Monday, September 30

A Hard Day

Today is our son, Orin's first yahrzeit.  He should be 1 today, blowing out candles and getting his first taste of cake.  He should be having his dol and choosing his future. He should be here in my arms snuggling and snoozing, giggling and making us giggle.

Instead he is with HaShem and we are left here feeling his absence and crying.  Last night, we as a family went to minyan and said Kaddish then came home and lit a candle for him and a few special words to him.  While it burned we opened the box that came home from the hospital in his place for the first time.  We touched his tiny little hand print and foot print. We held the cap he wore.  And finally we looked at his picture and his beautiful sleeping face.  I wanted so much just to reach out and kiss him.  My heart aches with missing him. 

Later today, we will go to the cemetery and put stones on his grave.  It will be our first time back since the funeral.  Due more of the same awfulness as surrounded his birth, the marker for his grave is not yet ready and we don't get to have the unveiling yet.  Still we will our own special moments and say our private prayers and be as close with him as we possibly can.  We bought a special lantern on our vacation that we will fill with special messages to him and release as our special way of sharing some of those moments he missed with him. 

We love you    We miss you. אר'ן בן אר'ה  

Wednesday, September 25

Cellular Anatomy

While we are still using Ambleside for the majority of our secular subjects, we chose Human Anatomy over their science this year.  We purchased the accompanying notebook and Froggy is using that for guide for her narrations.  Our first topic was cellular anatomy.  Froggy illustrated the structure of the cell as we read about it.

She is so thrilled with the science that we actually struggle to contain the excitement enough that I can read the information to her. 
The best part in her opinion is the projects that are included in the book.  This week's project was making an edible cell to demonstrate cellular anatomy.

 Yellow jello formed the cytoplasm
 
 Froggy added all of the organelles following the key I provided.  She had a blast deciding how many of each organelle and where they should be placed.
  
This is what it looked like when she finished adding the organelles 
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And here is the unmolded version.  She was so proud of the finished product that she gave an exquite unprompted narration telling him about all the different organelles. I don't know how much she will remember when revisit this in her next cycle but it is amazing watching the joy now.

Monday, September 23

Apples for a Sweet New Year

We went apple picking.  Despite the holidays being early this year, the weather was perfect picking weather. We love going picking and it is even more fun when friends come.  Several varieties were not ripe yet but we managed to find plenty of good ones.  The children had a marvelous time comparing the taste and texture of the different varieties and deciding which ones were favorites. 
Froggy did a good job picking even with the cast on.  She was very disappointed that she could not climb into the tree as she has other years.  Picking from Abba's shoulds helped but it just is not the same.
 
 After a picnic lunch on the hillside it was time for some silliness. We threw fallen apples at dead tree targets and ran helter skelter down the hill.
 
  After some more picking to round out our collection, we found a neat rock formation that needed exploring
 Is that not an amazing view?
This is a new orchard for us but we will be returning here.  Chag Samaech and a sweet year to all.

Sunday, September 22

Puppets

Narrating is a challenge in our school year.  So this year, I decided to try some new things to help.  For several of our books , Froggy has been an alternate method of telling back to make it more interesting.  For one of our history books, we created puppets representing the historical figures.  
I printed them out from here and covered them with contact paper. Then Froggy cut them out.  She insisted even with the cast on her dominate hand.
Here is a finished sample
 It is still very early in our school year, but so far they are a wonderful addition and make narrating this book more fun for both of us.

Tuesday, September 3

L'shana Tovah!!

As we prepare to usher in 5774, we wanted to share some new tunes as well as some old favorites with you.
 
This is a new one shared from our Youth Director
And this is still our favorite even after several years.
This is not my style of apple dipping but you might like it

Monday, September 2

Wild Horses

We love going to Asseteague.  Whether we stay in a hotel or camp right by the beach, it is an important tradition for our family.    After last year's comedy of errors, it was nice to have a trip that actually worked. 
The weather was magnificent.  We did not have a single rain storm.  The weather was cooler than usual so we actually daylight hours out of the water.  
 After burying Froggy, it was Abba's turn.
 The horses are wild but some of them are very friendly.
 
This one decided Abba needed kisses
 While it was fun watching a mom and baby, it is even more cool watching the horses play in the surf. 
With Abba's help, Froggy was actually able to fly the kite.
  
After many years of talking about it, we finally made it down to Chincoteague. It was not Auction weekend so there were no crowds but also no swimming foals.
 The first stop was the visitor's center so Froggy could be sworn in as a Junior Ranger. 
 Froggy posed with Misty (I don't know if the artist knew that is who it is but Froggy is positive)
This is the still working lighthouse that guards the shores of Asseatgue Island.  We learned some of the history of the shipwrecks off the shore of the island, including one presidential yacht.
 The best part of the day for Froggy was feeding the foals. 

We had to leave the campground early on our last day so we took the opportunity to visit the boardwalk. 
Froggy did a great job on this "banana bike" that she was barely tall enough to use.
We also got to take a look at this replica of a Spanish Galleon. 

Sunday, September 1

Rugelach

I made rugelach for Shabbat dessert for the first time ever.  It was much easier than I expected.  Despite looking at several yeast based recipes, I used this cream cheese dough instead, making some modifications to personalize it as well as make it parve.  These are very very forgiving cookies which can be modifyied to suit whatever is easy and appealing at the moment.   The next time I make them I will try more variations.

I should have made the dough on Thursday rather waiting until Friday.  I usually make the batter for whatever cookies I am making in advance and then bake them right before Shabbat.

I put the cream cheese out to come to room temperature but forgot to put out the margarine. I left it sit for a bit but it still took more beating than it should have and did not leave me much time chilling the dough.  
 I opted for discs rather than logs because that is the look I am used to.Each disc only makes 8 cookies, so an entire batch is only 32 cookies and goes really fast
 For two of the discs, I used up  the remaining lemon-pear marmalade I had lying around.  For the last two discs I used my homemade peach preserves as the base.  I ran out of chocolate chips after the second disc, so I chopped up some chocolate bar instead, yielding chocolate chunks. Good chocolate makes a clear taste difference.
I debated skipping the egg wash and sugar sprinkle but I am really glad that I did not.  They give the cookies a really nice golden shine and a yummy crunch.