Howdy! So this is where I get to tell y’all about me!
I live in the DC metro area with my amazing husband, our six awesome homeschooled kiddos (ages elementary thru high school), three parakeets, fourteen hens, and three roosters.
Yup, you read that right. 🙂
Back in 1996, before we started our family, my hubby and I made the first decision (of many yet to come) that set us on the path toward a more holistic approach to life: we decided that we’d homeschool our (then-future) kiddos. To this day, none of them have ever been to school. They are, however, heavily involved in local sports leagues, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing, and interfaith work. One of our family’s goals is to always stay engaged in the world around us, working with sincerity to make it a better place for all.
Once we started said family, we became slightly more crunchy by co-sleeping and breastfeeding. This was our first foray into what’s now known as Attachment Parenting. We also made it a priority to purchase organic foods at local grocery stores.
Then, in 2002, we journeyed further down the slippery slope of crunchy living when we joined a local farm co-op (Polyface Farms — you know — Joel Salatin, of Food, Inc., and The Omnimore’s Dilemma fame, but this was way back when!) and milk-share that provided us with organic, grass-fed, humanely-raised meats and eggs, as well as raw cow’s milk, cheeses, and dairy products. We gained confidence in knowing exactly where our food comes from and the families that produced it.
Our next big change happened in 2008 when we moved to our three beautiful acres out in the countryside. The air is crisper, fresher, and cleaner. The sky is crowded with stars and a bright Milky Way. The rhythm is relaxed.
Out here, we’re a stone’s throw away from at least twenty farms, starting with the sheep farm that’s three blocks from our home. So we cut out the middleman and began to shop for all our foods — meats, dairy, produce, honey — directly at local farms. With this rural move, we were inspired to begin raising our first chickens for eggs! Our flock is collectively known as The Ditzy Chicks and our kiddos love them to no end. They’ve in turn motivated us to one day soon add ducks, guineas, and goats to our rural family life. (I’ll be sure to update y’all when we do!)
The next step in our journey was a few years ago when I gained an interest in studying and using (within our own family) homeopathy, aromatherapy, and other natural remedies for colds, the flu, and so on. (However, I should mention that it’s rare for us to be sick to begin with because of how proactive we are with consuming real, wholesome foods. Score!)
Now, to summarize the “extra-curricular” stuff I’ve been up to while all this growth was going on at home:
In 2009, I contributed a chapter about homeschooling to Dr. Yvonne Haddad’s book Educating the Muslims of America, published by Oxford University Press. I’ve also written about various topics for Islamic Horizons, published by the Islamic Society of North America. Periodically, I write columns for local newspapers, such as this one, this one, and this one, about the local Muslim community, women’s rights, interfaith work, and green living. I also edited ADAMS Center’s “Proud to be a Green Muslim” booklet in 2009.
My husband, our kiddos, and I have been fortunate to be featured in countless newspaper and magazine videos over the past twenty years, but I’ll only share my four favorites here — about homeschooling, about Scouts, about interfaith work, and about charity.
Some of the things I’ve done as a volunteer community organizer for the past two decades include founding ADAMS Center‘s (our local mosque) Holistic Families Circle group as well as organizing lectures/seminars for members, serving on ADAMS Center’s interfaith and government affairs committees, being elected to the Board of the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers and chairing its public relations committee, founding the Ashburn-Sterling homeschoolers group, serving as summer Camp Director for my county’s Cub Scout Day Camp, organizing events for Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES, serving as president of our local library’s Advisory Board, and chairing the Goose Creek District of the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. And, finally, just this year, I worked to establish the first CSA (community supported agriculture) delivery at ADAMS Center in conjunction with the Farm of Peace.
Because my involvement in my local community as well as my experiences in raising and caring for my own family in a holistic, sustainable, and mindful way, I am frequently asked to deliver homeschooling and parenting workshops at local, regional, and national meetings, conferences, and conventions (some with >30,000 attendees). As a result, friends and colleagues have been urging me over the past several years to share my knowledge and experiences with a larger audience. Earlier this year, I discussed the idea of a blog with my hubby and that’s how SalamMama was born! <3
(And even earlier this year, VividFyre was born — our teen daughter’s own project. She makes and sells beautiful headpieces to be worn with or without a headscarf. And she’s learning a lot about business along the way. Here’s her ‘About’ for VividFyre: “Got somewhere to go and need to look un-boring? Job, dinner, party, wedding, movie, holiday, trip to the mall, school, or sleeping? Consider VividFyre’s variety of handmade jewelry to go with your outfit, and if we don’t have exactly what you need, place a custom order! Whether you want to look fresh and modern, or elegant and classy, or any combination in between, look no further than VividFyre! We use only high-quality materials such as glass beads, silver and gold plated metals, and natural hemp fibers!” Pretty nifty, eh? Check out her page and see if something calls to you. 🙂 )
Back to SalamMama . . . of course, no one can do EVERYTHING, so I encourage y’all to *start where you are*! We’ll support each other along the way and hopefully the small differences we make will add up to great things. 🙂