own. Gasp!

OK sorry for that. I usually am pretty upbeat, give others the benefit of the doubt, but I really dislike this school system here. I never faced these issues in Tennessee. Well I mean my friends never faced these issues; everyone got along and there was a minimum of ass-y-ness to deal with. Anyway sorry I had to share all that but she just called and interrupted my happy happy post about my sarubobo skillz.

So back to that:  To recap, I first made this:

And then I managed to create this:

"Oh look at me, la-dee-dee! I'm so cute and petite!" lol
 Alright, really all I wanted to say; the rest is just gravy. :-)

Ma salaama ya'll!

April 27, 2011

Craftin' mama, again :-)

***UPDATE*** I just looked at my blog post (to check for errors) and noticed how HORRIBLE the stitching looks in this enlarged pic. Daaaang. So just wanted ya'll to know I wasn't going for the Frankenstein look, I merely stitched too close to the edge of the fabric and it rent as I stuffed it. So I had to do a quick stitch job. Obviously it didn't look so horrible in real life cause I was shocked just now to see this! lol

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. :-) I got me a heap more inspiration for some homemade goodness from Mairuru's blog again. This time I hand-stitched a little sarubobo plush figures. These are cute little faceless people that are a traditional Japanese handcraft. Please go to her blog to see how they are SUPPOSED to look. :-D Super cute and small enough for little fingers. I whipped one up for Aaminah from the scrap fabric I had leftover from making my passport cover. (When I try that again, I'll post the results for it too!)

That isn't dirt btw; Aaminah loves to color her fingernails with markers!!!!
 Ah it's pretty cute huh? But... you knew there would be a but... :-) I made a teensy error in my sizing. They are supposed to be small. Her fabric pieces had 5x6 written on them, I assumed inches. Dork. lol It was cm, which most of the world (except the US, Liberia, and Burma..true, I googled it!) uses. Anyway mine turned out quite a bit bigger but Aaminah liked it. It was my first try so not too shabby but I intend to make some more. Probably with a lighter fabric as well; I thought to use scraps my first time so I wouldn't waste good material. Smart, eh? :-)

Well to keep Aaminah busy I decided to buy her a little sewing kit of her own the other day. I was going to buy a plastic canvas plastic needle and a sheet of canvas. However, at the last moment I found a cute little set for only $1.00 at A.C. Moore. Saving about $5, yay me. She played with it for a bit and changed her yarn color a lot. :-) All part of the fun, eh?

Once again, marker ya'll. Not old scratches or scars but m a r k e r. lol
 I'm sure you're getting tired of hearing THIS but I'll repost these little cuties again once I make some that aren't massive and slightly weird. :-) ma salaama ya'll

April 24, 2011

Passport cover craft and lessons learned :-)

I am being brave, showing a close-up with alllll my imperfections. :-) That's just how I roll blog.

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I think I mentioned I've been feeling inspired lately to be crafty. Alhamdulillah, after spending a wee bit o' money on supplies, I finally bit the bullet and made something! I've also mentioned my "I have too much to do to ever get finished" guilt complex. I rarely do things just for me because I feel I should be doing things that NEED to be done. Alhamdulillah today I ignored those niggly feqdfjk;7....

Wonder what THAT was about? Well Zainab apparently thought it was a great idea to spray water from the kitchen and it hit my laptop! We had a minor emergency while she brought some paper towels to dry it. I hit a few stray keys. :-D Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Jo's awesome, oh-so-professional quality passport cover. Nice!
Soooo alhamdulillah I ignored those niggly feelings of guilt today and spent a few hours happily crafting. I followed a tutorial on Chubby Hobby, another (totally random) Japanese woman who is a craftress supreme! Her tutorial was a bit of a challenge for me until I started putting the pieces together. Then I could see exactly how it was going to work out. :-)

However, me being me and all, it didn't turn out quite as perfect as hers. :-) For one, I forgot to buy a button. So I improvised and made a yo-yo (the gathered circles of fabric? super cute!) attached it to use as the button. Worked out great and I think it was pretty cute too.

Oh my look at those bad seams!!! This is what I'll be discussing next. :-D

Now my big mess up came when I chose my interfacing. You know, the stuff that can make it more stiff or firm? Yeah that stuff. First, I was supposed to get fusible, iron-on interfacing. I didn't. Alhamdulillah I had some stitch-witchery so I ironed that on and it held it in place very well.

Second, I got really stiff interfacing (she didn't specify and I didn't know). Turns out with this heavier type you can't sew your items inside out and then turn it so you have great hidden seams. I ended up only being able to sew 2 edges that way then trying to tuck, tuck, tuck fabric in and top seam it. Uh-huh. A bit stressful but I soldiered on!

Two pockets at top for passports, and two pockets at bottom for other I.D. or travel papers. Nifty!

I really like this pattern/fabric combo (I was pretty intimidated by trying to pick out co-ordinating but not matching fabrics) but I did buy some much nicer stuff (on clearance from A.C. Moore, woo-hoo) that I'll use my next go-round insha'Allah.

Oh also the wonky seams are where the heavy interfacing (triple ply by now!) was too thick and I had to lift the presser foot up on my sewing machine. Therefore it got a picky jiggy. :-)

All in all, I am ok with it. Now I know exactly how to do it next time and what I need to change to make it nicer. I think I will give this one to the girls, Hafsa and Zainab, for their passports. Mean? I don't think so; they like it anyway. :-) Just glad I didn't put my name on it anywhere, as in "made by..." :-))

Ma salaama ya'll!

Where the "magic" happens. Yeah, please notice the "  ".   :-D

April 19, 2011

Random updates

I love this picture of Aaminah; she was 7 months old. So cute masha'allah!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. This is gonna be one of those mish-mash kinda posts; just catching you up on some daily going-ons and ongoing issues. :-)

I noticed I was pretty prolific in March; 21 posts masha'Allah! Especially when compared with my 4 measly ones this month. Dismal, dismal! I just haven't had the inspiration. What can ya do? Anyway let's tie up some loose ends now. :-)

1. We were supposed to meet with Hafsa's principal last Friday. However, A had the flu and double pnuemonia. :-( He missed 7 days of work and really felt bad. This was on the tail end of Aaminah's illness which lasted about 10 days so really I've been a-nursin' everyone for a couple of weeks. Maybe that's where all my energy went. :-) Insha'Allah we'll get a new meeting rescheduled now that A is feeling better (and no longer contagious).

2. I've been feeling really crafty. I found a really inspiring website (oh come on, there are sooo many!) but this is a very sweet woman from Japan called Mairuru. This is her blog; it's alot of her life, photos of Japan and all of her super-sweet handmade (hand sewn!) crafts. Seeing how inspired she is inspires me. I don't think there are many days that pass where she doesn't make something handmade masha'Allah.

Also, after reading through her blog, I was humbled by her attitude and perspective on life. I find myself often admiring Asians cultures for their emphasis on family, devotion, and simplicity. Mairuru and her family are no exception. She is grateful for all the small blessings in her life and it's just heartwarming to read. No complaints, no grouchings, just quiet happiness. I felt calmer just for reading her posts. :-)

Insha'Allah if ya'll feel a little crafty, check out her blog and try your hand at some of them. I am intending to and I'll post my results here. :-)

3. I bought Aaminah a Nintendo DSi. Yeah, I know. She is little masha'allah, not yet 3, and this is not something I ever did for my boys for sure. Well yeah coulnd't afford it :-P but also I don't advocate video games, incessant tv watching, connected 24/7 to an ipod, etc.

That said, her stepbrother Yousef received one as a gift. He was..... less than generous with it and Aaminah usually bore the brunt of his stinginess. (He can be very sweet with her in other regards at times but he was the baby of the family before we came and unfortunately continues in some of those behaviors.) I just got a little tired of all the "You can't touch it, Aaminah!" or him accusing her of losing a stylus, breaking it, etc.

I looked and looked on eBay and finally found a used one at a price I could stomach. I found her a few cute little games and I let her play it a few times a day. She enjoys it and she plays educational games (although at this age, everything she does she learns from!). Of course she really enjoys it and reallllly enjoys the sense of ownership. :-D "This is my DS!".

Masha'Allah she is a very grateful little girl, we talk about how Allah doesn't like us to be greedy and we discuss ways to cut back on our greed. For instance, by donating her clothes and toys she no longer plays with or has outgrown, she knows she can help another little girl who is less fortunate. We also discuss how we can buy less and do not have to have everything we want.

For example, we were at Target the other day and she saw a little toy she loved! I let her see it and hold it but reminded her that Allah doesn't like us to be greedy and we have enough toys. She said, "OK Mama, I just want to hold it for a minute." Masha'allah she put it right back and was content. I think this is a great lesson to pass on to our children AND for us to remember ourselves!

4. We are still discussing the potential move to Tunis. I am partially excited and partially apprehensive/pensive about it. Insha'Allah He will give me peace. Amin.

5. My youngest, Alex, will be coming up for a visit the first week of June insha'Allah. I am so excited! I cannot wait to see him and have him here, just for me and Aaminah to enjoy! He can stay for about 10 days; he is going on a mission trip to Guatamala mid-June and I have to get him back in time to pack/get ready. Zack was going to try and come also but he is literally busy the entire summer! Between summer camps (he counsels), his mission trip, orientation for college, and much much more, he's all set. :-( Insha'allah I'll see him soon but my heart is sad.

Oh right, I forgot, big surprise here but I was sick also, spent a night in the hospital but alhamdulillah my fever abated and I was able to come home. My energy is really flagging here recently and I've lost my cooking mojo again. Poor A; the kids don't mind so much but I am sure A is tired of uninspired meals, although he would never complain to me masha'allah. I really have so much to be thankful for; my husband is so supportive and very sweet/romantic in his Arab way. :-) He never complains or insists and is truly grateful for anything I do for him. Alhamdulillah. :-)

Ma salaama ya'll!

April 17, 2011

***Hijabi clothing alert***

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I found this very hijab-friendly tshirt while looking for bras today. (I really wanted to say "whilst" but refrained as I am neither British nor Canadian). It's 39" long (yes!) has long sleeves and a modest neckline. It comes in sizes M to 6X masha'Allah. It's only $9.99 and comes in 4 colors although some are sold out. Go here to check it out.

I've ordered a heather blue and a heather grey, opting out of the red and magenta. Yeah you know me, not too exciting in the color palette department. :-) I don't normally buy in multiples anymore but this seems like such a great shirt for exercising (um, I do it sometimes!) or just spending some time at the park.

Insha'Allah this will be of some help to ya'll. I have to say I've never ordered through here before but it's a huge, well-known company for plus size clothing. Some of their items come in regular sizes as well.

Ma salaama ya'll!

April 8, 2011

Oh me oh me, Mrs. Y

Hehehe funny...
A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. My stepdaughter Hafsa has had a few issues at her school involving the staff not being particularly sensitive to our religious requirements. (So have the 2 younger ones as well.) As the only Muslims in the school district (that we are aware of, there might be more but they are incognito) we kind of expect a few things and we brush off those that are simply annoying or funny.

The following however does NOT fit the category. Uh-huh not at all. Please read an email I sent to the principal of her middle school. You'll find it interesting, to say the least:

From: ME!

Sent: Friday, April 08, 2011 10:08 AM

To: Mr. Principal

Subject: incident involving my stepdaughter

Hello Mr. Principal, this is _________ Hafa __________'s stepmother. I tried to call you in the office today but I was informed you were out for a morning meeting. As we will be attending prayer service this afternoon, I felt it best to email you so I could inform you of the issue.

(I will try to write exactly as Hafsa related the story.)

Yesterday Hafsa came home and told us that her teacher, Mrs. Y, asked what was wrong with her. Hafsa replied, "My mom won't sign the paper for us to go to Tunisia with my father."

Mrs. Y stated she did not blame Hafsa's mother. She said women do not have rights "over there" and most kids who travel overseas do not return (?). She said (I can't remember if she said Hafsa in particular or just girls) that "They marry them off to old men."

My husband and I are livid that she is equating my husband with this type of personage. Just because he is an Arab Muslim doesn't make him a mysogynistic, opportunistic child abuser. Hafsa often comes home and relates little things Mrs. Y says that do not sit well with us but I do not like to make a big deal over nothing.

For example, one day Hafsa came home and said Mrs. Y told the class, "I am smarter than all your parents". I find this to be an offensively inaccurate statement, spoken out of true ignorance.

Please contact us at your earliest convenience. Although I am aware Hafsa might have accidentally mistated some facts, the gist of the conversation remains the same. Muslim men, including her father, sell their daughters de facto to the highest bidder and are not to be trusted.

We find this to be unacceptable behavior and attitude from any teacher but especially one who works mainly with immigrant students.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you soon. You may call anytime today after 3:00 pm.


ME! ;-)
Please see now Mr. Principal's reply. In the 2 previous issues we've had with the school, he has always instilled the utmost confidence in me with his abilities and he did not disappoint now.
Ms. ME!, I will follow this up before the end of the day and call you in the early evening. I may only have time to gathher minimal information, but am certainly not happy that anything even approaching this conversation might have taken place.


Mr. Principal

Alhamdulillah he appears to be taking this seriously. WE have definitely taken it seriously. One of the issues last year had to do with Hafsa wearing hijab. She had gotten warm (it was summer and there is no A/C in the school) and went to the school nurse. Basically the school nurse told her she should dress lighter and that by covering her head she was asking to overheat. She also questioned why we as her parents allowed her to dress that way. He was very sensitive of our "cultural" issue which I quickly assured him was NOT cultural, but a religious obligation.

Anyway I look forward to his phone call and to what it might bring. This teacher honestly is unbelievably; always making snarky comments, etc.

What would you guys do in this situation? Ma salaama....

April 6, 2011

I just don't have it in me...

We be needin' a BIG dose of both of those!
A'salaamu alaikum. I hope and pray, my sisters, that you do not have it in you either. To hate. To hate those that are different from us, to hate those that love and worship Allah swt but do so in alternate ways. I am not even talking about Christians or Jews (although I do not endorse hating them either, btw) but rather about our brothers and sisters in Islam who have chosen to walk a different path.

The Sunni-Shia rift is the most obvious one. Sunnis like to say "Blah blah blah" about Shias and the Shias say "Yada yada yada" about the Sunnis. Really it's enough to do my head in. I am sure my post will infuriate some people but this is just how I feel. Or Hanafis hatin' on Malikis, the Malikis snarkin' about the Hanbalis... can I just stop here? I think ya'll get the drift.

"La ilaha ilallah, Muhammad-dur-Rasoolallah!" IF you say and believe this, you are a Muslim. Yes, we have to pray. Yes we have to follow the path of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws). These are the basics. Maybe we have some other disagreements, such as when the 'Eid should be or if dog saliva is REALLY najasa... let's not even start on the issue of niqaab! lol

However, until we as an ummah can stop hating each other, what chance do we have to get the world to stop hating (which means fearing) us? When they look to the news and see Muslims killing Muslims, when they see Muslims killing innocent civilians (please see Sr. Nancy's post here on the recent slayings in Afghanistan) there will be fear. We hate what we fear, what we do not understand. This is human nature.

So let's all start out small, shall we? I am not asking you to change your culture overnight and purge it of all the bid'ah and haram, I am not asking you to change the world. Start with a smile, a kind word, an "A'salaamu alaikum" to every and I mean every sister you see at the masjid. Stop judging and start making changes in yourself.

Just do something positive to make a change in our position. What an easier way than loving those who love Allah? If someone is misguided, make dua' for that person. Pray for them. Raise their name up to Allah. If you can do so tactfully and Islamically, give them gentle nasiha in private.

Just don't hate. Ma salaama...

April 3, 2011

Good news!! :-)

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. My youngest son, Alex, is coming to stay for a bit this summer. I am super-hyped! I had asked the boys' dad last year to allow them to come but he refused. (He is a bit of an overbearing ass.) Anyway I asked again this year and he agreed. I am so happy. Zachary will probably be too busy between all of the camps he volunteers at plus getting ready for college this fall. My biggest baby is growing up so fast!!!

I will miss seeing my family and friends in TN. In particular my best friend, Sr. Lisa. She is expecting a baby in September insha'Allah and her husband is still overseas. :-( Please make dua Allah unites them soon, amin. Anyway before I married, we were inseparable. We lived within a minute of each other. We went to the masjid together, to the store together, everywhere. I really miss her and I know it's been so hard on her, being a single mom alone with another on the way. Well not single bec married but single bec he isn't here yet. (Her daughter is 6 and she is from her first marriage.)

Anyway it is hard to tell her and my mom especially I won't be coming down but at the end of the day, it's my children I can't live without. They are the ones I miss so badly, they are the ones my heart breaks for. Of course I miss everyone else but my sons... ahhhh if you are a momma you know. There is no love like what we have for our children.

It was going to be difficult for Aaminah and I to travel down this time. We are trying to save money for our eventual move to Tunisia and if Alex comes that's only 1 plane ticket as compared to 2. Plus last time Zachary was free so we all used his car to go around. He would be gone this year so I would have to rent a car. Last year my mom had her empty house; this year she has rented it out so I would have to stay with people. It's difficult as a muslim to stay with non-Muslims even if they are family.

Allah is all-knowing, all-merciful and He is the best of planners. I will trust in that. :-)

Ma salaama ya'll!