Sunday, October 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #33: 24 Cheshvan, 5771

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!

Other “weekly memes” I participate in that may or may not interest you:

We are a Jewish family of 6 (2 parents, 4 kids) and all our meals are kosher.

Newcomers, read my MPM intro here which tells you all about who we are, or just visit my super-duper-list-imization of Everything We Eat.


This week is your VERY LAST CHANCE to win the Kosher by Design Teens & Twenty-Somethings cookbook in my “Cooking Disaster contest.”  Click here for details and to enter YOUR worst cooking disaster!

We got snow today!!!  Definitely need more o’ that home-comfort food now.  But before summer is officially gone (okay, it IS officially gone…), Ted has requested one last BBQ.

Sunday (tonight):  Ted-made Emergency Potato-Corn Soup at Mommy’s, with Mommy’s Martha Stewart baked macaroni & my Nanaimo Bars (impulse creation).

Monday:  Ground chicken burritos in homemade tortillas (Elisheva’s request for burritos of some sort), rice.  Secretly, these were chicken tacos, but she asked for burritos, so that’s what I called them!

Tuesday (Ted late):  Creamy Broccoli soup – Elisheva’s request, bread? – yes, sweet cinnamon-swirl oat bread.  Delicious, though slightly weird with broccoli.  :-)

Wednesday:  BBQ chicken on skewers – Ted’s request – mmm!  Used Paul Newman Sesame-Ginger dressing as a marinade on boneless thighs, my favourite cut of chicken.  SO tender!!!  With a thick beefy vegetable soup.  I hand-blendered in the (frozen) leftover chicken pot pie mixture from last week to make it extra thick and rich.

Thursday (Vegan Vursday):  Hot and sour soup; stir-fry - noodles?

Friday (Ted off, guests):  Something in a pumpkin?

Done for another week!!!

Emergency Potato-Corn Soup

Had to run out this afternoon and I promised my mother I’d make soup.  So I did… kind of.  I left Ted with directions to make…

Emergency Creamy Potato-Corn Soup

1.  In a large pot, combine & boil 5 mins: 
- 5 cups of water
- 4 tbsp onion soup mix
- Pepper - NOT salt!!!
- Red pepper flakes (just a tiny pinch)

(err on the side of under-seasoning first; you can always add more later!)

2.  Add & boil 5 more minutes:
- 1 cup frozen corn

3.  Turn down to low & add, stirring until fairly thick (still soup-like texture):
- 1 cup potato flakes

4.  Add:
- Evaporated milk, until desired texture is reached
- Adjust salt & pepper to taste

5.  Once milk is added, heat thoroughly but DO NOT BOIL!

Notes:  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese when serving, if desired. 

If you have a bit more time at the beginning, you can make this soup more “real” by chopping an onion finely and frying it in the soup pot in some butter.  Add water and (slightly less) onion soup mix when onion is translucent.  If you don’t want to stress, though, skip it – it’ll still pass for good soup, especially when served with good bread or my mother’s wonderful Martha Stewart baked macaroni!

Parsha Book Recommendation: The Shabbat Book

p.s.  If you have arrived at this post because you’re looking for decent parsha resoures, may I also (humbly) suggest that you take a look at a few of mine while you’re here…?  I write a Parsha Poem for kids each week, and I’m also writing a narrative summary/overview of each weekly parsha.


I wasn’t sure about The Shabbat Book: A Weekly Guide For The Whole Familywhen we first got it out of the library.  Honestly, I thought it was some “light” Reform-style parsha thing.  Dunno; guess I shouldn’t judge a book by its fun clay-sculpture cover.

I am liking The Shabbat Book more and more as we read each parsha.  Eventually, we’ll have to return it, but I saw it in Israel’s for about $22 last week, so I may just have to buy it.  (they had a newer edition, with a slightly different cover, but the same inside)

For each weekly parsha, the book presents a VERY short, 1-2 paragraph summary, synopsis, or touches on a major theme (some of the parshiyos don’t have plots, as such).  There’s a clay-sculpture  illustration to match, and usually a sidebar with a Hebrew term, passuk or something similar to add depth. 

At the bottom of the page, there is a discussion of a middah (character trait), mitzvah, or similar idea in Jewish thought, related to the weekly parsha.

DSC08383What I like about this book:

  • Short, sweet, to the point discussions
  • Hebrew names used throughout for people and places
  • Presented on children’s level, easy to understand
  • Marvellous illustrations
  • Well-researched, with concepts drawn from pshat, midrash and elsewhere
  • Two-page spreads clearly indicate the start of a new chumash (book), along with the overriding theme of that book
  • Offers a section of zemiros at the back of the book

What I didn’t love:

  • Lacks depth, breadth or any elaboration on themes in the parsha (you’ll need another parsha book to cover the whole story)
  • Complete description of most parshiyos
  • Uses Sephardi, not Ashkenazi pronunciations (but that’s just my thing)
  • Doesn’t assume kids come from a home where Shabbat is observed

As far as I’m concerned, the advantages – especially the fact that this is a parsha book that pre-literate kids can pick up and “learn” on their own with pictures – far outweigh the disadvantages, and this is a book worth acquiring for any kid’s Jewish library if you can afford it (ie if WE can afford it).

Here’s a page view from Toldos, this week’s parsha.  Yaakov is “stealing” Eisav’s bracha:


A couple more typical page views, with two parshiyos on a page:


And a double spread for the start of chumash Devarim, illustrating the wanderings of bnei Yisrael:


ISBN & copyright info follows if you want to find a copy for yourself.


(ISBN 965-222-529-0)

Not celebrating…!

DSC08372…But they “happened” to have face-painting at the kids’ program of my signing class on Friday morning.

The face-painter / balloon artist did an astonishingly good job.  She made ladybug balloon bracelets for both kids; I’ve never seen anything quite like it – they were amazing!

Parsha Overview: Toldos / Yaakov and Eisav Story

image This is a basic overview of the Yaakov and Eisav story in a very traditional “Q&A” format, which can be easily reworked for young kids of any age. Answers in brackets are the usual or traditional answers, but I like this format because it lets you remain open to anything your child might have to say.

I’ve adapted this from the Toldos page of Parsha Pages for Sefer Bereishis at (by Ronya Friedman). We may or may not do this ourselves this week, but I wanted to be ready with a compelling narrative…

יעקב and רבקה were married, but they weren’t perfectly happy…

When we want something very much, what do we do? (daven)

What did יעקב and רבקה want very much? (a baby)

What did they do? (davened – they asked ה׳)

ה׳ answered their תפילות. They were expecting a baby!

Why was רבקה upset during her pregnancy? (her belly was always wriggling!)

When רבקה passed by a ישיבה, what would happen? (her belly would pull towards the ישיבה)

When she passed by a בית עבודה זרה, what would happen? (her belly would pull towards the בית עבודה זרה)

רבקה didn’t know what was wrong! So she went to speak to a צדיק.

What did the צדיק say? (You will have TWO babies – twins!)

One son will be a… ( צדיק.)

He will be head of the יידען (בני ישראל)

One son will be a… ( רשע.)

He will be head of the גויים.

The two babies were born!

What did the first baby look like? (hairy and red)

What did they name him? (עשו עשו means “made”, that means he already looked grown-up)

How was the second baby born? (holding onto the first baby’s ankle/heel - עקב)

What did they name him? (יעקב)

The babies grew up!

(the תורה doesn’t tell us much about that part)

When יעקב grew up, he loved to… (study תורה, do מצוות)

He was a צדיק.

When עשו grew up, he loved to… (hunt animals, kill people)

He was a רשע.

One day, עשו came home hungry from hunting!

What was יעקב cooking? (lentil soup – for יצחק, because אברהם had just died)

Did עשו ask for soup nicely? (nope, he did not!)

What didיעקב answer? (yes, but first sell me your בכורה, your birthright)

Did עשו care about being the בכור and his special מצוות? (nope, he did not!)

Their father, יצחק, wanted to give a special ברכה!

יצחק was getting old and he had become... (blind – he couldn’t see)

What did רבקה do to help יעקב get the ברכה? (dress him up in עשו’s hairy clothes)

What did יצחק say when יעקב came instead of עשו? (“The voice is the voice of יעקב, but the hands are the hands of עשו”)

Did יצחק give the ברכה anyway? (yes, he did)

עשו found out when he got home!

How didעשו act when he found out? (he was furious; he wanted to kill יעקב!)

What did רבקה tell יעקב to do? (run away to her family in חרן)

And we’ll learn about that in next week’s parsha

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Six Word Saturday: 23 Cheshvan, 5771

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out! 

Other “weekly memes” I participate in that may or may not interest you:

Remembering RivkA… for tonight, that’s enough.

p.s.  Have you entered my free Cooking Disaster Contest???  One week left to win a free Cooking by Design cookbook!

Friday, October 29, 2010

A loss in cyberspace…

…  is still truly a loss.

May the family of Rivka bat Yeshaya v’ Teirtzel be comforted.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why buy Teriyaki?

I used to buy teriyaki sauce… but why, when it is super-easy to make???  Mostly, I can’t believe they sell various marinating and rib sauces for $3-4 a smallish (non-refillable) bottle.  Again, why?

Here are two variations, one thin sauce which is ready-to-use right away and one thick sauce which takes slightly more prep and cooling time, but you can do it ahead (ie the night before if you want it for a stir-fry, or marinating).

1) Teriyaki sauce (thin):

  1. In a 2-cup measure, mix:
    - 1/4 c good soy sauce
    - 1/4 brown sugar
  2. Add to taste:
    - grated, pressed, frozen garlic (or powder)
    (- optional:  grated fresh ginger – not powdered)
  3. Add water to make 2 cups (replace all or part of the water with chicken stock for a deeper, richer flavour)
  4. Stir well.

2) Boiled teriyaki sauce (thick):

If you are going to be boiling the sauce, you can replace all or part of the water in Step 3, above, with powdered chicken soup mix.  But substitute low-sodium soy sauce so your teriyaki doesn’t get too salty!  Teri-YUCKY!!!

  1. Transfer teriyaki sauce mixture (above) to small pot
  2. Add to taste:
    - red pepper flakes
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer (low boil) for a few minutes to combine flavours.
  5. In a measuring cup or glass, mix:
    - 2 tbsp corn starch
    - water, enough to stir and make a milky paste (slurry)
  6. Pour slurry slowly into teriyaki sauce.
  7. Stir over heat until mixture thickens and bubbles.
  8. Turn off heat.  Add:
    - 1-2 tbsp TOASTED (not raw) sesame oil
  9. Store, use immediately, or cool before marinating.

Remember – you can improvise! 

If you don’t love the flavour of mine, make it your own; add a little something and see how it goes.  Some of the Asian “somethings” that I have been known to add include peanut butter, rice vinegar, toasted sesame seeds, and mirin. 

Mirin (rice cooking wine) is great to have on-hand, as it makes almost any dish taste slightly more authentic.  For sure, use it wherever older Jewish-“Chinese” recipes call for cooking sherry.  I used to wonder why they all did, and it turns out… Mirin is the taste button they were trying to hit!

Parsha Poem: Chayei Sarah / חַיֵּי שָׂרָה

בראשית / Bereishit / Bereishis / Genesis 23:1-25:18

Printable PDF version here.

image I’m just a thirsty camel and I’m looking for a drink;
I’ve been walking through the desert, and now I’ve stopped to think.
What a dry and dusty walk it’s been, I hope for water soon,
We’ve been on the road since 6 am and now it’s nearly noon!

We’re standing here beside this well, just waiting for a while;
I thought my master might open it, which kind of made me smile.
I thought he’d pour a drink for me; at last, for I am parched,
It’s been at least a billion miles that all of us have marched.

But, no, it doesn’t look as though he’s going to touch that well.
Perhaps we’ll have to stand and wait ‘till someone comes to sell
Us water for some silver coins, some cups or buckets worth.
Hey, maybe he’ll buy some extra to wash away this sandy earth!

imageWhat now? He must be thinking out loud; making up a test.
“The girl who comes out to give me water must be the very best.”
If she gives him water and then to us, too – both man and camels combined
Then she, for Yitzchak, a bride could be; a most precious desert find.

I could have told him right away that he’s got this thing all wrong
Just find a girl who’s lovely, who can sing a pretty song.
What kind of girl is strong enough, so kind and gentle, too,
To think of us, just lowly camels, straight out of Brooklyn Zoo?

What kind of girl could do it, when she saw how thirsty we are,
Keep bringing those buckets of water, without even having a car?
“Dream on Eliezer,” I told him: “Give up now and head back home.”
But I guess he couldn’t understand, just stared down at the loam.

But, look! Who’s coming out, along the dusty road;
A regal girl with manners fine, her skin so fair it glowed.
No way she’ll stop or notice us, dry camels thirsting hard,
Or else she’ll scream and run back home and send a nasty guard!

She turned! She’s heading here, straight towards the well,
She speaks! Her voice so pure, it rings out like a bell,
“Oh, dear, good sir, a day so hot – you must be struck with thirst!
Please let me open up our well lest heat might do its worst.”

“Why, thank you, miss,” my master replied, “that would be very kind.”
And so we stood and watched him drink – don’t think we didn’t mind!
“Wait here,” she said, “and while you drink, I’ll help these ungulate mammals.”
“Say what?” he blurted, so she clarified. “Whoops! I meant your camels.”

It’s her! No way! I can’t believe my master’s had such luck!
Of course, we still have to walk back home – and we still don’t have a truck.
Maybe it’s true what the people all say in Kna’an about Avraham,
Hashem looks out for him all the time and led him to what he’s become.

Then again, what do I know? I’m just a camel, a dry and dusty beast,
Though I’ve walked some to the west and I’ve walked more to the east
Maybe it’s just an odd happenstance,
And that girl happened out of her home just by chance.

But if it’s true what they say at home, you know, about Avraham and his kin,
Then this girl, Rivkah, is special indeed, for the nation that she will begin.
She and Yitzchak together will set the world on a new and holy track;
In which case, you know, I just might not mind the long, hot and dry journey back.


Anything in between?

DSC08352Does this happen in your family, too?

Around here, there is absolutely NOTHING in the middle between "don't look... go away... this is private!" and "Mommy, come look!  Look what I'm doing!  Come NOW!!" 

Said, of course, with an urgency that tells you if you don't come right this instant to stare at the activity, your child's head is definitely going to explode.

After a few sessions of "Mommy, come and look!" this morning, Naomi fell curiously silent in her room. 

After a while, she came out.  "Do you have any kind of dish with holes in it?" 

Me:  "Like a plant pot?" 

"No, like for taking things out of water." 

"Like a strainer?" 


Hmm.  "What's it for?" 

"Well, I have some liquid in my room..."

Gaah!  Liquid in her room!!!!!!  I rushed in to discover a cooking class in progress - all her Barbies lined up watching her "cook" a mixture of hacky sack filling beads and cloves in a dish of water.

Actually, it looked like a great lesson - each of the Barbies had her own pencil and they were writing recipes.  (Later on, they'd progress to writing "number lines in French," and I was impressed by how straight and accurate Naomi's example number line was!)

But... but... dollar-store hacky sack stuffing???  What the heck is in those things, anyway?  It was a mix of two types of dubious bead/bean things:  small white balls that floated and larger red balls that sank.  And it was in her ROOM.

DSC08348So I told her she could do it AT THE TABLE... with parent-approved supplies.  And Gavriel Zev decided to join in, too.

I gave them three dishes:  flour, sugar, and mixed-bean soup mix, a spoon for transferring dry “ingredients,” and with a measuring cup full of water. 

Later, I added a shaker of slightly-stale cinnamon and food colouring (they weren't allowed to do the food colouring - they had to ask me).

DSC08350I gave them each a transparent plastic container and a spoon for stirring, and then let them go at it, stirring in "ingredients" to make their own concoction. 

I did explain that their “recipes” wouldn't be good to eat, because of the raw flour and beans, but I let DSC08349them taste them if they wanted.  Naomi had dumped in so much sugar that she actually thought hers was yummy, but Gavriel Zev had dumped a ton of cinnamon into  his and had to go rinse his mouth.

(note:  Yes, I know… I should really make him wear trousers a bit more regularly now that the weather’s getting chilly!)

They both had fun, and practiced fine-motor skills (scooping with a spoon, pouring, stirring) without even realizing it!

DSC08356Our other "painless" sensory/motor-skill of the day was transferring.  Naomi on tweezers (I love these little plastic tweezers!) with the bean soup mix; Gavriel Zev on mini-tongs (they came from a Play-Doh set) with the pompoms.

Later, we glued pompoms to make characters and designs on paper.  We reused the bingo-dabber butterfly outline from last week – adding glue to each of the “dots” and sticking on a pompom instead of making a dot with the marker.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Science Unit: Butterflies Printables

Butterfly Copywork and Ants/Butterflies Venn Diagram.  Click either one for a printable PDF.  Hope they’re helpful to somebody!

image DSC08332

Sometimes, the best school…

… is NO school!

fall playground

I saw an idea for this “leaf rainbow” online, and Naomi Rivka is very into rainbows right now. 

The differences between leaves are not that striking at first, so she didn’t get what I was doing at the park asking for different shades of leaves, or when I started laying them out on the floor.  But by the end, she was right in there, bossing me around and swapping them so they’d be in the “right” order. 


It may not be school, but if this isn’t education, I don’t know what is…

p.s.  Yes, she’s wearing a long necklace in the “swing” photos.  Shortly after that, some mama instinct kicked back in & I remembered that it’s dangerous to wear a swingy chokey necklace on playground equipment, so I offered to hold onto it for her.  That’s why it’s missing in the bottom photo with the leaves.

Homeschool Diary #5: 19 Cheshvan, 5771


PLEASE JOIN US!  If you teach your kids at home, please add your blog to comments section below!

Other “weekly memes” I participate in that may or may not interest you:

Sorry it’s so late in the week this week.  No excuses except I’ve been sick and we’ve been busy.  Not so much with schooling, but some.  Everything is a great, big blur, but I’ll try to reconstruct the last few days.  The important thing is we’re having fun and we’re all learning lots!


  • Morning
    • Swimming lessons
    • Hebrew Reading/Writing:  continue with Kriyah v’Od/קריאה ועוד (Migdalor)
    • Election day!  (brought kids to vote and showed the ballot)
    • Began Chayei Sarah parsha sequencing activity (I wasn’t going to start so early, but Naomi asked if we could)
  • Afternoon
    • Reading practice (one old, one new Bob Book)
    • Mock “Family Election” for leader of our family (Naomi won)
    • Naomi created ballots most of the afternoon
    • Phonics:  Explode the Code
    • Handwriting Without Tears:  Letters and Numbers for Me
    • Began reading Charlotte’s Web
  • Evening
    • Naomi’s ballet

Tuesday (Ted off)

  • Morning
    • Skipped aerobics class; I was out – helping somebody with her computer
    • Ted took kids to library
  • Afternoon
    • Ted took kids to Mrs. ViKi
    • On her own, Naomi began a series of illustrations for the “Princess & the Pea” story.
  • Evening
    • Continued “Princess and Pea” illustrations
    • Art class with Ted (I went out to tutor Hebrew)
    • Continued Charlotte’s Web

DSC08307Wednesday (Ted late)


  • Morning
    • Reading practice (one old, one new Bob Book) (works best if we do it first thing in the morning)
    • Math:  Begin Judy Clock Time-Telling Activity Book
    • Math:  Miquon Orange & rods
    • Begin weekly parsha
  • Afternoon
    • Outdoor time
    • Science:  Ants/Butterflies Venn Diagram to reinforce “same/different” discussion from today
    • Science/Reading together:  Continue “butterflies” reading selections or video,
    • Science:  summary/narration
    • Science:  complete reading/library log


  • Morning
    • BRCD Sign with Young Children
  • Afternoon
    • Parsha Review
    • NEW:  Parsha Narration & illustration – I hope!
    • Gdcast parsha video (yes, it’s a reward for getting to the narration)

I’d love to see what YOUR Jewish homeschool family is up to this week!

Resources we’re enjoying this week:

image image

My own homemade printables (click for full-size):

image imageimage

Easy Paper Butterflies! and Cookie Caterpillars!

DSC08305Well, I can’t find the post where I was so proud of myself for folding a paper boat, Curious George-style, but this is WAY cooler. 

Only took me three tries (once with blank paper, once to mess up the butterfly paper, and once – in front - to do it right!), but these are actually quite simple to make (okay, one step made me want to kill myself, but I persisted) and they fly EXTREMELY well. 

  • List of printable full-colour templates here (for Monarch Butterfly, click here).
  • All versions, regardless of design, use the step-by-step folding instructions here.
  • But skip the folding instructions and go straight to the video, which is what REALLY helped me!

Practice on a plain white paper for your first attempt – and also because the tail design on the basic model is amazing – no tape, no glue,  no staples, it just stays on by its own self!!  (monarch doesn’t use the basic tail design)

Toss them hard – these aren’t the wimpy paper airplanes of my childhood.  Other templates are available as well, but our science theme this week is butterflies.

Homeschool diary update in the morning.  Tomorrow’s highlights include these butterfly planes and wrapping up this science unit on butterflies with these paper butterflies and some low-tech “caterpillar” sugar cookies while we watch the rest of our butterfly video.

I’ll stick the postscript here:  the cookies were a hit!  The dough was a bit crumbly at first, but holds together well wen squeezed, and the choco chips made them ever so cute.  Naomi helped with the first batch:




While the kids ate them, I rolled out a second batch.  Turned out those were way bigger than the first.  Here they all are together!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Weekly Planner: Google Calendar!

DSC08297I can’t find a picture of the way our “family organization wall” was organized last year, but I have updated the system for this year… and I think it’s going to work pretty well.

Basically, we need something more than a calendar, because we have all these weekly classes and programs to get to that we shouldn’t have to write every single time on the calendar.

A couple of months ago, my sister asked me why I wasn’t using Google Calendar.  So I started using it; I’m very impressionable that way. 

I’ve been putting all our programs, events, activities, days off work, school breaks, dentist appointments, etc., in there, and you can import things like yamim tovim and civic holidays automatically.

DSC08299I did share the calendar with everybody in my family so everybody can go in and look online, but I have also started printing out the calendar, agenda-style, every Sunday night.  My latest idea is that I can also incorporate the menu plan, so everybody knows what we’re eating on which night.

Once printed, I just tape the new weekly plan to the calendar, so now everybody can see at a glance what’s happening on which day!

I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll never be super-organized, but at least things won’t fall apart too badly if we can keep up some type of organization system…

(the only catch in printing things Sunday night is that Elisheva has had a couple of “surprise” Monday dental appointments that sort of snuck up on her)

Oh, bloody… $#!


Well, I won’t say anything rude here, but I sat down to blog rather proudly that we finally, FINALLY finished reading Little House on the Prairie (LHOP). 

But when I looked back through old blog posts to find out when we started, I discovered that we finished the first book, Little House in the Big Woods, on July 21st.

Made a bit of a false start on Book #3, On the Banks of Plum Creek, before starting in earnest on Book #2, LHOP.  And we have been slogging at it ever since.

Which means… well, it means that it has taken us just under THREE #$!%^ MONTHS to read the book.  Interminable, indeed.

And it wasn’t like we neglected it, either.  Sometimes, we only read together a few of times a week, but we did keep at it steadily, as you can see from a couple of past Homeschool Diary entries.

imagePartly, it’s the chapter length.  The LHOP chapters are SOoooo long!  So I don’t like to start unless we have a huge block of time.  Anyway, as of Shabbos, we are DONE at last!

I do want to continue with Little House books, but I felt it was time for a break, so our new chapter book will be Charlotte’s Web.  I must admit, I’ve never really read it cover to cover.  Seen the old-fashioned animated version, but not the new live-action, either.

We’ve already started reading and I’m really liking the fun style (E.B. White wrote the book on writing style, after all!), and also the short chapter lengths.  Last night, I even read two chapters, we were enjoying them so much. 

Nice change of pace, and I think refreshing enough that we’ll be ready for the next Little House book before too long.  Or should we do Anne of Green Gables?  One quality children’s chapter book down, eight hundred bazillion left to go!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our New ‘Toon Mayor: Separated at Birth

Toronto has a new mayor… who looks EXACTLY, completely, like the ultra-obese human descendents in the kinda surreal Disney/Pixar kiddie sci-fi dysto-pic wall-e.

Here’s Captain McCrea, in charge of the ship ferrying the remnant of humanity to safety… alongside soon-to-be-celebrated Mayor Rob Ford.


What a buffoon this guy is – and, sadly, I don’t mean the animated one on the left.

Googling pictures of Rob Ford,  the first one that came up was attached to an article from 2008 announcing that he’d been “cleared of domestic abuse charges.”  Well, yay!  That’s a leadership quality I look for in a mayor!

Oh, wait, here’s another:  a 10-year-old Florida DUI charge under his belt.  His rebuttal:  “We've all made mistakes.”  Here’s his mugshot – maybe they should save money at City Hall and just this on the official City of Toronto Mayor’s page whenever the heck it is that he takes office.


Is he good for the Jews?  The consensus is yes.  I really couldn’t care less.

Menu Plan Monday #33: 17 Cheshvan, 5771

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!

Other “weekly memes” I participate in that may or may not interest you:

We are a Jewish family of 6 (2 parents, 4 kids) and all our meals are kosher.

Newcomers, read my MPM intro here which tells you all about who we are, or just visit my super-duper-list-imization of Everything We Eat.

Wildly fluctuating temperatures (18° today, 10° Thursday) are definitely trending downwards, and as they do, I try to include more soups, stews, chilis and other genres of comfort food.

New!  Contest!

image I’m trying out a new cookbook!  I don’t usually use cookbooks at all – I rely on the Internet, or cook by intuition.  However, I’m not only testing out my review copy of the brand-new Kosher by Design (Teens and Twenty-somethings) but I’m also offering readers a chance to win a free copy of their very own!!!

You don’t have to be Jewish to enter – submit the worst cooking disaster and you’ll win a copy.  Winning copy will be shipped directly from the publisher (worldwide).

Only one recipe from the book this week, but hopefully a bunch more next week so I can post my review by November 10th.

Sunday (last night):  Picked up Mommy from airport, ordered pizza, fries salad.  First time in a long time, which felt good.

Monday (tonight):  Veg chili w/either cornbread or beer bread on top.

Tuesday (Ted off):  Stir-fry peanut sauce (below) on rice stick noodles.

EASY PEANUT SAUCE!  1 cup peanut butter (we had organic chunky, but anything unsweetened works).  1 1/2 cup water.  1/2 cup soy sauce (I used Shoyu); 1/2 cup brown sugar or honey.  Garlic, ginger, chili flakes to taste.  Boil gently in a pot until flavours combine.  In a glass, stir 2 tbsp corn starch with enough water to make a “milky” mixture (slurry).  Pour slurry into boiling sauce and stir until bubbles form and sauce becomes slightly more translucent (won’t be all the way translucent because of the peanut butter).  Vary water/soy sauce ratio to taste.

Wednesday (Ted late):  Chicken Pot Pie (crust recipe) w/frozen chicken

Thursday (Vegan Vursday!):  Falafel Veggie Burgers (p. 132 Kosher by Design, Teens & 20-somethings), in pita, w/techina

Friday:  As always… Dunno!  Baked beans?  I am having a weird impulse to make baked beans from scratch.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It is Jewish homeschool blog carnival time again!


Have you visited the first Jewish homeschooling blog carnival yet?

I started this hoping to learn about other great homeschool bloggers who happen to be Jewish, or great Jewish bloggers who happen to be homeschoolers.

It seems there aren’t many of us out here.  I’m surprised, because tribe-finding is what cyberspace is all about.  (does anybody still use the word cyberspace?)

But I’m still hopeful that at least a few will come out of the woodwork.  Maybe some who aren’t blogging yet will start so others can read along with their journey.  And maybe some great homeschool bloggers will turn out to be Jewish!

If you are either of the above, or you learn with your kid(s) at home in any way (even if they’re in school some of the time), it counts as homeschooling.  And if you’re Jewish – even if you don’t belong to a synagogue, JCC or other formal organization – you’re welcome to join us.

Submit your best posts here to be included in the Rosh Chodesh Kislev edition, coming up in a couple of weeks.  Or link to your blog in the comments section below.

Printable Parsha Sequencing: Chayei Sarah

It’s a little early (at least as far as I’m concerned), but we started talking about Chayei Sarah today, and I went online to print out a sequencing series so we could begin whenever we’re ready. has several I’ve seen for various parshiyos, but I realized that the one for Chayei Sarah only has three steps.  That’s a bit of a rip-off, as far as a sequencing activity is concerned.  (The pictures are nice, though.  Download it from here.)

Wanting something a bit more elaborate, I created my own.  You can download my sequencing activity here.

There are six pictures kids can put in order and match with six “story steps” that you can read to your child or have them read for themselves.  Excerpts are given from pesukim to go with each of the six steps, but they are not all literal translations.  Hebrew is used for proper names even in the English text.


All pictures were adapted from the lovely Chayei Sarah colouring pages on  View and print them here.

Six Word Saturday: 16 Cheshvan, 5771

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!

Other “weekly memes” I participate in that may or may not interest you:

imageI think I will miss French.

It’s easy to think about aliyah in October, with the prospect of a Canadian winter becoming more of a reality day by day. Harder in the heat of August when weather reports from Israel are the sizzlingly dire, “no rain expected ‘till Cheshvan.”

imageBut this afternoon, I reached for a glass and noticed the package of no-name ice cream cones, and instantly registered the word cornets.

I used to think it was ridiculous teaching us vocabulary in French class when our whole lives were basically French vocabulary lists.

When we buy marshmallows, they are also guimauves. Pantyhose? Those are bas-culottes. In Montreal once, I walked into a drug store needing nail trimmers. I shut down my panic-brain and in an instant, realized I already knew what I wanted: coupe-ongles.

imageNow, I couldn’t tell you if any of those things were masculin or feminin. I couldn’t conjugate verbs to go with them and I couldn’t use them in the future or past. But goldarnit, I do happen to have absorbed a ton of French, just from seeing it every single day, on every single product.

And I got just a little teary thinking I wouldn’t see it everywhere anymore.

Yes, there’s Hebrew, I know. But I like French. I really will miss it.

(for more of these exciting yellow no-name labels, visit my granola recipe!)