Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Character-Building: A Quick Reflection

Character-building is as much a part of homeschooling as Math or Reading. It's an integral part of parenting. Being with you all day, kids are bound to learn something valuable from you- seek out opportunities to put it into words. 

If you notice someone being mistreated, help if you can, even if it's in speech alone, and then talk to your kids about why it happens and why it's wrong. Ask questions, get them thinking. One situation at a time, help them become responsible, compassionate, self-assured adults.

On the homeschool character-building agenda today: Teach my kids that "nothing other people do is because of you". Any actions or reactions you see of others stem from their own personal issues (or lack thereof) so disregard and excuse  the naysayers, and gather strength from those that lift you up. Most of all, keep on truckin';-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Value in Reading Aloud to Your Kids

Reading aloud. We do it often. We do it for fun. We even use the funny voices that give the characters life (WIP!). I remember loving it as a teen when my older cousin would read to me before bed when we had our sleepovers and thinking how I was fine not to be too old for that. Of course, she'd read to me from adult/YA novels, totally age-appropriate;-)

And in the last three years of discovering the beauty in audiobooks, I've listened to and "read" many, many, many books while in the car or cleaning around the house that I might not ordinarily have had time to sit and read. The kids love them too- to give us all a break from time to time, the kids and I will listen to an audiobook at bedtime instead. 

Since leading a troop of Girl Scout Brownies, I've tried to incorporate at least one-two books at each meeting for some relaxing downtime. It's amazing how they love it, no matter their age, no matter the book. 

Here's a great short post from Among Lovely Things on the value of reading aloud to kids, and check out the podcast info here as well. 

Another Reading aloud post I found and love!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

School Library Journal's Top 100 Children's Novels

Here's a link to School Library Journal's Top 100 Children's Novels; I found this list via our library's website and thought it was pretty awesome. Whenever I see lists like this, I always have visions about having deep, intellectual book discussions with my Ladies. If only there were time to read them all!

As with anything, take the good and leave the bad, and of course I encourage all parents to carefully screen what their children are reading/watching/hearing/playing, etc. to be sure it's appropriate for them and is in line with your family's values.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Eid Pretties: Nail Pen Review & Giveaway!

We received a free pack of Hot Designs Glitz & Glam Nail Art Pens to review just in time for our Eid preparation- you know, hair, nails, henna, the goods!

We love, love, love colors and art, so naturally the girls and I were super-excited to try this. I've never done anything interesting in the way of nail deco so this was my excuse to live a little and leave Vanilla behind for a bit.

The little one wouldn't keep still after the job
was done for an "After" pic
The pens are a great idea and if they could figure out how to make the polish non-clumping when you paint it on so that it doesn't go on in globs, they'd have a winner. I shook the pens plenty to avoid user error, but we still had to go back to our tried and true nail polish stash for our base and background coats because it just didn't go on as smoothly as I'd hoped. The good thing is, I was able to use the pen feature for the designing and drawing pretty easily.

Also, after a trip to the beach, an amusement park, two pool sessions, showers, baths and all the living in-between the polish and designs are still going strong, a very pleasant surprise.

A tip: You'll notice in the pics that as of motherhood, I really don't have the luxury to care so much anymore about painting inside the lines. As a single 20-something I was oh-so-careful, cleaning up oopsies with surgical precision and with just as many tools. Goodbye to that, because for once, cutting corners and trial and error has rewarded me! I found that once all the polish dries thoroughly- and this is with any polish- and you give your hands a good washing, all the excess that's not on your nails comes right off, leaving behind a near-perfect job. You're welcome:-)

Another Tip: We listened to some Merciful Servant lectures on YouTube while we prepped, because we figured, why not beautify our imaan, too?

I'm giving away one FREE pack of Nail Art Pens for you to try at home. Entry details are below. 

Even better…Hot Designs is giving fans the chance to win the ultimate beach package including a $250 Target gift card by entering at Just submit a selfie of your summer style using the hashtag #WinHotLooks and at-tag @GetHotLooks on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, or @Get_Hot_Looks on Instagram.

Eid Mubarak!

**My opinions are always, always my own**

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ramadan Goodies for 2014

Photo credit:

The month of Mercy is upon us again Alhamdullilah! In addition to becoming night owls, here's what we're doing:

Check out last year's post on Ramadan and Pinterest for more goodies and crafts. On a more somber note, please also keep our brothers and sisters in Palestine in your sincere duaa. If you have not made yourself aware of their plight, please take a moment to search reputable sites on the internet and read to give basis and sincerity to your duaa.

Ramadan Mubarak

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter Festivals Galore!

One of my favorite magazines for homeschooler inspiration, Family Fun Magazine, has created a pretty cool (NPI) list of family-suited Winter Festivals I'd like to share with you. You know, in case you'd like to bravely meet the source of the polar vortex head-on and embark on one of the best field trips ever! Just another excuse to get out and try something new...

·         Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
Saranac Lake, NY
Jan. 31–Feb. 9
Try snowshoe racing or cross-country skiing; enjoy concerts, dances, and parades; and watch the fireworks over the awesome Ice Palace at this 117-year-old festival.

·         Lake George Winter Carnival
Lake George, NY
February weekends
This lakeside celebration features beach bonfires, ice-diving demos, hot-air balloon rides, a giant snow slide, kite flying, and chili and chowder cook-offs.

·         Stowe Winter Carnival
Stowe, VT
Jan. 18–Feb. 2
Vermont’s best-known ski town goes all out with snow volleyball and golf, youth hockey and snowboard half-pipe competitions, ski racing, fireworks, and a kids’ carnival.

·         Montréal en Lumière
Montreal, Quebec
Feb. 20–March 2
This sprawling urban festival features light shows, guest gourmet chefs, life-size board games, a Ferris wheel, and a massive sled slide plus music, theater, dance, and circus performances.

·         Carnaval de Québec
Quebec City, Quebec
Jan. 31–Feb. 16
The world’s largest winter carnival boasts sleigh rides, snow slides, nighttime parades, an extreme canoe race, an ice palace, and more.

·         Winterlude
Ottawa, Ontario
Jan. 31–Feb. 17
Skate through downtown on a frozen canal, then check out the illuminated ice sculptures, annual bed race, the hockey classic, and the world’s largest snow playground.

·         Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Saint Paul, MN
Jan. 23–Feb. 2
Go geocaching and thrill to fireworks, parades, hot-air balloon races, sled dog competitions, and the bouncing team’s aerial acrobatics.

·         Fur Rendezvous
Anchorage, AK
Feb. 21–March 2
Celebrate Alaska’s heritage with the Rondy World Champion Sled Dog Race, the Running of the Reindeer, the blanket toss, outhouse races, and the native arts market.

·         Winterfest
Blowing Rock, NC
January 23-26
Family-friendly activities abound, including ski and snowboarding lessons, ice carving demos, hayrides, bonfires, kids’ games and crafts, and the Polar Plunge.

·         Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival
Steamboat Springs, CO
February 5-9
Watch ski jumping, cross-country obstacleracing, and the Dog Dash; compete in shovel and three-legged races; and cheer on the Lighted Man as he sets off fireworks down the slope.

·         Snowdown
Durango, CO
Jan. 29–Feb. 2
Activities all over town mark this annual winter blowout, including a parade, costume party, doggie Olympics, waiter/waitress race, and music.

·         Whitefish Winter Carnival
Whitefish, MT
February 7-9
A lake plunge, torchlit parade, horse-towed skiing (ski joring), battle of the bands, and pie social are all part of this kid-friendly fest.

A special Thank You to Allison Salzberg for sharing this awesome info and pics to go with it!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside! Polar Vortex and Other Things

The cold weather and a few cool videos I saw online have brought me out of hibernation long enough to share a quick post. I created a cold-weather worksheet for our science activity today, being the opportunist that I am! (You are free to copy and edit it to suit your needs, but please do not sell!) Experiment #4 was inspired by a good friend.