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Showing posts from November, 2012

My Brilliant Friend Rachel’s Brilliant Freezer Burritos

  Y’all know I like to give credit where due, so here is a great big shout-out hooray to my friend Rachel .  Only an IRL friend will let you stand in her dining room and watch as she offhandedly does the most awesome things with food. Let me just back up a bit to say that we love freezer burritos and the kosher kind – breakfast, with egg, or beans & cheese – cost about $3 or more.  A pack of 6 burrito wraps costs $3-something.  A can of black beans (don’t gasp; yes, I use canned, though she probably doesn’t) costs under $1.  A pack of shredded mozarella – ditto; cheap (the pre-shredded is often cheaper than the blocks, these days, though I don’t like the powdery cellulose stuff it comes packed with). So here’s what I did, in an attempt to recreate Rachel’s freezer burritos.  I happened to have chicken filling because we were having burrito night here anyway.  If you don’t, just use salsa like she does.  In fact, you can use salsa anyway – extra deliciousness, I say. BLACK-BEAN F

Quick Ladder Art / Craft for Parshas Vayeitzei

Based on a “ladder” idea for Vayeitzei that I saw in Mommzy’s Montessori-based booklet of parsha ideas for Bereishis, I came up with this craft concept very, VERY quickly to occupy my kids and a friend who happened to come over last Friday for a 6-hour playdate (it wasn’t as gruelling as it sounds – I promise!). I borrowed a picture of Yaakov sleeping from this PDF of parsha colouring pages at (I didn’t bother printing the rest of the picture, just used a PDF-to-JPG program to strip out that page, then used a paint program to cut out Yaakov, then used Word to paste three Yaakovs on one page so all three would fit on a single piece of paper.  Okay, that sounds like a LOT of work when I type it all out like that.  Trust me – it took about 2 minutes or less. The kids all enjoyed building the ladders and cutting out stars from yellow construction paper.  Gavriel Zev drew an alien above Yaakov’s head – that’s what he’s dreaming about.  Naomi Rivka wanted to do an angel, so th

Happy Easy Tomato Egg-Drop Soup

“It’s my own invention!” Here’s a quick easy medium-hearty soup to go along with a rice-based stir-fry – especially good for a cold evening when there wasn’t much in the house beyond rice and tinned tomatoes… I improvised this, writing down what I did along the way so you could enjoy it, too (cuz I knew ahead of time that it was destined to be just as fabulous as it turned out to be!). What’s in it: 1 tin tomatoes (the big kind of tin – 700-something ml?) 2 tins water or nice veggie broth 2 cubes frozen ginger 4 cloves garlic 3 tbsp ch soup mix (omit if using nice veggie broth) 1-2 cups of frozen corn kernels, depending on how much you like corn; I forget how much I tossed in 1 package extra-firm tofu, browned in wok 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (contains fish) black pepper to taste sriracha / hot sauce to taste, optional – OR red pepper flakes, optional 4 tbsp soy sauce (s/b a bit less?) 6 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (I used lite = low sodium, just because we bought it by

FREE Printable: “Winter” Reading List (based on Five in a Row)

A long, LONG time ago, I posted a link to a printable “summer” reading list I’d made up based on Five in a Row (FIAR), a popular unit-studies curriculum for ages 4-8 based around classic picture books that generally emphasize good stories and wholesome values.  Took us a bit more than a summer to get through the books, but eventually we did it, which felt really good.  I’ve wanted to do the same thing ever since then for the books in FIAR2, the second “level” of the curriculum (there is a little-kids version AND a “beyond” curriculum for older kids that generally covers only 1-2 novels per year instead of 20-some-odd picture books.  And now, at last, it’s done! As much as I like the idea of FIAR, this list is my pragmatic nod to the fact that we have absolutely no time or space in our lives to fit in unit studies, and probably wouldn’t be good at them even if we tried.  However, if you’re inclined in that direction, I have heard from others online that the actual FIAR program itsel

Note found at Random

Dear Mommy: you cod have been a better person on friday. Naomi Frankly, I find this a rather high standard.  If we were all to write such notes, even just to our own closest relatives, we’d have no time to do anything else.

Toldos Parsha Summary: The Two Different Babies

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a format that can be adapted for a wide range of ages. Sources include parsha text, commentaries and midrash.  When introducing midrash or other non-pshat elements, I  use the words “some people think” or something similar ( find out why ).  If you find these overviews helpful, or if there’s a typo, or something is confusing you or your kids, please don’t leave a comment.  Just don’t.  Whatever you do… don’t… comment. Yaakov and Rivka are married now, but they aren’t perfectly happy… There is something they want more than anything else in the world. They want a baby. Now, when we want something very much, what do we do? We daven! So what do Yaakov and Rivka do? Daven! They ask Hashem for a baby. Hashem answers their tefillos. They are expecting a baby! But Rivka thinks she must be having the strangest pregnancy in the history of the universe. Her belly is always wriggling. (Some say that when she passed by a yeshiva, her tummy would

Crochet Projects on the go

I don’t want to inundate this blog with crochet projects… but on the other hand, I really do feel that crocheting complements our homeschooling, because it makes me less fidgety and better able to sit with the children and IGNORE them while they’re doing their work.  It sure beats moving across the room to use the computer, which – as any classroom teacher can tell you – is a recipe for inattentive kids (“heck, if the teacher’s not paying attention, why should we?”). So while they work, I sit and crochet.  Today, while Naomi and I were doing school during GZ’s preschool class at a local recreation centre, I made these miniature turtles… here they are, frolicking in their bed of yarn. They took about 45 minutes each – would have been far less if I wasn’t actually helping Naomi with her work. Then, later on this evening, a few “finishing up” type projects I’ve been putting off… This hat was completely finished over the summer (June?) – and then I ran out of yarn just before I start

Picture Study Narration, and Classical Writing Primer review

While it seems to be a public holiday in some parts, around here, with two MORE field trips this week (sigh), we can’t really spare any time, so we’re hard at work – for a change. These are the kids’ narrations for this painting, Mary Cassatt’s The Boating Party .  I typed them, so it went quickly. Gavriel Zev’s (his “sketch” of this painting is at right): In the painting, I saw the sea was a little bit green. Two people were on a boat – just plain people, skinny people. One was a man and one was a woman. There was a baby, too. There was a city in the background and some was trees. I liked the painting because there was a lot of particular things. I didn’t like the people very much – they looked a little bit bad (like they weren’t well drawn). And Naomi Rivka’s – I typed hers, then had her copy out the shortest sentence, in keeping with the Well-Trained Mind approach to easing them into their own creative writing, using short passsages from their own narration (in addition to high

“Canning” pumpkin… the easy, freezy way!

When I say easy, I mean easy; domestic goddess, I am not these days.  Not even up to my usual, slovenly, standards. But anyway – pumpkin.  I bought four biggish ones on November 1st for 99 cents each (up from 49 cents last year , and FREE the year before!), plus I found one BIG one this evening walking to my mother’s house (sitting at the curb, but it only had a couple of squirrel-bites out of it… and I figure the roasting takes care of any squirrelish germs; I hope I’m right!). So here’s what you do: Open the top of the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds.  I generally throw away the cap, but you could roast it, too.  SAVE THE SEEDS! Slice the pumpkin almost all the way down on one side, then the other, then pull it apart with your bare hands – this is my “Incredible Hulk” moment, where I feel huge and powerful and furious… for a second, until the, um, fruit in my hands snaps apart easily. Use a metal spoon and scrape the “gunk” off the inside walls of the pumpkin.  Discard. Place fac

Hate Note

Just dumped out my miscellaneous camera contents to prepare for a post on “canning” pumpkin (in the freezer).  And I turned up this one more photo that shows the sheer zany cuteness of my 5-year-old… he got angry with me one day this week and scrawled this adorable missive in his fury: HI IT’S ME (GZ) I DON’T LIKE THIS FAMILI LOVE FROM GZ A moment after I took the picture, he decided that even the note didn’t express how angry he was, and he crumpled it up and threw it away.  I have a facebook friend who’s always sharing pics of the adorable things her children have written and made for her… me, I get hate mail.  (but – on the bright side! - did you notice that his handwriting is totally improving???) Sigh.  Where was I?  Oh, yeah… pumpkins.

Word Search with Lucy

Came across this scene with GZ’s leopard, Lucy, doing a word search: Surprisingly, she was having a great deal of success…   Is this cheating, or creativity???

Menu Plan Monday: 27 Cheshvan, 5773 – fill-in-the-blanks edition

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Welcome!  We’re an Israel-bound (next summer) homeschooling Jewish family of 6 (2 parents, 2 teens, 2 littles) and all our meals are kosher.  Read my MPM intro here or just visit my big ol’ list of Everything We Eat .  We eat mostly vegetarian, kinda frugal, not always super-healthy, but in better, more organized periods of our lives, try to include one vegan meal every single week – on Vegan Vursday , of course!   Sunday (Today):  Tuna-Noodle Casserole @ Mommy’s House – anything I don’t have to cook is Yummmmmmy! Monday:  Perogies, Mashpo & Peas – almost entirely from the freezer – yay! Tuesday:  Bread and Hearty _____ Soup – I’m giving myself a break and plopping this in here as a TBD… I’ll plan WHICH bread and WHICH soup later on. Wednesday:   Moroccan Meatballs and Fruity Couscous Thursday:  Pasta with ______ – creamy, something of some sort? Okay, it may not look like much, but I am hoping planning menus again will

Chayei Sara Parsha Summary: Two Great Women

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a format that can be adapted for a wide range of ages. Sources include parsha text, commentaries and midrash.  When introducing midrash or other non-pshat elements, I  use the words “some people think” or something similar ( find out why ).  If you find these overviews helpful, or if there’s a typo, or something is confusing you or your kids, I’d love to hear from you.  Pwitty Pweez? Avraham and Sara were very old by now…! At the end of last week’s parsha, a malach stops Avraham at the last second from killing Yitzchak. This week, the parsha starts by telling us that, Sara died – left to be with Hashem in shomayim. Some people say she actually died from hearing that Avraham had brought Yitzchak for a korban. Other people, though, think she lived for years afterwards. When she dies, the Torah says her age strangely – instead of saying, “she was one hundred and twenty-seven,” it says she “was one hundred and twenty and seven.” Some say

Vayeira Parsha Summary: The Message of Malachim

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a format that can be adapted for a wide range of ages. Sources include parsha text, commentaries and midrash.  When introducing midrash or other non-pshat elements, I  use the words “some people think” or something similar ( find out why ).  If you find these overviews helpful, or if there’s a typo, or something is confusing you or your kids, I’d love to hear from you.  Really truly!  This week’s parsha starts outdoors on a VERY hot day… Avraham has had his bris milah at 99 years old! Now he and Sara have new names (do you remember the old ones?). He’s feeling terrible three days later, but he sits outside to make sure no travellers get stuck out in the heat. Welcoming guests – hachnasas orchim – was so important to Avraham & Sara that some people think their tent had four doors to invite people from every direction! And guess what? Avraham sees three guests, coming across that hot, hot sand! Sometimes, old people walk very slowly