Showing posts from August, 2010

Shadow Children

Evening Under The Stars is fast approaching. We volunteered to make two Shadow Children which will be auctioned off at the event. Each Shadow Child represents one of the almost 400 CASA kids served by PWC this year.
We started with the blank form. Froggy decided that these children were going to be modeled after the first two CASA kids she ever met. To her that meant a boy with red hair and a girl with long black hair. .

We rummaged through my scrap box and found some clothing for them. Froggy cut out the backing to stiffen up the fabric. Then we dressed them both. Their shoes are made of construction paper. We traced the feet and then cut the shoes out. Froggy wanted the little girl to wear Mary Janes like she does but then for some reason wanted to give her laces like the boy as well. I nixed that idea since these are to be auctioned off. Giving them their hair was easy and fun. We used yarn and gave the boy curls and the girl long dark locks. Their faces were very c…

Skip Counting

We are working on two big concepts with math right now, Money and Time. Skip counting is really useful in both genres. So whenever we can we have been practicing our skip counting. It is mostly in the car.

We are working on fives right now. Froggy is having a hard time with them. Tens were super easy because she saw the pattern quickly and could follow it. Twos came a little slower but not too hard because the skip was so small she could say it to herself and continue out loud without getting lost. So I figured she needed some help. Since we were in the car anyway, I played this song for her. She did not take to it right away but that is typical of Froggy. It is set so that it comes up in rotation on the player so it is not overwhelming yet it part of "laying a feast before them"

I also printed out this worksheet so she could see the patterns a bit better. Other than showing it to her when I gave it to her I did not do anything with it. It is for her to take in as…

Menu Planning Monday

The week in review - The coconut chicken nuggets did not fly at least not with the humans. The canine thought they were wonderful. The coconut was too strong for us. Also I will note that I baked them instead of fried them which may have changed the texture of the coating. The sweet potato fries on the other hand were delicious.

The Menu - I am going to try for at least one vegan night a week. Wish me luck.
Sunday - Picnic Dinner at the Faire - hummus/cucumber tea sandwiches, curried chickpea salad, fruit salad and cookies.
Monday - Dinner is early as I have a meeting - pizza and a green salad
Tuesday - Falafel with Yogurt sauce. I will serve a variety of toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, baba ganush, hummus) in a manner similar to a taco bar. This is the traditional way falafel is served.
Wednesday- Burgers with backyard corn salad and green beans. I am trying homemade buns for the first time. If they work I will post the recipe.
We leave for the grandparents Thursday morning for a lon…

Preschool Parsha - Nitzvaim/ Vayelech

This week we have a double portion. We are winding down. Moses is finishing his retelling and reminding in preparation for his imminent death. After all this, B'Nai Yisrael make a new covenant with HaShem. Why? Because none of those (except Joshua and Moses) were alive when the first covenant was made. They did not witness the miracles or the plagues. All they know is wandering. But the time for wandering is over and it is time to commit to a new life.

Moses teaches "The law is not too hard nor too difficult to understand." Keep trying you will get there. You have to study and do Teshuva. Torah is not way up in the sky nor far away across the sea. It is very close to you. It is in your mouth and in your heart

All the people, men, women and children, gather. Moses explains, "You can keep the Torah or abandon the Torah; that's your choice. No one can force you to be a tzadik if you don't want to be one. But just remember the consequences of abandon…

What We Are Reading

The summer reading program at the library ended last week. Which meant that this week our trip to the library was much more peaceful and plentiful. There were lots of wonderful books to choose from and the librarians were not stressed and there was quiet in which to explore.

Froggy did not spend anytime in the picture book section at all. She went to the rounder of Juvenile series and only left it when I took her elsewhere to get books I needed. She picked two different American Girl books, Rebecca to the Rescue and Meet Molly. Rebecca is Froggy's all time favorite American Girl. These books are wonderful but challenging for her reading level. She struggles through them and I am not sure if what she actually understands when reading them independently. I try to make sure that we read these together so that she hears the story with all the words correct at least once. I learned something interesting in doing this. Froggy hears the words in her head when she is reading sil…

Pretty Purple

After a much too long hiatus I finally got back to sewing. I made a new dress for Froggy which I hope she will wear for Rosh Hashana. That was the intention when I started it but now that it is finished I am not sure it is appropriate. The dress turned out quite well in my opinion given all the on-the-fly modifications I had to make to the pattern.

Does the neckline need something?
I did my first ever zipper. Yay me.


Froggy is currently obsessed with money. Since she was little, one of her "jobs" has been to collect the change from around the house and put it in the Tzedekah box. She loves to do this and has become so passionate about it lately that we have been going on "tzedekah hunts" and she is heartbroken if she can't find any money. In doing this with her, I realized to my dismay that she did not know the different coins.

So this week, instead putting the money directly into the box, we have been sorting and counting it first. Playing with the coins first has made this fun task even more appealing. I asked her at one point in the game how many dimes she had (to make sure she was looking at the right group since each type of coin had a different number) and she told me 30 cents since there were 3 dimes. That got her a "double high five, tov meod, two thumbs up" squeeze. She finally started to be interested in counting by 5's as well something I ha…

Menu Planning Monday

I am not sure why but something in me made me totally revise our Shabbat menu on the fly last week. We ended up with Pot Roast, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli and Pudding pops for dessert. Everything was delicious except the pudding pops. I don't know why. This is my second attempt at them and they are better than the first pass but still awful.

Summer is starting to wind down and I am starting to crave some of the lovely Fall foods. It may in part be coming from a need to plan my Yom Tov meals. There will be six festive meals I need to make in the span of 3 weeks. I want each one to be different and fun and festive. Yet I need to manage my time so I am not in the kitchen constantly and everything is ready before the Yom Tov. Luckily we will be spending the Shabbat after Rosh Hashana with friends so I do not need to cook for that.

Monday - Picnic - Tuna Burgers, veggie sticks, dip, fruit salad and cookies
Tuesday - coconut chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, green beans (we…

PreSchool Parsha

This week's parsha is Ki Tavo. The parsha markes the final preparations for B'Nai Yisrael for crossing into Eretz Yisrael.

The subtitle for this Parsha could easily be "The Good and The Bad" or
"The Blessings and The Curses". Many people find this parsha a frightening or sad parsha, because of the horrible curses listed. These are warnings though and reminders of what could be if we turn our back on HaShem. It is not foretold, something sure to happen.

The offering of Bikurim is commanded reminding us how important gratitude is. We return the first portion of each of the seven species to HaShem as a reminder that everything comes from HaShem and belongs to Him. One of the first prayers is found in this parsha "When you dwell in the promised land, take a selection of the first fruits and bring them to the place God chooses for God's Name. With a priest you shall make an offering saying, 'We remember when we were slaves in Egypt. We remem…

Science Sunday - Endangered Animals

This week we took a mini-vacation out to the Shenandoah Valley. While most people would do some sort of geology (tons of caverns) or waterflow / nature study (waterfalls and the national park, we are often a bit different. We decided to study "Endangered Animals - What does that mean?" It worked really well since one of the big themes in our Parsha for the week is avoiding cruelty to animals.

This unique choice came about at the Wild Animal Safari. They have all sorts of animals from around the world but the signage is created differently or something. Despite our many trips to the zoo here the subject has never come up before. Yet here, she wanted to know each animal's 'status in the wild'
We talked about the difference between common, vulnerable and endangered while we were at the park. We also touched on why some animals become endangered. We followed this up later with two good books on the topic (Endangered Animals and The ABC's of Endangered Anim…

What We Are Reading

We went on a mini-vacation this week. The only books I took for Froggy were her Magic Treehouse books. These have become such an amazing addiction. She has even gotten me

Geography - Four Corners

We added the Four Corners part of the country today. I was born in Colorado so that is our hook there and my sister lives in Arizona so that helped. The shape and location of the states was not clicking for Froggy so I pointed out the Four Corners.

We also got some fun books at the library to help us with the area. We have one book for each of the states. They are from two different series. I like the From Sea to Shining Sea series much better than the Hello U.S.A series. However the second series is more basic and appealing to most children. it has the state song, a fun recipe and series of fun facts for the state.

We also found a fun book, Wish You Were Here, Emily's Guide to the 50 States to help us learn about all the states as we add them. This book is perfect for us because it is just a two page spread on each state. We can read about the states as we label them on our map and still not have Map Drill take all day. The other books get read at bedtime or separately a…

Art Box - Stained Glass

I love art projects but have for the longest time had trouble convincing Froggy to participate. Having friends over usually helps.

So this week we had some friends over to help us make a neat stained glass project with tissue paper. I got the idea here. The friends were super excited about the project. The kids really took to it right away. They loved tearing the paper and being allowed to smear glue on the window. At some point, one child put yellow on top of teal and it looked amazing. We all had to stop and just look at the loveliness of the green light shining through the window.The kids did not cover much of the window. But we had fun tearing and creating.

PreSchool Parsha

This week's parsha is Ki Tetze. The parsha continues the saga of Moses teaching B'Nai Yisrael how to rule themselves in preparation for crossing into Eretz Yisrael.

The specific theme this week is repeated in several different ways is "Be a Good Neighbor" or "Others before Self". There are several specific commandments that prevent animal cruelty and teach B'Nai Yisrael how to care for animals. Separation is a consistent theme in the Torah and is repeated here. We are commanded Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayimnot to harness two different kinds animals together. Why? Because HaShem knows that different animals have different strengths and one would end up hurt or over used. The mitzvah of "Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim,” is mentioned again when we are commanded to help unload a neighbors animal even if the neighbor does not help so that the animal will not suffer.

HaShem also sets rules about gathering eggs in the wild and teaches respect for His creatures.…

Menu Planning Monday - mini vacation

I froze lots of peaches last week. This week we are going to try dehydrating some. I won't be doing much cooking this week since the first part of the week is going to be spent in a mini family getaway at a nearby resort.

Sunday - vacation
Monday - vacation
Tuesday - vacation
Wednesday - coconut chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, green beans
Thursday - Tacos, rice and black beans
Friday - Challah,Maple Sugar Salmon,rice,keem, fried zucchini, swiss roll
Saturday - Crockpot Chili, chips and salad.

What We Are Reading

I know I have said this before but it still amazes me how different life is with an independent reader. The grandparents were visiting and even the thrill of playing with Grandma was not enough to draw Froggy out of a new book when she stumbled onto it.

The chapter book hit of the week was Mouse and the Motorcycleby Beverly Cleary starring Ralph S. Mouse. This is the first in a whole series and is just as good as one would expect from Beverly Cleary. I do not know how I missed this series when I was young but I had not heard of the series until the librarian recommended it to us for Froggy. Ralph lives in a knothole in a hotel and we follow him on his adventures. In this book, a young boy is staying in Room 215 and lets Ralph borrow his toy motorcycle.

Froggy's pick for Picture book of the week was Teddy Bears Cure a Cold. Maybe the heat finally got to her as well and dreaming of snow helped her cope. The story is sweet and fun with the text large enough and in a nice clear …

Geography - Heading West

We returned to our map drill this week. This is our first time back and I was impressed with the number of states Froggy was able to label independently. We label all the ones she remembers in one color (purple this time) then add a few new ones in a new color (red). We add only a few (max 5) new ones each time much. This week, we moved West adding Arizona (where Aunt Sheila lives), Colorado (where Mommy was born) and California (where Aunt Laura is visiting). I do not know what I am going to do when we hit the states that have no personal connection.

Froggy is fascinated with it and would love if we could do map drill every day. I wish she was this interested in Math. I credit all her interest to the placement of our map. The blank map that we fill in gets hung on the dining room wall between sessions. Froggy looks right at it a minimum of twice a day during breakfast and dinner. I never initiate discussion of it except during map drill time. I do answer her questions and …

Menu Planning Monday

Last Week's Pineapple Mango Chicken was a tremendous hit. It will be making a frequent occurrence I can tell. The papaya and avocado salad was not such a hit. The babies thought it was great as a I fed them bits of avocado and papaya for the rest of the week.

I scored big on a box of peaches at the farmers market today so in addition to the regular cooking. I will be freezing, canning and dehydrating lots of peach.

Sunday - Fish ala Jenn, Green Beans and Rice
Monday - Grandparents arrive bearing a steak dinner
Tuesday - I have no idea but Grandma is cooking - Woohoo
Wednesday - I am back on duty. Chicken, oven fries and peas
Thursday - Homemade Pizza and Salad.
Friday - Early Services at Shul - Challah, sweet and sour chicken, quina, broccoli, peach crisp, parve pudding pops

Good Sleeps and Good Dreams

Ever since Froggy was very little she has been plagued with nightmares semi-regularly. Yet it took her a long time before she was able to talk about them at all. Even on nights when she woke up screaming in terror, the next morning when asked she would say she had "good sleeps and good dreams"

Until recently. Not long ago, Froggy told me she had a bad dream. The next night she did not want to go to sleep because she was going to have bad dreams. Thus started a new bedtime stall and one of my most favorite moments of the day.

I suck all her dreams out (because the vacuum cannot sort but takes everything). Then she has no dreams. And I feed her good dreams, fun memories or good things to look forward to or the like. I love lying with her for these moments and sharing these thoughts. Then she rolls over I wish her "Lilah Tov Good Sleeps and Good Dreams."

And the best part of all is it works. She has been having almost no nightmares and she has even started adding…

What We Are Reading

This week Froggy got the most wonderful gift from her Auntie. Auntie Fawn loaned Froggy a whole collection of Magic Treehouse books. This child is truly obsessed with Jack and Annie. For the next few days anywhere we went at least two of the books came tucked in my bag. Froggy pulled them out whenever we stopped somewhere and even tried to read and walk a couple of times but we put the nix on that idea quite thoroughly. Froggy's favorite is still Ghosttown at Sundown but Dolphins at Daybreak is a close second because it is Auntie Fawn's favorite.
The best picture book of the week is Ted by author/illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi. It is a picture book, meaning that the pictures are critical to full appreciation of the story. Yet it is much longer than most picture books with "chapter" headings within it. The story opens with Ted, a monster coming to visit the young boy of the house. Together they have fun but get into tons of mischief. When the boy tells his fathe…