Saturday, April 30

My Latest Creations

Prior to Baby O's arrival I managed to actually finish a few of projects.

 This is her Pesach dress.  I needed her to try it on and she decided it was time for a modeling shoot.  Please ignore the rainbow on her forehead.  That would be the Daddy corrupting her.  He has an insane love for decorating foreheads.

And this is her new shawl.  She picked the yarn.  The pattern is a super easy one given to me by a friend.  It is just two rectangles.  That is what I need in a knitting pattern.

Now it is time to start making things for Baby O.  But wait there is now no time to make things :)

Friday, April 29

What We Are Reading

It felt kind of sad this week to pack up our Passover books and put them away for anther year.  we have so much fun reading / acting out Let My People Go Froggy has taken over all the roles except narrator and chorus. She does not even really need the book any more.  It is so cute.  I was afraid for a while that we were going to need a new copy before the end of Pesach it is receiving so much use.

 We did find some other fun books to help fill the gap though.  In honor of Earth Day, we read On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole. It is a very simple story about how one person can make a difference with a very simple start.  The illustrations are lovely.  Froggy read it to herself over and over in addition to having the grownups read it to her, a real mark of a winner.

The surprise hit of the week was  Ivy Loves to Give by Freya Blackwood.  The story is sweet but simplistic, on the level of a board book.  Ivy is a toddler who loves to give but does not always know how best to do that.

We also been enjoying a couple of good chapter books. In the car we are listening to All of a Kind Family Downtown.  Froggy likes watching Mama's girls grow up a bit and I like reminiscing about when I first read it as a child.  Froggy does not realize how special these stories are since she has lots of books with Jewish children as the main characters. When I was growing up this family was the only ones I ever found. 

We also found, after a couple of missteps, a new lunch time book that actually is capitvating,  We are reading Swallows and Amazons.   I love the whole series but this is my favorite.  I recommend it other parents every chance I get.  I love that it shows children being children and not having to grow up too fast.  I love that the children play imagination games and act them out and have a great time doing it.  Simple fun.  It is a bonus for me that it all takes place in the context of sailing. 

Wednesday, April 27

stART - Seurat

As I have complained before, Art and Music tend to slide when life gets busy around here. It is totally my fault. When I do remember to schedule it and make it happen, the reward I get is phenomenal.  It may be my biases from the horrid Art Appreciation I was forced into during school but Froggy always surprises me with how much she enjoys looking at the art and talking / learning about it.

For April, we selected George Seurat for our Artist Study.  We have been looking at A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  The first week we kept it super simple.  We looked at the picture large size on the computer for a few minutes just taking it and not talking.  Then I asked Froggy to tell me about it.  Here is what she said
"I love the colors.  The pink is pretty and the purple.  And there are two different greens" 
At this point, we talked about shadow and how the use of color creates the shadow. And then put it away
.
The second week, we looked at the picture while I read her a short biography I pieced together from a variety of sources. I also explained learned the term pointillism and how Mr. Seurat created his paintings.

Finally this week, Sunday With Seurat, arrived at our library and came home.  Froggy really liked reading this and read it several times after our lesson.  We read the book and then Froggy got a chance to create her own masterpiece.  
With q-tips, watercolors and quality watercolor paper, she set to work

She dipped and tapped for a bit using a couple of different colors.  


Very quickly though she tired of tapping, choosing instead to use the q-tip as a brush for painting.

Tuesday, April 26

Sun!

After days and days of cold dreary rain, the sun came out.  And with the heat. We had breakfast/school in Froggy's treehouse and this is how we spent our downtime.

Monday, April 25

Menu Planning Monday - 21 Nisan 5771

With the end of Pesach within sight, I am allowing myself the luxury of thinking about chamatz in my menu again.  We have kept the chol hamoed meals simple with the exception of Shabbat and I have done very little cooking.  One of the hardest parts of Pesach for me is not making Challah on Erev Shabbat.  I did not make a single dessert the entire holiday thanks to a wonderful local bakery I found through the Shul that makes KLP dessert that are phenomenal.

Monday - Lemon Fish on Spagetti Squash with Sauteed Green beans
Tuesday - Pesach ends at Sundown - Pizza Dinner our after sunset.
Wednesday - Cranberry couscous salad (KBD Lightens Up)
Thursday - Pasta, garlic bread and homemade sauce.
Shabbat - Challah, cream of tomato soup, maple salmon, rice, keem, miso broccoli, blueberry crisp with homemade blueberry coconut milk ice cream.  (I will make the entire meal parve but it could be a dairy meal for those who can do dairy)

Sunday, April 24

Tadpoles

Sometimes it is nice not to be the teacher.  On Wednesday, we visited a friend's house to get tadpoles from the pond behind her house. 

 She started by helping the children see the tadpoles swimming in the pond.

Then in the blink of an eye she scooped out a jar full of wonderful wriggling tadpoles.
 
She also brought out a spawn (egg sac) for the children to touch an examine. With delicate careful finger she was able to separate a few eggs off from the spawn to place into each family's jar.

We took our jar home and built a habitat for our new friends.  

To learn how best to care for them as they grow, we read  From Tadpole to Frog and Tadpoles. Froggy is very excited about watching them grow.  She checks them morning and night.  The egg sac has disappeared and the tadpoles are getting visibly bigger.  We are feeding them fish food.

Hebrew Copywork

I just have to crow!! I finally did it.  With some help from Jennifer at Adventures in Mamaland, I made my first copy worksheet for Froggy.  It is not as pretty with graphics and everything like hers are but it does what I need it to do.

We are starting a unit studying the meaning of our prayers as well as working on Hebrew reading and pronunciation.  Our first prayer is Ashrei.  I chose this because it is the one she struggles with the most as well as the one she understand the meaning/purpose of the most as well.

You can download it here.

Thursday, April 21

Back to School

We always take a break from school and our regular routine the week before Pesach and return after the holiday.   The break is nice and gives both of us a chance to breathe and approach life with a sense of rejuvenation.

During Chol Hamoed, I review where we are and where I want to go for the rest of the year.  I take the time during the break to get reorganized and plan out the rest of our year, putting aside the stuff that is not working and finding new things that look like fun to try. 

I have some neat science experiments to try with Froggy now that our Forces class is over. History / Social Studies is still giving me major grief.  I am doing nothing with it at all mostly because everything I look at to try to do is unappealing. 

I have ordered our new handwriting books and we are doing copywork in the meantime.  I choose a line from our Parsha study to copy. The copywork serves as our entire Language Arts curriculum and I am ok with that.  Math is going swimmingly as we work on skip counting. 

Our Hebrew is not going as well as as I would like. I ordered some reading books from a book company back at the end of February but still have not received them. These readers are really where Froggy needs to go next and I am frustrated not to be able to take this next step.

Wednesday, April 20

Four Questions

I am such a proud mama today.  Froggy read the Four Questions at both seders this year.  I had no doubt she would do it and do a great job at first seder.  She was in her house and it was just our tiny mishpacha.  She read them with a big voice, proud and confident.  She stumbled only one time on the very last question. 

But the truly amazing part was last night.  We attended a Reform community seder which was packed with people of all ages.  When the rabbi asked the children who wanted to read, Froggy was eager and very much wanted to go up.  I was surprised that she was the only one to want to do so.  None of the older children present volunteered despite encouragement. 

I went up with her and pointed to the words as she read.  I quietly encouraged as she read but did not prompt or assist her at all. She read with a tiny tiny voice that even I had trouble hearing at times but she read the whole thing. 

She beamed with pride as she hid in my belly, walking back to our table.  She is so much braver and more social than I ever was.  She greeted all those young and old that she knew from Tot Shabbat services and thanked everyone for their compliments with grace.

Tuesday, April 12

Pesach Prep

We haven't fallen off the planet over here at the Landing.  We are however deep in the midst of Pesach prep.  we are in super crunch mode because we are going away for Shabbat this week returning late Sunday evening which means I am turning over my kitchen before Shabbat. Luckily though it means I will not be making challah and baking a big meal right before turning over the kitchen. I have done that before and it is no fun at all.

As of this morning I finished all the pre-Pesach sewing.  Froggy's new dress is finished, pressed and hanging in her closet.  She will not be wearing the new shoes I bought for her because they are too big.  She is still wearing last years Pesach shoes.  This is the only kid I have ever met whose feet grow slower than molasses, not that I am complaining mind you. 

I finally made Froggy the Afikomen bag I have been promising her for years.  I want to stencil the front but I am not sure how to go about that yet.  Regardless the bag is sewn and pretty and usable and matches both the new tablecloth and Seder pillowcases I made for this year.

The pillowcases turned out really nice if I say so myself and will add a special touch to the seder.  This is the first year we will have dedicated pillows with which to recline. 

Froggy learned the last of the Four Questions this week and is now in the review/polishing point. We have been reading out of her journal/writing book.  My only concern is that the print/font in the Haggadah will be sufficiently different as to mess her up. She is so proud of herself for being able to do this. 

I worry sometimes that I am not as observant/ proper as I should/could be but then I look at Froggy.  She knows and lives so much more than I did at her age and is so much more confident and comfortable with her Judiasm than I ever was or ever will be.  I am not perfect but I am moving in the right direction and Froggy is the proof of my growth and progress.

Monday, April 11

Menu Planning Monday - 7 Nisan 5771

Sunday - Tacos and refried beans
Monday - Fish ala Jenn rice and peas
Tuesday - Pasta sauce, salad and garlic bread
Wednesday Leftover Buffet
Thursday Dinner out with Auntie
Friday - Turn Over the Kitchen for Pesach

Monday, April 4

Menu Planning Monday - 29 Adar II

 The Review - Due to preferences of guests we revamped our Shabbat meal at the last minute having fish instead.  The only thing staying the same was the desserts. A more complete review is here.
Sunday - Pasta, homemade sauce, garlic bread and salad.
Monday - Chicken Tika Masala, Naan, veggie samosas
Tuesday - Coq a vin, Harvest grain from Trader Joes, green beans
Wednesday -Picnic -Tuna Salad with Potato Crisps (KBD - Lightens Up)
Thursday -crockpot three bean chili chips and salad
Friday- last weeks original menu with new desserts
  • challah
  • sticky orange herb roasted chicken (20something)
  • Creamy parsnips- spinach(20something)
  • frozen peas

Counting a picture

Thanks to a suggestion from Almost Unschoolers, we created a Popsicle puzzle to help us learn our skip-counting by fours. 


I taped 10 Popsicle together side by side.  Froggy colored a rainbow.
 
I then wrote the skip counting numbers on other side.  I forgot the tip of going backwards though. 
 Then we scrambled them up and Froggy got to put them in order.
She had no trouble at all sorting them into the proper order. Unfortunately because I did not number them backwards the picture did not turn out properly.  So we did it again, "Hebrew Style" starting on the right hand side.

Froggy was very happy that the rainbow came out correctly this time.  She loves putting it together now.  She is getting quite proficient with her skip counting.  When we tried to do it in the car with out the aide of the rainbow, she was not perfect but was able to correct herself and finish the series without intervention.

For other neat ways to make math fun hop over to Joyful Learner.

Sunday, April 3

Shabbat treats

For Shabbat we had two different new treats and amazingly enough I liked them both.

The first is Chocolate banana pops.  They are modeled after the new popular cake pops but less messy to make and more allergy friendly.  They are super super easy to make. They are also KLP which is a bonus.  They look beautiful. I think they would have tasted better if we had actually followed the recipe and kept them frozen until ready to eat. 

The second is homemade marshmallows.  I do not care for the taste / texture of the commercial kosher marshmallows.  So I thought making homemade might be just the ticket.  It was lots and lots of fun to do. They turned out more sticky but with more flavor than store bought.  These will certainly make a reappearence, almost certainly in a chocolate version.

Friday, April 1

stART - Cherry Blossoms

This week marks the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  Froggy and her friends are taking Japanese with Ms. Frick who is here for year after many as a Missionary in Japan.  The class learned about the festival in Japanese.  Froggy tried to tell me about it but I missed much of what she said.  We skipped our regular park day and made our maiden voyage to the festival today with Mrs. Horacek in her "tour guide" mode.  It was cold and damp but we still got to do some amazing Hanami (cherry blossom viewing). 



We also went to see Mr. Jefferson in his permanent home.  Though I have lived her for 5 years, it was my first time visiting this monument.  While we were there we found ourselves in the midst of a flashmob
The park service set up a special Junior Ranger program for the festival.  It was Froggy's absolute favorite part of the festival.  From then everything was "Junior Rangers do.... " and "Junior Rangers don't.."  She was very solemn and serious during the cermony

She got to make a cherry blossom. She was so patient and meticulous.  The ranger said it was the best one she had seen so far. 


There are lots of great books about Cherry Blossoms as well as  Japanese culture.  Our favorite was Under the Cherry Blossom Tree: An Old Japanese Tale.  I think one of the best ways to explore a culture is through its folk tales.  I also love seeing the similarity between the folk tales of different cultures.  The tale is simple funny story and the illustrations are perfect. Froggy laughed and laughed through this one.  

We also enjoyed Japanese Traditions: Rice Cakes, Cherry Blossoms, and Matsuri: AYear of Seasonal Japanese Festivities.  We focused on March and April.  March is the Festival of the Dolls and Girl's Day.  April is the Cherry Blossom Festival.  It was a bit too cuties to be my favorite but it has lots of good factual information in it.