Monday, September 22, 2014

Childrens books for Yom Tov

Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story
By Allison Sarnoff Soffer
Illustrated by Bob McMahon
Ages 2-7

 Katy's favorite holiday is Rosh Hashanah in Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story. It's the time of year when she gets to pick apples and make applesauce with her mother. But what happens when the family tradition is interrupted by the arrival of a new baby cousin?
A situation to which every child and family can relate, this is a story about what happens when a child realizes that family priorities must sometimes change. Luckily for Katy, her friends and her community are there to help her in this charming story about a beloved fall custom. Applesauce recipe included!

New for Simchat Torah!
 The Patchwork Torah
By Allison Ofanansky
Illustrated by Elsa Oriol
Ages 4-8

A Torah Scribe and His Family Rescue Damaged Torahs in a Story Spanning Four Generations
 As a child, David watches his grandfather, a Torah scribe or sofer, finish a Torah scroll for the synagogue. "A Torah is not something to be thrown away," his Grandfather explains in The Patchwork Torah. David's grandfather carefully stores the old Torah his new one has replaced in his cabinet, hoping to one day repair the letters so the Torah can be used again.
David grows up and becomes a sofer just like his grandfather. Through the years, people bring him damaged Torahs they have saved from danger and disaster - one damaged by Nazi soldiers during World War II, one damaged in a fire in a synagogue, and one in flooding during Hurricane Katrina. David stores each of these precious Torahs in his cabinet, until his granddaughter Leah gives him the idea to make a recycled Torah from the salvaged Torah scrolls.

A Watermelon in the Sukkah
By Sylvia A. Rouss and Shannan Rouss
Illustrated by Ann Iosa
Ages 3-8

Michael's favorite fruit might prove more than the sukkah can handle in A Watermelon in the Sukkah.
Miss Sharon's students have all brought their favorite fruit to hang in the sukkah, but Michael's favorite fruit is a watermelon! It looks like the watermelon can't hang in the sukkah, until Michael comes up with a unique solution.

 Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, Sweet New Year-
Shana Tova uMetuka! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Art of Delegation

When it comes to organization and home management, lets just say that they are not my strongest points.

Over the years, as more kids and responsibilities came along, I have had to rely on the help of others to keep things running as smoothly as possible, be it cooking, cleaning, organizing etc.

Now, the thing is, you can have all the help in the world, but if your help doesn't know what you need them to do, its not going to be that helpful.

And so I have very slowly (and I mean, this has taken me YEARS) figured out the art of delegation.

For some of you, this may come very naturally. For me, it is something I have had to figure out.

A few weeks ago I had a friend helping me prepare food for a large Shabbos meal. She is actually a film director and lives in NY and was just visiting her family who  live here and was excited to help.

I set up a station for her with the food processor, different bowls, vegetables, a garbage, she had everything set up and I told her exactly what I needed done.

While we were cooking and chopping, she said, 'you know, you delegate really well!' I literally almost fell over, as this is something that has really not come naturally to me. It still doesn't. I always wished people who are helping me knew exactly what I wanted done without me having to show them.

But then I realized that I should take this new found art and use it in my day to day life.

Here are some great tips on how to master the art of delegation (whether you are delegating chores for your kids, cleaning help, cooking help, activities for your kids, any time you need to tell someone else what you need them to do for you)

1. YOU need to know EXACTLY what you want done. Write a list, in detail of what needs to happen.

2. Set it up for them. Whatever supplies are needed to get the job done, set it up.Try not to have anything around that is not needed.

3.Let them know exactly what is expected to get done. If you need to give a time limit, do so. Ask if your instructions are clear and if they have any questions.

4. Check up on them to make sure they are doing what you want. Mis-communications happen all the time. Just keep on top of things.

This can ALL apply to Homeschooling:

- Know exactly what you want your kids to be learning. Make your decision on curriculum for each child.
-Set it up for them, make sure they have all their supplies that they will need so there will be no interruptions.
-Show them what they need to get done and how much time they have to do it.
-Be there to help them if assistance is needed.

I hope this was helpful to those in a similar situation to me!

Oh, and one last thing- we had a plastic shoe box where we kept all our card games. It was always such a mess even if the cards were in rubber bands, the kids just didn't use them.

I was at Ross one night and found this Jewelry organizer and for some reason though it would be a good idea to keep their playing cards in.

It worked out so great! The kids actually play with the cards now that they can see what they have (I found 3 sets of Uno cards, who knew?)

So that's my two cents for the week!

Wishing you all a wonderful week,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fabulous Shabbos Sheets

The folks over at The Famous Abba contacted me to do a review on their weekly 'Super Shabbos Sheet'.

They sent me a few weeks of Super Shabbos Sheets and they are simply wonderful.

Each color printable Shabbos Sheet is on the weekly parshah.
It includes:
- Middah of the month
-Parshah skit ideas
-a crossword
-Week in review
-Synopsis of the parshah
-a wordfind
-a word scramble
-you be the judge
-historical timeline
-spot the difference
-Shabbos melacha

ALL of this on one sheet. Pretty awesome.

CLICK HERE to check out this weeks Super Shabbos Sheet for Parshas Re'eh and try it out with your kids.

If you want to subscribe to their weekly Super Shabbos Sheet, CLICK HERE to go directly to their website and CLICK HERE to like their Facebook page. And feel free to leave a comment on how much your family enjoyed the Famous Abbas Super Shabbos Sheet!

Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Grass is always Greener

As the new school year approaches and I start to gather my kids curriculum, I can't help but smile to myself.

My babies are now preschoolers. My preschoolers are now in elementary school.

My kids are growing up. And apparently, so am I.

When my oldest was about 5 days old, I was sitting with my father in law and telling him how I think I have my baby figured out and how he is on a great schedule.

My dear father in law just smiled and nodded his head. As the father of 11 kids, he knew fully well how just when we think we have it all figured out, things change, life happens.

I am constantly getting to know my kids. Their personalities, their learning styles. And as I get to know them, it actually gets easier to cater to their schooling.

Looking at how others homeschool can be inspiring. But at the same time, it's not your garden. It's not your kids, or your family dynamics, so never ever compare your homeschool life to anyone elses.

Look at your kids. Talk to them. See what they like. Recognize their strengths and recognize their challenges so you can be there to help them get through them.

We all have our own gardens. Be prepared for unexpected changes. Be open to changing things around when things are not working out. Don't try to push something that is not working for your family but is working for another. If you concentrate on your own garden instead of looking into everyone elses, yours will blossom and bloom. 

Good luck starting off your school year,

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hats off to Working Moms

The other day I had a dentist appointment. It was an afternoon appointment so I left the house around 1pm, got to my appointment at 1:30, saw the doc, was out of there around 3:30 pm, did a few errands on the way home and ended up walking into my house around 5 pm.

I was exhausted. I had put dinner in the crock-pot before I left so dinner was ready when I came home, but while all I wanted to do was flop down on the couch and put my feet up for a few minutes, my kids decided other wise.

The babysitter left, and I was suddenly bombarded with questions, stories, requests and what not from my adorable little brood. 

It wasn't about mommy being exhausted and relaxing for 5 minutes, it was ALL about these little peoples needs being met at that exact moment.

And it suddenly dawned on me. So many people look at me and wonder how I can be home with my kids all day and how challenging it seems. And so many people think that moms who work get a 'break' by going to work every day. But just going out for the afternoon made me realize how challenging it is to be a working mom.

Where I can make dinner and tackle house work pretty much whenever I have an open slot of time during the day, working moms do not have that luxury. Where I can set aside time during the day to take a few moments to relax, for a working mom, that only comes later on once the kids are in bed, once everything else in the house that needs to get done is done.

And when you get home from work, the kids are so excited to see you and get your attention its so overwhelming because all you can think about is how exhausted you are!

So to all you working moms out there, I solute you. You are all amazing in your ability to balance family, work and your sanity. I have the utmost of respect for each and every one of you.

Wishing you all a fabulous week,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Seeing the good in a world that seems so evil

A few weeks ago Harper Collins mailed me a copy of the book Rebbe The life and teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, The most influential Rabbi in Modern History by Joseph Telushkin to review on my blog.

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading Rebbe. This book has given me a tremendous amount of inspiration and support in a time where it is very easy to feel frustrated, afraid and helpless by what is going on in the world.

The Rebbe had such love for every single Jew. There was no such thing as 'reform, conservative or modern orthodox.' You were a Jew in the Rebbes eyes, a shining diamond with the tremendous potential and capability to become the greatest person you can be. The Rebbe saw this in every person both Jew and non-Jew alike.

The Rebbe saw the good in this world and made it very clear that it is up to us, to reveal this goodness, no matter where we are, by doing mitzvos, one baby step at a time.

At a time when the world seems so dark, connecting to the Rebbe on this level is very comforting. Here I am, geographically as far away from Israel as one can possibly be, and feeling so helpless while my Jewish brothers and sisters are fighting for and protecting our country, I think, what can I do?

The Rebbe's message has and always will be, to spread the light to take away the darkness. Give more charity, say a blessing, light a Shabbos candle. Do what YOU can to make this world a little more bright.

Not only is Rebbe a very interesting biography on the Rebbe, but it is also a book that is filled with inspiration, every time I pick it up to read a chapter it feels like a warm hug. You get to know the Rebbe and you can feel the love that he had for each individual.

Click on the image below to purchase your own copy of Rebbe.

A little love goes a long way.
As we pray for our soldiers, may we just hear good news,

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fantastic Online Gemara Class for Homeschooled Boys-

For moms with boys ages 11-13, I highly recommend you get your little guys to try out this Online Gemara class. 

My personal experience with Rabbi Levi has been so wonderful, my son can't wait to begin his private tutoring sessions again this year. 

Let your son try it out for himself, and feel free to leave a comment on how much your he enjoyed it~

Hope you are enjoying your summer,
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