Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tic-Tac Name

Assalm alykom:

Here is a nice little game that I made for my children. We call it Tic-Tac Name.

Materials Needed to Make the Game

  • Small tiles(usually sold in sheets with a lot of tiles on the sheet)
  • Larger tile
  • Oven cured glass paints
  • Hot glue gun
  • felt
Directions for Making the Game
Paint at least five small tiles with each name of your family member. As you can see, we did ours in Arabic. For mine and my husband, I wrote mama and baba. If you have friends over often, you might want to paint one that says friend or guest. Paint the lines on your larger tile with the grid for a tic-tac toe game. After you paint everything, place them in the oven as directed with the glass paint you choose. Do not buy air dry glass paints because the paint may come off more easily. After the tiles are painted, cured and cooled off, you need to glue a piece of felt on the bottom of them all. I used a hot glue gun and it is still sticking to the bottom of mine. Here is a picture of what I did:

This keeps it from scratching your tables and other furniture the kids may set the game on. I hope you enjoy the game as much as we do! It is actually a little harder to play and pay attention because I am use to x's an o's. Therefore, my attention is not as sharp when I try to see the names. Let me know how you do InShallah!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tip #2 How to keep up with the socks

Assalam alykom:

Well, as all of you homeschooling mothers know, keeping up with your house duties can really be a challenge. Here is another advice that is part of the laundry. It might save you some time. Any time that you can save in homeschooling can be very valuable. I have six people in my family. Keeping socks organized as they drift through the laundry process can be impossible sometimes. I have been given the advice to pin them when you put them in the wash or wash them in a seperate bag. Well, none of these methods worked for me because it was to much trouble to pin them and washing them in a seperate bag was to much trouble for me to coordinate. Here is what I found works for me. When I take the clothes from the dryer, I right away remove the socks and place them in a designated sock basket. I do not worry about seperating and matching the socks at this point. Once a week, I have my two older children sort all the socks for the week. They make a game out of it sometimes and see who can match the most socks. After they finish matching, they each put them all away. This works great for us. We may still have missing socks, but at least those we could find are all matched up each week.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My mosaic Table

Assalm alykom:

After Doing a few mosaic pots, I thought I would try my hand at a coffee table.
I had acquired this old coffee table from a friend of mine. It had quite a bit of dents and scratches on it. Therefore I really could not decide what to do with it. Repainting would be too hard. There is a thick load of varnish on top and the pedestal is a different color all together. I liked the look of the table and it was sturdy and good quality. Therefore, I decided to tile it. First, I mapped out my design. I used whole tiles, broken tiles and glass jewels. I glued them on the table with silicone glue. Here is how it looked after I glued them: I let the tiles dry over night and the next day I added the grout. I bought a nice cream color to match the tiles. When I added the grout, I noticed that I could not cover the sharp edges on the broken tiles that were on the edge. Therefore, I just removed them all together. Here is how it looked after I added the grout: Since I took the tiles from the sides and the original paint was two different colors, I just sanded the edge and the pedestal and painted it to match the tiles. Here is the result: I was really surprised how nice it turned out. Then, I got to thinking what if my four messy children wiped chocolate, spilled juice or their just plain dirty hands messed up the grout. So, after a little contemplating and research on the internet, I decided to paint several coats of polyurathane over the top. It turned out better than I thought! It is also highly durable. See for yourself: This is what I call a trash to treasure project. Someone gave me the table, and the tiles were leftovers from house remodeling. I am really enjoying it and would not mind trying another piece of furniture.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mosaic Flower Pots

Assalm alykom:

This next project is quite easy to do. It is a little messy, but alot of fun. Here is what you need to do the flower pots:

  • 1 clay terra-cotta flower pot
  • Silicone glue
  • Sanded grout
  • Tiles, buttons, flat glass gems, shells, broken dishes, ect.
  • disposable gloves
  • A sponge
  • a bucket
Decide what kind of items you would like to have on your pot. You can use almost anything. This picture here is one that my children did and they used broken tile pieces and flat glass gems.

Please note that this project is very messy and is best done outside. To break the tiles, I put them inside an old towel and break them carefully with a hammer. After you get the right amount of tiles broken that you want, you glue them where you want with the silicone glue. If you have your children do this, have them wear gloves and be very careful of the sharp tile pieces. Let the glue dry for several hours. Now, you are ready to mix the grout. Grout comes colored. Therefore, you can choose the color to match your tiles. Make sure the grout is sanded grout. Mix the grout with water until it comes like a thick paste. It should be almost the consistency of peanutbutter. Make sure you have gloves on when applying the grout to the pot. Apply the grout with your fingers until you are able to push it into all of the spaces between the tiles. Do not worry if it is covering the tiles. You will wipe it off later. Let it dry for about 15 minutes. Then take a bucket of water and a sponge and smooth the grout off the tiles with the sponge. Do it very gently so you do not rub all the grout off. You have to keep rinsing your sponge off. I usually let it dry for another 10 minutes and wipe it again. I may do this several times until I achieve the look that I want. Finally I let it dry over night. The next day I will just polish the cloudiness off the tiles, and it is ready to put your flowers into it. You can use broken pieces of dishes, shells, buttons, ect. I have even thought of using legos on one for the kids room. The ideas are endless.

This is a stepping stone that I did in my garden. It was very old and looking like it could go in the garbage. So, instead of throwing it out, I tiled it! If anyone needs any help once you start. Just make a comment in the post, and I will be happy to help.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tip #1: The Laundry

Assalm alykom:

I decided to offer a tip each week or so on my blog. These tips are related to my ability to maintain my religion, homeschooling, houseduties, my children and my sanity. I found in the beginning, homeschooling can be quite overwhelming with all my other duties as a wife and mother. I have found a few tips along the way that have made my whole homeschooling experience much easier. Therefore, here is the first one:

The Laundry
Laundry can be quite overwhelming in a large family. It is even more so when you homeschool. When I first started out, I always found myself with laundry all over my living room. Half of it folded and ready to be put away. The other half would be waiting for me to have time to fold it. Then, there was the mounds of it in the garage still waiting for me to wash. Something had to be done. I could not keep going like this. What I first did was lower my standards about the laundry. It was never being put away because I did not like how my children would put it away. Well, after lowering my standards, I put my children to work with the laundry. My washer and dryer is in our garage. I found a laundry sorter at Wal-mart. My son is responsible for sorting his clothes according to color. My older daughter sorts hers and her sisters. I sort my clothes and my husbands. After the clothes go through the wash, I fold them and put them in a laundry basket. My children then pick up their baskets and put the clothes away themselves. My son does his own, my older daughter puts hers and her two younger sisters' clothes(they are all in one room), and I put my husbands' clothes and mine. Now, I no longer have clothes waiting to be folded and put away. I try to do one load a day and the children put them away about every two to three days. The clothes are not always put away they way I would like, but at least they are not all over my living room. They are also learning to be responsible for the house duties. I had another problem and that is with matching up sock for six people. I will save that for tip #2.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Jesus and The Da Vinci Code

Assalam alykom:

The Da Vinci code brought Jesus to the mind of millions of people worldwide. The book sold 40 million copies and the movie made millions in the first day alone. Churches worldwide are presenting their versions of decoding the Da Vinci code. For Muslims, this is a golden opportunity to present what Allah says in the Quran about Jesus. You can read more about what Allah says about Jesus in the Quran here.
Here is a couple of questions related to the Da Vinci code that a person might ask himself or herself. "Was Jesus married?" If he was married, how would that affect a Muslims' belief in him? Listen to these beneficial lessons on this very subject from

Monday, July 03, 2006

What do others think of your homeschooling efforts?

Assalm alykom:

While homeschooling is becoming more popular and common, it is still considered out of the mainstream. Therefore, people might find it odd that you have decided to take up this life style with your family. My husband travels to a variety of masjids throughout our state doing workshops on Islam. The children and I sometimes travel with him. I like to go with him because it avails me the opportunity to meet different people. Actually, when I meet someone new, they are the ones who usually ask about my children and where do they go to school. I think that this is because parents are really becoming concerned about what kind of education their child is receiving, what kind of role models they are looking up to and what kind of people they are socializing with. Here are some of the comments I get:

Some people look at me as some kind of super woman. They tell me: "I could NEVER do that" "How do you do it with four kids" Well my advice to them is it is not for everyone. It is difficult and it has become a "lifestyle". There is a great deal of sacrifices. You sacrifice your time immensely. You sacrifice a "truly" clean house. The list can go on. Therefore, I never tell someone oh you can do it it is easy. I do find it difficult. However, I have found that I am getting better at this lifestyle, and it is getting easier for me.

Another comment I get is that "I could never do that because I am not educated enough." I have a business degree in marketing, and I still feel I am relearning all the things I new before. My advice to them is that if they really want to homeschool, you should try the state funded virtual schools. These are very easy to follow, and there is always guidance from a teacher, and accountability with mandatory state testing. Another route for those who are not confident, would be to buy a boxed curriculum. These companies who offer this, also sometimes offer teacher support for an additional charge.

This is a frequent question" I am afraid that my child would not be getting the social interaction that he or she needs." I have not found this to be a problem with my children. My children are very friendly when they meet new people or are with their friends that they know. Involving your children in activities such as sports, girl or boy scouts, or after school/weekend programs in masjids can help develop their social skills. I am trying to improve this myself, but have not found the appropriate activity. This next year, I plan to be more aggressive in finding something my children will enjoy, Inshallah.

One last frequent comment I have heard is that the quality of education is not good for homeschooling. Parents many times tell me that their children are very smart, and are in gifted programs and that homeschooling will not facilitate their child's education. I think personally that is changing. Colleges and scholarship programs are seeing that the placement test for homeschoolers are high, and they are recieving a quality education. Many colleges, such as Harvard, are allowing homeschooled students into their programs.

I think a lot of these questions I get are based on myths about homeschooling. I would love to hear what people think about your homeschooling efforts.