Products We're Using

10/2015
We're using this program right now, level 1. My daughter loves it so far.

R Blends




br, cr, dr, fr, pr, tr, gr

Games/Interactives

Word Warehouse- R Blends

Printables


Beginning R Blends Tic Tac Toe





Beginning R Blends Stairs Game



Beginning R Blends Picture CardsBeginning R Blends Picture Cards



Sample 2 Day Lesson Plan for R Blends

Day 1:

  1. Go over Review flashcard deck
  2. Introduce new blends:
    1. Show flashcards and give sound of each new blend; (you might glue a picture of a word that starts with the blend on the back--see my matching cards) have student repeat sounds after you. 
    2. Do online interactive: Word Warehouse- R Blends
    3. Play Stair Step Game
    4. Have student read words and sentences with the R Blends (do reading drills, stair step game with words instead of the blends, tic tac toe, bingo, etc).
    5. Dictate words (or show picture cards) of words that start with the blends, have student write the blend that makes the sound found in the word (if you feel student can write the actual words, you can alternatively have them write the words)
  3. Wrap up by reviewing R blend flashcards having student reproduce the sound of each blend and/or make a visual for student's phonics notebook.

Day 2:

  1. Go over Review flashcard deck
  2. Practice R Blends
    1. Go over R blends flashcards (or use student's visual in notebook, if you made one the previous lesson, to review the sounds)
    2. Practice reading words and sentences with the R blends (game format is preferred, if not, just read lists and sentences)
    3. Clue game - give clues for words that start with the R blends and have student write the blend or word to match.
    4. Hop a Blend - my daughter likes this game. I call out words that start with the blends, she hops near the flashcard with that blend (or you could take it outside and draw the blends with chalk in circles or squares).
  3. Wrap up by reviewing R blend flashcards.



Our phonics notebook entries for R blends:




Beginning L Blends

bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl



Videos








Word Lists

Quick beginning reader lists:

bl - blab, blog, blob, blot, black, block, blast, bleed
cl - clan, clam, clap, clad, clod, clog, clot, club, clip
fl - flag, flap, fled, flip, flab, flat, flop
gl - glass, glad, glum, flob
pl - plan, plum, plot, plus, plop, plug
sl - sled, slab, slap, slid, slip, slam, slim, slit, slat

Printable

Games

Printables


TJ Homeschooling's SL Blends Learning Pack (FREE) - Flashcards, tic tac toe boards, reading drill board (words, sentences), handwriting practice






    Pillars of Eemaan (Belief)

    There are 6 pillars (articles of faith) that a Muslim must believe in:

    • Allah
    • Allah's Angels
    • Allah's Books
    • Allah's Messengers
    • The Last Day
    • Allah's Decree, the good and bad of it
    “Iman is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in the Qadar and what it brings of good or bad.” (Saheeh Muslim)

    Treatises/Book Links

    AbdurRahman.org's Imaan Links - Salaf us Saalilh/Abdurrahman.org is my first go-to site for Islamic studies reference/reading material, alhamdulillah. Its "Imaan and Its Pillars page" has oodles of resources that you can use, in shaa Allah, to build Islamic Studies lessons on the pillar of eemaan. It has general works on eemaan (belief), links to works on the increase and decrease of eemaan, as well as works on each of the six pillars of eemaan.

    Explaining The Fundamentals Of Faith : Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen - nice, concise work, seems great as a base for making your own lessons.

    Articles of Faith - Dr. Mahmood Murad

    Basics of Belief - various short PDFs pertaining to some of the pillars of Eemaan.

    Anchor Charts/Posters

    Two posters of the Pillars of Eemaan that I made eons ago. Among the first of my resources that I made on the computer.........


    image



    Lessons/Worksheets

    "Explaining Faith: The Beliefs of a Muslim"
    An excellent PDF for younger readers on the subject of the pillars of eemaan. It is very nicely organized and contains review questions throughout.

    Pillars of Eemaan Test/Worksheet
    A nice, simple clean test/worksheet on the pillars of eemaan from UmmMaimoonahRecords, 20 questions.

    Activity Pages/Notebooking

    Pillars of Eeemaan Notebooking ChartVersion 1: This individual page allows student to enumerate the pillars. It also includes pictures of the pillars that can be glued on. 

    Pillars of Eeemaan Notebooking Chart
    Version 2: This individual page allows student to enumerate the pillars, in a slightly different format. Also includes pictures so student can glue the pillar names on instead of writing. Download Version 2




    A coloring book that I made up for my kids. 9 pages.

    Pillars of Eemaan Coloring BookPillars of Eemaan Coloring Book



    Flashcards

    Pillars of Eemaan Flashcards



    Pillars of Eemaan Flashcards


    Pillars of Eemaan Flashcards



    "Tastes Like A Restaurant" Orange Chicken


    Last week I was in the mood for something different and I was walking down the store aisles trying to think of something to do with this chicken that I had just put in my basket.  In the frozen section I saw some orange chicken. I love Asian food so that settled it and I googled an Orange Chicken recipe right there on the spot and came up with this one at Food.com.

    There were many versions of orange chicken, some baked, some fried. This one fries the chicken in a batter.

    Ingredients (Amended)

    Batter:
    The original recipe called for rice wine in the sauce; I omitted that because its alcohol.


    • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • white pepper
    • oil ( for frying)
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup flour

    Orange Sauce:

    • 1 tablespoon gingerroot, minced
    • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
    • 5 tablespoons sugar
    • 5 tablespoons white vinegar*
    • Zest from 1 orange**


    *In some comments, reviewers said they used brown sugar instead of the vinegar, so I did too.
    **Could use orange juice as well

    A few notes about this recipe:


    • Several people in the comments said that this amount of orange sauce was not enough, so some even quadrupled it (which I did).
    • Many complained about the directions being confusing.  I amended the directions below to reflect what I did, but you can see the original recipe here.


    What to Do

    Cooking the Chicken:
    1. Place chicken pieces in large bowl, set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl stir egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well, set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl stir together 1/2 cup of the cornstarch and all the flour.
    4. Fold the cornstarch/flour mixture into the egg mixture to form a batter. (This is what I did differently).
    5. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees.
    6. Add chicken, small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp. 
    7. Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside.


    This was my chicken after frying! So happy with the results because I generally am no good at deep frying things.  This time deep frying, I used our candy thermometer that came with our candy making kit to get the temperature just right and I think that made all the difference.  I set the microwave timer and cooked the pieces for 3 minutes, sometimes a skosh longer.  It was hard to keep everyone from eating the chicken at this point and I got a lot of "yums" and this is "awesome."

    Making the Orange Sauce

    Now the instructions were also unclear here about the orange sauce because at one point it said "add the orange sauce" but didn't say previously how to make it.  So this is what I did:

    1. In a tablespoon or so of oil, I stir fried/sauteed the green onion, garlic, and gingerroot in a saucepan. (I put in the garlic last because I know it can burn quickly). At this point you could add the red chili pepper flakes, but I, unlike my kids, do not like spicy, hot foods, so I omitted it.
    2. Then I added the water, sesame oil (my new favorite thing), soy sauce, white sugar, and brown sugar (I just used the same amount as I would have for the vinegar--but I did make more than one batch worth so I adjusted it accordingly) and I added the orange zest (some reviewers said they used orange juice. I can't remember, I may have added some orange juice as well).  I stirred and let simmer for a few minutes. 
    3. Next, I mixed the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with some water to form a liquidy mix, and I added that to the sauce and let it simmer until it thickened up.
    4. Add the chicken to the sauce in a skillet and let simmer for a few minutes.
    Chicken simmering in the pan

    1. Serve over rice (the recipe said jasmine rice, but I just used regular white rice and threw in some steamed carrots and broccoli, along with canned corn.)
    The final product!



    This was such a hit. One of my high schoolers came home from football practice and ate some and he said he thought it was from a restaurant at first.

    I encourage you to view the original recipe as well as the comments below it as they were very helpful for me.

    Popcorn Balls!


    For Eid, we made popcorn balls. They were super easy to make and tasty. I used a recipe from Taste of Home.com

    Ingredients

    • 7 quarts popped popcorn
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Food coloring, optional

    Directions

    1. Place popcorn in a large baking pan; keep warm in a 200° oven.
    2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 235° (soft-ball stage).
    3. Remove from the heat. Add the butter, vanilla and food coloring if desired; stir until butter is melted. Immediately pour over popcorn and stir until evenly coated.
    4. When mixture is cool enough to handle, quickly shape into 3-in. balls, dipping hands in cold water to prevent sticking. Yield: 20 servings.

    Things We Did:


    -7 Quarts of popped corn is about 28 cups. We used 3 bags of microwave popcorn which yielded around 28/29 cups.

    -I made up one batch of the sugary sweetness and poured it over the popped corn but it didn't seem like enough to coat them enough so I made another batch.

    -Our corn syrup had vanilla flavoring in it already so I probably could have skipped adding vanilla but I added it anyway.

    -We used two colors of food coloring (each batch of the sugar mixture was a different color). Although you can't really see it in the pictures, our popcorn balls were red, green (and yellow from the popcorn itself)

    -We got about 31 balls, not sure how big each ball was, we might have made them smaller as we got more balls than the 20 the recipe says it yields.


    Our mixture bubbling




    Right after we poured the mixture over the popcorn



    These were really good and pretty easy to make, however they make you feel like you want to run to brush your teeth directly after eating them :)

    Easy Cornbread!

    Cornbread

    This is a super easy recipe and great if you like really sweet cornbread (if not, just decrease the sugar). I whipped some of this up the other day for our chili.

    What You Need:

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    2/3 cup white sugar
    1 teaspoon salt

    3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 egg
    1 cup milk
    1/3 cup vegetable oil

    What You Do

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
    2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. 
    3. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. 
    4, Pour batter into prepared pan.

    5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

    That's it! 



    Just for the record:  I didn't have milk on hand but we desperately needed something to go with the chili. So, being desperate, I used the half and half we had on hand, mixing 1/2 cup of half and half with 1/2 cup of water. Everybody raved about it. I would probably decrease the sugar a bit the next time, but the kids said this was the best cornbread I made ever!

    What is Eidul Adhaa All About?


    Muslims have two festivals that we celebrate---Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adhaa. 

    Eidul Fitr is the first Eid and it starts the day after the last day of Ramadan. Eidul Fitr is always on Shawwaal 1. 

    But what about Eidul Adhaa?

    Eidul Adhaa falls roughly 70 days after Eidul Fitr and is always on Dhul Hijjah 10.  Eidul Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. What about Eidul Adhaa? What is its significance?

    Eidul Adhaa is also known as the Slaughtering Eid.  (It's also known as the Day of An-Nahr (Slaughter). On this Eid, Muslims slaughter animals such as camel, cow, sheep, and goat.  This Eid commemorates the trial that Allah gave Prophet Ibrahim (alayhi sallam) when He told him to slaughter his son, Ismail (alayhi sallam). Prophet Ibrahim (alayhi sallam), being the obedient slave that he was, prepared to sacrifice his son. However, as a reward for his obedience, Allah replaced Ismail with a ram and Prophet Ibrahim (alayhi sallam) sacrificed the ram instead of his son.


    Surah 37: 83-111 narrates this story:

    83. And, verily, among those who followed his [Nuh's (Noah)] way (Islamic Monotheism) was Ibrahim (Abraham).
    84. When he came to his Lord with a pure heart [attached to Allah Alone and none else, worshipping none but Allah Alone true Islamic Monotheism, pure from the filth of polytheism].
    85. When he said to his father and to his people: "What is it that which you worship?
    86. "Is it a falsehood aliha (gods) other than Allah that you seek?
    87. "Then what do you think about the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns, and all that exists)?"
    88. Then he cast a glance at the stars (to deceive them),
    89. And he said: "Verily, I am sick (with plague. He did this trick to remain in their temple of idols to destroy them and not to accompany them to the pagan's feast)."
    90. So they turned away from him, and departed (for fear of the disease).
    91. Then he turned to their aliha (gods) and said: "Will you not eat (of the offering before you)?
    92. "What is the matter with you that you speak not?"
    93. Then he turned upon them, striking (them) with (his) right hand.
    94. Then they (the worshippers of idols) came, towards him, hastening.
    95. He said: "Worship you that which you (yourselves) carve?
    96. "While Allah has created you and what you make!"
    97. They said: "Build for him a building (it is said that the building was like a furnace) and throw him into the blazing fire!"
    98. So they plotted a plot against him, but We made them the lowest.
    99. And he said (after his rescue from the fire): "Verily, I am going to my Lord. He will guide me!"
    100. "My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous."
    101. So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.
    102. And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!" He said: "O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha' Allah (if Allah will), you shall find me of As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)."
    103. Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering);
    104. And We called out to him: "O Abraham!
    105. You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!" Verily! Thus do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers - see V.2:112).
    106. Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial
    107. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. ßÈÔ - a ram);
    108. And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among generations (to come) in later times.
    109. Salamun (peace) be upon Ibrahim (Abraham)!"
    110. Thus indeed do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers - see V.2:112).
    111. Verily, he was one of Our believing slaves.

    Source: NobleQuran.com


    Sunan of Eidul Adhaa

    There are many similarities between the etiquette of Eidul Adhaa and that of Eidul Fitr. From among the differences are:


    • One should eat something after the ‘Eid prayer  for Eidul Adhaa (as for ‘Eid-ul-Fitr, it is Sunnah to eat something sweet prior to the prayer).
    • The sacrifice (udheeyah) is done after the Eid salah and prior to the end of the days of Tashreeq following ‘Eid-ul-Adha.

    You can read more about the Sunan of Eidul Adhaa from the Pearls of Islam Tumblr site.





    Yawmul Arafah (The Day of Arafah)



    Yawmul Arafah - Day of Arafah

    Mount Arafat or Mount Arafah is a granite hill east of Mecca in the plain of Arafat. Arafat is a plain about 20 km southeast of Mecca. Mount Arafat reaches about 70 m in height (WIkipedia)


    Source
    On the 9th day of the month of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims performing hajj stand on the mountain to make duaas. It is virtuous for those not making the Hajj to fasting on the Day of Arafah.
    The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah is the day of ’Arafah, since it is on this day that the pilgrims gather at the mountain plain of ’Arafah, praying and supplicating to their Lord. It is mustahabb (highly recommended) for those who are not pilgrims to fast on this day, since the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was asked about fasting on the day of ’Arafah, so he said, “It expiates the sins (Minor) of the past year and the coming year.” [Muslim (no. 1162)] (AbdurRahman.org)

    Related Reading:

    News Articles:


    Streusel Topping

    Streusel Topping

    If you've never made streusel topping for your quick breads such as muffins and banana bread, you definitely HAVE TO give it a try. It really spruces them up by not only making them look prettier but also making them even more tasty!

    I have been putting streusel on my banana breads for years and yesterday I branched out and tried it on some cinnamon quick bread that I made. I've tried many recipes over the years, but I found one the other day and it's the best one I've made yet!

    After mixing up the streusel, you top the bread/muffins with it THEN you bake it.

    Streusel Topping

    What you need:

    • ½ cup packed brown sugar
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • ¼ cup quick-cooking oats
    • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter, room temperature

    What you do:

  • Mix together brown sugar, flour, oats and butter until about pea-sized crumbles form.


  •  Top the muffin batter with the streusel topping, then bake.



  • My 11 year old made banana bread all by himself this week (under my supervision and it sure was fun) and we used the streusel topping. This is the consistency after we mixed it up:


    And this was our banana bread after baking:






    Pumpkin Fever!


    I have to admit, there was a time when I couldn't understand what all the excitement over pumpkin was.  Growing up, the only pumpkin I remember eating was canned pumpkin in pumpkin pies. As an adult, living overseas in the middle East for 10 years, I never saw anyone get excited about pumpkins. So when we moved back to the US and fall rolled around and people were getting excited about pumpkins, and pumpkin flavored foods and drinks were popping up everywhere, I decided I had to see what all the fuss was about.

    And two years ago, I found out when I bought my first pumpkin. After I cooked that pumpkin, I had so much of it I had to freeze some. I must have made like 4 pies and maybe 4 or 5 loaves of pumpkin bread from that 1 pumpkin! And, of course, we roasted the seeds.

    I was so disappointed last year when I could not find even 1 pumpkin in the grocery store. So, this year, the very first time I saw pumpkins, I came back the next day and got one.


    Pumpkin 2016
    Our Pumpkin 2016 (maybe the first of a few)

    I told myself that I wanted to branch out and try some savory dishes with pumpkin this year but of course I have to make the wonderful desserts, inshaa Allah.

    I plan to post pictures of our pumpkin delicacies here as we make them, in shaa Allah as well as all the different pumpkin flavored things we find in the stores. In the meantime, if you haven't ever tried pumpkin, there are some recipes and cooking tips below from various sites that you can check out:

    Cooking Pumpkin


    1. Cut the pumpkin up into sections. I cut it into 4 large pieces.

    2. I scraped out all the seeds and pumpkin "guts." On the top layer of pumpkin flesh there will be a lot of stringy stuff, so take that off til you get to the more solid pumpkin flesh.

    3. Spray the inside pumpkin flesh with baking spray (or brush with oil).

    4. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet/tray. I put my pumpkins face down (the interior towards the tray) because I read that that yielded a softer texture. You can also place it face up for a more roasted, darker color. (see "Two Methods for Cooking Pumpkin" above)
    Before Roasting
    5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 60-90 minutes (mine took 90 minutes). I cooked two halves for 90 minutes, then the other two for 90 minutes.

    After Roasting

    After cutting up, scraping out, and roasting, this was our haul from this year's pumpkin. I didn't weigh it but if I had to guess, I'd say it was maybe 10 lbs.

    I got about 6 bags of 2 cups each (one is missing as I made pumpkin pancakes with it). I like to store them separately in amounts that I will use. My pumpkin pie recipe calls for 2 cups of pumpkin per pie, and my pumpkin loaves call for 1 cup per loaf, but I always make at least 2 loaves. I estimate that with this I can make 4 pies, 4 loaves of pumpkin bread, the pumpkin pancakes that I made (which got rave reviews) and then one more bag for any new pumpkin recipe discovery.


    Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

    Don't forget to save those pumpkin seeds for roasting! Roasting pumpkin seeds is easy and so satisfying. Here's how:

    1. Wash the seeds (get the sticky stringy pumpkin pulp off)
    2. Dry them (use a paper towel or just let them air dry on a baking sheet)
    3. Once dry, spray them with cooking spray (when I roasted them a couple of years ago, I used oil and they were very oily. This year, I used cooking spray and they came out much better, not so greasy).
    4. Lightly salt them (I used rock salt this time)
    5. Place them on a baking sheet  in a 300 degree oven for about 45 minutes or so.
    6. Enjoy!


    They came out much better this year and I probably wolfed most of them down myself! I got about 1.5 cups worth from this year's pumpkin.

    Pumpkin Recipes

    Collections

    Specific Recipes

    That's the recipe I used but I ended up tweaking it by adding a whole cup of pumpkin rather than what they used. These got rave reviews from my family. I've got several in the family who don't like pancakes, but said these were awesome.

    Pumpkin Pancakes

    This is so yum! I made this a few years ago. Don't let my pathetic pumpkin roll picture scare you away. It was so awesome. (And I'm still proud of it because it just had the one tear in it; rolls are a bit tricky) The recipe calls for canned pumpkin but I used the fresh pumpkin.



    Pumpkin Flavored What?

    I thought it would be fun to see how many different pumpkin flavored things we could spot at the stores so as the season goes on, I plan to post more pics, in shaa Allah. This is what we have seen so far:


















    Do you have pumpkin fever too? 

    What weird pumpkin flavored foods have you seen?