Saturday, 18 February 2012

Money Idea

K, my sister, clued me into this and honestly, I'm really amazed. Its a bit of a hassle to do the sign up and get started with the set-up but then its super easy. I just have to watch 10 ads a day, each about 30 seconds, then rate the ad and sometimes answer one question about my interest level on the product, and voila, I've earned my points for the day. The points are redeemable for cash/rewards and also exchangeable for trade, etc. Each ad I watch enters me to win a "jackpot" per week.
The way to earn money faster is to have"village", which consists of people who signed up with varolo based on your referral/recommendation. When they view their ads, you get paid for it.
There is no sign up fee, no cost, except the bit of time investment, and "marketing" is using your existing social network. I'm really liking it so far because 1) its free to sign up 2) it doesn't require much of time 3) its not like those other companies that I had signed up with to do ad reviews and in the end, get nothing because I refuse to buy or sign up for the "offers" at the end of the survey. They made me so mad each and every time.
With this varolo bit, there's no risk for me, even if no one signs up under me because I don't have to spend a penny.
Inshallah it will generate some good income. I expect it's a "you get what you put in" kind of thing where the more effort I put in to watch the ads (so I can win jackpots and gain exchangeable points), and to grow my village (so I can get paid for each ad they view), the more $ I will get out of it.
Here's my link:

Friday, 17 February 2012

Enlightened Perspective



I've learned.... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned.... That when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned.... That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.

I've learned.... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned ....That being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned.... That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned.... That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.

I've learned.... That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I've learned.... That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned.... That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I've learned.... That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned... . That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned.... That money doesn't buy class.

I've learned.... That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned... That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned.... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned.... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned.... That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned.... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned.... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned.. That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned... That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned.... That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned.... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned.... That I wish I could have told my Mom and Dad that I love them one more time before they passed away.

I've learned.... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned.... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned.... That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned .... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I've learned.... That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.


Whiten Teeth


So, here's a tip that's TOTALLY worth it:
Brush teeth with baking soda. Wet the toothbrush, dab onto some baking soda, and brush. You may also use those face towels wrapped around your finger and sort of "polish" the teeth. 
It whitens them at least a shade or two and reduces the stains mashallah. Tried it myself and am still smiling at myself in the mirror! LOL.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Homeschooling my Kids, an Evaluation


I’m trying to figure out exactly how to go about teaching my kids (home schooling). There is so much information out there, it’s almost blinding and certainly very confusing. In the meantime, I’m doing this and that, here and there and I think because they are under 5, it seems to be working.
So far the progress for M is:
-          Islamic studies: who is Allah, where is He, what are His attributes/names/abilities. How do we worship Him (asking for things, reliance, trust, loving Him). What does He expect from us (to be truthful, to show kindness, to remember Him at all times, to thank Him for everything we have/like, to try our best to please Him). Next I will be starting with the Prophet (salallahu alayhe wasalaam). I tried before but there was confusion because her cousin is also Muhammad so you can imagine the confusion.
-          Quran: surah Fatiha, the 3 Quls, al Masad, an Nasr, and we just started al Kafiroon (she calls it “tricky” and I have to agree subhanallah). Not all of her pronounciation is perfect and she still needs some prompts but she has most of it down mashAllah so we just make sure to do a lot of revision mashAllah.
-          Math: number up to 100, their shapes, counting in Arabic and Swahili to 10, and she is starting with simple arithmetics (additions up to and totaling 10).  Days of the week are mostly good, she misses Thursday and Friday sometimes. We are starting on the months of the year in English and will do the Islamic months at the same time. She knows about Ramadhan thoughJ. Also to start working on is telling time, we haven’t covered that at all. She loves measuring and telling shapes of things. she uses her counting skills and knowledge of shapes very well whenever we do activities or when playing by herself or with her brother mashAllah
-          Reading: she loves books and reading. She often re-tells herself the stories I read for her using the pictures for prompts. She is starting to recognize some simple words (sight words) up to 3 letter words so that’s great. Her alphabet, both caps and small letters, present no problems mashAllah. She can also write them pretty well and we recently started copy work, of which is very good at mashAllah. I haven’t focused much of the Arabic alphabet but will be giving that side of things some sprucing up inshallah and plan on working with her till she can start to read in Arabic as well inshallah. She does know the alphabet for the most part so it’s a start right? It’s hard to teach two languages at the same time.
-          Languages: her English is actually superb and of a very high level mashAllah so nothing to add there except to keep up with reading high vocabulary books and keep talking and explaining things as I have been doing inshallah. Her Arabic is pretty basic because I stopped using it around her in order to facilitate her integration into the family here in USA. However, we plan on doing an immersion program for her and her brother this summer when we take them to DZ inshallah.  Dh will also get a teacher for her to spend a few hours a week supplementing whatever I or him can’t teach her ourselves inshallah. As I did with English, I plan on getting her some good Arabic cartoons and other children friendly entertainment programs to help with picking up the accent and correct pronunciation inshallah. This year I decided I would add Swahili to the picture. I do think children’s minds are ever so malleable and a very able to learn many things mashAllah so I’m taking advantage. I have already started speaking to them mostly in Swahili and amazingly enough; they are picking it up very fast mashAllah so I will continue my efforts. A little bit here and there is better than nothing at all so I hope to have some good news at the end of the year inshallah.
-          Life Skills: we started cooking together mashAllah. Simple things like boiling pasta, mixing dry or wet ingredients, cookies, cake mixes, bread, and pancakesJ. With a little help, she can clean herself in the bathroom but I still prefer to do the big clean ups. She can brush her own teeth, wash her own hands, brush her brother’s teeth, wash her body (shower), dress herself with everything though she can’t hook the zipper for her jacket yet. She is usually very good at picking her own outfit and dressing herself and matching things properly. I still do her hair. I think I’d like to keep doing her hair until she goes to live with her husband inshallahJ. She’s very good at self-learning, and also at teaching her brother many things mashAllah. They play very well together mashAllah, which makes me so happy Alhamdulillah.
-          Manners: she has some of the basic Islamic manners down pat and we are still working on not talking while on the toilet and also the bathroom Dua. She has the sleeping and waking Duas down pat, as well as Bismillah before eating/dressing/undressing and various activities, as well as Alhamdulillah for sneezing and YaHarmukAllah for the other person. I still haven’t taught her the traveler’s dua, the one for using a vehicle/climbing into the car, and the full one for leaving the home/entering the home though we are working on her remembering to enter with the right leg each time.
-          In General: I feel that the whole schooling has been very natural, without a formal atmosphere or even a set curriculum or program, just when I think she is old enough to attempt something, or she herself shows an interest in that thing or perhaps the circumstances or situation brings up the lessons and we capitalize on this. Like going to the Museum she learned about butterflies and dinosaurs, about various animals, about various environments, etc. Also watching various programs she keeps learning things and her interests in various matters get sparked and I try to capitalize on that inshallah. To be very honest, I’m absolutely amazed at the capacity that children have for learning mashAllah. To know that Allah imbued them with such an ability and most adults view children as incapable of grasping important matters is really an insult to their intelligence. I’m working to rectify whatever prejudices I may have towards these little amazing people mashAllah.
-          So far the progress is I is:
-          Language Development: mashAllah I’m really impressed with him so far. We speak mostly English and like I said, I started enforcing the Swahili for everyone and the kids are picking it up. I is taking everything in stride and his ability has not been impaired by the introduction of the new language. I was hesitant to do this because with M, we switched mid-way, about 6 months before she turned 2, to Arabic and I felt even as I was doing it that it was the wrong thing and that it was going to delay her and though she did speak, it wasn’t before she turned 2, I feel she would have much earlier had I stuck to just one language for just 2 or 3 months longer. With I, he will be two in about 3 months and I feel the switch happened at the right time. Also, he has M to practice his language skills with and that I think is a total plus for him mashallah.
-          Reading: I haven’t done anything with him on this but I feel like in a couple more months he should be able to handle letters and numbers, again because M is around to “teach/play” with him mashallah. For now he counts random numbers out, and expresses his feelings using proper words in full sentences mashallah. For example he would say ‘I love you  mama’ or ‘I love to play mama’ or ‘I love khubz (bread) mama’ or ‘I love you babu (grandpa)’ or ‘where is bibi (grandma)’, or ‘I love baba’ or ‘let’s go play mama’. He also still uses a lot of one words like ‘TV’ (lol he’s addicted to this one I think), or ‘book’ or ‘apple (which he uses for both apples and oranges)’ or ‘water please’. I love his ‘please’ it’s just the cute with mama tucked in for good effect. He also says Bismillah for eating and Alhamdulillah when he sneezes, and Allahu Akbar for praying, along with folding the hands and making sajda (laying down his whole body though) mashallah.
-          Life Skills: he’s learning to undress himself; so far the shoes and jacket are a success mashallah. He knows to put his arms into the holes for sleeves and which article goes where, such as hat on the head and shoes on the feet mashallah. He eats mostly with his right hand mashallah may Allah make him right handed. He knows the trash and puts things there when indicated and knows the sink and puts dishes there mashAllah though he does sometimes put the dishes in the trash but never the trash in the sink so I wonder at that sometimesJ. He also knows “clean up” and can pick up after his toys and return them to their box/place.
-          In general: honestly I feel he is doing very well in learning things, from manners to the right actions, to languages, and good behavior. Being that he’s not even two yet, I really have no expectations and am willing to be surprised and amazed by any progress he makes because it is truly a miracle from Allah mashAllah.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Interview with my Parents


As I’m getting ready to leave home for the second time in my life, to go back to my husband’s side inshallah, I decided to ask my parents some hard hitting questions on raising children. Instead of asking them what they would do in my situation, or currently in their own situation, I asked them what they think they would change if they could about how they raised us.
It wasn’t easy to get answers, especially from my mother as I feel she is ridden with guilt and doesn’t know how to channel it or how to alleviate it or where really to place the blame for it. I think she is overwhelmed with the feelings of it, some of which she may be justified in feeling and some of which I don’t think belong in the picture at all, except by the suggestions of the Shaytan who is just trying to hurt her more.
There is a lot of background that went into my mother’s answers, most notably the current circumstances of each one of her children and how she feels about that. However, in summary, my mother feels that she would change two main things about how she had raised us, if she could do it again.
The first is that she would have spent more time with us. This was a surprise to me because I had thought that mom was very secure in her decision to work and pursue a career while being a mother and wife at the same time. I’m not sure if it’s hindsight or simply aged wisdom (aren’t they the same things?), but that is what she said. Also, she didn’t qualify it, and I had expected her to, so that surprised me even further.
The second thing she would have changed is that she would not have uprooted us from TZ to US. She also didn’t qualify this statement despite some probing, so I’m wondering at the level of guilt riding her and I suspect it to be very high.
When she first initiated the move to the US, and for many subsequent years, I felt that she was very firm that the decision had been for the best. Recent circumstances in her kids’ lives must be really affecting her emotional state for her to leave that statement so unqualified. So for now, it, no both of them stand.
I will explore both statements further inshallah in a bid to arrive at an answer that will help me in raising my own children because I value greatly my parents’ insight for they raised me and I feel Allah has placed great blessings therein.
My father’s answer was given more in a roundabout away as I don’t think it’s something he’d sat down to think about, at least not recently, and so was feeling his way around the right answer. After hearing his words, I concluded that he feels that we should not have moved from TZ to US at all. He felt that the move put him at a disadvantage and whatever influence, power, knowledge or insight he had gained as a father, was all pushed out the window and he was placed at the same level as his children, floundering in a new environment, and just flowing with the very strong current. He felt that he could no longer be the leader he was meant to be as a husband and father, and therefore could not really offer any help, support, or guidance to his children, nor could he really be the strong provider and protector of his wife, because of the newness of the place and circumstances.
In the end, both my parents felt helpless to offer us anything, which left my father feeling helpless and my mother feeling guilty. My mom also said that the main reason she regrets moving us is because not only was the environment new to all of us, but because she had no choice but to work and be away from home at such a critical time. She felt that she failed in her role as the one supposed to be the most influencial person in our lives. Others stepped in and provided leadership and support, moral direction and values, because she was too busy to do that for us. The case of when the cat is away, the mice play.
Looking back, I totally agree with my parents evaluation of their situation and feel my conviction to be a stay at home mother strengthened by this information, as well as my decision that we as parents, must decide quickly and firmly, where we will raise our children, then work to do our best in that place, no matter what comes later inshallah.
Also, my father’s answer gave me a new insight into what might matter most to the father of children and husband as the expected and looked upon head of the family and leader inshallah. Clearly, the best thing will be to have my husband choose a place he feels most confident to succeed and then plant our family roots there, whether the place be my preferred choice or not.
I had never thought that the determining factor for where we would raise a family be where my husband feels the most confident, and yet I feel it makes a lot of sense. After all, he is the one who has to be out and about every day, the one who has to earn a living in the place we live it, the one who has to make a place for our whole family in the environs.
Originally I had been thinking more like a woman, with security being the highest priority like where the best hospitals and schools and other important facilities are, and also safety from gangs and other unsavory aspects of society. I still think these are important things to consider but they must be weighed with where dh feels he cannot just survive, but also thrive, grow, and prosper inshallah.
For me this is a tremendous decision, taking much of my own security and placing it in the hands of someone else, however, I have to trust that my husband will consider all of our needs along with his, and tender his decision after taking everything into account inshallah.
The most important thing I learned from the interview is that parents have a strong need to provide security as well as guidance and support to their children, all in an effort to enhance the security and future prospects of their children. I also learned that when parents are unable to provide this for their children, or their ability is hindered or curtailed, it can cause deep feelings of guilt and helplessness to engulf their hearts and even blind them to whatever other achievements they accomplish, including the fact that they did indeed to the best that they could, with the knowledge that they had and the circumstances that they were in. furthermore, these negative emotions reduce their confidence as parents and best teachers of just about everything that could ever matter to their children.
I had always thought that so long as I did my best and gave it my all, if things didn’t turn out exactly the way I had hoped, I would be ok with that and I’m learning from observing and listening to my parents, that perhaps it is not as simple and clear cut as that.
Parenting is a hard job, requiring dedication and focus, and benefiting from the Mercy and Grace of Allah as well as His Direction and Guidance and Help inshallah. Therefore I appeal to Allah the Merciful for all these ingredients and more, so that we as parents my raise our children upon the right path, that our children learn to walk on that path and love it and keep to it, and that Your Pleasure is gained and manifestly so in this amazing adventure and tremendous responsibility inshallah.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Virtues of Bismillah


بِسمَ اللَّهِ الرَّحمَن الرَّحِيم

Every good action or deed should be started with reciting Bismillah
Below are quoted some Authentic Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) regarding Bismillah - In the name of Allah:
Saying Bismillah Is Recommended Before Eating:
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"Say Bismillah, eat with your right hand and eat what is in front of you."
[Bukhari 7/88, Muslim 2/207, Ahmad 17/92, Muwatta Malik 10/32 and Ibn Majah 1/557]
When Drinking Water:
Ibn Abbas (radiAllahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"Do not drink in one gulp like a camel, but in two or three [Gulps]. Mention the Name of Allah when you start drinking and praise Him after you have finished [Drinking].''
[Fath al-Bari 12/197 and Al-Trimidhi]
At The Beginning Of Ablution:
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"Make Wudu [Ablution] in the name of Allah"
[An-Nasai 1/11 and Ibn Khuzaimah 1/84]
Before Having S-xual Intercourse with one's wife:
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"If anyone of you, when having sexual intercourse with his wife, says: In the name of Allah. O Allah! Protect us from Satan and also protect what you grant us [i.e. Coming offspring] from Satan and if it is destined that they should have a child, then Satan willnever be able to harm him."
[Sahih Bukhari 7/94 and Sahih Muslim 2/1058]
When Entering The House:
Jabir (radiAllahu anhu) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) saying,
"If a person mentions the Name of Allah upon entering his house or eating, Satan says, addressing his followers: `You will find no where to spend the night and no dinner.' But if he enters without mentioning the Name of Allah, Satan says [To his followers]; 'You have found [A place] to spend the night in, and if he does not mention the Name of Allah at the time of eating, Satan says: `You have found [A place] to spend the night in as well as food."
[Sahih Muslim 2/206]
When Leaving The House:
The Messenger Of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"If anyone of you when leaving the house says In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah, there is no power and might except from Allah. Your needs shall be fulfilled, you shall be saved from difficulties and hardships. Shaitaan hearing these words leaves him."
[Al-Trimidhi 2/493]
When Slaughtering An Animal:
Anas (radiAllahu anhu) reported that Allah's Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) sacrificed two horned rams of white color with black markings over them. He also stated:
I saw him sacrificing them with his own hand and saw him placing his foot on their sides, and recited in the name of Allah and Glorified Him [Bismillah Allahu Akbar]
[Sahih al-Bukhari 7/133, Muslim 2/181, Abu Dawud 3/230, An-Nasai 7/231, Al-Trimidhi 5/76, Ibn Majah 2120]
When Fighting For The Cause Of Allah:
The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah" [Sahih Muslim 2/69]
Recommended Because It Causes Humiliation To The Shaitan:
Abul Malih (radiAllahu anhu) said: I was riding on a mount behind the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam). It stumbled. Thereupon I said: May the devil perish! He said:
Do not say: May the devil perish! For if you say that, he will swell so much so that he will be like a house, and say: By my power. But say Bismillah for when you say that, he will diminish so much so that he will be like a fly.
[An-Nasai 6/142, Ahmad 5/59 and Abu Dawud 4946]
Recommended When Night Falls:
Allah's Apostle (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"When night falls stop your children from going out, for the devils spread out at that time. But when an hour of the night has passed, release them and close the doors and mention Allah's Name, for Satan does not open a closed door. Tie the mouth of your water-skin and mention Allah's Name; cover your containers and utensils and mention Allah's Name. Cover them even by placing something across it, and extinguish your lamps. "
[Sahih al-Bukhari 7/527 and Abu Dawud 3722]
When Placing The Body Of The Deceased In The Grave:
The Prophet of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"When you are lowering the deceased in the grave you should say In the name of Allah and in accordance to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah."
[Ahmad 8/58 and Al-Hakim 1/366]
The Virtues Of Saying Bismillah:
Uthman bin Abu al-As Al-Thaqafi (radiAllahu anhu) reported that he made a complaint of pain to Allah's Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) that he felt in his body at the time he had become Muslim. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said:
Place your hand at the place where you feel pain in your body and say in the name of Allah three times and seven times I seek refuge with Allah and with His Power from the evil that I find and that I fear.[Muslim 2/280]
When Writing A Letter Bismillah Should Also Be Written:
Abu Sufyan (radiAllahu anhu) said that the contents of the letter were as follows:
"In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, [This letter is] from Muhammad the slave of Allah and His Apostle to Heraclius the ruler of Byzantine. Peace be upon him, who follows the right path. Furthermore I invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam you will be committing a sin by misguiding your peasants." [Bukhari 4/191, Muslim 2/91, Al-Trimidhi 7/500]
[Queen Sheba] said O chief! Surely an honorable letter has been delivered to me Surely it is from Sulaiman, and surely it is in the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful; [Al-Quran, Surah Al-Naml, Ayahs 29-30]

Fascinating Womanhood



So I read this book called “Fascinating Womanhood”,  and mashAllah I’m so impressed with the useful information therein that one I’d like to share it with you here: "Fascinating Womanhood"

I have also made a commitment to myself to implement everything learned therein (with an Islamic perspective of course) inshallah. I pray Allah will make me successful. 

The book has so inspired me that I will inshallah also journal my journey as I implement the lessons and inshallah plan on sharing that journal with my sisters. I hope to make it a source of inspiration, motivation, and intentional dedication for them inshallah. 

I also hope to use it, the book itself, and the accompanying teaching guidelines, to teach my lovely sisters in Islam (again from an Islamic perspective, using Quran and Sunnah and examples from the Sahabah inshallah).

I pray for success in creating my ideal marriage and in helping my sisters also to create their ideal marriages inshallah. I know Allah has given all of us the necessary tools to succeed as wives and mothers and we simply need to bring this success to light with our own efforts inshallah, thus making it worthy.