Showing posts from December, 2011

Not Your Mother's Flashcards

I recently purchased flashcards for both our Ivrit curriculum and our Chumash program.  I had been trying to work without them because I hated flashcards as a child and wanted to spare Froggy that. 

With her Ivrit Flashcards, we play a version of charades.  These cards disappointed me when they showed up.  They include only the word, no pictures as exist in the text. They are plain and boring.  I expected Froggy to hate them.  I have pulled out all the verbs for the first half of the book.  I place the cards Ivrit side up. We take turns reading the Ivrit and then acting out the verb for the other person to guess.  The actor can look at the English but tries not to.  The actor also has to use the verb in a complete Ivrit sentence.  Froggy  loves this game so much that she practically begs for it.  She wants to do it more than once a day.  It is also getting us using our limited Ivrit even outside of the game.  I call this a win/win. 
The Chumash Flashcards are helping as well.  They ar…

Hanukkah Moon

Chag Sameach!  Today is Rosh Chodesh Tevet otherwise known as the Hanukkah Moon.  Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday that straddles two months. Rosh Chodesh, the celebration of the new month, is classically a women's festival.
In North African countries, the seventh night of Chanukah, Judith's night of triumph, was set aside as Chag haBanot, the Festival of the Daughters. Chag haBanot falls on the new moon of the Hebrew month of Tevet, which is the sixth or seventh night of Chanukah. More details on how some people celebrate it can be found here.Some legends say that the women did the work of rededicating the Temple with unusual zeal. Other stories say that women have a connection to Chanukah because of Judith, the heroine of the Book of Judith.
We do not celebrate a full Chag HaBanot but do make the seventh day special.  I think it is one of the few Rosh Chodesh that Froggy remembers after they are gone (Rosh Hashana being another)

Menu Planning Monday

This week is full of company at  our house.  We have few plans other than having people visit but there is plenty of that to make for a full happy week.

Monday - Arrive home - dinner is pancakes and eggs
Tuesday - Hanukkah Party at our house
beef barley souplatkes and applesauceVeggie and hummusfruit wedgessufganyiot cut out sugar cookiesWednesday - leftover buffet
Thursday- (Evan and Aunt Petal as guests) Tofu Stirfry and rice
Shabbat - (Mrs Fletcher as guest) Challah, gefilte fish, apricot chicken, noodle kugel, broccoli, swiss cake roll

Shir La La

Right before break, our shul brought in Shir La La to do a fun musical holiday program with all the religious school students.  The older children did a drumming workshop and the  younger set had a blast singing and dancing with Shira. 
It was an amazingly interactive performance which truly engaged the young people in the Hanukkah story.

 Froggy danced with Rabbi Paskind What do we say? We say Nay! (in response to Antiochus demanding the Jews worship idols) Show me your muscles?  Are you as strong as a Macabee?  
The music was not the sickly sweet of so much children's music.  We have been listening to the Hanukkah disc all through the holiday and still enjoying it.

One Semester Down!

We finished our first semester of Ambleside last week,  I kind of feel like I am "cheating" with this curriculum.  It does not feel like school to me.  It is just "reading".  Froggy enjoys all the stories.  I use our time working on our Ambleside books as rewards for doing other assignments.  Froggy has progressed considerably in her narration skill during the semester.  I don't know if she is retaining any of the stuff we learn.  Ambleside offers guidance on exams but I am not willing to do that.  Either it is sinking in or it isn't.  This is only first grade.  If she does not retain everything that is ok.  The foundation is being lain and creating footholds for future learning.

What We Are Reading

We have been reading tons of holiday books.  But it is not all holiday books.  We just finished a new chapter book,The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives. It is the first in a series of at least nine books.  The premise of the series is that the Brother Grimm Fairy Tales are actually history rather than story.  Two sisters, Daphne and Sabrina are sent to live with Grandma after their parents disappear and learn they are descendents of this famous writing pair.  They also learn that the fairy tale creatures are real and living in their town except that none of them are how they appear in the fairy tales.  
Each book revolves around  a mystery the girls must solve with this characters.  In the first book, we meet Jack The Giant Killer.  He is the bad guy of the book (shh don't tell anyone who is going to read it). 
I liked the book as much as Froggy.  We got different things out of the book.  My favorite part was seeing her recognize the characters she knows in their Fairyport …

Whatcha Making Wednesdays - Stained Glass Cookies

Hanukkah is off to a great start at the Landing.  Yesterday was full of the final preparations, including making stained glass cookies to take to the Hanukkah party at the nursing home this morning.  It was a full family event. We used a recipe from Kosher by Designs Entertains.  It is more a butter cookie rather than a sugar cookie.  I am still looking for the perfect cut out cookie recipe.  I use coconut oil as the fat so the cookies are parve.  The dough is crumbly when you first start working with it but warms nicely as it is worked and needs no additional flour for rolling.
Froggy rolled out the dough and cut out the main cookies.  I cut out the windows after transferring to the parchment lined cookie sheets.

  We used lifesavers for the hard candies.  I much prefer Jolly Ranchers but could not find them this time. Froggy is getting so independent and wanted to unwrap the candies.  She tried and tried with coaching from both parents. Finally Abba ended up unwrapping them for her.…

Mount Vernon

We visited Mount Vernon this week.  We visit probably a couple of times a year.  They decorate for the holidays and show how the Washingtons celebrate the holidays.  One of favorite things is the statue of "Nelly" Washington, George Washington's stepdaughter that sits with the First Couple in the lobby of the Visitors Center. 
 The kids received an adventure map to accompany the journey.   Part of the holiday decorating is a collection of themed Christmas Trees each representing something or someone on the original plantation.
 As you can see, this is Lady Washington's tree.  Even for those who do not celebrate Christmas, it is fun to look at the trees and try to determine why they chose the pieces they did.
      In 1787, George Washington paid 18 shillings to bring a camel to Mount Vernon for his guests’ enjoyment. Now every year the Estate brings back Aladdin to the delight of all.  He is very very friendly.

 Froggy "cooked up" some great stew in the larg…

Menu Planning Monday - 23 Kislev 5772

We head out of town bright and early Thursday morning so our menu this week is short. It still involves tons of cooking/baking since I need to make gifts plus food to bring to two different parties. 

Monday - Pasta, meatballs, salad and garlic bread.  - Make cutout cookies
Tuesday - First Candle  so ofcourse we must have latkes.  Pulled Chicken, latkes and frozen peas - decorate cutout cookies
Wednesday - Second Candle - Blintzes (Trader Joes has parve latkes), sufganyiot and fruit.  I promised Froggy we would finally make our own sufganyiot.  I may try these from Adventures in Mamaland.  Or I may wimp out and just use my challah recipe. 
And then that it is.  Off we go to Grandma's where I will still do plenty of cooking but just no planning.

Firecracker Fizzle

Our studies this week took us to Ancient China and the invention of gunpowder and firecrackers.  We discussed saltpeter and sulfer and mining techniques which were all very interesting.  But the kids wanted to see an explosion. 
So we made alka seltzer rockets.  This is part 2 of our chemical reaction series.  First we put a piece of alka seltzer in a flat dish and added a tiny bit of water so that they could see what happened.  Then we tried to make an explosion using film canisters.  As typical for me, we only got a fizzle rather than a rocket.  I have about 50% success rate with this experiment. The kids didn't seem to mind.
We came back to the table and talked about the reaction we had witnessed.  We talked about how the atoms recombine to make new molecules.  And then the kids made their own chemical reactions by building molecules and recombining them. 

 Our oldest student really took to the molecule part and she and I discussed why certain atoms bond with others and vale…

Whatcha Making - Mini Chocolate Tiramsu Cakes

These turned out so great when I made them for our afternoon of gaming that I thought it would be fun to try them again with Froggy helping.  I was right.  This recipe is perfect to do with little people because there are so many fun easy steps for them to do all by themselves.  And the treats are just their size. 

The bottom layer is cake which Froggy loved "smashing" with the tart maker (wooden thing)
Then the filling is piped in.  We used sweetened cream cheese.  Percision in not critical and Froggy was able to do this just fine.  
The last layer is whipped cream.  We shaved chocolate on top for decoration.  Froggy was able to do this easily using my microplane.   All in all the project was a huge success with little mess and a decadent result.  Things got hectic at the end and I forgot to take a picture of the finished product so I borrowed this one to give you the idea.  And here is the recipe.