backyard campout

we joined the national wildlife federation’s
4th annual
great american backyard campout.

ishaq set up the tent granddaddy ishaq bought for
the girls
(and himself).
tent set up ishaq

the girls helped ishaq a bit
and rode bikes…
tent set up
and a horse.
ride it aya

aya on horse

i took it easy on myself.
we did a leftovers-dinner inside, as usual,
then shortly after dusk and maghrib prayer…
dusk backyard campout
we headed outside
with quilts, pillows, books, colored pencils, paper,
and a couple of push on/push off lights
that you see in late night commercials.

we read books until the lights went out
— i guess they weren’t meant for extended use —
then saw a beautiful crescent moon above our house.
they went to sleep before 11pm…quilt pallets

and woke up with the birds.
morning play

we made it though the night!

whew! the ground was hard.
i think i slept on an incline, too.
but, we made it through the night,
short as it was.
kori in the tent

aya peeking out of tent

that pottery place

we went to that pottery place in decatur,
one of those paint-your-own-pottery studios
in which i LOVE exercise my creative juices.

it’s right next to decatur marta station
and lots of fun.
they currently have a summer art camp for ages 6 and up.

sanaa and rahmah
painted ballet slippers.
ballet shoes
we added the ribbon at home.

i made alien salt and pepper shakers.
alien salt and pepper shakers
i did this BEFORE wall-e came out!

children’s tafsir of the quran

children's tafsir of quran

this is GREAT! subhanAllah!
ad-duha institute provides
a simplified tafsir (explanation) of the last 10 surahs of the Quran;
“Full color, illustrated, paperback” with “21-30 pages” in each book.

other surahs are available as well.
one set has all of juz Amma
(the last 30th of the Quran)
and al-Fatiha.

when my girls were in school in amman
they had a workbook like this
that went through each surah,
line by line,
putting a visual with each verse,
explaining its meaning.
i have only seen the samples that ad-duha has on its web site,
but this looks similar in intent.

take a look in their bookstore for other goodies, inshaAllah.

a museum, a zoo, and a horse-ride

we’ve had three outings this month.
all of them glorious.

first: imagine it children’s museum of atlanta
imagine it! children's museum of atlanta
i’ve checked out just about all the museums in atlanta-proper.
if you can get to it in a reasonable time frame by marta,
we’ve probably been there.
by far, for the 3-6 age range, imagine it! is the BEST.
we spent a good three hours there
with ALL my girls
by myself
and i had to pull them out
because i knew they were tired.
they spent a good hour in the waterplay area alone.
if i were to stay here a bit longer
i’d get a membership.
since we don’t plan to,
their target free second tuesdays will suffice,
every second tuesday from 1 – 7 pm.
target free second tuesdays at imagine it

don’t come at 1 pm.
the line will be down the street and around the corner.
come at 12:15 with a sack lunch and eat while you wait
if you want to get in at 1 pm.
i think the better thing to do
is let the “i-need-to-get-in-first” crowd do all that waiting
and come after 3 or 4 pm.
even so, as crowded as it was
— probably AT capacity —
even i had a wonderful time just watching my children explore.

second: zoo atlanta
zoo atlanta
the weather was perfect.
hot with a cool breeze.
it must have been the effect of being amongst the dense vegetation of the zoo
and the fact that i had a 50% off coupon
AND a military discount.
we packed a lunch, took marta there and back
and ended up staying until closing.
the animals must have been loving the weather too
cause they were all out for us.

the only (small) disappointment was there were no animal shows.
an owl or eagle had escaped in an earlier show
and in order to keep the animals in the other shows safe
they canceled the remaining shows.

near the end of our visit we took a rest from walking
and rode a few rides.
the carousel operator let us ride the carousel twice.
we took the train around the zoo.
by the time we’d played for 30 minutes at the children’s playground,
we heard a closing announcement over the loud-speaker.
i couldn’t believe that we’d stayed that long!
the girls had happily skipped or ran throughout the entire park.
for one of the first times
it actually felt EASY to be with
all of them by myself
instead like a labor of love.

…is this how people end up having 7 children?…

third: grandma alice invited us to ride down with her
to mama tine’s
— “tine” as in ernestine —
in sandersville, GA, for the weekend.
by this time, the girls knew the drill:
if older cousins are around they can go exploring
without adult supervision.
and they were GONE!
even aya.
it was the second day that topped it off.
uncle troy is a country cowboy
and we all rode out to OUTSIDE of sandersville
— can you GET more country? —
to check out his horses.
country cowboy
subhanAllah, what beautiful, powerful creatures.
pet — some country cowboys lack imagination — on the left,
is due any day.
horses eating hay

kilo and red

the girls on the fence

ishaq reconnected with his inner cowboy.
ishaq wants to be a cowboy

sanaa was singing “riding the range” from backyardigans during her ride.
sanaa and aliyah

rahmah on horse

even mama alice got up on a horse in her skirt.
she’s a country gal, y’all.
mama alice in a skirt

kori and mama alice

troy coaching tim
we left sandersville that night dusty,
our spirits uplifted from connecting with the rhythm
of these powerful, handsome animals.
we might come back down for the round up at the end of july.


sanaa loves ironing.
a travel iron is just her size and weight.
we lower a regular ironing board to her height.
after spending a good 20 minutes
carefully removing all the wrinkles on a t-shirt and pair of jeans
she proudly lays out her work before putting on her clothes.
sanaa ironing

keeping sorting exciting

sanaa and rahmah have been doing sorting exercises since they were two.
i try to keep sorting a compelling exercise by changing the materials
and using a blindfold to make it even more challenging.
sorting with blind fold

sorting with blind fold
all natural materials: shells, cowrie shells, stones and cork.


weaving with paper strips
weaving with paper

weaving with paper strips

weaving with ribbon
we tore out pictures from muslim girl magazine
and cut it into strips leaving about an inch from the ends.
then sanaa used ribbon scraps to weave in color.