Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

WOW! In a whirlwind of 5 days I managed to read the entire Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

I've been waiting for months to read this book. I'm not stingy, but I prefer to read for free! Unfortunately the hold list through the library is very, very long. I believe I was number 47 a few months ago. Last week I received the email informing me the wait was over; the book was waiting for me at the library. Perfect timing! The kids (and I) just started a 3 week winter break from homeschooling. Virtually uninterrupted reading time!

As usual, it took a few chapters before I was completely hooked. However, once I reached that point there was no stopping. I'm very glad I'm a straggler, because I don't think I would have endured waiting for each subsequent book in the series to be released!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Review: Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

I do not like romance novels. The last thing women need is to perpetuate a warped idea of what real romance and love is. With that said, this book isn't a typical romance novel. Initially I thought it was based on the title, Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos.

I had my reservations about the book being a little romance-esque as it was detailing the thoughts of a young woman and how her life changed when a man walked into her life. However, the following chapter was narrating the life of an 11 year old girl and the onset of her mother's mental breakdown. It took me less than a paragraph to diagnose the mom - Bipolar! As someone who struggles with Bipolar - I was determined to read the rest of the book.

If you've ever read The Help, then the chapters are structured in the same way - back and forth between the characters, ultimately all tying into one another.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Do You Choose a Book?

I have a book review scheduled for tomorrow. I thought it would be fun to post how I stumble onto the books I read and ultimately review.

For the most part, I've done fairly well picking random books from the library. Unfortunately, from time to time I hit a rut and need reading inspiration. Costco, my favorite I-Love-It-I-Hate-It store, has a nice selection of bestselling books. However, I don't typically buy books unless I find them in a thrift store, at a library book sale, or it's such a good book I absolutely must have it (I also score quite a few free books for my iPad).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Community Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Community Meme

1. As a blogger, what do you draw inspirations from for your posts?
I usually post about my real life experiences, thoughts, frustrations, etc... My blog is my digital journal that I share with the world (even if the world isn’t really paying much attention).

2. If you could swap blogs with another blogger for a post, who would you switch with and why? Interesting question... I’ve come across so many blogs that are primarily money making blogs aimed at providing [compensated] product reviews and giveaways. I prefer lighthearted and meatier blogs, but haven’t really found one I absolutely LOVE. So, at present time there isn’t really another blogger I would like to swap posts with.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

I love book series! While I tend to prefer reading all the books in a series straight through, I also enjoy the anticipation for a new release. I recently discovered The Lying Game series from Sara Shepard (she's a best selling author known for the Pretty Little Liars series - which I haven't read).

While the series is geared towards tweens and teens, I still enjoyed reading the first and second book, Never Have I Ever. I pre-ordered the third book, Two Truths and a Lie, which will be released the first week of February 2012. ABC Family is also producing a TV series loosely based on the book - click here for more details.

Following is a description of the book from Amazon:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GIVEAWAY: $100 Amazon Twitter Blast

Want a chance to win a $100 Amazon Giftcard? Do you have a Twitter account? If so, then entering to win is fairly quick and easy! Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you win!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blogger Giveaway Opportunity

Do you have a blog? Are you looking for ways to increase your traffic? Lots of people keep up to date via Facebook and Twitter - so increasing your followers on these social networking sites will help drive traffic to your blog...

Here is a FREE opportunity to gain new Twitter followers AND offer your readers a giveaway with the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card!

Click HERE to sign up today!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme, Part 2

Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme, Part 2

21. What was the last song you listened to that wasn’t sung in English?
Frère Jacques (Brother John in French)

22. One of our SS players generally leaves a critical comment on our memes. Which is fine. All's fair. Do you let meme authors know when you hate their memes?
No - granted, there are some cheesy questions at times, but it’s all for fun.

23. What TV show would you like to be on?
I’d like to be on House - as a Muslim patient who finally cracks the craziness that is House and gets him to believe!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

LOVE: Cost Plus World Market

I've been itching to go to Cost Plus World Market for YEARS! It's not too far (there are a few locations within 15-20 minutes of where I live) - however, since it's not conveniently situated in my general network of stores, I have yet to go.

Months ago I came across an ad online for a simple, but colorful set of stackable mugs. I desperately needed a new set of mugs because mine were all discolored on the inside. I would be so embarrassed when I served friends tea in them because I didn't want them to think the cups were dirty. However, for whatever reason I didn't order them online at the time (probably because I had already ordered too much stuff).

Ever Regret a Purchase?

Typically I make informed decisions when I shop- even on everyday items like detergent or toilet paper. For the most part, I shop online because going to the store with my three kids is a migraine waiting to happen!

Unfortunately, there are times when shopping in-store would be more ideal but what I need is only available online. Shortly after my little man turned 2 I started stocking up on cloth training pants. Having worked in the cloth diaper "business" for more than a year knew which ones I wanted - Little Beetle Learners.

Having already potty trained my daughters - these were everything I wish I had in a trainer back in the day (the aggravation from watching the girls pee on the carpet was almost more than I could bear). The oh-so-soft organic cotton velour fabric, absorbent enough to contain a full-accident, snaps on the side for easy access in the event of a messy accident, and NOT waterproof. Yes, you read that right - NOT waterproof (I wanted to know when he had an accident - and I wanted him to be aware of it too).

However, given the higher price tag, especially on something I wasn't going to use nearly as long as cloth diapers - I couldn't justify dropping a small fortune on an entire stash all at one time. I bought them 3 at a time - every few months. I ordered the size large because after carefully reading all the reviews many people indicated the trainers ran small and shrunk a bit when washed (and my little man was already above the weight range for the size large).

When the first order of trainers arrived I was concerned they were too big, but assured myself they would be fine once I washed them a few times and they shrunk a bit. Fast forward several months and 9 pairs of trainers later - we're ready to start potty training again. I prep all the trainers (about 5-6 wash/dry cycles) and lo and behold - the trainers are still too big. Frog legs and fiddle sticks!!!

A slight panic set-in... the trainers couldn't be returned because I had already washed them. What to do what to do? Being the brilliant problem-solver I am, I whipped out my snap pliers and plastic snaps and started adding extra snaps on the sides hoping to make the trainers fit better. Initially, I admired my handiwork, the trainers did fit much better. Two minutes later, however, we're back to saggy, ballooning training pants. Curses!

The little voices in my head finally had me concede to defeat. I ordered a medium pair to see how they fit - go figure, a perfect fit! Just snug enough to not sag and balloon, but still able to easily be pulled up and down. Thankfully I can sell the large training pants and order new medium sized ones without losing too much money.

No folks, the frustration doesn't stop there! I also ordered two pairs of custom knitted wool pants from Etsy - so he can wear his training pants outside the house (wool, for those who don't know, is waterproof). I was excited to finally receive the first pair the other day as I had been waiting a couple weeks....

They were too big! The rise was about 1.5" too high (I could have pulled them up to just below his chest) and the legs a tad too long (I wanted them longer so he could grow into them - but I had to cuff them twice in order to fit properly). Also there was no stretch to the elastic waistband at all - it was simply too loose. The knitting was also too loose - I could see through the knitting in some areas.

***Cue the flying monkeys***

I'm wholeheartedly regretting this purchase. While I would have no hesitations in trying to resolve the problem with a company - this is just an individual person trying to make a little extra money by selling their skills/creations through Etsy. However, on the other hand - it's not like I have money to throw away and chalk it up as a loss...

What would you do? Have you ever regretted an Etsy purchase? Did you do something about it?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

A few weeks ago I finished reading ROOM by Emma Donoghue. The author did an amazing job writing the entire book from the point of a view of the 5 year old character, Jack. For the first few pages I had a hard time getting into the book, however, once I got to the point where it becomes evident the boy and his mom are in captivity I couldn't put the book down; I longed to know how the story would end.

I wasn't enthralled by the ending, I wanted just a big more... Nevertheless, it was a disturbingly good read.

Following is the book description from Amazon:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mo peas, tank 'oo!

My little man Ilyas started speech therapy last week. We are very blessed to have one of the best speech programs for preschoolers in the San Diego school district only 2 minutes from our house!

I'm very happy to see him being encouraged to use his words! His second lesson he said, "Mo color peas, Miss Howee." (More color please, Miss Holly.) He's now intimating this same concept at home.

He still has a way to go - but I'm excited to eventually see our days of communication frustration come to an end!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Homeschooling is Pure Entertainment!

Homeschooling my kids has been an entertaining experience. Is it frustrating at times? Absolutely. However, I've laughed so many times it's almost worth the frustration.

Last week Miss Halimah met with her "check-up" teacher to assess her for her first grade courses. I brought her to the assessment confident she would do extremely well (based on her performance at home thus far). Unfortunately in the beginning she was a bit shy, during the middle she started getting sassy and was making mistakes, and by the end she wasn't paying attention.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All I Have to do is Dream...

I spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen. Unfortunately, my kitchen is small and ugly. White formica cabinets and countertops = pathetically drab! However, that’s not the worst of it - check out the floor...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme, Part 1

Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme, Part 1

1. Is there someone in your life you know you’d be better off without?
No. I've long since said goodbye to people who aren't good for me.

2. Do you get criticized because of your body?
Yes. I criticize myself too. Ultimately, my physical appearance has nothing to do with who I am as a person - so I try to stay positive and take my weight loss journey one day at a time.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday: What Did You Score?

Shopping is a wonderful stress reliever. Unfortunately, however, in-store Black Friday shopping is most definitely not! I typically don't bother with Black Friday sales because:

1) My time is money - so standing in line for 2+ hours so I can save $30 is just not worth it.

2) Almost all the sales are available online with free shipping (and no tax - depending on the store).

Although, there were some really enticing deals at Old Navy and Kohls. All the kids needed some more clothes because it's getting cooler and they need warmer clothing and most of what they have is stained; I abhor stained clothing!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Power of Perfume

I love perfume (and cologne). I've loved it since I was a little girl and I would spray on my mom's Vanderbilt (not sure what I loved more - the little swan on the bottle or the fact it was my mom's). My mom embraced my love for perfume and every year would buy me a bottle (or two).

Perfume is sexy, alluring, and intoxicating! Yes, it can be repulsive (primarily when someone practically bathes in it) - but for the most part it's amazing! It can also elicit a plethora of memories, both good and bad. Following are some of my memorable scents...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Link: The Public School Parents' Guide to Homeschool Parents

I came across an awesome post, The Public School Parents' Guide to Homeschool Parents, discussing several misconceptions about homeschoolers.

Jamaican Inspired Catfish with Caribbean Coleslaw



1 1/2 pounds of Catfish fillets
5 teaspoons Jamaican jerk seasoning
(Kosher salt - if the Jamaican jerk seasoning is salt-free then you'll want to sprinkle the fillets with a little Kosher salt.
Cooking spray


1 package of coleslaw mix
(I prefer to make my own by finely chopping cabbage and shredding carrots - but for a quick and easy meal go with the package)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Repairing the Right Relationship...

As a Muslim I pray 5 times a day (before sunrise, noon, afternoon, sunset and evening), every day. Lately, however, I've been on autopilot - merely going through the motions.

This morning as I stood for prayer in a tired haze Allah/God put the following thought in my head, "What is truly important about prayer is not merely performing the act of prayer, it’s the quality of your prayer." For a moment I was literally breathless. The tears began to flow as the guilt nestled in my chest.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Madness Meme, Part 2

Sunday Stealing: The Madness Meme, Part 2

23. Do you ever walk around the house naked?
Ok, I'll be honest - yes, I have... but only when no one was here and I needed to get a towel from the dryer!

24. If you were an animal what would you be? Why?
I would be a giraffe. I'm relatively short (5'3")- it would be interesting being drastically taller (5" heels are much too uncomfortable for walking). Giraffe also have "freckles" like me. And, if I were a giraffe - then based on my current weight - I'd be one sexy-skinny giraffe. That's my problem - I'm verically challenged.

25. Hair color you like on someone you’re dating?
I have a thing for dark hair - which works out great because the hubster's hair is dark brown.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sadly Entertaining...

The acoustics in my neighborhood are quite frustrating because none of the homes are insulated. Living in a corner home doesn't help either. I can practically hear a pin drop outside. While there are advantages - such as distinguish when USPS, UPS or the FedEx truck has arrived (um, yeah, I order a lot of stuff online), for the most part it's undesirable being able to hear conversations of passerby's or a dog barking 2 blocks away (and knowing my neighbors can hear me when I'm yelling - even with the doors and windows closed)!

Shortly after I woke up this morning (about 6am) I was alarmed when I heard screaming. I immediate went to look outside my bedroom window. If there's one thing my mom taught me well - it's to be discreet. I lifted the blind ever so slightly - just enough to see what's happening - but not so it's noticeable from outside.

A Toddler's Rule of Possession

If you're a parent - you have either already gone through the toddler stage or that wonderfully frustrating time will be quickly approaching. This list is everything everyone needs to understand about young toddlers and sharing. Enjoy!

Credit: I came across this list on a friend's Facebook page. There was no author noted, otherwise I would have given credit where credit is due... however, I did create a whole new graphic so it would look more presentable.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Funnies

Kids say and do the funniest things - and oftentimes they don't realize how funny it is. In an effort to preserve the evidence against my kids - I'm going to blog a weekly recap of their funniest moments. For those who follow me personally on Facebook - these may be repeats for you - but figured you'll enjoy one last laugh before next week's round.

The 'stache!

Ilyas and permanent markers/pens are almost magnetic... no matter how hard I try to hide them - he will ALWAYS find one. I've actually thrown most of them away because he LOVES to color on EVERYTHING (seriously, you name any surface - and he's colored on it). I suppose he really wanted to be my, "Little Man."

Giveaway Fever!

A month ago I participated in my very first Twitter party for the book launch of my friend (and former boss) Kelly Wels' book Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering - hosted by The Eco Chic.

I was very excited to support Kelly, she's truly an amazing person. Her book is also an awesome resource and time/frustration saver for parents/caregivers who are new to modern cloth diapering. When I noticed the grand prize for the party was an iPad 2 - I, like everyone else who entered, hoped I would win (but never imagined it would really happen). I tried to talk my hubby into buying one months ago - but he said absolutely not (especially when I had to disclose how much it would cost). HA!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Monkey Hop - Link up with GFC

Monday Monkey GFC Blog Hop Guidelines:
* Follow the first two blogs in the Linky, these are your hosts. Be sure to leave us a comment so we can follow you back!
* Leave a linky for your Blog page so we can follow you with GFC
* While it isn’t required, it would be fantastic if you could spread the word! The more people who link up, the more followers you will get.

Feel free to grab the linky code and post it on your blog!

This will bring more followers to the hop and more traffic to you =]

Happy Monday Monkey Hopping!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Madness Meme, Part 1

Sunday Stealing: The Madness Meme, Part 1

I'm trying to be a little more active of my blog - figured this was a fun post. Here's to getting to know a little more about me!

1. Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work?
Huh? No, I've never even heard of this. However, I have used a little saliva and a cotton tee to rub a CD/DVD squeaky clean!

2. What’s the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated?
10 years difference between someone I've actually dated. My hubby and I are 9 years apart.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Rock bottom has arrived, again. I needed to reach that point before I could make the commitment to make a change. I’ve finished passing blame and making excuses. Yes, I gained weight from each of my three pregnancies. Yes, I gained a significant amount of weight from my medications. Yes, I struggled to lose even 1/2 a pound each week despite controlling my portions, eating super healthy and exercising like an anorexic. Yes, I completely gave up when I didn’t “see” the weight coming off (that evil scale). Yes, I surrendered myself to an intense love affair with food, coffee drinks, and soda! Yes, I gained all that weight and now I’m the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Where Am I At?

Ok, I know I haven't really been on track the last week or so. I didn't post my weigh-in last Friday - mainly because I was really ticked off! I weighed in and lost NOTHING... that's right - nada! How in the world can I lose nothing - especially after walking nearly 40 miles on the treadmill and eating super healthy. I was really depressed about it and so Saturday and Sunday I ate whatever I felt like eating and I did not exercise... I didn't really OVER do it - but I did eat more than I would have usually. Oh, and Sushi on Sunday was AMAZING - I swear I felt so much better afterwards... probably because I had been CRAVING it like a crazy person for more than a week.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Depression Sucks!

A week and a half ago it all started with a random panic attack... completely out of the blue and no known trigger. I took my anti-anxiety meds and all was well - or so I thought. The next couple days I could feel the depression sinking its ugly way into my life again. I called my doctor's nurse and let her know I know my doctor is on maternity leave but I needed to see someone, and soon. I was having terrible thoughts - thoughts I'd rather not admit to so openly, but rest assured they were bad!

While they couldn't get me in for two weeks, I was grateful they could get me in at all - trying to get an immediate Psych appointment at Kaiser is next to impossible. The nurse told me to continue taking the anti-anxiety meds to help control the depression as needed. So I did as I was told - and I found myself having to take the meds at least once or twice a day... I was quickly running out so I called in a refill to the pharmacy and left a message with the nurse that I needed a refill.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Five Question Friday 02/11

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky to appear Friday morning! And make sure you have fun!

1. Would you rather be on ABC's Extreme Home MakeOver or TLC's What not to Wear?
I would totally be on ABC's Extreme Home Makeover - the house we live in could use BIGGER bedrooms and bathrooms, we could also use another 2 rooms and a completely redesigned kitchen that would make my dreams come true!!!

2. Do you have any tattoos?
Yes, I have 1 tattoo on the back of my neck it's a about 1x1.5" and it says dream in Japanese.

3. Do you tell your kids about things you did growing up?
Oftentimes my girls actually ask me if I did something when I was little - I think they like knowing that I was little and did things they did too.

4. If the traffic signal turns yellow, do you stop or speed up?
I totally speed up - I hate waiting at traffic lights!

5. What's your preference: chocolate or chips?
I've never been a chocolate person - so I would totally go for the salty chips! Although, health wise - the chocolate is actually better for you than the chips, go figure!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Workout Wednesday 02/09

My weekly workout:

Thursday: 90 min on treadmill at 3.5mph - 5.25 miles
40 min walk with the kids - 1.75 miles

Friday: DAY OFF!

Saturday: 120 min (yes, a whole 2 hours) on treadmill at 3.5mph on incline 1 - 7 miles!!!

Sunday: 90 min on treadmill at 3.5mph on incline 1 - 5.25 miles

Monday: 85 min on treadmill at 3.5mph on incline 1 - 5.25 miles
40 min walk with the kids - 1.75 miles

Tuesday: 85 min on treadmill at 3.5mph on incline 1 - 5.25 miles
30 min walk with the kids - 1.6 miles

Wednesday: 75 min on treadmill at 3.5mph on incline 1 - 4.5 miles
30 min walk with the kids 1.6 miles

Total time: 9.75 hours
Total miles: 39.2 miles

This week's challenge? I'm going to try and do one of my Jillian Michaels videos at least one day this week. Those videos are tough - so wish me luck!

New exercise for this week... Walking Lunges
Courtesy of ABC of

The Lunge tones the legs and can give you wonderfully toned inner thighs and buttocks. But you should never do this Fitness Exercise if you have knee problems. The Lunge strengthens several muscles: your hamstrings, gluteals, and quadriceps.

The Walking Lunge is a variation of the Lunge. This exercise enables you to strengthen your muscles more. When doing the Walking Lunge, make sure to keep your back straight, your torso upright, and your abdominals tight. Don’t lean forward. Let your knee pass forward your big toe in the middle position.

STEP 1: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Keep your arms straight and hold your dumbbells at your sides.

STEP 2: Move your right foot forward, bending both knees and with the left knee pointing towards the floor. Keep your upper body straight.

STEP 3: Slightly straighten your legs and do another Lunge. Step forward using your left foot and bend both knees. Keep your arms and dumbbells at your sides until you finish the exercise.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chicken Puttanesca with Fettuccini and Toasted Garlic Bread

Chicken Puttanesca with Fettuccini and Toasted Garlic Bread


12 oz Fettuccine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped rather thick
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped rather thick
24 oz boneless skinless chicken thighs OR breasts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 24 oz jar of tomato-basil pasta sauce
1/3 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers

1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (can sub for Romano if desired)


Bring large pot of salted water to a boil; add fettuccine and cook for 11-12 minutes; stir occasionally.

In a large nonstick skillet heat pan over medium-high heat - add oil. When oil is hot add onions and bell peppers to the pan - sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are slightly translucent. Add chicken to the onion/pepper mixture and sauté for an additional 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through; stir occasionally. Stir in salt, Italian seasoning, pasta sauce, olives, capers, and basil; reduce heat and bring sauce to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Arrange 1 cup of pasta on each plate and top with 1 1/2 cups of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Serve with toasted garlic bread and side salad.

Toasted Garlic Bread


1 loaf French bread

5 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic paste/pureé


Preheat the broiler.

Cut French bread into 1-inch slices and arrange on a baking sheet. In a small bowl combine the butter, oil, salt, spices, and garlic; mix well. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter mixture onto bread. Broil for 45 seconds - then rotate the pan front to back and broil for additional 45-60 seconds.

*You can top with a little mozzarella for a garlic cheese bread if desired.

WW: 11 points for the Chicken Puttanesca with Fettuccine

I only had 1/2 a piece of the garlic bread and counted it as 2 points. Otherwise it would likely be 4-5 points.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sufficient Practice?

I admit, while I'm not particularly fond of it, homeschooling Aaliyah is relatively easy. She is extremely bright, and I don't just say that as her mom, she really picks up on stuff and has a stellar memory.

She also excels in science and math... she started 1st grade math when she was still in Kindergarten... and now she has completed her 1st grade math and is ready to move into 2nd grade math while she's still in 1st grade. I emailed her "teacher" to let her know Aaliyah is nearly finished and maybe set up an assessment so she can order Aaliyah's 2nd grade math curriculum... here's the email I get:

Thanks for the heads up on A’s progress, I dint’ realize she was that close. I am trying to get through the end of the semester paperwork so I am kind of behind on that. You are really moving through the curriculum quickly, that is good, but I just want to make sure A. is getting all of the material and having sufficient practice. I want to look at what she is completing more closely. I will contact you next week so that we can chat about things in more depth.

I didn't think we were moving through the curriculum quickly... we might have been a little ahead, but not by a significant amount. The school allots 1 hour for math each day. Aaliyah can do about 2-3 math lessons in 1 hour. So, if we truly spent an hour each day, then she would most definitely finish early.

I was also told that if Aaliyah knows the material that I can go ahead and have her take the assessment and move on. Now, all of a sudden, we're moving too quickly? I guess I'm just a little bothered by the fact that one of the great points of homeschooling is so the child can progress at their own pace... and now we're going to be evaluated because of it.

Believe me, I'm not doing any more work than I have to - again, I'm not particularly fond of homeschooling myself - I believe in it, I just don't like doing it (in all honesty I don't have the patience for homeschooling). What do you think?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Weigh in - 02/04

Last week I finally succumbed to the idea that my goal of losing 2 pounds per week wasn't going to happen, especially after weeks of only 1, 1.4, and 1.6 losses. I tried not to let it get me down - and I certainly wasn't going to give up, although the thought did jump into my mind a time or two. I trudged on - continuing my work outs, and eating healthy. Let's see how that paid off...

Current weight: 245.9
Last week's weight: 248.4

Difference: -2.5 lbs
Total lost: -21.1 lbs

WOOOOOOOOWHOOOOOOOOOOO! Finally! I not only lost 2 pounds, but I lost 2.5 pounds! I am THRILLED! I couldn't be happier - ok, well, had I lost 3 or even 4 pounds I could definitely be happier than I am right now but I'll take the 2.5 pound loss and be ecstatic!

Now, with such a great week behind me - I'm not going to expect this to be the norm, since my previous weeks were a little lackluster. My main goal for this month is to hopefully make it to my -10% body weight goal which is 26.7 pounds. That means I need to lose 5.6 pounds this month to make my first short term goal - I can definitely do it!

$15 CSN Stores Gift Certificate Winner!


The winner has been notified and has 72 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be selected!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Where Did That Come From?

I was going about my daily routine - picking up the house, putting clothes away, etc... when all of a sudden I started having a panic attack. I have no idea where it came from or what triggered it - I wasn't doing anything I don't usually do. It just hit me and hit me hard... I went from being a normal person to a crying mess.

I was pleading with the kids to clean up, and they obliged because they probably felt sorry for me - wondering why in the world their mama was crying. Then Ilyas decided to start coloring on the walls again - which I had JUST finished cleaning the day before - I came even more unglued.

I couldn't keep functioning like that! Thankfully I remembered my doctor prescribed me special pills to take on those rare occasions when my mind goes completely haywire. They're supposed to be fast acting - so I took a few (don't worry, it was the right dose) and hoped they kicked in soon. Within about a half hour the episode was sedated - thank God!

What's ironic is I had just started thinking to myself, "I'm doing okay without my meds - maybe the exercise is really helping me." Guess I was wrong... now, if only my doctor could come back from maternity leave early!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Workout Wednesday 02/02

My weekly workout:

Thursday: 75 min on treadmill at 3.5mph - 4.25 miles
40 min walk with the kids - 1.75 miles

Friday: DAY OFF!

Saturday: 85 min on treadmill at 3.5mph - 5 miles

Sunday: 85 min on treadmill at 3.5mph - 5 miles
5 min weight training

Monday: 75 min on treadmill at 3.5mph - 4.5 miles
35 min walk with the kids - 1.7 miles

Tuesday: 75 min on treadmill at 3.5mph - 4.5 miles
35 min walk with the kids - 1.7 miles

Wednesday: 60 min on treadmill at 3.5mph- 3.5 miles
5 min weight training

Total time: 8.92 hours
Total miles: 31.9 miles

On Saturday and Sunday I felt amazing - I could have kept going and going. I was so proud to complete 5 miles! I keep encouraging myself to do more and more... but the reality is I should be taking it a little easy, especially as I'm just getting started and used to a routine. This is my third complete week of exercising and I really feel like it's helping with my mood swings.

I finally incorporated my weight resistance/training to my workout. I'm starting out slow with the weights because I don't want to overdo it and hurt something. I did the Dumbbell Squats I posted on last week's Workout Wednesday and the Bicep curls from the week before that. I also did Chest Flys - which is this week's focus...

Chest Flys
Courtesy of ABC of

The chest is made up of pectoral muscles - major and minor. The pectoralis major covers the front of the upper chest and is attached to the upper arm. This muscle is responsible for major arm movements such as flexion, rotation, and adduction towards the body.

Strengthen your pectoral muscles by doing exercises that target those muscles. The Fly is one of those exercises. When performing the Fly, don't bring the dumbbells down in such a way that your elbows are much below shoulder level. Keep the same angle of your arms through the whole movement.

To prepare your muscles and reduce the risk of injury, make sure to do some warm-up exercises before doing the Fly, or any type of exercise for that matter. Learn how to do the Fly in this section:

STEP 1: Lie on the bench, with your arms and weights extended to your side and your elbows slightly bent.

STEP 2: Move your hands above your chest. Then extend your arms out to the side. Alternately open them and bring them together above your chest.

The number of repetitions (reps) and sets you should do will depend on both your strength and skill level. It is important to use weight that is heavy enough to perform the desired number of reps and sets for your skill level while using good form. Try to increase the weight you lift by 5 - 10% as you increase your Fitness level. Depending on your Fitness goals, you may maintain certain weight and reps rather than increase them to build more strength or muscle.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Muslim Monday

I'd like to take advantage of my blog to share with the world a little about me as a Muslim. I know, due to the overwhelming biased media, that most people know little about what Muslims really believe or what Islam really teaches. There are plenty of misconceptions and I'd like to take the time to try and dispel those misconceptions. Thus, I'm introducing Muslim Mondays!

Now, with that said, I'd like to start by saying you can't judge Islam based on the actions of Muslims. In every group there's a bad bunch - just like there are Christians who beat their wives, or drink or do bad things - that doesn't mean that Christianity itself is at fault... likewise, Islam is not to be faulted for the bad actions of those claiming to be followers.

So what does Islam mean? Islam by definition means to submit, surrender and obey in peace and sincerity to the will of God - anyone who does this is a Muslim.

It also means you believe in only one God, and Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) is the last and final prophet of God (Allah) - ending the long line of noble prophets before him, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, etc... (peace and blessings be on them all).

Muslims believe in God, the Creator, the Sustainer of all the universe. We don't believe in a sun god, or a moon god. We believe in The One and Only, God - which translated in Arabic is Allah.

We also believe in the sacred texts which have been revealed - essentially known as the Bible - the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel. However, these texts have been changed by man and are no longer in their original form - and they have many errors and inconsistencies. God is perfect and His word is perfect - these texts are not and can no longer be considered the words of God.

However, God revealed the Qur'an and the Qur'an has been protected and has remained intact, never changed - not even a letter, for more than 1400 years. If I could chose one verse which proves to me that the Qur'an is from God - it would be the following verse:

"Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay); Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the best to create!"
Al-Mu'minun 23:12-14

It was not until the 20th century that scientists have confirmed our bodies are made up of every element found from the earth/ground/dirt. The Bible also talks about man being created from clay/dust/dirt... however, God gives further explanation in the Qur'an and gives details about how the embryo is formed in the uterus. Science has confirmed the stages of the development of an embryo/baby in the uterus and the descriptions found in the Qur'an coincide with those stages.

There is no way possible for a man more than 1400 years ago to just make that up. That "information" came directly from the Creator alone. Of course there is much more that makes me believe in the Qur'an - but if I had to pick one example - this would be it.

Therefore, I follow the teachings of the Qur'an as they have been preserved and protected and not changed by man - so they remain the true Word of God.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


It's official - I'm very annoyed/frustrated/angry! Yesterday I weighed at the same time I always do wearing the same thing (nothing - lol) and I technically didn't lose any weight. So why did I report I lost 1.6 pounds yesterday - well, I took a sneak peak on Thursday morning at the same time and I weighed 248.4. I knew there was no way I was suddenly 2 pounds heavier overnight - so that's the weight I decided to record.

Well... today I wanted to see what the scale said just to make sure I had an accurate weight and guess what the good scale had to say this morning? 246.2! Are you serious? On my actual weigh in day I lose nothing - but the day before I lose 1.6 pounds and the day after I would have lost 3.8 pounds!

I'll stick with the weight I previously recorded (248.4) - but now I'm beginning to wonder whether the numbers are accurate at all! I've worked really hard all week - so the 3.8 pounds sounds about right because I walked 30+ miles and worked out 10+ hours. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how next week turns out. ARGH!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Five Question Friday - 01/28

If you would like to play along with 5QF, head over to My Little Life and link up!

1. If you had $1,000 to donate to a charity, which would you choose?
Of course I would donate it to my local masjid (mosque), especially during Ramadan so they could use the money to feed those who are fasting!

2. Snow days: Do you welcome them happily or are they a pain in your butt?
LOL - Thankfully, living in Southern California - San Diego specifically, we don't have snow days! Welcome sunshine in the middle of winter!

3. What talent did you wish you had and why?
Ahhhhh, excellent question. When I was little I always wanted to be a figure skater or tap dancer. As an adult, I wish I had the talent of being the "perfect" mom! You know, the one who never yells at her kids, loses her cool, etc... for now I'll just accept my talents as a struggling mom!

4. Are you a news, politics or celebrity gossip junkie?
I'm not really into politics - I keep up to date and all - but I'm just not into the political drama! However, I'm definitely one for news and I'll admit- I take guilty pleasure in keeping up with some of the celebs... I'm just not obsessed!

5. What is your favorite "cocktail"? (Are you a beer person, a kiddie cocktail junkie, or perhaps your more the "Cosmo" kind?! Anything flies...doesn't hafta be alcoholic!) As a Muslim we don't drink alcohol - so my absolute favorite drink is strawberry lemonade!

CLOSED --Giveaway: CSN Stores $15 Gift Certificate

When was the last time you went shopping? I regularly buy groceries or things for the kids - but it's been months since I've bought something for myself or the house. As a stay at home mom of 3 it's oftentimes hard to go shopping in the stores - that's why I love online shopping.

I've discovered that CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from modern office furniture to cookware, lighting, even baby gear and toys!

I found this cute little modern desk that would be perfect for our office to help give us more workspace - especially now that I'm going to be homeschooling 2 in a couple weeks.

CSN Stores is offering one my readers a $15 Gift Certificate to use at any of their 200+ stores (cannot be used towards shipping)!

Mandatory Entry:

* Follow my blog publicly via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar). Please leave a comment indicating you're a follower.

Extra Entries:

* Subscribe to Surviving Madness.

* Like Surviving Madness on Facebook.

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* Tweet about the giveaway. 3 extra entries (please leave a separate comment for each entry)

Please be sure to include a way to contact you if you win! Giveaway is open to all US and Canadian residents. Winner will be announced on Friday, February 4th and will have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

Friday Weigh In - 01/28

Last week I got a little depressed about not losing at least 2 pounds. I know I should be proud of 1.4 pounds but when you have so much weight to lose you really want to see it come off a little faster than a pound at a time. I desperately want to be below 200 pounds! UGH! Instead of letting it get me down I decided to try even more. I upped my exercise and decided to work out a little longer and a little harder. I continued to eat healthy - although I did have one splurge this week - sushi (it's my kryptonite). I didn't overdo it but I came close! I have to allow myself the occasional sushi day in order to stay on track, otherwise I feel like I'm being deprived.

Now onto this week's weigh in...

Current weight: 248.4
Last week's weight: 250

Difference: -1.6 lbs
Total lost: -18.6 lbs

I also decided to take my measurements to see how many inches I've lost. I measured myself on 12/17/10 and since then I have lost the following:

Waist: -1.5"
Hips: -2.25"
Bust: -2"
Arms: -1" (-.5" from each arm)
Thighs: -1" (-.5" from each thigh)

Total: -7.75" GONE!!!

While I admit I'm still a little frustrated that I didn't lose at least 2 pounds, I'm happy that I've lost so many inches, especially from my hips! I think at this point I'm going to give up hope on losing 2 pounds a week because it hasn't happened for so long despite all my hard work to make it happen! I'm losing weight and that's what is more important!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

iPhone 4 or iPhone 4g/5?

A few weeks ago Apple replaced my iPhone 3G because I was having issues with it. It was nice that they replaced the phone with a new one, but I was still stuck with the outdated 3G model. Bummer! I really need an upgraded iPhone - why? Well, because I'm a brat. And... I could use the newer features.

Yesterday I wanted to use two apps at the same time - which you're not able to do on the iPhone 3G. I wanted to be able to listen to something while I went on my walk but I also needed to use a tracking app to record the time and distance of my walk. With the new iPhone you can do "multi-tasking" so you are able to use more than 1 app at a time.

Today I wanted to video record Ilyas and his temper tantrums so I could post it to the blog so you could all witness what I have to go through several times a day, every day. Unfortunately, the iPhone 3G doesn't have video options but the new phone does.

I've already made up my mind to upgrade. The only downside is I really want the white iPhone and the white iPhone 4 hasn't been released yet. Online rumors suspect it will be released soon - sometime this spring. The question now is whether I should just tough it out for a few more months and wait for the next generation iPhone which is expected to be released in July 2011 (supposedly).

That's my dilemma... what would you do?

Workout Wednesday 01/26

My weekly workout:

Thursday: 70 min on treadmill at 3.2mph - 3.5 miles
35 min walk with the kids - 1.7 miles

Friday: DAY OFF!

Saturday: 75 min on treadmill at 3.3mph - 4 miles

Sunday: 75 min on treadmill at 3.4mph - 4.15 miles

Monday: 75 min on treadmill at 3.4mph - 4.25 miles
50 min walk with the kids - 2.35 miles

Tuesday: 80 min on treadmill at 3.4-3.5mph - 4.50 miles
50 min walk with the kids - 2.35 miles

Wednesday: 75 min on treadmill at 3.4mph - 4.25 miles
40 min walk with the kids - 1.7 miles

Total time: 10.33 hours
Total miles: 32.75 miles

I didn't add the weight training exercises as I had hoped to add - so that's my goal again for next week - to add at least 2 days of weight training exercises - for at least 5 minutes!

This week's exercise...
Dumbbell Squats
Courtesy of ABC of

Squat, similar with Lunges, is a great all-around exercise for the legs. This Fitness Exercise is a tried-and-tested lower body exercise for anyone without knee problems. Squats focus on your hamstrings and gluteals, and also target your abdominal muscles and lower back since they are used for balance.

The Squats come in many variations. One of them is the Dumbbell Squat. This exercise obviously makes use of dumbbells as you do the Squat. Learn how this exercise is done in this section:

STEP 1: Stand with feet hip-width apart and keep your back straight. Your arms should be straight on your sides, with each hand holding a dumbbell.

STEP 2: Slightly lean forward. Bend your knees and lower your upper body. Be sure to keep your heels on the floor and your arms straight on your sides.