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Showing posts from March, 2013

Don’t Jump

This was going to be a “sheesh – some people ” post about rudeness.  But then I figured it should be about something bigger, which is “conclusions, and the people who jump to them.” You probably know that a year and a half ago, as I was harmlessly riding my bicycle down the street, my ankle was broken by a moron car driver who opened his door and sent me flying onto the street.  Technically, perhaps, the impact broke my ankle and not the driver, but as a result, I am now one of the carefullest car drivers around bicycles.  So that’s all you need to know for background. And then today, after I dropped my sister off on our way home from our chol hamoed outing, after being stuck in Easterish parade traffic for maybe 20 minutes, I was eager to get home, but noticed some cyclists on the corner who looked like they might head into the intersection.  Cyclists in this town are a fun breed, too; most just go ahead and do whatever they want and blame car drivers if anything bad happens (ignor

Dear Pesach Pot

I’ve heard it said that opening up the boxes of Pesach dishes is like meeting old friends.  But you don’t look familiar at all. You could be one of the two pots I referred to scrubbing and toivelling in this post . I know you were put away with the fleishik dishes, carefully, nestled in a box so huge it collapsed when I tried to carry it up the stairs.  And yes, the lid was in the box, too.  But I have no memory of buying you, using you, washing you or putting you away. Perhaps that’s because you’re an imposter… a dairy pot stuck in the wrong box.  But that’s not likely – Ted is very, very good at keeping things separate.  More likely, Pesach and the weeks before and after it are such a blur that big soup pots can sneak around doing what they like and nobody notices.  Certainly, the children all do the same at this time of year. Note to self for future years:  keep out the kosher kitchen stickers until the Pesach kitchen is completely set up!!! p.s. I opened the box of fleish

Finished the (5773) Pesach Lapbook!

Okay, I  lied.  This is the 5771 lapbook , revisited 2 years later.  But still – come explore it with us: the kids are super-excited at how well it turned out! We had SOooo much stuff to stick inside this one, and it went SOooo quickly, because I split up the mini-books so that Naomi Rivka did the trickier ones while Gavriel Zev did those that were more basic. Here’s what you see when you first open it… Then, you flip back the first insert page (all I had for this lapbook was plain white cardstock and a slightly crumpled file folder – still, I think it looks terrific!) to reveal…   This is Gavriel Zev’s seder plate, which I think looks fantastic when it’s opened wide. Behind the seder plate is his “Can we eat it” booklet, along with Naomi Rivka's Mr. Matza, who explains the symbolism of the three matzahs at the seder.     Flipping over the “Mr. Matza” page reveals the “Ten Makkos / Plagues” page, with a song and a fold-out little accordion book showing pictures of every

Take a picture of ME! (math happiness)

I was snapping pics of the lapbook to share here (that’ll be my next post) when GZ said, “Take a picture of my work!”  I said, “your Mathematical Reasoning ?”  He said yes.  He loves this book; I’ve written before about how it has saved his math year, and I stand by that. [All school has been suspended around here this week except a) Pesach learning, which is mostly via the lapbook, and b) math, because otherwise, it’ll be another 2 weeks before we get to it, and I don’t like to have that long a break.] As I said before , I was fully prepared to hate this book, and did, in fact, dislike immensely th e one I got for Naomi Rivka (oh well).  You may like it very much, so don’t let my experience with it bias you.  By the way, I noticed when I put in this cover picture that it says Age 4… and yes, Gavriel Zev is 5.  Still – for better or worse, we are homeschoolers and that gives me the flexibility to let him work at his own level, without worrying overly much about catching up. (but h

Meeting Jesus – Christianity & my Jewish children

Today, in Story of the World history , we finally came to a chapter I have been giving much thought since I first flipped through the book well over a year ago:  The Beginning of Christianity.  The whole narrative appears in 2 sections:  the birth of Jesus, and the teachings, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  Because it’s a short chapter, I decided to do it all in one pass, which is very unusual. It’s a busy week, but I wanted to share a few quick thoughts: This is a VERY short chapter, especially compared to earlier chapters about Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Julius Caesar, and heck, Anansi the mischief-making African spider.  There’s more about Christianity later on, but this is really it about Jesus.  I was kind of grateful it was so short – but if I was Christian, I might honestly have reason to feel offended that my entire belief system seemed to have been condensed into four short pages. I took a bit of time at the beginning to explain the vocabulary, and you should too.  C

Cranky Complaints-Lady… can’t get a DATE?!?

A few weeks ago, the Canadian Museum of Civilization (in Ottawa) announced that it was going back to BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domini, “the year of our Lord”) for dates on anything “intended for the public,” while continuing its policy of many years to use BCE and CE on documents intended for a more academic readership.  You can read all about it in the National Post here . Rabbi Reuven Bulka, a prominent rabbi in Ottawa, came out with a response that sounds pretty much like something my teenagers usually say:  “no-one cares.”  In fairness, the article says, he “prefers BCE because it is more inclusive, but… can live with the change.”  I can live with it, too, but I’d rather not, and I’m not going to just sit by quietly.  And if you live in Canada, neither should you. I was dismayed to read in the National Post that you're going back to using BC and AD for dates on museum displays and other materials "intended for the public".

Just enough time for… a lapbook!

Yes, there is just enough time between now and Pesach to put together a lapbook.  Sure, it’s the exact same one we did two years ago (didn’t do one last year).  But to an 8-year-old, 2 years is a quarter of her life and she has almost no recollection of working on the same bits way back then.  And two years ago, Gavriel Zev was 3, and didn’t really participate at all. (By the way, you can buy the Pesach lapbook yourself THIS WEEK ONLY at a special discount by clicking this link .) Looking at those old pictures now, I can really see what a difference it makes to use brightly-coloured paper instead of just printing the whole thing out on white paper and cardstock.  I’m not rushing out to buy multicolour cardstock, but we do have some brights here still (probably from the same package), and lapbooking is the best possible use for it, since the mini-books stand out so well when they’re done with different papers. Only problem is that all our glue sticks seem to have disappeared, so we’

Quick Healthy Snack Cheap – Oven-Toasted Nori

They sell all these "seasoned nori snacks" in health-food stores but a) they're way overpackaged, and b) none have a hechsher. And now, I can add reason c) - mine taste way better!  (I’m assuming, not having tasted the packaged ones) I admit, they don’t look like much, strewn on a plate like this… but believe me, these pack a mighty tasty punch.  And I just bought two packages of nori for $1.99 so at that price, we can afford to eat these to our hearts’ content! How to make them: Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a bowl, mix some combination of sriracha, tasty soy sauce, sesame oil, and a bit of water.  Brush on one sheet of nori.  Stick another sheet of nori on top and brush with more mixture. Using kitchen shears (I wouldn’t want to do this with a knife), slice into thin strips or any shape you want. Bake 5 minutes or less, checking often so they don’t burn (remove when curled). p.s. if I had any in the house, I probably would have pressed some sesame seeds on top

Yup, that’s me!

…In my dreams, maybe!!!  A friend shared a link to this one-click app that will determine your personality based on things you’ve “liked” on facebook.  She said, “wow. this was right on. You should try it!!!”  I’m glad hers worked out – mine, well… not so much. I won’t share the link here, because you can see what a great job it did with mine…!  You can probably google it if you’re desperate to know your own innermost personality secrets…. Ah, the things we do when we are supposed to be cleaning for Pesach. However, the same friend ALSO shared a link to this nice Pesach song, so I’ll let you listen to it here, if you care to: Enjoy!

Blown it? or, the end of parenting

If you live in Toronto, you know that this is the bronze Jacob Wrestling sculpture that sat outside the JCC on Bathurst Street forever. Every morning, forever, long ago, I’d stumble in semi-darkness and blur and fog past the sculpture, holding my little kids’ hands, rushing in to get them to daycare (and then me to work) on time.  And then, in the evening, I’d do it all over – rushing in in a foggy stupour to pick them up from daycare and rushing out to get us all home before we collapsed from exhaustion. Holding those little hands, swinging their arms, singing half-asleep the "happy to be a mommy with two babies" song and, of course, dreaming big about "later" and the wonderful lives we would have together as they grew. Last week, walking out of a fitness class at the JCC (beside the now-demolished JCC where my kiddies went to daycare), this sculpture jumped out at me.  It didn't, really, but since the building had moved, I hadn't noticed where the scul

FREE Printable Pesach “Chad Gadya” Masks & Tunes

Hand-drawn by my friend Shira, these are ten simple masks (only 4 shown here) that you can print out and have your kids colour.  (the tunes I mentioned are not printable, but you can scroll down to find links) She plans to have hers laminated once they’re coloured, and then the kids can keep them from one seder to the next (a good use for lamination, in my opinion, as opposed to many of those throwaway projects you wish were not encased in plastic. To download these and hundreds of other Limudei Kodesh (Jewish) printables – including weekly parsha copywork and holiday resources, click here .  (search for “masks”) For General Studies printables, including science, art and music resources in Hebrew and English, Ambleside, composer and artist resources, click here . These masks bear an eerie similarity to the colourful foam masks we actually do use already, which are sort of like these, but a bit different…  and I do have to add here – I don’t feel we NEED these at the seder, and m

My Mother’s Rules for Living

While we were away, my mother left the following instructions for living at our house.  I assume they were tacked up somewhere prominent when she did that, but by the time we got home, the note itself was floating around on the floor and had gotten kind of dirty… which is itself kind of sad and also, somehow, emblematic of the whole problem. I don’t think there’s any particular order here: If it falls on the floor, pick it up If it’s dirty, wash it If it belongs to you, put it (away) in your room If you take it out, put it back If you need help, ask If something spills, wipe it up If the toilet paper roll is empty, put on a new one (and toss empty into recycle bin) So there it is!  I cannot comment, because if she sees this, she may think I’m mocking.  But I’m not… I just wonder why even these very basic standards seem, most of the time, so far out of reach. (Plus, did you notice the handwriting???  my mother has some of the neatest handwriting I’ve ever seen… I’m certain s

FREE “On Pesach” Printable Easy Reader Mini-Book!

My gift to you… just like the ones I did last year for Chanukah and for Shavuos ! This one has a five senses theme… with the usual sweet, sticky ending, of course. To receive a free PDF of this very simple print-cut-staple easy reader for Pesach, featuring all the usual cute “borrowed” Internet graphics you have come to love from my printables, please email me directly at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, and I’ll pass it along!  You can also just leave a comment here with your email address – I won’t publish your address. Sorry, it’s not direct-downloadable this time. That’s my gift to myself: a few times a year, I like to meet you, and find out who’s reading and using these things. (Just wanted to add:  I won't collect your name or email address in a mailing list or anything.  I just honestly like to know who's reading and using this stuff, because usually, all I get are download statistics) To download hundreds of other Limudei Kodesh (Jewish) printables – including we

Bright Beginnings Chumash – Part 2???

Yes, indeed; you heard that right… exactly what I’ve been hoping for:  I got an email late last night suggesting that Part 2 is officially in the works! Apparently, the new volume “covers the rest of Lech Lecha and has very upgraded worksheets as well as chazara [review] tools.” Naturally, I suggested that he arrange to come and show the thing as a vendor at the upcoming Torah Home Education Conference in May! Bright Beginnings is the Chumash workbook we have been working our way slooooowly through since July of 2011.  It’s cute, it’s fun, and I have found that its method of emphasizing roots and prefixes is very sound and appropriate for this level, while the layout is visually more appealing than almost anything I have seen in a limudei kodesh text. Here’s a typical page from Bright Beginnings: It’s not too busy – engaging, but not distracting.  There’s enough interaction, but also enough focus on just reading and getting the job done.  It’s true that we have gone through thi

Quick Question…

For anyone who’s used my Parsha Overview sheets with their kids at any point: If you could "fix" one thing about them, it would be to make them more... (fill in the blank with as much or as little as you want!) I’m in the process of pulling these together into a book (I’m only 9 parshiyos short, but the style is veeeeery uneven so it’s going to be a BIG job – one I hope to have finished in time to sell the book form at the Torah Home Education conference in May!), and any insight you guys could provide would be very, very helpful! Thanks!!! p.s. I know this is the most neglected of all my blogs at the moment – I’m baking up a storm, and we’re all charged up about Israel and guess what’s going by the wayside – regular daily life!!!