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Showing posts from February, 2012

FREE Printable שירון פורים/Purim Fairy Song Book!

I wanted and wanted and wanted a Purim Shiron / songbook last year, like the one for Chanukah , and then – in the crazy-mad rush before Purim – didn’t get a chance to put one together. Natcherally, the day AFTER Purim, I had plenty of time, so I whipped this together super-fast, and quite a few people have downloaded it already (perhaps for late Purim parties last year?). Anyway, it was a simple matter tonight to haul it out and tweak it somewhat.  All the Hebrew now has vowels, which is mostly a matter of searching song databases and the online Tanach ( here’s my favourite menukad / vowelled Tanach – perfect for copy/paste!). There are translations for every song, but they are not necessarily singable translations.  And I haven’t checked every transliteration 100%. Still – as usual, I hope this little bookie will help somebody, and if it does, please feel free to say hi.  It’s been lonely out here in cyberspace lately. Enjoy! To download this and dozens (hundreds?) of other Li

Work ethic vs Career ethic?

Quick question, because it’s late and I have to get up for work in the morning.  Which is exactly what I was thinking about this evening:  where do our patterns come from, in terms of how we balance our work lives and what priority a career takes in our lives? My sister was recently accepted to a government program that gives you some living assistance while you work to start up your business.  In return for this, there’s a “classroom” component, with homework and everything.  So on the one hand, the hard work she’s doing is the kind that most of us have come to hate after a few years out of school earning a steady paycheque, doing productive stuff… not just paperwork; that’s particularly a thing, I think, because she’s such a hands-on person.  (As a sitting-in-front-of-the-computer, writerly person, I think I wouldn’t mind it as much).  Yet on the other hand, because her “homework” is ultimately her business, or at least the paper version of her business (a bakery – yay!!), in the

It's Heart Month: 3 days left to save lives!

Dear Friends & Family: Hi, everybody! Sorry I can’t stop by in person... you're a bit out of my area.  :-) We’re out walking up and down on our street on this beautiful afternoon to raise money for Heart & Stroke.  This cause is important to me (I won't say it's close to my heart , because that would be tacky!).  I hope you'll join me by donating online. Growing up, I watched as every single one of my grandparents' lives were shortened by heart disease and strokes, and my father had a defibrillator that saved his life on more than one occasion.  Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 Canadians and are the #1 killer of women. Please click this link to be redirected to my main page at the Heart & Stroke website: Thus ends my personal appeal.  Official information follows.  :-))) ----- Heart disease and stroke is the #1 killer of women - taking more women's lives than all forms of cancer combined. But no one is immune. Th

Short Parsha Riddles: תְּרוּמָה / Terumah

שְׁמוֹת / Shemos / Exodus 25:1-27:19 Click for printable PDF version .  And don’t forget to read last year’s poem !   This is a new project – feedback is most welcome!  (except for one of my children whose only feedback was “these are not as good as the parsha poems”) Copywork and parsha activities – something for every week of the year!  [1] When you listen and serve Him, we stand face to face, Gleaming and shining our light through the place; But when it’s against Hashem’s will that you fight, Our faces turn outward, turn stormy as night.  Who are we??? [2] Three kinds of metals they brought in this parsha, The men and the women, from Felix to Marsha; They gave shiny gold, and their silver brought nearer, And each lady also gave her __________ mirror! [3] Branches have I, but don’t grow from the ground, I’m not in the fields, for in “kodesh” I’m found; I bear flowers, it’s true, but I yield no bouquet, I’m the __________ and the kohen lights me every day! [4] – BONUS!

Meeting the Master: Winslow Homer

We’re kind of getting into a comfortable rhythm with our Meet the Masters art program.  We do things usually in two stages:  First, we watch the slideshow while I read the script.  This is a great, thorough introduction to the artist along with some simple notes on style or technique.  I also reserve library books, but with our current artist, Winslow Homer, that proved somewhat difficult.  We usually read the Mike Venezia “Getting to Know” artist biographies , and he does have one for Winslow Homer , but that happens to be THE one the Toronto Public Library doesn’t have in its collection.  I feel almost embarrassed for Winslow Homer; he gets almost nothing compared to the bounty of Picasso books for kids. The third thing we do in the first “stage” (usually the same day as we watch the slideshow) is copy one of the paintings from Start Exploring Masterpieces and use watercolours to fill it in.  There are no rules, but usually we try to stick to the original colours.  Sadly, there

The Weather Around Here

How do I get time to post in the middle of the day?  Send the kids outside to run around in the 7° sunshine! If I believed in karma, or mirthful weather gods, I might fear that we have a cruel and stormy summer ahead, because this winter, and here I really should use quotation marks to make it “winter,” has been unlike any I can remember.  Looking back at February, I can see only TWO days where the high was below zero.  Usually, I suspect, it’s almost ALL the days.  January was a bit colder, but still – highs above zero on 21 of 31 days. On Monday, just Naomi and I went down to the lakeshore to the National Ballet for an open class in honour of Family Day .  After the class, which was led by a real – and very pregnant – ballerina soloist from the National Ballet company, it was simply too beautiful down there to come home.  So we hung out along the boardwalk, checking out the hundreds of probably-shvitzing ice skaters at Harbourfront.  It felt like everybody in the city was there… a

Torah Home Ed Conference -- the schedule!

I'm super-excited to be able to share this sneak peek at what's happening this coming May.  MegaBus has not released tickets for beyond May 1st yet, so I'm sitting here on pins and needles waiting to buy a ticket and register... :-)))   ----- Original Message -----   The 4th Annual Torah Home Education Conference will be held in the Baltimore area on Sunday, May 6 and the schedule is packed with great speakers and topics that are sure to give every current or prospective homeschooler something to take home and actualize! This is the only conference geared to Orthodox homeschoolers in the entire world – yes, literally! Every year, people have traveled from all over the US and even Canada to participate and the consensus was that it was worth  every penny and hour away from home. Don't think that you're a four hour drive away and  it's not worth your time. You just won't have anywhere else to access this wide of a  group of Torah home ed


Well, not quite.  I could have made the pasta from scratch, for instance, but I didn’t.  I could have grown the spinach and tomatoes from  scratch, or at least, made my own sauce, but I didn’t.  Maybe this summer – it sounds like a great challenge. As it was, this was just plain BEAUTIFUL lasagna.  With homemade mozzarella – tasty, though not mind-blowing.  It grated pretty nicely, though it was softer and stickier than regular block mozzarella.  I froze it for a bit and it grated slightly better, though still on the mushy side.  One pound of cheese was the batch I made on Sunday , and another pound was fresh today.  I think we used about 1/4 of the new pound, leaving 3/4 of a pound still in the fridge.  Yummy!  And it’s getting easier and easier to get the cheese just right… patience seems to be the key.  Here’s a tutorial that is VERY explicit, step-by-step, and helpful with the handholding I need as a beginner! (I’m tagging this post “ crafts ”, because why CAN’T cheesemaking be

Continents and Oceans Song for Aunt Sara

Here are the kids entertaining the Birthday Aunt with the Continents & Oceans Song from Kathy Troxel’s Geography Songs CD , which we have been enjoying for probably a year now.  Naomi is tossing around our homemade papier mache globe .

Cheese Battles: Keeping Score

Here’s the score so far, cheese-wise: 1 mediocre "quick" mozzarella (too tough, not salty enough) – one point for the cheese 1 surreal batch of pink cheese curds – another point for the cheese 1 decent-tasting fresh cheddar wrapped in parchment paper, aging in the “potato room” downstairs – results of this match remain to be determined on sampling in 3 months’ time. 1 batch of “nozzarella”… overheated, turned into ricotta – score one more for the cheese. 1 nice, tasty fresh mozzarella waiting in the fridge! – yay, one point for me… at last! Highlights of the skirmish so far: FRESH HOMEMADE CHEDDAR Impromptu cheese press for the homemade cheddar (no colouring this time, and I made it out of 2L of special organic milk).  Two 2-lb weights, plus a 2-lb can of tomato sauce… probably not enough, but it seems to have done the trick.       Wrapping the cheddar and storing in highly sophisticated moisture-controlled basement “cheese cave.” I am supposed to flip it over e

A Child’s Geography: Papier Mâché Globe Project

This is a project inspired, though not mandated by, our new geography book, A Child’s Geography: Explore His Earth , which we’re all greatly enjoying so far.  For Chapter 1, I believe, where it introduces Earth as our home, the book invites kids (with their parents) to make their own Earth, partly to see how amazing it is that Hashem can make the earth in only 7 days (and even quicker, if He’d wanted), while all we can come up with in 7 days is a crummy imitation. Well, I wouldn’t call ours crummy, but it certainly drove home the idea that there are a lot of steps that go into making the entire earth… We started this around the middle of January, but I hadn’t posted pics because I was planning to give it to my sister as a birthday present (makes sense – she loves the world!).  However, she did get a sneak peek at the project at a couple of stages along the way.  Nevertheless, I hope these photos will help her appreciate the hard work and many steps that went into creating the Earth,