Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Memory Treasures

When someone you love becomes a memory, 
that memory becomes a treasure.

26th October 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hello Plasticine!

We can simply say good-bye to playdough from Play Dough. We found cheaper modelling clay with only RM1 for each color. The color may not so vibrant compared to the original play dough, but who cares? They are way too cheap! We got our Plasticine from Mr D.I.Y. Let's check out what we built with Plasticine. 

Hello Plasticine!

'Bunga' by Iris

'Bunga dengan daun dan tanah' by Iris

'Earphone' by Iris

'Rainbow' by Iesha

'Octopus' by Iesha

'Planet Earth' by Iesha

'Roti canai' by Iesha

Left: 'Ali' by Mummy
Right: 'Rani' by Iris
 (Both are characters from Iesha's favorite book: Siapa Alien? by Wardina Safiyyah)

40 Recommendations for the Muslim Home

This is one of the books I've bought from my latest favorite bookstore: Dakwah Corner Bookstore. When it comes to Islamic books, I need to be selective so that I will not get into an extreme discussion that will leave me completely baffled. So far (as a junior reader of Islamic books), I love books from these publishers: International Islamic Publishing House and Darussalam. However, my husband always advise me to learn directly from the expert/ teachers regarding religious studies.  I agreed with him but that doesn't mean I cannot read from the books. I hope Allah will lead me to good books. 

I've just finished reading "The Muslim Home: 40 Recommendations" by Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid. And I'd like to share the recommendations recommended by the authors and maybe we can use some of them to our own home sweet home. May it be useful for us. Are you ready for the list? Here we go:

  1. Making a good choice when choosing a wife.
  2. Striving to guide one's wife.
  3. Making the home a place for zikir (remembrance of Allah)
  4. Making the home a Qiblah.
  5. Spiritual training for the members of the household.
  6. Paying attention to zikir and supplications related to home.
  7. Reciting Surah al-Baqarah regularly in the house to ward off the Shaytan.
  8. Teaching the family.
  9. Start building an Islamic library in your home.
  10. Start building a home audio library.
  11. Inviting good and righteous people and seekers of knowledge to visit the home.
  12. Learning the Islamic rulings with regard to houses.
  13. Creating opportunities for meetings to discuss family matters.
  14. Not showing family conflicts in front of the children.
  15. Not letting into the house anyone whose commitment to Islam is not pleasing to you.
  16. Taking careful note of what family members are up to.
  17. Paying attention to children at home.
  18. Being strict in adhering to a schedule for meals and bedtime.
  19. Re-evaluating women's work outside the home.
  20. Keeping family secrets.
  21. Spreading kindness in the home.
  22. Helping one's wife with the housework.
  23. Being affectionate towards and joking with the members of the family.
  24. Resisting bad manners in the house.
  25. Hanging up the whip where the members of the household can see it.
  26. Beware of non-mahram relatives meeting women when their husbands are absent.
  27. Men and women should sit separately during family visits.
  28. Beware of the dangers of having male drivers and female servants in the house.
  29. Kick immoral people out of your houses.
  30. Beware of the dangers of TV.
  31. Beware of the evils of the telephone.
  32. You have to remove everything that contains symbols of the false religions or their gods and objects of worship.
  33. Remove pictures of animate beings.
  34. Do not allow smoking in your homes.
  35. Do not keep dogs in your homes.
  36. Avoid excessive decorations in your homes.
  37. Choosing a good location and design of home.
  38. Choosing the neighbor before the house.
  39. Paying attention to necessary repairs in the home, and making sure that the amenities are in good working order.
  40. Paying attention to the family's health and safety procedures. 

May Allah grant your wishes!

Alhamdulillah, all praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Exalted. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of own selves and from our evil deeds.  

The moment I've started to keep praying to Allah to lead me to good books, the closer I am He leads me to. The latest magical thing was He led me to this Islamic bookstore. And it is only 5 km away from my university. How was that? Magik sangat kan? Now, don't you want to get the magical things happen every day in your life? I think the thing we should do is doa (supplicate) to Him. Before this I thought all these kind of miraculous events were happened by luck or by coincidence. No, Allah makes all things possible. Just have faith in Him (and it needs practice). We are human, sometimes we tend to forget that Allah has planned all the events in our lives, and somehow we may say things like "Eh, nasib baik!", "I'm so lucky!", "Eh, memang kebetulan ah!" and so on. Hope that Allah will forgive us on our forgetfulness. 

I am not here to preach. Nor to brag that Allah has granted my wishes. I just want to share the magical way of doa even it was just a small event to others. I have not supplicate to Him in a formal way, instead I was begging Him like a children begging for a candy from her mother. "Please Allah, nanti tolong tunjukkan kedai buku yang best. Yang ada buku-buku Islamik yang senang paham. Please Allah, please, please, please!". The thing I remembered from that doa was I begged so earnestly, unlike the usual doa such as "Doa Belajar" (no wonder my mind was wandering off when I read journal articles). 

So apa lagi? Doa, doa, doa. Keep on supplicating to Him, may Allah grant your wishes!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Aidiladha in Kedah

Read aloud: Who are You, Stripy Horse?

It is about a stripy horse who is looking for his name and what he is. It happens in a starry night at Mrs Weevil bric-a-brac shop when all the toys in the shop come alive. He finds few friends on his mission to find out who he is. He is befriended Muriel (a hummingbird who flutters off the pattern on a lamp), Hermann (a draught excluder), and Roly and Pitch (penguin-shaped salt and pepper shakers) and embarks on an adventure to meet Ming the Wise. Ming is an ancient Chinese vase cat who is the wisest of them all and could probably tell the stripy horse who he is. Ming finally gives them a hint: Always read the label and with that he went to sleep again. That leave them puzzled. Then Roly and Pitch flick the small label sewn at the stripy horse leg and it read: Stripy Horse Toy Hand Wash. At last the stripy horse knows who he is. 

My girls loved the idea that the toys can move. They loved how Muriel can flutter out from the lampshade. We also knew new word: a draught excluder. We wish that stripy horse came in soft plush toy because he is so stripy and colorful and oh-so huggable.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Red Velvet!

The cake's name with a period doesn't seem right. It needs an exclamation mark to show how happy we were with our Red Velvet. Baking is not my thing, even though I love to feast my eyes on beautiful cakes and cupcakes and cookies. If it's not for the girls, I will not in my life know such cakey words: batter, beat, blanch and meringue (say mer-ang everyone). My girls have a firm belief that their mommy can do all and know all. I believe every daughters have such belief in their moms. They never thought that mommies have questions too. Well, I wish parenting comes with a manual with a proper chapter for baking. But hey, with a sincere pray and doa and all, our red velvet didn't disappoint us! It was delicious, voila! Presenting you, our Red Velvet! My red velvet. 

Visit masam manis for the marvelous recipe!

This is Iris's.

This is Iesha's.

This is mine! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Follow the rules!

Rules by Cnthia Lord

"Rules" is another gem from the Big Bad Wolf (BBW) 2012 book sale. In a big book sale like BBW, I've always look for award-winning books. Rules was awarded with two prestigious awards: the Newberry Honor Book and Schneider Family Book Award. The book is about Catherine, a twelve-year-old girl who has an eight-year-old brother, David, whom has autism. Catherine kept all the rules in her sketchbook for David to learn and know how the world works. She is a lovely narrator who can brilliantly tells her story both in humor and heartbreaking. Catherine shows us how pure and good-hearted can children be. I list down the rules set up by Catherine to his brother David. (Perhaps we can use some, he-he).

  1. Follow the rules.
  2. Don't run down the clinic hallway.
  3. If it's too loud, cover your ears or ask the other person to be quite. (Person with autism hears everything extra loud: milk being poured, shopping carts clanging at the grocery store, etc.)
  4. Sometimes you've gotta work with what what you've got.
  5. If you don't have the words you need, borrow someone else's.
  6. Sometimes things work out, but don't count on it.
  7. Saying you'll do something means you have to do it- unless you have a very good excuse.
  8. If you can only choose one, pick carefully.
  9. At someone else's house, you have to follow their rules.
  10. Sometimes people laugh when they like you. But sometimes they laugh to hurt you.
  11. Open closet doors carefully. Sometimes things fall out.
  12. Sometimes people don't answer because they didn't hear you. Other times it's because they don't want to hear you.
  13. No toys in the fish tank.
  14. Solving one problem can create another.
  15. No dancing unless I'm alone in my room or it's pitch-black dark.
  16. Pantless brothers are not my problem.
  17. Some people think they know who you are, when they really don't.
  18. Late doesn't mean not coming.
  19. A real conversation takes two people.
  20. If you need to borrow words, Arnold Lobel wrote some good ones.
  21. If you want to get out of answering something, pretend you didn't hear.
  22. If someone is holding something you want, ask if you can have a turn.
  23. When you say something stupid, gloss over it with superfast talking and maybe no one'll notice.
  24. Leaving out isn't the same as lying.
  25. When you want to get out of answering something, distract the questioner with another question.
  26. Call if you're going to be late.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bubble Snakes

What you need:
Empty water bottles
Bubble solution
Food coloring
Rubber band
Adult supervision

What you need to do:

1. Use a utility blade to cut off the end of the water bottle.

2. Cover the end of the water bottle with the washcloth and secure it with a rubber band.

3. Dip the washcloth in the bubble solution and blow.

4. Observe and have some fun.

5. Observe the fun.

6. Use a pipette to drop food coloring to the washcloth.

7. Drop more colors.

8. Blow.

9. Blow and observe the bubble snakes.

Hundreds of bubbles come out from the washcloth.

(The girls continued to have fun in the proper space: the bathroom.)

Questions you may ask your children:
1. Can you count the bubbles?
2. What would happen if we blow the bottle?
3. What if we change to another type of washcloth?
4. Can we use socks instead of washcloth?
5. Why are the bubbles round? 

Explanation from Sick Science:
It's all about the magic of surface tension of water. Water molecule contains of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Hydrogen atoms in one water molecule are attracted to oxygen atoms in other water molecules. They like each other so much. So why are the bubbles round? That is because the bubbles enclose the maximum volume of air in the minimum amount of bubble solution, so that's why they are always round. And why are the bubbles attach to each other when they come out of the washcloth? It's because of the hydrogen bonds that make bubbles possible.

Save your money, now!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sometimes, being a mom is rocket science.

This was a month ago. We built a rocketship in our very house. We purchased the build-yourself-rocket at Bookxcess and we had so much fun being astronauts and aliens. However, we have packed them back in the box due to limited spaces of our home sweet home. Let's check out our fun time! 

Iyra was in awe with the toddler-size box.

Spot the price: RM49.90


Obviously she cannot wait.

"Give me way, give me way."

Was about to finish. Thanks to Bapak.

Rocket engineer Iris was coloring the safety button.

Rocket engineer Iesha colored the wings.

Meet the alien. The cutest one on Pluto.

Mission accomplished!

Stand back! We gotta rocket!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Feeling Good

I'm not so of an avid reader, but I do read at least six books a month (textbook doesn't count). I was previously so much into self-help books authored by many non-Muslims. One thing I grasped from these kind of books is that they tend to help us to be the best in this world, that our life is once, so we better grab it or lose it. They emphasized that life is the one and only chance for us to strive for worldly gain, and never did they mentioned about the life we will have after death. And honestly, I kept all the good tips and tricks from the books to ensure that I gain as much as possible in this life; to be the best in everything. And they kept mentioning that the good things come from our hard or smart struggling, never did they mention that there is a great and only power who is in charge of everything, Allah the Source of Strength. 

Along the journey as a reader, I felt confused and perplexed sometimes, especially when I failed to get what I want after the hard work. I blamed myself for not doing it right. I questioned God why this happened to me? There were several miserable events which left me in total despair. I then referred back to the books, and they mentioned "You are the one who decide to be happy or to be sad." You. The word is you. That means I have to take all the blames. And it saddened me even more.

Just a few months ago, I have the feeling to switch my reading lists, to read more on the authors who have the same faith with me, Islam. I gave it a try. Once, I felt that this so-called Islamic books will leave me more confused and they only designed for Islamic scholars or intellectuals. I was wrong. They are indeed true self-help books. The authors emphasized that everything is in Allah's knowledge. They convinced this with the ayahs from the last survival kit (as I call it)-the Quran. And slowly I obtain the understanding that only Allah is in charge of everything. And starting from the first day I started to collect and read Islamic books, I felt so good I have no words to describe. Proclaiming it out loud, I make a doa to Allah, "Ya Allah, lead me to good books." (Sometimes Allah leads me to children books, he-he).

But as a self-proclaimed book lover, I didn't hate any books, be it authored by Muslims or non-Muslims. All books leave me with something to ponder, to reflect. Perhaps the major thing I didn't agree is that they tend to say that we only have one life, which is totally not true. We are actually start to live right after our last breathe on this life. The life in the Hereafter is true and eternal. However, the place for us to stay in the next life is determined from our deeds in current life. Allah has offers us two places to stay, Neraka or Syurga. Both places are places of no return. O Allah, forgive our sins as you are the Most Oft-Forgiving. 

I hope my words will give something good. Insya Allah.