Friday, July 22, 2011

My Local Masjid has $5K in Unpaid Bills, Can You Help?

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah
Here is a message from Masjidul Bayaan in NJ, it is the masjid I have been going to for over ten years. It is a nice place to go, they are very moderate in it's call mashaallah. Please consider helping this masjid get caught up on the bills, may Allah reward you.

Your Company

Bismillah Ar Rahmaan Ar Raheem
As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah Dear Brother and Sisters in Islam,
Masjidul Bayaan, The Islamic Center of Asbury Park, is a non-profit organization. In order to meet our financial obligations we depend firstly on Allah, then after saying this, upon donations from both the local community and from supporters outside our community. The pledge form for local community members who have committed to providing a certain amount of financial support on a weekly or monthly basis can be found here. Please download, print and place in the sadaqa box with your pledge.
For those who do not live near the masjid but would still like to make a donation we would like to encourage you to set up a recurring subscription or one-time donation through Paypal. This can be easily done through our donation page. Or you can set this up through your paypal account directing the subscription to Or you can print out the pledge form and mail it with your donation. Our mailing address is:
Masjidul Bayaan
PO Box 544
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
We have current financial obligations of $5,000 that are not being met! Our rent is overdue in the amount of $3,000, and there is a gas bill from the winter time in the amount of $2,000 that needs to be paid immediately. A little from each person who wishes to help can go a long way. As an example, Masjidul Bayaan currently has about 200 followers on Twitter, if each person gave $25 we can meet this obligation right now. Or if each person gave $10/month the rent, $2000/month, would be paid in advance inshaAllah. You can also help us just by sharing our request with others.
May Allah reward you all for your intentions as we approach the blessed month of Ramadan.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Company Letters: Crayola's Sidewalk Chalk Packaging

Previously, I had shared some responses to inquiries I made regarding products and packaging.

While many things have irked me since then, I felt compelled to write to Crayola about their packaging for their Sidewalk Chalk. It looked to be the greenest option as other chalk was packaged in plastic tubs which I know also have a foam insert on the bottom. So I chose Crayola's Sidewalk Chalk because it was packaged in a corrugated cardboard box, which is fully recyclable where I live. I was disappointed to discover that the box contained two rows of jumbo chalk, each one wrapped in plastic. Plastic sheets are not recyclable in my area, and probably not recyclable anywhere.  If they were recyclable this would still be less than ideal, as it's just way better to avoid one use disposable plastic.

Remembering our trip to the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA and the large display on their green efforts, I wrote them to inquire about their packaging. Below is the reply:

Thank you for your e-mail and for purchasing Crayola(R) Sidewalk Chalk.

I regret to learn of your disappointment with the way we packaged our Sidewalk Chalk.  We are grateful for your feedback, as it helps us understand how we can improve our products.  Your comments are valued and will be shared with our Outdoors team.

As the market leader in children’s creative expression products, Crayola believes it’s especially important to ensure today’s kids have a healthy environment for their future. It is also our priority to provide safe, high quality Crayola products. Our raw materials and finished products must adhere to high standards and pass strict screening tests.

We are continually evaluating opportunities to make our products and manufacturing process more environmentally friendly.  In fact, during our marker production, we reuse plastic scraps from our manufacturing process so that there is virtually no waste.

In 2010, our company began using solar power to manufacture one billion crayons annually.  This year, we will expand our solar farm, allowing Crayola markers made in the USA to be produced using power from the sun.  We will also continue to make all of our colored pencils from reforested wood, so no rainforests are destroyed.

We appreciate your recommendation to change the way we package our sidewalk chalk.  We are working to learn more and apply best practices to improve our company, Crayola products and the environment.

If additional assistance is needed, you may reach us by telephone at (800) 272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Time or e-mail by visiting

Best wishes for a colorful future!

Colorfully yours,

Deborah A. Lintvedt
Consumer Affairs Lead Representative

I'd really like to commend Crayola on their environmental efforts, I wish other children's toy manufactures would take heed, so let's hope they can continue to reduce their plastic use.

What products do you buy for your children that you would like to see become more environmentally friendly? Have you stopped buying certain items all together?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to keep up with older children?

Alhamdulillah if I give my 8 yo son lessons for the day he is pretty occupied, well except language arts which he detests and I am thinking of ways to sneak it in. But it's the summer, I'm not doing lessons and I love to go places with them, we like learning this way too. Every outing I come up with is boring now, the library, parks, little kids museums, he is over it. The littler ones are still down for it, but he is getting to an age where I'm not sure how to entertain him. He wants to get into extreme sports like mountain biking and snow boarding, hockey, any thing with a high excitement level, and he also wants to take apart electronics and build new things, both of these things are out of my realm. This raises concerns for me about continuing on with homeschooling, how do I do this when I start to feel like I can't keep up? Or have littler ones who want to do different things and we are all together all day?

So I'm putting the question out to parents, even if you don't homeschool how do you accommodate kids of varying ages? And how did your activities change as your children get closer to the tween years?