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Ramadan 1434

Subhanallah…my last post was in June and now it’s already August. I have been abandoning this blog. Am just struggling with responsibilities and commitments on my plate.  This Ramadan is different. To start with, in the month approaching it, I wasn’t really prepared for it in the sense that I had plunged into a project that took me out of the house 3 days a week, lugging the kids with me some of the times and rushing too. It was hectic.

However alhamdulillah, I did get a repriece about a week or so before Ramadan to do my usual pre-Ramadan planning. But I think maybe that my frame of mind wasn’t prepped up and so when Ramadan did roll around, I was out of sort. Really out of sort.

S continued with her Taleem all the way till the last 10 days. So she basically still had class in the mornings till 1:30 pm Mon-Thur. I pleaded with hubs ti enroll N and H in Wisam’s Revved for Ramadan, because I was really overwhelmed and didn’t think I could do anything with them this Ramadan like I have been doing for the past 13+ years. I’m getting old. Even for Z, it was a last minute set up Ramadan activity prep. I decided to do the names of Allah with him and the Quran Prophet stories mazes. But even then, I didn’t really manage to do it consistently with him. Subhanallah…I think….having kids that far apart, is challenging for me. The 3 older kids have different needs and Z has different needs. I’m finding myself really exhausted having to repeat what I did with the older kids when they’re at Z’s age right now. I know that sounds like a cop out, but to be honest, I’m also ready to move on subhanallah. So I think you can kind of guess what my Ramadan dua is centered around based on that.

The girls helped make the set up for Z’s Ramadan prep. S wrote the names of Allah in Arabic, 30 of them, 1 for each day, and N wrote it in English, then they rolled up the papers tightly into tiny scrolls and inserted them into a balloon and blew them up. Hubs insisted on buying balloons at the Dollar store, so as the girls blew up the balloons and hung them at our staircase, we heard them popping one by one. If they didn’t pop, they would shrink. Hmpph..cheap balloons! What a waste of $1!

So we went and bought balloons at Wal Mart, supposedly better quality. I don’t know, and it’s saddening (for Z’s sake) but they all shrunk. Some popped (not as much as the Dollar store balloons) but all of them shrunk. So they all look like colorful hanging cow udders in our living room. Sigh. Poor Z. Last year, I did the Ramadan chain for him in Ramadan. This year, it’s the balloons, but it turned out this way. I think maybe it’s the New Mexico dry desert heat or something? It’s just weird. We did this in Ohio and none of the balloons shrunk or even popped !

So I have been doing the names of Allah with Z, everyday till recently when he got sick and N also got sick and we forgot to take down the balloons. As for the maze, oh forget it, I keep forgetting to do it with him too.  I think maybe I have trouble managing my personal schedule and the kids’. Subhanallah….maybe I set too high of goals for myself this Ramadan that I actually grew depressed when I couldn’t meet them in the middle. Alhamdulillah Allah granted me the tawfeeq for hope and bounced back towards the end alhamdulillah. All those lectures helped alhamdulillah.

Z did finish memorizing surah al Maun though, and we also resumed his Calendar notebook. I just feel lousy with his schedule really. I feel like such a bad homeschooling mom. The older kids will all be doing high school work this fall inshaaAllah. Just yesterday, we were going over their weekly schedule next semester. i really pray they all are trustworthy and responsible enough to stick to their schedule without needing me to hover over their shoulders and nag them. I am really really tired of doing that subhanallah. It’s my highest source of stress on a daily basis. There were days when I feel like just leaving them on their own and letting them suffer the consequences, but then I think,

“Oh great, if they suffer, what’s going to also suffer is our finances since we paid for those classes, and it doesn’t just involve them, but also the teachers they are working with!”

This is why I feel that if I send them to school, it will be even MORE stressful! I can just imagine the teacher calling me for one of them in particular,

“Mrs. H, we need to talk. __ hasn’t been sending in his/her assignments on time. …”

and I’m pretty sure I’ll still need to either do the assignment with that child or make sure the child does it and I’m just going to be even more irritated because it’s under the jurisdiction of another authority figure. So, never mind. You’d think that sending them to school would make it easier for me. No. It won’t. On the contrary.

N and H went for therapy throughout the summer and alhamdulillah both have made good progress with their individual problems. N is to continue in fall inshaaAllah. I’m amending our weekly schedule. Library day will no longer be Tuesdays but will change to either Friday or Thursday. N and H’s Tuesdays will be tight tight tight.

This fall, this is their schedule: All classes are online.

S :

  • Mon- Thur : 6:30 am – 1:30 pm – Live class Taleem Quran
  • Wed : 11 am – Live class Ancient Egypt
  • Will continue English 11 using the Bedford Reader

N & H

Mon : Home2Teach class –

  • Descriptive Writing (H) 10 am,
  • Narrative Writing (N) 9 am

Tue :

  • 8-9:30 am Live class Biology
  • 10:30-11:30 am Live class 20th Century History
  • 12-12:45 pm Live class HomeBookStudy Literature

Wed:

  • 9:15 -10:15 am Live class Interior Design
  • 11 am -12 pm Live class Ancient Egypt

Thur:

  • 3-4 pm: N’s Therapy on campus

Fri:

  • 8:50 – 9:10 am N’s Hifdh on Skype

 

I have yet to schedule in our post fajr tafseer and Arabic with Husna sessions.

For Z, my rough plan is to focus on handwriting Roman letters, Arabic, Math, Reading comprehension, hifdh, IQRA Quranic reading. He’s no longer going for speech therapy because hubs doesn’t want to pay the co pay after we no longer have one of his insurances. I also would like for him to be a part of a soccer team just so he gets that kind of social interaction, but hubs is not willing to spend the week taking him to practice and games. I told him we’re too old for this. Sigh. Subhanallah. If hubs doesn’t want to do that, I’m going to have to enroll Z in the Gym magic Gym program then. He needs something like that. It’s his rights on us parents.

We will continue using the calendar notebook since I feel that doing it daily helps reinforce some concepts in math for him, like telling time (to the minute), skip counting by 5s, number equations, odd, even, place values, greater than, lesser than, money. So it’s pretty good and comprehensive alhamdulillah. In fact, I feel he’s pretty good at math so far. I’m worried about his reading comprehension, even though he can read, I don’t think his comprehension is that high. The therapists keep telling me that he’s advanced for his age, but I don’t really buy it because New Mexico has literacy problems, so I’m not going to base my standard on that. He’s also been taking the older kids’ poster boards that they made in the past years and he’s been asking me,

“I want to do this too!”

I just feel somewhat depressed that I no longer have the energy nor will to do these kind of things with him like I did with the older kids subhanallah. May Allah give me the tawfeeq. Ameen.

I used to do things from scratch with the older kids, but with Z now, I’m looking for pre-made templates that others have prepared. What a change subhanallah. The good thing is though….there are a LOT of resources out there made by wonderful amazing energetic homeschooling moms! I do feel ancient subhanallah! My prime years have gone by.  I keep asking Allah to make it easy for me with all other things I’m doing, that Z becomes quick learner. So far, so good alhamdulillah. I also remember Sr Taimiyyah Zubayr saying that at times, we mothers are haunted by the thought that if we don’t stay with our child all day every day, tending to him dilligently, the child won’t learn. But in truth, it’s Allah who nurtures this child, Allah is the rabb, and He is the One who gives this child the knowledge, and the means for that knowledge etc. We mothers should do what we can do, and if we are also serving the community, we shouldn’t let this thought stop us from contributing to the community. So there are times when I’m stuck in a rut, in a dilemma and turning to Allah for guidance. At the end of it, it really is a matter of better time management on my part and sacrificing some things. For sure, some things that have been sacrificed is food. I haven’t been enthusiastic in cooking and I haven’t baked for ages. The older kids are doing most of cooking and even chicken cleaning and cutting. Alhamdulillah. They do somewhat complain that I haven’t been providing elaborate meals. Some of the things they mention, they don’t even remember that I have made them before when they were younger. They do blame it on Z though. it is part of the reason, due to his allergies, I figure it’s too stressful to cook/bake some things that has stuff he can’t eat because then I’d be cooking/baking 2 separate things. It has really taken a toll on me so I now cook anything that is edible. What can I do? I’m only one person.  The thing that does hurt me a bit is that there is a kind of ingratitude in the older kids in this. They forgot what I have done in the past, and they focus on what I don’t do. Then they take on the task themselves, and deem me as not doing anything. May Allah guide them to gratitude. May Allah guide ME to gratitude! Ameen.

May Allah help me achieve a good and proper balance in fulfilling others’ rights upon me. Ameen. There are days when I feel so depressed and stressed out, and the only thing that consoles me is the Quran and Allah. Parenthood…is really…something. Different when the kids are young and equally different and unique when the kids are teens. Indeed. I’ve even relegated each set of 2 taraweeh rakaat for each child in an 8 rakaat taraweeh.

H has been leading the tahajud qiyaam during these last 10 nights, and we realize that subhaanallah…he really needs a good stable teacher…and appropriate supportive company. No one else here is doing what he is doing and so he’s been doing this for years on his own. I’m guessing it takes a toll somewhat one way or another. Even though in the home, we also do it, there needs to be outside support from the community too.

May Allah forgive us. Ameen.

Alhamdulillah the girls went to the soup kitchen during Ramadan and S said lady remarked to her,

“Oh you don’t have to come all the way from another country to serve us here!”

S replied, “I was born here.”

The lady then said, “In my religion, we don’t cover our hair unless we’re really good.”

LOL

These last few nights of Ramadan, the girls have been sleeping at the masjid for semi-i’tikaaf, and they have been going to the masjid for the qiyaam at the masjid too. In the beginning of Ramadan, my schedule with the older kids are as such:

Post Fajr :- S recites her memorization of kahf to H while I listen to N’s tajweed as she recites for 10 min to me. Then, once H is done listening and checking S, he recites to me and N goes to recite on her own.

Post Zuhr :- I recite to H my revised portion for that day

Post Asr :-

  • H recites his revised portions to me for that day
  • N recites her revised portions to S for that day

But there were days when we fell short of sticking to this schedule and since the kids go to the masjid for qiyaam in the last 10nights, we have dropped the post fajr routine. It’s hard (in some ways) when the kids are older and more independent (can’t believe I’m saying this) because it’s harder for me to keep them together and stick to a schedule and herd them as one flock. Subhanallah….and that throws me off. it really does. I just need to learn how to manage this reality.  It reminds me of the word zhurriyah which can be translated as progeny. It comes from a root that has the meaning of ‘to scatter’ and true indeed, our children scatter. They scatter when they’re young and when they’re grown. In different ways. But yes, they scatter. This is just another stage of parenthood I’m entering and I guess it feels like being hit by a high-speed train sometimes. I’m left reeling and dazed, and I lose my bearings, and walk trying to find my way back like a blind person. When I finally find my way, I get hit again. At the same time, I’m barely holding on to this tiny lone hand by my side who still needs me to lead him step by step, but as the train hits me again and again in intervals, I lose his grip. That’s what it feels like. May Allah make it easy. Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Activities - Ages 5-8, Community, Cooking, Course Planning, Family, High School, Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Memorizing, Outsourcing, Quran, Ramadan, Soup Kitchen, Teaching Challenges, Thoughts, Time Management, Z's learning | 4 Comments

Online Classes: Oil Pastel, Magnetism, TQ, and Kitchen Chemistry

N is taking Oil Pastel class on Currclick and it started this morning. We had gone to Hobby Lobby yesterday on the way back from the library to get her materials. She didn’t really prepare as she should ahead of class and by the time I was done with my class, she had started her class and then told me she needs a printout. Well, she was a bit left behind but we figure it out and by the end of class she was pretty caught up, alhamdulillah.

They did a Lily.

She likes the class, so I asked her if she wants to take another of those classes. I was looking through Currclick for more classes and figured I’ll wait till they put up new classes.

So far so good.

H also started his Magnetism class today. He committed a major boo boo for which I was really angry about. I hope he doesn’t do that anymore. But he also likes Science Jim, the instructor. He actually said,

“Actually he’s a pretty good teacher.”

So I am thinking of having him take all of Science Jim’s classes in Physics and that they would hopefully give him a good grounding for high school Physics. At least he’d be interested.

I’ve also been looking at Kitchen Chemistry for N’s high school. When I googled it I landed on The Well-Trained Mind forums, which has really been a big help to me in figuring out how to homeschool high school.

I found this Kitchen Chemistry resource which is really interesting. And of course there is MIT’s OpenCourseWare Kitchen Chemistry. So we’ll see. This time, since my course will inshaAllah end Feb of next year, I look forward to have more time to spend planning out their courses and focusing on homeschooling more, without being pulled at from many different sources. As I say this, I am thinking to myself,

I’m sure I will still be as busy if not more, if I am still alive that is.

One of the desktops at home. N in her Oil Pastel class

On the other desktop in the house, S in her TQ class, having a break so I took over this computer during her 1 hour break

Categories: Cooking, Course Planning, High School, Homeschooling, Oil Pastel | Leave a comment

Teens in the Kitchen

H was the mastermind of making Sponge Cake with Fruit and Cream.

Because we were fasting, the kids had this desire to make food upon food upon food. Even when I told them to stop, because since we were fasting, we couldn’t eat much anyway. We only get to eat at Iftar, rush to the masjid for tarawih, come back home, go to bed, and eat at suhoor. At least for me, there wasn’t much time or space in my stomach to fit in dessert. It seems ironic that they are making a lot of food in Ramadan. Kind of defeating the purpose. I have a feeling they don’t really get the whole spirit of Ramadan, well they do, but they can get carried away with the food aspect of it. Many times I had to remind them of what Ramadan is all about.

It’s pretty frustrating because as they grow older, I expect them to be wiser but I guess everyone has to go through these phases. I just hope they go through it quickly and get back on track. Parenting teens is harder in this sense. This is where I feel lacking. A lot.

They did do a good job of recording and documenting it though. Some of the shots they took are really nice. I’ll give them credit for that.

They’re at the stage where I can be napping, and when I wake up, food or dessert is ready. I told my mother what they were up to and she said, “Well, now that they can make their own food, they make what they want and eat what they want!” That’s one disadvantage if all they make is dessert! And pizza!

One of them took this shot. Pretty good. I took some too but when I was about to choose which photo to put up, I decided their shots had better lighting than mine.

But, I think it teaches them to plan ahead, especially when they are in need of ingredients that we didn’t have in our pantry. They know what day we usually grocery shop, so they would make the list, and then plan their baking/cooking. So it’s good life skills they are acquiring inshaAllah. I can leave these kids alone in a well equipped kitchen and they can feed themselves. As for it being healthy or not, well, they know what is healthy and what is not, and S adheres more to the healthy food than do N or H, and I still nag them with healthy eating, but I’m reaching a point where I may no longer have a dominating influence over them. They may have to get sick first, or be exposed to healthy-eating nag from other people they respect before they turn to healthy eating on their own. I’m reaching that point where I’m ready to hand them off to the world, and it’s a scary stage.

Because the sun was no longer sending its rays generously, as it was almost sunset, I took this shot outside to get the most of what light was left.

H complained about the folding that was required in making the sponge cake for this dessert. S had helped him and they claimed that they had followed the directions but it still fell flat when they added the butter. I had my own boo-boos with folding too when I first began baking. It’s a skill you just have to master through practice, I told him. But he waves it off with an air of aggravation. S made the top layer of this cake and H made the bottom. I took the shots. It feels nice to just take shots of ready-made food without having to go through the process of making it. This is one advantage of having kids who can make food. 🙂

They love making pizza too. H particularly does. They love to eat it too. I’m not much of a pizza fan. Once in a while, yes, but not too often. My taste buds are still pretty much Malaysian. I can’t take the cheese that much. Cheese to me is almost probably what Durians are to most Westerners.

I love this shot. One of the kids took it.

This is also a very nice and apt shot! Mashaallah. Again, one of them took it.

N’s sugar cookies

 

S made apple pie from the apples (organic and fresh) we bought from the Farmer’s market. They even found a worm in one of them.

 

It was a bit too watery when it was done, but it was still pretty good actually.

 

And for some reason, I am not able to upload the video they made of the apple worm.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Baking, Cooking, Family | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1433: Madagascar

No, not the movie.

Madagascar has about 7% Muslim population so it was hard for them to find Islamic architecture. We discovered also that their food is pretty simple, that I was almost scoffing when S said she will cook a Malagasy dish consisting of chicken, garlic and ginger. I thought she was taking the easy way out, but she was serious and when I checked it, it really is a Malagasy dish! It smells and tastes good though. We dressed it up though…I couldn’t help it. It’s called Akoho Misy Sakamalao. We had it for iftar.

Ginger and Garlic Madagascar Chicken before it was dressed up

 

After we dressed it up. The lighting wasn’t too good because it was very close to iftar time and the sun was on the verge of dipping below the horizon.

 

Their PPT presentation on Islam in Madagascar.

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Cooking, Family, Powerpoint, Project, Ramadan | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1433: Thailand

For Thailand, H made a model of a house on stilts, S made Pad Thai, and I spent quite some time looking at recipes of how to make it, and they made a flag too. We made the Pad Thai again yesterday for the community potluck iftar. I’ve never had reason to use a lot of fish oil before but now I do. Pad Thai’s good!! Except we don’t put peanuts on it.

Islam in Thailand PPT presentation

H making the roof

 

 

the body of the house

 

the house all done…I adore the stairs! so this is the house, from the front.

 

The back of the house

what we know as Kuey Teow. We use it too in Malaysian cuisine, which probably originated from the Chinese or the Thais to the north. It’s been a while since I cooked kuey teow. The kids like it.

 

S making the Pad Thai sauce . She only used minced garlic, palm sugar, tamarind pulp, and fish sauce. Then we practically fried the kuey teow our way instead of following the recipe to the T.

 

It was done right before Iftar, so we didn’t have very good lighting. This was the best shot I could get.

 

But now, S knows how to make the sauce and she already knows how to fry noodles, so we can inshaAllah easily make our own version of Pad Thai now.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Cardboard, Cooking, Powerpoint, Project, Ramadan, Sewing | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1433: Saudi Arabia

Their second Muslim country to research is Saudi Arabia. This is what they came up with.

Saudi Arabia PPT Presentation

H said the glue gun was not working, so he didn’t come up with any architectural model for this one. The girls made mtabaq though, which fascinates me because I always wondered about the origins of the Malaysian murtabak. Maybe the Saudis took it from us! 🙂

The difference between their Mtabaq and our Murtabak is the dough and the filling. We only use ground beef cooked and seasoned. They also add chopped boiled eggs and cheese cubes. As for the dough, theirs is a simpler one, while ours is one that we use to make Roti Canai with. We also eat it with either a vinegar based sauce or curry. I think the girls did a good job with the Mtabaq mashaAllah. They got the recipe from Arabic Bites, which I had discovered a while ago and love.

The filling : ground beef, chopped boiled eggs, cheese cubes

rolling out the dough

filling it

Wrapping the dough up to form a square

They made it pretty thick compared to the recipe they’re following, but it’s good either way, alhamdulillah

Cooking the mtabaq

The kids did this all by themselves. I was too busy taking notes from Tafseer Maryam

All ready for Iftar, which was at this time, a good few hours away

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Cooking, Powerpoint, Project, Ramadan | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Dinner by Kids

Alhamdulillah, the kids can put together a meal by themselves, for times when I can’t get myself to the kitchen. This was one of the days when they all worked together and put dinner on the table, mashaAllah.

We had Shrimp Sambal, fried anchovies, omelet, salad and some stir fried veggies, which N cooked with tomato ketchup. We all told her not to cook it that way again. It was a unanimous reaction to her cooked veggies, let’s just say that.

 

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