Showing posts from July, 2012


I have a beautiful photo of my mom alone that I wish I could share but have yet to scan it.

Today is my mother's third Yahrziet.  This year is particularly bittersweet.  There is so much I want to share with her.  So many questions I want to ask her and things I want to tell her.  But the new baby growing inside will be named for her so that helps lots.  When my mom passed, one of the things that made it extra extra sad was thinking that there would never be a grand child born to be named after her. Knowing that now there will be makes commemorating this Yahrziet a bit easier.

Froggy has some memories of my mom but I think most of them are stories. We try hard to share the stories with her so she at least that much.  Hopefully she will help share them with Baby O someday the way her cousin shares her special childhood memories.

Tish B'Av

I did not grow up in a very observant household.  Growing up there was no mention of any holidays between Shavuot and Rosh HaShana.  And we barely even heard of Shavuot.  I have grown much in my observance since Froggy was born and continue to grow and learn. 
When preparing for the holiday, I prepared as I would for a major fast day, planning my meals accordingly thinking in advance so as to help the fast be successful and have a good beaf-fast meal ready with minimal effort.  Then I realized due to the pregnancy I would not be fasting.
For the first time ever, I was able to attend Shul and hear Lamentations read for Tish B'Av.  It was a very beautiful service and a very moving experience.  For the service, everyone sits on the floor or low stools and the lights are dimmed to help achieve the proper sense of mourning. 
 Our rabbi ran a study session during the afternoon on the differences between the communal mourning of Tish B'Av and the more personal mourning of Yom Kippur…

Menu Planning MOnday - 11 Av

First the review - The kugel was a total lose.  I don't think anyone liked it.  It had a decent texture but the flavor was only ok and apparently we are not big kugel fans. The veggie sticks on the other had were delicious. The cake part of the petite fours worked perfect but the frosting was not so great. The first pass thickened far too much far too quickly. We ended up using a royal icing instead which is not the same thing.

Monday - Salad, Chicken Noodle Soup and Homemade Bread
Tuesday - Fish Ala Jenn, rice and peas
Wednesday - Salad, Pasta, Homemade sauce, Garlic Bread
Thursday - Homemade Chicken Fingers, Tator tots and peas
Friday - Challah, Salmon Croquettes, Minestrone Soup, Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Green Beans, Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding 
Kiddush is at shul as usually
Slichat Seudah - Challah, hummus, broccoli slaw, cucumber salad, salmon salad, fruit salad and chocolate raspberry bars

Visiting Monet's Garden

This week during our French adventure, we left Paris and headed over to Monet's Garden.  There are two docents who run the early group but this summer Froggy seems to be blue and with the same docent.  This week though we started with the painting rather than the story. As an added bonus, children got to how some other patrons use the museum.  This artist was creating a reproduction of another Monet painting right next to their presentation.  It was a wonderful distraction. 
The main painting on our tour stop today was The Artist's Garden at V├ętheuil.  The docent led the children in an exercise on truly observing in a very Charlotte Mason style in my opinion. All the children then got to share what they saw in the painting.
She also introduced them to Claude Monet himself and gave a brief biography. Then it was storytime.  The book this week was an obvious pairing in The Magical Garden of Claude Monet.  I had checked this book out of the library and Froggy had read it prev…

Tefillah Update

Given that it is summer, our schooling is a bit erratic.  We are making progress with the Shema but it is very very slow.  I just made the latest worksheet for Froggy.  Each time we do it (which should be every week but is not) I add a line in Hebrew.  I keep all the previous lines since we are working on memorization.  Only the new line is translated and only the new line is used for copy work.

stART - Tour De France

This year, quite possibly Froggy's last at Stories in Art, takes the children on a virtual tour through France. We took Froggy's friend E with us.  It was his very first time visiting the museum let alone participating in the program.  It was fun to see Froggy play tour guide and walk him through the program.  Much of the time when these two are together, he is the leader choosing and guiding the activities.   The first stop on the virtual tour, was Paris and Renoir.  Froggy's group got to view the painting first.  The painting in the spotlight is Pont Neuf, Paris.  We learned that Edmond, Renoir's brother, appears twice in the painting with his same straw hat and cane.  Edmond helped Renoir with the painting by engaging passersby in conversation so that they would pause for longer and make a better subject.

After viewing the painting, we enjoyed The Cows Are Going To Paris.  In this story, the cows get tired of their Florida pasture and decide to tour Pari…

Menu Planning Monday - 26 Tammuz

The Review - We never got around to trying the Chicken Caccitore.   Froggy loved the cookies which was a total shock to me.  I did not care for them very much but that could very easily be my funny pregnant tastebuds. The Roasted Veggie soup was not a big hit.  We did it as a soup course rather than a meal.  It would be much be as a meal served over rice and with a touch of Parmesan.

Sunday - Dinner on the road home

Monday -Dinner at Aunt Petal's
Tuesday - Pizza and Salad
Wednesday -  Final Swim Meet  - Picnic at the pool
Thursday - Tacos, rice and black beans
Shabbat -  Asian themed Shabbat - Veggie Egg Rolls, Miso Soup, Salad (I need to find a fun recipe) Maple Glazed Salmon, rice, Sesame green beans, Swiss cake roll

Independence Day

Normally we go to the Grandparents for the 4th.  Unfortunately, with Abba having just started a new job traveling during the week was not an option.  So we found some fun things to do locally.

Despite record high temps,we attended the local parade which was truly impressive. 
 Abba entertained the children with bubbles before the parade started.  How can you turn down a parade with a floating Uncle Sam hat?  And a Liberty Bell And Very Hungry Catapiller  There were also lots of good bands And even a few groups of bagpipes
For the first time ever, we left a parade before it ended.  It was just too hot to be out any longer.  We spent the afternoon at my sister's pool and then headed over to the local high school for Fireworks.  The set up at the high school was amazing with bounce houses for the kids to jump in before hand and bands playing to keep the adults amused. Unfortunately technical issues halted the fireworks shortly after they started so the show itself was something of …

Swim Meet #2

Froggy competed in her second meet of the season.  There are only four in all so that means the season is half way done.

She improved her times in both the races she does.  She is working on learning "legal" breaststroke so that she could theoretically compete in that as well.  It is highly unlikely though she will be ready this year.  

But the best news of all was that she placed fifth in her backstroke race.  If she had finished as strong as she started I suspect she could have done even better.  She was so happy with placing.  I have tried to stress to her that the personal bests are much more important but she was far more pleased with placing.

Menu Planning Monday - Tammuz 19

The past week had lots of experiments but only one win.  The jambalaya was from a mix and was too spicy for my crowd.  I still want to show them good jambalaya but that will need to wait till I have time to make it right from scratch.  The basil orzo was a disaster that even I would not eat.  The cranberry avocado salad was delicious and the crowd asked for it to make an encore.

Sunday - Green Salad, Pasta with vegan sauce, Garlic bread
Monday-mom at meeting - Froggy and Abba are doing dinner out.
Tuesday -chicken cacciatore (crockpot) over pasta and salad (prep double - one for the freezer)
Wednesday - picnic dinner at the pool - make cookies for concession stand
Thursday - Pizza and salad
Shabbat- at the beach - Challah,Gefilte Fish, Tossed Salad, Roasted Vegetable Soup, Teryaki Steak, Green Beans, Corn on the Cob, brownie bites and Chocolate chip peanut butter cookies for dessert
Shabbat morning - Banana bread (bake on Friday) and fresh fruit
Kiddush -Tuna salad, caprese salad,…

Roasted Vegetable Soup

2 medium zucchini cut into 1" pieces1 large red pepper seeded and chopped2 medium carrots chopped1 bunch asparagus cut into pieces2 TBSP olive oil4 c broth28 oz diced tomatoes1 tsp dried thymesaltpepper1 cup brown rice1/4 c chopped fresh basil Directions
Preheat oven to 450In a large bowl, combine zucchini, pepper, carrots, and asparagus.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepperTransfer to baking sheet and roast until golden brown ~20minIn stock pot, combine broth, tomatoes, and thyme. Bring to a boil Stir in roasted veggies and simmer for 5 min.Meanwhile cook ricePuree soup and stir in basil.  Serve over rice for a full meal or alone for a Shabbat Starter

Boston = Science

It seems that every time, we visit Boston the kids' favorite thing to do is visit the Science Museum.  Before we headed in,  we warned the children that it would be a particularly short trip since we needed to leave before lunch
The first thing, they wanted to do was an old favorite, the forces room.    Froggy had tons of fun with centrifugal force.  She has played on this one before but this was the first time she actually got the idea and made it work right.  
 Our little friend S. (age 3) is finally old enough to explore on his own and not run amok.  He had fun trying out the balance.  Next stop was fluid dynamics.  Everyone wanted to play with the water at first.  But Froggy stayed long after everyone else lost interest.  This neat table is supposed to help you test your peripheral vision but S. just wanted to make the lever arm swing.  The best part in my opinion of the whole event was the anatomy room.  We got to see a real sheep's heart and lungs.  The docent even h…

What We Are Reading

Froggy has been enjoying her new series.  Not only is Thea Stilton a fast friend now, but Geronimo Stilton is also a great friend.  She checked out four different ones on the last trip to the library and that is only because I did not let her get more.  These books are complete twaddle and the reading level is not up to her ability but she loves them anyway.
We just finished Once Upon A Crime, the fourth book in the Sisters Grimm series.  It is just as delightful as the first three.  It is so fun to see the girls meet their fairy tale favorites "in person" and see how different they are from their stories. 

We are now listening to Pinocchio.  Froggy keeps saying over and over "that's not right"  and I have to keep telling her it is right because this is the original.  It is Disney who got it wrong.

Thanks to Auntie Fawn, we have renewed our interest in American Girl.  Froggy played with her two dolls, Samantha and Kit, while visiting.  So we checked out Meet S…


Now that Froggy is getting more capable with her reading in Hebrew, we are working on actually reading the tefillah during davening rather than reciting/singing from memory.  We are also working on learning the meaning of the prayers.  Right now, we are working the second paragraph of the Shema. 
 We are using the English for her copy work. Copywork is a major component of the Charlotte Mason style yet it seemed not to fit until now.  It was not meaningful and thus I would let it slide.  By combining Tefillah practice and copywork, I have made it important.  That does not mean fun though.  It is currently the most fraught item during our school time.  Reading the Hebrew and learning the prayers are great.  Unfortunately doing the printing is miserable


This past weekend, we took a whirlwind trip to the mountains of New Hampshire to attend my cousin's vow renewal.   He and his beautiful wife have been married for 16 years and decided to host a big shindig to reaffirm their love for one another.  Since I was not able to attend the original wedding, I felt it was important to attend this ceremony.  I am so glad I did.  It was a special delight to share the joy with my cousin and to meet his wife's family.
 I brought Froggy with me. We stayed with friends the night before and had a fun kid adventure Friday morning.  At the renewal itself, Froggy made fast friends with the only other youngling present.
They played together during cocktails and appetizers and then danced non stop after dinner.  Froggy kept dancing even after her friend left for bed. 

Our family needs more events like this.  It was a super wonderful time.

Menu Planning Monday - 11 Tammuz

Finally a week where everyone is home.  The horrible heat wave we are having means I am extremely reluctant to turn on the oven.  I have some delicious bread recipes I want to try.  I have a wonderful new Pampered Chef Muffin tin I got for my birthday that I am looking forward to using but not this week. I hope the heat breaks by Friday because I am baking for Shabbat regardless.

Monday - Swim Meet - Cold Chicken Salad, salad, grapes, potato chips.
Tuesday - Jambalaya and Salad
Wednesday - Fish ala Jenn(cooked on the grill) rice and peas
Thursday-hamburgers, corn on the cob, and salad
Shabbat - Challah, Gefilte Fish Loaf (already in the freezer), Cranberry-Avocado Salad, Alphabet Soup (recipe to follow), Roast Chicken, green beans, basil orzo (a parve version of this), blueberry cobbler.