felt slippers

Sometimes I worry that my eldest daughter is falling behind in her homeschooling. That we just didn't have enough time today, or yesterday, or the whole week to meet all the targets I set for her. I wonder where I am going wrong, and how on earth do homeschoolers do it all, how do they keep up with their child's grade expectations? But then when I step back, and watch my daughter do her thing, I am always amazed at what unfolds. When she thinks of a concept in her mind, she will use whatever tools and skills she has in her repertoire, and get to work on making her vision come to life. She takes risks, and jumps right into projects, drafting her own patterns, and testing them out, without fear of mistakes, or judgement. She loves to push herself when following her passions, and though from the surface I may feel she is falling behind, there is indeed learning happening. Skill building, independence, self-confidence, resourcefulness, problem-solving, ingenuity. These traits are things I did not have myself at the age of 8, and to be learned early on in life, is just as important as learning, if not more so, her multiplication tables. These are the little things I need to remind myself when I start to worry, but I don't think, as parents, we can really ever stop worrying can we? (Above: felt slippers designed/drafted, and sewn by missA)


Eid ul Fitr 2015

The 3 hour long drive to my mom's house, with cranky kiddos, summer heat, cramped legs, all pays off in the end when we get to spend the day with my 9 siblings celebrating Eid together. As time goes by more and more of my siblings are leaving the nest and going off to school, and it is getting rarer and rarer that we are ever all together at once. I really like being the 2nd eldest in my family, the eldest girl, I feel like I've been there from the beginning. I remember changing my little sister's diaper, taking my little brother out to play in the snow, letting them sleep with me in my bed when they didn't want to sleep alone, and countless other things. Now a lot of them have surpassed me in height, it's amazing how time flies, and how quickly things change. As they grow, our relationships change too, me- from a motherly caring type, to more of a friend and companion. I look forward to the days ahead inshaAllah, when our gatherings will be so full, with new spouses, and nieces and nephews, all hopefully coming together from all different directions to convene at one place to celebrate as a family.

Being as it was, a celebration right after Ramadan, there wasn't much time for handmade gifts, but I did manage to squeeze in a little custom pillow for my mother. She really wanted a pillow that said Salam on it, and I knew her favourite colour was purple, and I happened to have a pillow form, and a bit of sequined ribbon left over from a previous project, and it came together quite nicely. If you were to ever visit my mother's home, you would see traces of me everywhere. That sailboat/lighthouse painting on the living room wall, the embroidery hoop art in the dining room, Eid moon and star banner in the hallway, the new pillow on her bed, and I'm sure there's more. It feels like I'm still there, that I haven't completely left, though I've been married for 10 years now.

My older brother recently went to visit our fatherland, Vietnam, and at my request, brought home the girls matching áo dài dresses to wear for Eid. I don't know why but it gives me great pleasure to dress my girls in matching dresses for special occassions. He even got a matching dress for his daughter, so all 4 grand-daughters were matching on Eid, mashaAllah. I am already scheming matching dresses I can make the girls for Eid ul Adha inshaAllah, though I will see if I actually get the time to complete them!


this ramadan

In the past I used to feel guilty for not being able to make it to the masjid for tarawih prayer every night, or not being able to read as much Quran, or pray as many rakat as I'd like. But I've come to accept the small sacrifices I must make in my time, and in the things I want to do, to care for the little girls Allah has blessed me with. I know there are seasons for everything, and that Allah rewards for our intentions. For me, getting the kids in bed by 8 or 9pm and having the rest of the night for breaking fast, prayer, and reading at home is much more fruitful than going at the masjid late, where I am unable to accomplish anything with cranky tired babies. I am trying my best to include my little ones into everything I do this Ramadan; reading Quran, memorizing surahs, and increasing knowledge.

One of my personal goals this Ramadan was to work on not getting upset with my children over small things, and to show mercy. I recently told my eldest, that she could tell me anything. She took me up on my offer and has confided in me things she thought I would be angry about. It is amazing the trust that is built once we as parents learn how to speak lecture less, and listen more. As I listened with calmness, my daughter opened up more, and then I was able to correct her in a gentle way, a way that she could take the lessons to heart, and not take them on the defensive.

Speaking of my eldest, she has fasted a few of her first full days of fasting this year, a whopping 17+ hours, mashaAllah. The best part about this summer is it has been nice and cool, Alhumdulillah, so the long days aren't so bad. This is also my first year successfully fasting while nursing. I just couldn't bear to miss another year of fasting during Ramadan after having my last two children back to back. Not to mention all the days I have accumulated that need to be made up. :)

As we enter the last 10 nights, I pray that Allah rewards you for all your efforts and that you be of those to find Laylatul Qadr, Ameen.


iftar with friends

Well I must say, it feels like forever since we've met up with our playgroup. So many families moved away, or moms went back to work, or kids went back to school (no longer homeschooled), and our group just fizzled away. But it just so happened that this Ramadan many families came back, were visiting the area, or were off from work, so we all got together like old times, and broke fasts together Alhumdulillah. We took group photos that will be treasured, and will be so fun to compare to their group photos as babies. I can't believe how big the kids have gotten! 8 years! It feels like just yesterday we were all young moms, expecting our first child, pregnant at the same time and all due within months or days of each other. It's amazing how Allah brought us all together, really, and blessed us with parenthood the same year. I am so grateful to know such amazing sisters, to watch their families grow, and for their friendship. It was nice to welcome new sisters to our playgroup as well, and to have new friends to make many more memories with. The playgroup iftar (breaking fast) was at our home Alhumdulillah, and if you know me, of course we had to do a craft! We made lanterns using baby food jars, gold wire, rhinestone stickers, and glitter glue. We also played the Quran Challenge quiz game. We divided the kids into two teams and had each team answer questions from the cards, and tallied the points. It ended up being a few minutes before the time to break fast, so we had to wrap it up, the two teams were tied in their score, so everyone was a winner! I had a treasure box, that I found at a thrift store, and I added small toys and candy for them to choose from. The iftar was a potluck, and Alhumdulillah the food was delicious, and there was a lot leftover for everyone to take home for their suhoor (morning meal).


Ramadan Tote Bags

My eldest made two tote bags this Ramadan inspired by some pins I've saved on pinterest. For the first bag she used fabric pastels and a homemade stencil based on a colouring page we printed out, and coloured her design onto a premade canvas tote. And for the second bag she machine sewed a felt moon and star onto a piece of fabric, then hand sewed buttons on top of the moon and star. She added a back side, a lining, and a ribbon strap. Now she can carry the things she needs (hijab and pins, and misc toys and trinkets) on her trips to the masjid for friday prayer, iftar (breaking fast), and daily prayers. :)