Thursday, December 18, 2014

Keeping Up with Ourselves- A Chanukah Lesson

My son recently received a sweatshirt as a gift from my mom. He thought it was the absolute coolest sweatshirt ever. It has a hood, lots of shades of green (his favorite color) and it zips all the way up with some mesh pieces over his face which is just super cool.

Being that we live in the tropics, he doesn't get to wear his new favorite sweatshirt that often but the second it is remotely chilly he has it on with a smile from ear to ear. He really loves his new sweatshirt!

Every Wednesday he takes an art class at the local elementary school down the road. A few weeks ago it was raining really hard and strangely chilly, so he was super excited to be able to wear his awesome sweatshirt to his art class.

As he got there, I noticed a bunch of boys standing around him and commenting on how cool his sweatshirt was. Apparently its a cool sweatshirt among boys his age (9) and he was just made aware of this as being homeschooled, he really has no clue what clothes are considered 'cool'. He just knows what HE likes. And he likes this sweatshirt because of the colors and the hood and the cool way it zips up. Not because it is considered cool.

We have a young lady who comes over once a week to play, she just turned 12 and loves coming over. She does these amazing projects with my kids, makes music videos with them, directs plays, make up dances, she is so creative and my kids are her perfect little actors and performers whom she can direct and bring out her talent. She loves it, they love it, I love it, its a win win.

A few nights ago we had a Chanukah party and she asked if she could bring a friend from school. I told her of course and that night there were a bunch of kids at the party. After we lit the Menorah, we put on music and brought all the kids to the grass to dance.

We made a huge circle holding hands and started dancing around. the next thing I know, her friend started running really fast, dragging the kid next to her, which was a ripple effect and suddenly the kids were running really fast in this circle and all the kids came toppling on top of each other. Some little ones were really not happy about it. We all got back up and made a circle again and I noticed this young lady who is always so respectful and so wonderful when she comes over started acting a little too wild and between her and her friend the circle just fell apart. I was really disappointed but then I realized this is very normal middle school behavior. Peer pressure.

Both these experiences made me see the Miracle of Chanukah on a very personal level.

We live in a huge world where everyone is trying to keep up with every one else.

The Greeks wanted the Jews to do just that. To be like them.

When we homeschool, we give our kids the gift of making decisions based on their own opinion, not the opinion of others. They do not have the issue of peer pressure on a daily basis.

My daughter has her own fashion sense. She wears things that she likes, colors that she likes. She plays with toys that she loves, not toys that are cool or in style.

My sisters gifted her with an American Girl Doll. She had no idea what this was, she figured its just a pretty doll. Needless to say, she was not too impressed as she doesn't love playing with dolls, she prefers miniatures. So she gave it to her younger sister.

The beauty of knowing yourself, and knowing what YOU like and enjoy, is such a special gift. The Jews had to be so strong during that time that the Greeks were trying to change them. Its just like that today except we just don't realize it.

So take this Chanukah and appreciate being who YOU are. The foods YOU like, the clothes YOU choose. The things that make YOU happy. Its NOT about what you SHOULD do. Don't compare yourself to other moms, don't compare your kids to other kids. Be you, because that is who Hashem created you to be. Embrace it.

Have a wonderful Shabbos and may the rest of Chanukah be filled with lots of light and many many miracles!

Chanukah Sameach!
Always,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Montessori and Chanukah Fun Printables and More!

My dear and very talented friend Nechamy has very graciously started contributing her gorgeous and very well made Montessori inspired printable activities to my blog for all of you to enjoy-

Feel free to download and print some or all of these fabulous Chanukah activities for your munchkins, all made and put together by Nechamy just for you... 




And of course, these adorable books from Mish and Mush- just click on the images to purchase and enhance your Chanukah experience...




And check out these super cute Chanukah themed card games and activities from Emily Sper...




Just click on the above images to make these adorable activities yours~

Enjoy the rest of your week and stay tuned for a wonderful Alef Bet curriculum review and some more fantastic Alef Bet activities from the wonderfully talented Nechamy!

Always,

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Adorable Menorah Decorating Kits



Whenever I go with my kids to Costco this time of year, they are always fascinated by the Gingerbread House making kit. Knowing it is not Kosher, they know not to even ask for it but talk about how cool it would be to make one.

A friend recently sent me a link to Sweet Thrills Bakeshop  where I saw they had Gingerbread Menorah Decorating Kits... that were KOSHER!!! PARVE!!!

I immediately contacted them and asked if they would send me one to review for all of you and within a few days the kit arrived--- and oh my goodness!!!



We opened it up and here is what was inside:


Which you put together to make this:



I mean, can you get any cuter? And the prices are SO decent- I highly recommend you hop on over to their website Sweet Thrills Bakeshop and check out their products- 

For Chanukah they have 3 different options and its all Kosher Parve!!!

A great Chanukah gift and activity for the kids- Enjoy and Happy almost Chanukah!

Always,

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Dreidel that wouldn't Spin- a Chanukah Book Review

In this very sweet story, a peddler gives a very beautiful dreidel to the greedy owner of a toy shop.



The shopkeeper sells this dreidel twice to two separate spoiled children for a very high price only to have them both come back to return it because this dreidel simply 'won't spin!'


The shopkeeper realizes there is something strange going on especially when a poor man and his child enter his store.

In this beautiful holiday story by award-winning author Martha Simpson, and brought to life by the imaginative illustrations of award-winning illustrator D. Yael Bernhard, the happiness in this story will warm the heart of young and old alike with its simple message: wonders still occur for those who are ready for them. 

Included is a useful appendix that explains Chanukah, and an explanation on how to play the dreidel game.

You can buy it here:

Wishing you a Peaceful and Wonderful Shabbos,
Always,

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fabulous Chanukah Product Reviews!

Ok all you amazing mama's out there- I have got some fantastic Chanukah Products to introduce to you...

First up-

This is a huge book with the most magnificent illustrations filled with information on as well as the story of Chanukah. 
It also comes with a huge Story Board with 40 gorgeous and colorful removable stickers to use while teaching about Chanukah:

If you are going to make one investment this year in your Jewish homeschooling curriculum, Preschool curriculum and/or Hebrew School, then this should be it. 

Hop on over to Dassie's website to see a bunch of sample pages from the book, get a free coloring sheet, get the exact measurements of the book and story board and lots more info- the quality is superb and this entire set is worth every penny in my humble opinion, go check it out: http://www.chanukahbigbook.com/

My kids LOVE it and I can't wait to show the kids in Hebrew school on Sunday. 

Stay tuned for some more superb Chanukah products and for more info on

Have a wonderful week!
Always,

Monday, November 10, 2014

If you give a Mom some Chocolate...

this was my morning in a nutshell...

If you give a mom some chocolate
She will have to hide in her closet to eat it so none of her kids see and she can have it all to herself.

Her phone will ring and she will answer it.
Her cleaning help will tell her she cannot come in today.

She will need to go and get another piece of chocolate.
And eat it in the closet.

While in her closet she will notice how unorganized it is.
She will head to the garage to bring up the new shelves she has been meaning to put together for her unorganized closet.

As she gets to the garage, she steps on a piece of Lego and yells really loudly.
She picks up the Lego piece and takes it to her boys room to put back in their Lego table.

While in the boys room, she gathers all their dirty laundry.
She heads to the laundry room and starts a load.

She see's some lone pink hangers on the dryer.
She returns them to the girls closet.

In the girls room, she sees some of her make up and lotions.
She returns it all to her bathroom and puts it all on a higher shelf.

On the shelf, she notices a pair of nail clippers.
She remembers she needs to cut her sons very long nails.

She finds her son playing really nicely and decides not to interrupt him.
As she turns around he asks her for a snack.

She goes to the kitchen to make him a snack.
She sees the pile of dishes in the sink.

She decides to ignore the dishes.
She tries to remember why she came into the kitchen in the first place.

She reaches for her morning coffee and realizes it is now cold.
She starts to make a new cup of coffee.

And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee,
she will need some chocolate to go with it!

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Homeschooling the anxious child

 If you walked into my home on any given weekday morning, chances are you would find my younger kids playing in our playroom/classroom, and older on the computer in their Online Yeshiva classes. 

One of my kids though, do not fit into either of those groups.

She is 7, extremely bright and capable, but gets herself really worked up very easily.

It is often a struggle to get her to do her school work, but once she does it, she does a beautiful job. Buthere have been days when we will argue back and forth and make 25 different deals for 15 minutes when all she needed to do was write 2 sentences.

It goto a point where I started getting really frustrated and needed to figure out a different plan.

I sat down and wrote down the main subjects that we needed to accomplish each day.

then assigned 5 minutes to each subject.

We sat down this morning and I went over it with her.

I showed her the 5 minute clock in the middle of each subject and told her that for each subject before she starts her work, we will put on a timer for 5 minutes.

She got really excited abouthis, as 5 minutes is really not a long time, right?

We got all her supplies ready and in front of her, and she goto pick which subjects she wanted to do first.

She chose math. We have 2 great math apps on the iPad as well as a workbook. We did one of the apps and as the buzzer went off, she was ready to pick the next subject.

I gave her stickers with different expressions on each face and she goto put a sticker nexto each subject as she completed it showing how she felt doing it.

this really worked so well. It gave her some sort of control over her work which I realized alleviates a lot of her anxiety. 

She has everything she needs, and knows that each subject will only take 5 minutes- which was funny as for some things she asked for some more time to finish her work, to which I told her no problem.

She took a few breaks between subjects and the morning went really smoothly. 

If you have a little munchkin like mine, try outhe 5 minute time frame. You don't realize how much can get done in these little pockets of time. And when she is enjoying something, we keep going, and when she is not, she knows 'its just 5 minutes!'

I hope this was helpful to you,
Wishing you a fabulous week,
Always,

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