Monday, October 31

The Pumpkin Patch

We took our annual trip to the pumpkin patch.  We have taken Froggy there every year.  I loved seeing the changes in her from year to year.  Some years we bring friends or manage to go more than once.  With the way the holidays fell out this year and all the rain we have had, we barely made it once. 

The place we go is not huge yet we managed to spend all day there and still need to drag Froggy out at the end. 
 She went on the "big kid swing"  for the first time.
Pet the baby cows
 Milked a pretend cow.  She was too afraid to milk the real one.
Helped Abba feed the baby goats.  She had so much fun we had to make two passes by them. 
Though I think her favorite part was going down all the slides.

Menu Planning Monday - 3 Cheshvan 5772

Froggy is going through a picky eater stage.  Even some of her favorites she no longer likes or wants.  Particulary for breakfast and lunch.  It is getting frustrating.

Monday - Hot Dogs and Spaghetti done as this and carrot sticks
Tuesday - Pulled Chicken,(this is now a staple for us that I want to keep in the freezer) niblet corn and peas
Wednesday - Fish ala Jenn Rice and broccoli
Thursday - dinner out after swimming
Shabbat - Challah, Mushroom barley soup, pot roast, acorn squash, broccoli, lemon squares for dessert

I also need to make cranberry sauce, cranberry orange bread based loosely off of this recipe and breakfast cookies ( a new healthy recipe which I will post if we end up liking it).

Sunday, October 30


I would like to meet our new best friend.  His name is Crinkleroot and I will allow him to describe himself with his own words. "He has a long gray beard and bright red hair, and he carries a walking stick shaped like a bear.  He's not very tall but he needn't be, because a snake on his head makes him six foot three."  The quote is from Crinkleroot's Nature Almanac which opens with a song introducing Crinkleroot and his friends. 
The Almanac was not written first and it was not our first.  We started with Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing Trees.  The Guides are the best of the Crinkleroot books.  We used this guide to help us learn about the trees in our neighborhood.  We took one of our walks and collected some fallen leaves.  Then we came home and tried to match them with the deciduous trees in the book. 

Froggy fell deeply in love with Crinkleroot.  We have since read the Guide to Knowing Birds as well.  It is a great accompaniment to our reading of BurgessOur nature study this semester is focusing (for as much as we ever focus) on birds.  Much more accessible to little people.  We put up a bird feeder which has turned our backyard into a wonderful little sanctuary.
It took a couple of tries to get the feeder in the right spot so it feeds the birds not the squirrels.  I have yet to get a good picture of the birds eating because they are so skittish but we are enjoying watching them.

Tuesday, October 25

Parsha - At the Beginning

We are starting the new Torah cycle with some new Parsha resources.  We have been using My First Parsha for three years and it is officially being retired.  If Froggy had a younger sibling we would continue to use it as I would encourage Froggy to read it to the sibling.  It will stay on Froggy's shelves for her to use on her own. 

Instead, this year our primary source will be The Parsha with Rabbi Juravel.  It provides a more in-depth view of the parsha while still presenting it in a child-friendly manner.  I will present more of a review once we have used it for awhile. 

New as well this year, we will include the Haftorah portion in our weekly study.  I do not have a good primary source for Froggy so it is going to be a mishmash of sources including general summaries.  

And the best news of all in my opinion, is that I have begun my own study.  As my primary sources, I am using Etz Chaim and The Five Books of Miriam. We are only on Bereshit and I have already learned so much that I did not know.  Well I suppose that includes Lech Lecha as well which I could not resist investigating as well since it is the potion we are working on in our Chumash studies.  

As it says in Tractate Hagiga 9b " You can't compare someone who review something 100 times to someone who reviews something 101 times."  Even when we think we know all there is about something (especially something as basic and fundamental as Creation)  if we learn it just one more time we will find a totally new facet.

Monday, October 24

Menu Planning Monday - 26 Tishrei 5772

Monday - kasha varniska
Tuesday - salad, garlic bread, pasta with homemade sauce
Wednesday - salmon burgers and green beans
Thursday - leftover buffet
Shabbat - Challah, chicken soup with noodles, winter garden salad, roast chicken, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli, baked apples and ice cream

Sunday, October 23

Hebrew Update

We love our new Shalom Ivrit books.  Froggy really likes the characters.  We are only on Chapter 3 and moving very slowly due to all the Chagim. But it seems to be working.  It is just the right mix of English and Hebrew for our family. 

It is by far better than most Hebrew books for non-Hebrew teachers in that the student actually read dialogue in Hebrew. 

And I know it is working because Froggy will use the new vocabulary randomly during the course of her day.

Monday, October 17

Menu Planning Monday - Simchat Torah

Not too much cooking on the plan list this week.  Thank goodness. I am cooked out.  

Sunday - Bring Green bean and buckwheat Salad to the Sukkot Potluck.
Monday -Beef Barley Soup and homemade bread
Tuesday - Kasha Varnishkes and salad
Wednesday - Dinner - Salad, Sweet Salmon, Rice, keem, Peas and for dessert she picked Poppop's Birthday Cake (Chocolate Chip banana)
Thursday - Froggy's Birthday (According to the Hebrew Calendar) - She gets to choose all food. (starting with Dinner since that is when the day begins. 

Breakfast - Cinnamon Rolls and fruit
Lunch - Macaroni and Cheese

Thursday - Pizza Party at Shul before services. 

Shabbat- Challah - not round this week.  Chicken soup with wontons, Cranberry chicken, acorn squash, broccoli, apple crisp with parve vanilla ice cream

Sunday, October 16

Our Sukkah - old and new

We brought our Sukkah from the old house with its wonderful painted cloth walls.
  The Daddyman built it and found a good home for it in the new yard.  Froggy and I made salt dough decorations.  We made them in brief sittings over several days.  Day one we rolled and cut them.
Day two we dried them even baking them in the oven.  Day Three we painted them.  Paper chains are more traditional but I wanted at least some decorations that would last the whole holiday and not melt in the rain. 

It rained all day Erev Sukkot so we did not get to hang the decorations.  We stayed in the sukkah just long enough to make kiddush and motzi then came inside to eat dinner. 

So today we hung the decorations and add Froggy's new handprint


One of our fall family traditions is the RennFaire.  With no religious school due to the Columbus Day Weekend, we were able to go out early and spend the whole day. 
We all got dressed up in our garb.  Froggy's still needs some more tailoring but she would not hold still for it this week.
The Daddyman went straight to the tavern to listen to the concerts.  Froggy and I toured the shops and visited the children's play area.  

We joined Daddyman in the tavern for some of the more child-friendly music.  Froggy danced and sang and had a blast. 

At one point she caught sight of the rock wall and it captured her attention.  She has never expressed any interest in it before.  We watched the people climb for about 15 minutes while I answered all her questions about how it worked and why they did this or that or the other. Then she decided she wanted to try it.  She was so excited she vibrated.  She made friends with the other girls in line as she waited.  When it was her turn she went right to the gentleman following his directions perfectly.  She did not make it far up the wall and was not willing to try a second time once she slipped but she and I were both very proud of her first attempt.  
We returned to the tavern for the closing performance of the day.  All the performers come together for the final show.

 A full day at faire is fun but exhausting.

Wednesday, October 12

Our walks

Froggy, Sebastian (our puppy) and I have been exploring the trail system behind our house.  The trail system is so extensive and so varied I forsee tons of nature study without us ever needing to travel.
There is a stepping stone bridge at one point across the river.  Froggy and I took it one day as part of our exploring.  Two days later Daddy came with us on a different approach. He commented how high the river looked.  When we got to the stepping stones  and they were covered by 2 inches of water. Froggy and I checked each day from then out waiting for them to be passable again.  Two days later, the tops of the stones were clear but Froggy could not reach the first stone.  The next day, the water was low enough that 2 inches of stones showed and the first stone was approachable.  
 This is a field of Froggy's favorite flowers, black-eyed Susans.  She picked several on the previous hike

These are two of the others wildflowers we see on our walks regularly.  We are working on identifying these currently. 
And the Cattails against the just changing trees are my favorite.  

Monday, October 10

Menu Planning Monday - Sukkot

Sunday - Dinner out at Faire

Monday - Pumpkin Chili , cornbread and salad (I still have yet to make this for the first time)
Tuesday - Beef Barley Soup (using Leftover pot roast)
Erev Sukkot - Round Challah, miso soup, fish loaf, spinach salad, pulkogi, rice, roasted broccoli, apple crisp
Second night - Challah,  fish loaf, pomegranate and apple salad, apple chicken and couscous, mable honey cake
Shabbat - Challah, cranberry chicken, acorn squash,crumbly cauliflower,brownie bites

Friday, October 7


The Daddyman asked to see Wicked for his birthday.  We went yesterday to the opening matinee. It was a last minute decision thus Froggy was not as prepared for the performance as I would typically like.  We played some of the sound track to her and explained the basic premise of the show.  It was only a very basic outline since that is all I knew.

The day got off to a really rocky start.  Both Froggy and I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  We were butting heads from the get go.  We got into the car later than we should have and thus the drive down was stressful.   But we turned the environment around and became excited and full of anticipation.

We arrived late and missed the opening number.  But soon were seated and ready for the fun.  Froggy spent the entire performance on a parent's lap.  I pulled her into my lap as we sat down so she would be taller and see better.  She did not ask to sit separate and it gave me the opportunity to watch her reactions while watching the show. 
Froggy was enthralled. She liked both Elphaba and Glinda.  Her favorite song was "Popular".  Listening to her tell the story back and recap the performance on the drive home was hysterical. 

 We were a bit concerned about taking her to a show with such a dark atmosphere/ storyline. But the flying monkeys did not scare her.  The dark atmosphere did not turn her off.  During a couple of numbers she even started dancing in her seat.  I suspect this will be a memory of a life time for her.

Thursday, October 6

Phases of the Moon

Froggy and her Daddy were admiring the silvery crescent of a moon during Havdalah this week.  She asked about when it would be full and that prompted a fun discussion. 

Tishrei is the easiest month to start it in since not only do we have Rosh Hashana marking the new moon but Sukkot starting on the full moon  I explained to her that it was not a coincident and that this is how the calendar was set up. 

 I surprised Froggy with a long time favorite activity of school students studying the moon.  We made a cookie moon map. 
With older kids, I have them create the phases of the moon in the cookies.  I did this for Froggy to ensure visible distinctions that she would recognize.

And then Froggy got to build her map.  She started with the new moon and full moon since they are the easiest. 
She worked out in opposites adding the quarter moons and then cresent moons and gibbous moons. We talked about what the date would be as we reached each phase. 
We pointed out Yom Kippur, her birthday, Daddy's Birthday, and Simchat Torah in addition to Rosh Hashana and Sukkot.
Then she got to eat her creation.

To help her understand rather than just memorize the phases,w e read Phases of the Moon  and The Moon Book.  Phases of the Moon is extremely basic and a nice foundation. Froggy was able to go back over it again and again by herself.  The Moon Book  is more varied offering information on eclipses and landing and history as well as the phases.

Tuesday, October 4

Tree Roots

The weather here has been extremely wet making it hard for us to get out of doors as much as we usually do.  Today was cold as well as wet.  Finally late in the day the rain stopped enough for a hike.

As Froggy and I embarked I asked her to pick two things she saw during the hike to investigate further once we were home.  She immediately began listing a variety of things she wanted to investigate without even looking at anything.  Sweet and funny but not at all what I had in mind. 

As we toured the neighborhood, Froggy discovered that large sections of her regular sidewalks had been replaced.  This led to a captivating discussion of trees and how they grow.  I taught her the neat rule of thumb that I learned from my mom that a tree's roots need to grow as far out as its furthest branches. It blew her mind that the roots were so long.   And then we compared trees that grow more upright than full. 

We talked about creating a strong base for the tree and choosing the right location for the right

 I wish I had brought my camera with me.  We took a new side branch off of our regular route and found some lovely wildflowers.  We looked them up when we got home.  The first one is a tickseed sunflower, part of the aster family.
And then we found some black-eyed susans that we were able to get right up close.  Froggy loved the fuzzy leaves and stems.  She was fascinated with the strength of the stem.  It did not bend the way the other flowers in her experience had. 

Monday, October 3

Menu Planning Monday - Yom Kippur

Sunday - pasta with homemade sauce and salad
Monday - leftover pot roast, tzimmes, and peas
Tuesday curried Chicken salad (made with leftover Shabbos chicken) and fresh bread
Wednesday  - Leftover Buffet
Thursday - Pumpkin Chili and cornbread
PreFast Dinner -
Break Fast -

We're Back!

At least for a brief bit between holidays.  We do not do much formal school during Tishrei between we want to focus on the holiday and their preparations.  It is similar to how many Christians take off the time during Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

 We had a fantastic holiday with family and friends. Froggy was very proud of her new dress.
   I was up very late Tuesday night finishing the buttonholes.  
We did not quite finish our new wreath but we got it done enough to hang. 
Froggy and her cousin dababybean helped make the bees for our honey cake.
Froggy made place cards for the guests and decorated the table with festive faux Fall leaves. And finally it was time to welcome the New Year.