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Showing posts from December, 2011

Passing Hammacher Schlemmer Thought

Drooling over this Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue (which turns out to be an old one from last fall), I noticed ON THE VERY SAME PAGE ads for a “Portable Handheld Scanner” and a “Phototherapy Hairbrush.” Now, you can’t see it clearly, but the scanner costs $99.95 compared to the hairbrush’s $199.95.  And for all the proven scientific effectiveness of the phototherapy hairbrush – which, by the way, uses the same laser technology found in scanners – well, I hope you can see where I’m going with this! That’s right:  buy the scanner, use it on your hair!!! You’re very welcome.  Reading this blog just saved you $100 on this must-buy gift item; consider making a donation – we can split the difference!

Peek inside the Book of Centuries… with FREE printable clip art!

I hope the world appreciates my sharing this fun resource out of the depths of the bleary delirious fevery sickness my children seem to have shared wtih me… since it’s too early to go to bed and I have to seem reasonably upright so my family doesn’t fall into chaos, I figure I’ll blog instead of collapsing. Periodically, as we study composers or painters or history, we take a few minutes to add new clip art and dates to our Book of Centuries (I’m using this basic Jewish Student’s Book of the Centuries , which I created and sell right here on my site!).  I am always grateful that I had it printed on slightly heavier-than-usual paper stock (I also had it done at Kinko’s so I could be sure it would come out perfect). By the way, though many people advise AGAINST using a Book of Centuries for younger students, because it’s not as visual as a timeline.  But we really don’t have room on our walls for a timeline, and the BOC seems to be doing extremely well.  I keep it in a special shiny

Birthday wishy, wishy… (ruby slippers and MORE)

Elisheva pointed me to these TOMS shoes today, as a potential replacement for my VERY worn around-the-house SuperShoes, which she refers to as my “holocaust shoes.”  Not just because they’re kind of checkered, which is reminiscent of a grey striped uniform, but because when I take them off, they sort of keep the shape of my feet in a haunting way.  I agree that they are full of holes, and various rubber bits are peeling off.  Indeed, the labels I inserted into them back in January have long since peeled away and the shoes have gotten even more bedraggled since then. Here’s the BACKUP pair of supershoes – and that’s how they looked TWO years ago. I once applied for a “shoe makeover” TV show, which I thought would be cool, because I am SO not a shoes-acquiring kind of person.  I have literally two pairs of running shoes, one pair of boots, and two pairs of supershoes for around the house.  Oh, and for summer, Birki sandals, but I don’t know if I will ever wear them again, because

Nothing Finer

Lying in bed cuddling with GZ, thinking ahead to his fifth birthday, still more than half a year away.  A Big Kid jokes from the other room, coming at me from however-many years into the future, “come on Gavriel Zev, you’re getting married – time for your wedding nummies!”  There will be no wedding nummies; five years old is the End of the Line. But wow.  What other opportunity is there to take a busy-busy, active 4-year-old and stop him cold in his tracks to snuggle up, skin-on-skin, with his mommy, for 15 minutes at the end of a frantic day?  What better way is there to cuddle a kid who’s not feeling well, who  needs to hang on, to be a baby, just for a little while?  There is no better way, and this is as it should be: when it’s time, it’s time.  I read about 8-year-olds nursing and I shudder; everybody has a line, I think, beyond which it’s TIME.  Mine is five.  (I’m sure many shudder when they think about 4, or 3; I think most mamas still prefer their child to wean before he’s

FREE Printable Apologia Zoology 1 (Flying Creatures) Blank Narration Page

As I’ve mentioned, we’re enjoying Apologia Science, but I find that the Notebooking Journal doesn’t give us enough space for everything we’ve learned in a single reading, and I don’t love the way the information kind of splashes around on the page.  I had created Blank Narration Pages for our Story of the World history reading, so I just took a few minutes to modify that page slightly so we could use it for science. I think this page gives just about enough room to narrate the length of section we’re reading at one sitting.  And it lets you create continuity by saving the page and using it for more than one lesson.  You could always begin the next lesson by reading the previous narration, as well (I keep meaning to do this and now I can!).  For history, at least, Naomi loves the small size of the illustration window; I think she feels more creative in this teeny-weeny space. To download this and dozens (hundreds?) of other General Studies printables – including science, art and

Don’t Forget (Chanukah Freebies!)

GZ was in the mood for schoolie while Naomi was working today, and I was racking my brain when I remembered this “Berenstain Bears” Menorah/Dreidel cutting and pasting activity I did with them last year.  It’s been so long that neither of them actually remembered doing it at ALL. You can find this and a few more Chanukah activities at this page . I don’t remember why I made this Berenstain Bears when I don’t like them or the books at ALL.  I think I just wanted a family where they would instantly recognize the characters and their relative sizes/ages.  There are a few ways you can use this sheet.  For older kids, you can just do it with drawing lines from each family member to his/her respective menorah and dreidel. Anyway, I folded a piece of construction paper into fourths to give one distinct area for each family member, and then let GZ have a blast (really, truly, he was humming and happy and asked to do it AGAIN when he was finished).  (I said no; maybe I’ll print him another o

Gavriel Zev reading… a LOT

Today, he was a little sicky… which didn’t stop him from curling up with one of our family favourite read-alouds, The Tub People , by Pam Conrad. This is his Thing now.  He’ll sit down with a REALLY long story and attempt to tackle the whole thing, all the way through.  Most of the time he makes it, but if I see he’s exhausted and struggling, I swoop in to salvage his self-esteem with one of these cool free bookmarks we printed and glue-sticked (glue-stuck?) onto these cheap, simple “stars” name plates to make super-snazzy, colourful bookmarks.  We often spend a minute or so reading the bookmark, which is WAY better than the twenty minutes it might take him to finish the book.  In the case of The Tub People, he did actually make it all the way through.  I just didn’t record it all.  :-) Oooh – I just discovered this free Tub People colouring page – definitely going to print this and save it for when he’s feeling better.  Enjoy! What are some read-aloud favourites YOUR kids

Drat! Ow! #$!^^@%@*@!!!!

Don't you hate it when a really traumatic, life-changing, howling on the sidewalk in front of the house type injury turns out to look like a great big NOTHING when you try to take a picture of it??? Perhaps this is Hashem’s way of punishing me for going out with my mother last night to see the lights… including this incredible display where they are collecting money for Sick Kids hospital (yes, we gave, and by we , I mean, we put in some of my mother’s money, because I left my wallet at home). Because then we got home, got out of the car, I let Naomi out, grabbed her carseat and slammed the door… on my fingertip.  Which was just about the most intensely painful thing I can remember, including breaking my ankle. I ran up the driveway and wept, just howled, until I was too cold and had to move inside, where I ran it under cold water, howling and crying and snotting everywhere. It still hurts – a lot.  Trust me when I say no photo can do it justice.   It looks like I purpled my

Growing peevish…

I’ve already mentioned this peeve:  sites that make you create a high-security password to access such highly confidential information as PACKAGE TRACKING.  Today’s medium-security site is Starbucks, where I went to register the nice gift card my sister Abigail thoughtfully picked out for me.  (she knows how much I love green) Anyway, an attempt to use my usual password formula* produced this error message.  Sheesh. * password formula:  Instead of using the same password for every single site (very unwise), you can use the same BASE password for many sites, combined with a numeric code that varies with the name of the site.  Base password can include two words, like beetle and fish , with a punctuation mark (maybe #) in between.  Then, if the code number for the S in Starbucks is “27” then your password could be something like “beetle#fish27”.  If you want to make sure it passes the HIGH STANDARDS of websites like Starbucks and Canada Post, however, you’ll have to use a capital le

Parsha Poetry, Year 2: Chanukah / Hanukkah /

As a special Chanukah gift to you – and here, I’m using the term “gift” rather loosely – I decided to just go ahead and draw the artwork myself!  Well, okay, also because nobody in my family would help me. Click for printable PDF version . Copywork, yom tov, and parsha activities – updated weekly! Little Yossi looked up at his Abba and sighed, “I love my menorah – it fills me with pride; But tell me, dear Abba, I know that you’ll know, Where did we learn how to light it just so?” “Why, what do you mean?” asked his father, so near, “Tell me what’s troubling you, Yossi, my dear.” And he filled up the holders with water and oil, Making sure none spilled onto the tinfoil. “I read,” said Yossi, “on Shavuos we stood, By the face of the mountain and saw it was good; On Sukkos, we camped out in fragile huts, And on Purim we sing – there’s no ands, ifs or buts. “But I never did see, in the Torah I’ve read, Just where “we must light a menorah” is said; Which parsha tells us, and where

My Stereo Sinai Chanukah Gift!

I guess the word “Gift” should be in quotation marks… since I bought it for myself.  A few weeks ago, I pre-ordered Biblegum Pop , one of Stereo Sinai ’s first two albums ( Biblegum Pop was released simultaneously with another album, The Revelation Will Not Be Televised ), and it arrived in the mail today – just in time to help me get some cleaning done around the house.  Which is no small task; to get the job done, it apparently takes a unique combination of smart lyrics from the Tanach, catchy electronic tunes… oh, and a couple of friends coming over for Shabbos Party tomorrow. The CD came with a personalized, signed letter from the band and this weird, lapbook-style nifty fold-up envelope that I will probably never figure out how to refold ever again.  Oh, and a bookmark that announces, “we steal lyrics FROM GOD.” Time to crack it open… The case will never be the same again.  Perhaps I’ll have one of the children try to refold it. I’d heard many of the tunes before:  Mi Yima

The Plan for Friday

For a VERY small homeschool Chanukah party… (if you’re coming, don’t read this and you’ll think everything is just spontaneously wonderful!) Sing: Some Chanukah songs.  I’m going to cheat and use songs off a song sheet the kids brought home from their shul party on Sunday… Some Shabbos songs… possibly; I’ll see how we’re doing for time and decide  how much of the Shabbos routine to do. Read: The Invisible Book , because it’s cute and Jewish and my kids like it Harvest of Light , because it’s got trees and Israel and great text and photos; how awesome is that? Video: Elmo’s World – Chanukah episode … blurry, low-resolution video, but highly entertaining.  When I watch videos like this, I get happy at first, and then sad.  Happy because it’s so well-done, and Jewishly authentic and everything… and sad because, well, why Chanukah?  Why not Rosh Hashanah???  Because of Xmas, of course.  I didn’t even expose my older kids to most of what’s out there for Chanukah.  They loved the

The Annual Packages Have Left the Building

Our annual Xmas packages… same as last year, only for the bread, I just baked an “ordinary” challah, which the big kids thought was kind of mundane, but frankly, I think it’s Good Bread – so there. Cutting out the first gingerbread cookies of the season… both kids had a great time stamping 5 hearts into this flower pattern, which turned out to be more efficient, dough-wise, than any other configuration I have ever come up with.  The recipe isn’t fancy, but it tastes nice and the molasses does a cool foaming thing on the stove that is really fun if you’re mixing it up with children.  It rolls out beautifully immediately but also refrigerates beautifully.  What more could a girl ask??? Oh, and the cookies are extra-yummy alongside the first shortbread of the season!   Naomi Rivka and Gavriel Zev decorated the cards (Sara helped)… Here are Naomi’s – no idea what that head-thing is on the person in the “Uncle Bobby” card: And here are Gavriel Zev’s – he’s going through an “ast