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Showing posts from October, 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: Six Word Saturday Homeschool Diary 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

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)

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 Family when 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’

Not celebrating…!

…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

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 )

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: Homeschool Diary Menu Plan Monday 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!

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

Parsha Poem: Chayei Sarah / חַיֵּי שָׂרָה

בראשית / Bereishit / Bereishis / Genesis 23:1-25:18 Printable PDF version here . 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! What 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

Anything in between?

Does 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?"  "Yes!"  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 mi

Science Unit: Butterflies Printables

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

Sometimes, the best school…

… is NO school! 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: Six Word Saturday Menu Plan Monday 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! Monday 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 bal

Easy Paper Butterflies! and Cookie Caterpillars!

Well, 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 templat

New Weekly Planner: Google Calendar!

I 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. I 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

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. Partly, 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

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: Six Word Saturday Homeschool Diary 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! 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 yo

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

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

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: Homeschool Diary Menu Plan Monday I 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.” But 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 . Now, I couldn’t tell you if any of t