Illustrator Announcement!


I’m excited to announce that Lea Lyon will be my illustrator for my on-the-way-to-publishing-story Lailah’s LunchboxI remember telling the editor of Tilbury House Publishing I could visualize Lailah’s Lunchbox with some watercolor illustrations, and Lea Lyon’s work is beautiful. She also has a unique way in which she illustrates from quirky angles which I like as when I take photos I like to photograph things from quirky angles. Like this one from the ground up…

Or this one of a cafeteria from way up…

Lea is also a children’s book illustrator with five published picture books, four of which have won awards! Check out her books here. Lea Lyon’s website is here and looking forward to seeing what my story will become! I especially can’t wait to see what Lailah looks like! Here’s a portrait of Lea’s I love from the site of a child. I love her paintings of children.

Did I mention I Love watercolors?!




IMG_1250Lately, she loves nodding with a closed smile! Having 2 girls, I am always surprised by how different they can be. How one can be more serious and closed smiles, and one less so, and big open mouth laughing smiles. Yet, how each child is appealing to a mother!


Quran Parenting Quote below…


“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” (Quran 17: 23-24)


Introvert vs. Extrovert?



I read an article recently about introverts and quite a few things stuck out to me.


Some people who know me may think, Oh she’s such an extrovert.


Some people who know me may think the opposite.


I think people may think sometimes I gravitate to the extrovert times, but a lot of that extrovert stuff tires me. In this article about introverts, I agree with half of it. #1, #4, #5, #7, #8, particularly


5) We can turn on an extroverted personality when necessary, but it is especially draining.




7) We secretly love it when you cancel plans.


Obviously this is not always the case, but I feel drained if I look at an overbooked calendar. My heart mostly sinks when I see a wedding invitation in the mail, or hear that I’m going to get invited. I don’t want to dress up and make small talk. The thought of it tires me. However, when in the situation, I can find that I may have a good time, but the minute I get back into the car on the way home, I will yawn all the way home, and feel completely tired!


I love quiet moments in the day. I love quiet weekends. I love pajama days.


I am a teacher so being around children is what comes more naturally to me. I feel like I can be an extrovert all day with children – I will be tired at the end, but the tiredness is a different level from that with adults. The small talk with adults is more tiring for me. I gravitate to photographing small children than adults.


What I do enjoy is sunshine. Quiet Time. Pretty Weather. Golden hazy sunlight that encourages me to grab my camera. Relaxing. Basking. Comfortable Clothes. Popping out Pistachios. General I’m at home and doing not much and that feels good. 


Pictures of this below:




Popping out pistachios..IMG_1343
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pistachio fallIMG_1196emerging ZinniaIMG_1197 IMG_1199 IMG_1200 IMG_1204

mutant sunflower!IMG_1207 IMG_1212 IMG_1221 IMG_1244 IMG_1245 IMG_1256 IMG_1260

leaving my computerIMG_1265-2

just washed after school Thursday hair…
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too-big-shoes!IMG_1284 IMG_1304

Sharing attempts!IMG_1307 IMG_1309


Lavendar pistachio!

Seed Magic: Children’s Book Review


I’ve been reviewing a lot of Muslim children story books and have really enjoyed it. I ‘m still planning on reviewing more and have a few good books waiting for reviewing such as Moon Watchers and Ilyas and Duck Fantastic Festival Eid Ul Fitr.

In the meantime, I requested a few multicultural stories to review from Peachtree Publishers, a local publishing company located just a few minutes away from me!

When I saw Seed Magic on their website, my interest was piqued. I love to garden in spring and summer, and a picture book on gardening seemed like  a good read.

Seed Magic by Jane Buchanan (Author), Charlotte Riley-Webb (Illustrator)

download (1)

Amazon Summary: Rose and her brothers mock the crazy old Birdman, who sits in his wheelchair surrounded by ugly gray pigeons. The birdman thinks his pigeons are beautiful, but the only things Rose thinks are beautiful are gardens full of red and yellow and blue flowers. The Birdman fills Rose’s hand with seeds and tells her they are magic if she plants them outside her window they will grow a garden. Her brothers don’t believe him, but Rose sets the seeds out and waits. Soon, just as the Birdman promised, a garden appears before her eyes a musical flurry of blue and red and yellow birds, drawn to Rose’s window by seed magic.

My thoughts: I liked the sibling relationship between Rose and her brothers. I have 3 brothers, so am like Rose, the only girl. When Birdman gives Rose seeds to plant, Rose simply places the seeds directly on the windowsill, without water, air, or soil! Her brothers make even more fun of her, while Rose dreams and dreams of a garden. And finally something happens! Not the garden she thought would bloom, but colorful birds who came to eat the seeds. I also enjoyed the whimsical acrylic painted illustrations.

My 2nd-Grade-Teacher Thoughts: I wish I had read more multicultural stories to my 2nd graders. 98% of my students were African American, I feel it would have been nice to read more books of color. I did read some, but since I stopped teaching, I have stumbled upon other beautiful books with diverse characters. I think this story would  be a great intro to a planting unit, So what exactly do plants need to thrive? And a great way to teach that birds enjoy eating flower seeds.

Favorite Quote:

Roses watches. She waits. She dreams.

Blue lupines.

Red geraniums.

Yellow sunflowers.


More books to come soon!


Blue Flowers Bloom


Getting adjusted to a new routine in which unordinary things happen on ordinary days.

Blue flowers bloom


and today we saw a turkey cross a busy Atlanta road. Cars stopped, the turkey flailed, wandered, then ran to safety while Z and A watched on jubilantly, and were reminder of the turkeys in West Virginia!

Z started school.




Z starting school has given us a new routine in which like the turkey we may have stopped what we were doing, flailed and wandered, but then a little lost, still made it to safety or home.


Baby A keeps repeating that Z is in school with a sad question intonation and is still adjusting to the daily 6 and a half hours without big sister entertainment. She still asks for 2 crackers, one for her, and one for Z before looking around then remembering. Then she’ll take out 2 breakfast plates for pancakes and remember again, and then finally will command me to sit in Z’s red chair, “sit Mummy! SIT!”

Change can be tricky and challenging and adjusting to a new school routine a bit nice, a bit weird, a lot quiet, a bit peaceful.

And I’m getting a new sense of time with baby A and Z. And a new sense of worry with Z- will she be okay? Will she behave? Will she eat her lunch? And like the quirky blue flowers that blossom I need to remember that flowers start out from seeds and then buds and crumbly blooms before they blossom.


And as we go pick her up and witness her flyaway pony tails that show that yes she has had a good time, I know that we will all blossom.


Far-a-way Refrain


“Everything I need to know… I learned in kindergarten.” ― Robert Fulghum

There are lots of far-a-way refrains that all of a sudden don’t seem so far away.

Before you are married, ‘When you get married…’

When you are pregnant, “When the baby comes…”

When you have the child, “When Z goes to school…”


Z did school last year part time, and is this year going to school full-time as a 4 year old.

I remember telling a mother of children, how easy it must be when your children are in school, and her saying, No. It’s Harder! Harder? But how? Your load will be lightened, right?

But I do get it more. The waking-up-early. The changing-of-clothes early. The prepping and flattening fly-away-hair on a 4 year old as she rushes about. The Eat-Quickly-Now commands, Dress-Quickly-Now commands. The ‘Where is Baby A?’ question and search. The rushing down to the car. The buckling of carseats x 2.  Then the morning drive (which this year should be short!) and the drop off. The lugging of the toddler out of the classroom with the explanation, It’s not your turn yet. Then the hoping that your child behaves, the coming-home, and the morning lull. The I’m going to do so much when she’s in school goal falls flat as the hours still rush by, the littler child still takes your attention, and now requires entertainment since the bigger-entertainer-Z will be gone. The guilty feeling nabbing at the back of mind I should be doing A, B, and C because Z is at school and you realize you only got half of your task done.

But I’m excited for the next step and grateful that we have schools to go too. I am currently reading I am Malala  and to read their struggle to get to go to school puts any of our Ugh I hate getting up so early to go to school to shame.

This morning was greeted by a blue flower from the Heavenly Blue Morning Glory vine and was so excited to see it finally bloom. Hummingbirds love this flower. The picture below is unedited and straight from the camera. That’s how bluey it is. It’s a great back-to-school gift.



I also enjoyed getting to peruse the Back-to-School aisles. As a teacher, I was always there scouring for specials. Now that Z is going to full-time school, it feels good to peruse the aisles again. 25 cents notebooks, 25 cents crayons! But the list for pre-K states no need to buy school supplies, so ended up spending a couple of dollars for 8 notebooks just because… 25 cents!

Here are some summer highlights below….
20140803-105851-39531755.jpgZinnias that Z likes because they sound like her name. And the name of the flower on the seed packet is Giant Violet Queen, except ours don’t look so giant yet, kind of like Z too!


The going to a Masters graduation was different from the regular graduations I go too because of the younger children clapping for their parents, the grandparents holding the squirmy babies, saying, “Look, there’s Mommy graduating, hold on.” and the President of the school’s extra shout outs to the families for their support.

And to people who ask how I find time to write, the answer is below …

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