Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Who's running the show?

I just got back from New York about 2 weeks ago. I went with my older kids to visit my family. We are a really close family and it was an amazing trip. No matter where I live in the world, New York will always be home. No matter how cold. No matter how smelly (in my 6 year olds words). No matter what.

You see, we run a Chabad House on the gorgeous island of Maui, Hawaii, and while most tourists who meet us tell us how lucky we are to live in Paradise, there is a part of me that longs to be in New York with my close friends and family.

Living here is a huge sacrifice. 

Yes, I get to look out my bedroom window every morning and see this.

And the day before Rosh Hashanah we just walk over to our neighbor to picks these...

And yes, my daughter just runs outside to pick me these any time she wants to.

And yes, I get to look out my kitchen window every evening and see this.

And this is a regular Sunday afternoon, 10 minutes away, any time of the year.

I can flood this post with photos that will take your breath away.

But honestly, its hard.

Today was an especially difficult day. You know those days where all you need is a good laugh with your sisters. Those laughs where you can't even speak, where you forgot what was even funny but tears are streaming down your cheeks and your belly aches. It was one of those days where I longed to just meet my best friend at a good Kosher restaurant, order the most fattening dessert on the menu and have a good juicy chat. I was feeling very homesick.

I was coming home from running some errands when I pulled into my driveway and saw a beautiful woman standing outside my house with this huge smile on her face. As I got out of my car she walked right up to me and just went on and on about how 'amazing' we are that we live here, and how we help so many people and she just went on and on giving me this huge amount of strength that I so desperately needed at that exact moment.

She had come over with her husband to pick up Kosher food which we provide for Jewish tourists and her timing, warmth and encouragement could not have been better.

After showing her our mikvah she mentioned she had a blog... a fashion blog.... Fashion-Isha.

Wait, whaaaaaat? I LOVE that blog! I totally didn't recognize Sharon, but she is one of the nicest, warmest, most down to earth people I have ever met. You probably all know her blog as she has like thousands of followers on Instagram, but if for some reason you haven't seen it, go check it out: http://www.fashion-isha.com/. She's incredible.

So we said our good byes and feeling so much better, I went inside to see 2 letters on the table that arrived in the mail for me. I don't remember the last time I got a handwritten letter in the mail, I mean who writes letters these days, right? I opened them both, and they happened to be from 2 different tourists thanking me personally for certain things I helped them with while they were here on Maui.

And it was all very clear.

I am so often caught up with organizing and cleaning my house, homeschooling the kids, figuring out what to make for dinner, shlepping the kids to appointments, missing my friends and family, that I lose focus of why we live here.

So Hashem sent Sharon over this evening. And He gave these 2 woman the great idea to mail me these gorgeous thank you cards. Because HE knows what we are doing here, and this is His way of saying, 'Hey, I know its tough, but keep it up! You're doing great!'

I have really been blessed with so many amazing people in my life who live here, who have become like family. Wonderful people who are warm and caring and who are there for me any time I need them. And so when feeling homesick, its also so important to remember that Hashem brought them all into my life.

May we all be blessed to get these doses of strength in just the right moments from just the right people. Hashem is rooting for all of us!
Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Grounding Kit

As homeschooling moms, there is always so much going on in our lives.
Its not easy and often we can feel like we are just running in circles.

A very good friend of mine introduced me to The Grounding Kit.
Her name is Rus Devorah and she is the founder of Toratherapeutics a Torah Inspired Approach to Holistic Growth & Healing. I cannot recommend this resource enough.

Here is how it works:

The idea is to have a little box or bag and inside keep 5 of your favorite things corresponding to your 5 senses.

Here is what I have in mine:

 ~Something Sweet~
Taste- I found these candies in Whole Foods and I'm hooked. They come in other flavors but I love this one.

 ~Something Soft~
Touch- This is a piece of Satin from a gown I made for my sister in laws wedding many years ago. It is soft and stretchy and feels amazing.

~Something Soothing~
Sound- This is one of my favorite stations on Pandora. It is called Classical New Age Piano.

 ~Something Fragrant~
Smell- A good friend gifted me with this bottle of Serenity by Doterra. It smells exactly like what it says it is. Absolute Serenity.

~Something Beautiful~
Sight- This is one of my favorite photographs. I actually took it from my kitchen window. It wows me more and more every time I look at it.
When you are in a place where you feel things are just getting too much, and we have all been there, go somewhere quiet if possible. You then take each one of these objects and enjoy them for 30 seconds each.

Close your eyes and listen to the music. 
Pop the candy into your mouth, close your eyese, and savor the flavor. 
Look at your photograph and get in touch with what makes it so meaningful to you. 
Hold and stroke the fabric, run it through your fingers, along your cheek.
Smell your essential oil or whatever scent is yours. 

Take 30 seconds for each one and just stop every thing you are doing and savor each thing.

That is 2.5 minutes out of your entire day.

This is not something that you need to do every day. Its something to do when your mind is everywhere and you need it back here, focused, present.

This is YOUR kit, for you. Some of you may need to think really hard about what their favorite things are to make this kit, because being moms and busy all the time, we tent to forget what we like, what we enjoy because we are so busy taking care of everyone else.

Here are some links to where you can get some of these products:

And here is more info on Toratherapeutics:

Enjoy and have a wonderful Sukkot~


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Yonah in the Big Fish Craft

Today we made an adorable craft for Jonah in the Big Fish...

Here it is with instructions- enjoy!

Step 1:
Get an empty water bottle

 Step 2:
Cut the base off and dry it out completely. Flatten the water bottle and cut a triangle on each side which will turn into diamonds once the water bottle opens.

Step 3:
Color and cut out a picture of Yonah, I printed mine out from here

Step 4:
Slide Yonah into the water bottle. Flatten the water bottle and tape it closed Tape the triangles closed forming a tale. Tape on fins made out of construction paper. Glue on googly eyes or make your own.
Heres a closer look...

And here's the finished product-

How cute?
Wishing you have an easy fast and may we all be inscribed in the book of life


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fabulous Tefillah Curriculum- The Tefillah Box

We all daven with our kids. Its just part of what we do every day.

Some of us use musical instruments, CD's, points, whatever we can do to keep the Davening exciting and not monotonous.

 Now the thing is, at least for the English speakers among us, how many of our kids actually know what they are saying? Do they actually feel connected to Hashem when they are davening or is it just for the stars on their chart or the fun songs?

We recently purchased The Tefillah Box. The second I saw this I knew we had to have it as part of our Homeschool Curriculum.

This is what we received- a Box filled with goodies and a Teachers Guide:

Inside the Box is the Student book and a bunch of miniature toys- an instant attention grabber for the kiddos:
Here's all the miniatures it came with:

We all sat at the table and turned to the first page, Modeh Ani 

We all sang Modeh Ani and began the discussion in the Teachers Guide about expressing Gratitude to Hashem for waking up, we spoke about how we charge our iPads over night so they're at 100% in the morning, the same thing happens with our Neshamas. 

We then discussed how Scuba divers go exploring the Ocean floor for hours at a time, but they need to come back up to the surface to refill their oxygen tanks, just like us when we go to sleep. Thats how we refill our tanks. And when we wake up, we say 'Thank you Hashem for refilling my Oxygen tank!' 
And then we had an adorable Scuba toy to pass around and play with and make the lesson so much more tangible.

Each Tefillah has its own page with the Tefillah written in Hebrew, Transliterated and Translated into English. Then there is an adorable poem explaining what it means and how we can personalize and connect to it. The toys are the cherries on top.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Thank You Hashem for opening my eyes every morning! 
Kids love wearing their funny glasses for this Bracha and they really understand it.

Thank You Hashem for giving Strength to the Weak! 
We went around and saw who had the most strength by blowing the ball the highest.

Thank You Hashem for Straightening us Up- this little Bendy Guy is too much fun, we bent him and straightened him reenacting how we wake up and stand upright.

Thank You Hashem for not making us a Slave- we have the FREEDOM to be the best Jews we can be! Just like a bird is free to fly high, we have the freedom to reach high levels!

Its just so interactive and hands on and the kids GET IT- they really do. 
Morning Brachos are not 'just brachos' anymore. They actually understand that they have SO much to be thankful for and it is such a beautiful way for them to connect to Hashem.

I highly recommend My Tefillah Box as it really has enhanced our davening experience and I am sure it will yours. 

This is such a fabulous asset to a Jewish Homeschool Curriculum.
I am sure you will enjoy it as much as we have!

Have a wonderful Shabbos

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our Jewish Homeschool Preschool Curriculum 5776/2015-2016

My babies are officially Preschoolers and want to 'do school' like their older siblings.
So here is our Jewish Homeschool Preschool Curriculum for this coming year, hope you find it helpful!

I will go through each subject in more detail:


We use The Chabad  Children's Siddur. They have a boys one and a girls version. We love it because there are beautiful colorful pictures on almost every page and the letters are nice and big for little ones to learn to recognize the words and letters. Click Here to buy it Online.

We used to use My Sing Along Siddur with the CD to go along with it and my kids absolutely LOVED it. But as they got older, they wanted to be like their older siblings and have 'big kid' siddurs, so there we have it.

Hebrew Reading

I have used the above books with ALL my kids and they have loved them.

Hebrew Writing
I don't like to do a lot of writing with my preschoolers as I prefer to build up their fine motor skills so they will be ready to write by 6-7.

Here is a great book I made on ways to Explore the Hebrew Alphabet through fun fine motor skills and activities:


We love love love these books! I print a lot of coloring pages from www.Chinuch.org and feel free to search my blog for ideas of projects and sensory bins for the Parshahs of each week.


And depending on the month, I like to read story books, cook and bake foods for that holiday with the kids, print coloring sheets and do fun hands on projects which you will find here on the blog.

Now remember- at this age, it is really not your job to drill facts into their little brains. This is the age for them to explore and play and develop a love for learning. In my opinion, playtime should be more of a focus then school time at this stage. After davening, go play outside on the swings. Do a page of Alef Beis under a tree on a blanket. Read about the Parshah while all snuggled up on the couch before bedtime. While baking honey cakes for Rosh Hashanah, let the little ones help.

Preschool is a time of magical growth and discovery- don't stunt it because of your personal agenda to have your child reading Hebrew by age 5. And if they are reading Hebrew by age 5 because it is something they LOVE to do, by all means, read away- but every healthy child will learn to read and write at their own pace, trust them and trust yourself.

Good Luck with the New Year and I look forward to posting a Review on what looks like an incredible Davening Curriculum very soon!

Enjoy your week!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Elul- Helping our Kids connect to Hashem

Its that time of year again, where we teach our kids about The King in the Field and how Hashem is so accessible to all of us during this month.

We read stories and color pictures but how do we actually teach our kids how to connect to Hashem when He is so close to us?

This was something I was personally struggling with and after speaking with someone very wise and close to me, she suggested I write a letter to Hashem. Thank Him for all the things I am thankful for. Tell him what you are doing to connect to Him. Ask Him for what I need. And don't be shy about it.

It sounded a bit strange at first, but I did it. And it felt amazing.

And so I figured, why not give my kids the chance to do it, on a very simple level.

I made a template for them and we all sat down this morning and discussed ways to connect to Hashem. They all got their paper and for about 20 minutes were very deep in thought writing down or drawing (depending on their age) what they were thankful for, what they are doing to make Hashem proud and then their personal requests. I told them it was their private letters and gave them each their own folder to keep it in. I made a bunch of copies and decided to use these this month, before we daven.

They really enjoyed it and I think they really felt the connection in a very real way.

Happy Elul,

Monday, July 13, 2015

Improve your son's learning skills this summer

I know I have mentioned in the past what a great experience we had with online tutoring with Rabbi Levi Eisenberg- I just saw this and really had to share as I know there are many moms out there whose boys could really use the extra help this summer to prepare for the coming school year-
Hope its helpful!

Great Summer Option!

Are you looking to improve your son's skills or confidence in learning?

Shreiber Learning's Custom Courses for Chumash and Gemara build language and comprehension skills, and help children become confident, independent learners.

Each course builds:

Contact Shreiber Learning today to discuss your goals, or to schedule a FREE sample lesson:


Shreiber Learning's courses are designed and taught by Rabbi Levi Eisenberg M.S. Ed. Rebbi at Cheder Menachem Los Angeles, CA.

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