Thursday, May 31, 2012

90 Days of Summer...

We live in the Tropics. Which basically means that for us, it is pretty much summer all year round. Given, there are a few chilly days in the winter when the kids put on their fuzzy socks and sweaters that have been collecting dust in the back of the closet which is always a very exciting ordeal.

My kids are too young for sleep away camp and we do not have a Jewish Day Camp here {yet} so the summers for us are not that much different to the rest of the year. We usually have different family members and good friends come visit for a week or 2, but other then that, its pretty much the same.

Since we are bringing in summer early this year (more for me then for the kids:) I decided that every weekday of summer, aside for going to the park, pool or beach, we will start our mornings off with davening, followed by a fun arts'n crafts project, a fun game and some reading (either about the Parshah or a Jewish story- we have some fabulous Jewish story books which I will list on my next post).

My goal is to collect 90 different arts'n crafts ideas, 90 different summer games/activities and read 90 different Jewish stories to the kiddos (one a day).

Hey, I'm aiming high:) I think it will be fun. 

Click here to see what I have collected so far!

My ultimate goal is to make 3 boards, one for each month, with a craft and activity on each day. Super excited to get started on this-- I have til Friday to make Junes;)

Looking forward to sharing what I come up with!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Walk With Me... with Guest Blogger Chana Rachel Schusterman

The Power of Using Our G-d Given Talents (and Helping Our Children Recognize Theirs)

There are twelve months in the Jewish calendar.  The talent of WALKING is the third, beginning with the month of Sivan (May-June.)

People who have this talent are amazingly adept at taking steps to make progress.  They intuitively know how to move forward, when and where to turn, and when and how to accomplish what they need to do.  Forward movement is their motto. They are able to make changes easily and feel confident in their process without overly evaluating their progress.  People who are “walkers” also know how to move in sync with other people.  They are able to connect with others in a way that brings out the best in both of them.  They are able to connect to the pace of others and go with them and guide them to more accomplishment in the world

We can be role models for our children by taking our steps with confidence.  If you see that your child has this talent, it’s good to encourage him to take steps and move forward in his own way. Encourage him, “You can do it,”  “Trust that you’ll know what to do when you get further.”  When he wants to do something that includes you, let him take the lead and enjoy it together with him.  

We can encourage our children to progress and move forward in accomplishing their goals.

Tools for Developing Your Talent of Thought:
1.  Take steps to move forward in the areas in which you want to progress.
2.  Trust that you will know how to continue as you begin to take these steps.
3.  Choose friends with whom you feel that you can move forward and grow.

*  The Kabalah of Walking:
The month of Sivan is the time of the holiday of Shavuot, the Giving of the Torah (The Ten Commandments) on Mt. Sinai.
  This is a time  to receive the Torah anew. This is done through learning Torah and through doing mitzvos. (Mitzvos are commandments which are generally good deeds to be done, or deeds not to be done. In this way we take part in facilitating G-d's Plan.)  
  The Five Books of Moses (the Chumash) which is  the Written Torah, and the Oral Torah were received by Moses during the 40 days he was on Mt. Sinai.  The tradition and how to utilize it in daily life has been passed down throughout the generations.  (See for more information.)  Living Torah is our traditional basis for Jewish living.

  The tribe which corresponds to the month of Sivan is Zevulun.  Although he learned Torah, he was a businessman who supported his brother, Issachar ( a full time Torah scholar and sage).  Zevulun traveled to do business but always felt guided as he went out into the world to accomplish his purpose.

Chana Rachel Schusterman is a Jewish spiritual counselor and coach. If you would like to contact her, please email me at

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New York, New York! My "Mom-cation"

This past week my little sister got married in New York. Now my hubby and I were going back and forth about whether we would go as a family or just I would go. 
After agreeing that flying with 5 kids under 6 for 12 hours just wouldn't be the best idea, we opted that I would go. By myself. Alone. Solo. Just Moi.

Yes, that's me in the photo. In the city I grew up in. The absolute greatest city in the world. 

I spent some great time with my family, my good friends from high school and ran into friends that I hadn't seen in years. 

The only time I was in a car was to and from the airport. The rest of the time I walked or went by Subway. Ah, city life. It was an unbelievable week in every sense of the word. 

Here is a photo of what my freezer looked like the day before I left. I always marveled at those "once a month/once a week moms" who cook all their meals in one day for the week or the month.

After my week of cooking for the week I would be gone, it was very clear to me that making dinner fresh every night works allot better for us. I'm glad I got a chance to try it out as I always wanted to do it.

Well, while in NY, I had an interesting experience. Every once in a while I think how nice it would be for my kids to be in a real Yeshiva with lots of other kids in their class. 

On Shabbos I went to visit an old friend whose son was having a Shabbos party at their home. I walked into her house to find about 20 eleven year old Yeshiva boys bouncing all over the place. The 2 older boys who were supposed to be in charge were somewhat dumbfounded and at a loss as to how to control these kids.

It happened to be my friends sons birthday so she brought out the birthday cake to get all the kids to come back to the table. 

While they were giving out the cake, I sat myself down at the table with all the boys and just observed what was going on. There was one boy sitting so nicely and quietly at the end of the table. He looked like a quiet kid who probably would have loved to hear a nice Shabbos story or sing some songs. But the wild boys completely over powered the party so he was left there to sit and eat his birthday cake, which he ended up getting last since he wasn't grabbing or yelling to get a piece.

I decided I wanted to speak to these kids. So I stood up while they were all eating and told them where I lived and that my son doesn't get to go to Yeshiva like they do. I told them that he learns online and at home with his mommy. The first questions they asked were, "What happens if he doesn't do his homework?" and "What are his punishments when he's 'bad'?" I told them that he doesn't get homework and he has no reason to act 'bad'. It was a very interesting eye opener for me. 

This is not to say that all boys in Yeshiva are wild. Please don't get me wrong, these boys were good kids, just a little high on candy and soda and what not. 

But it made things very clear to me about what goes on out there.

Anyhow, I am back now and in full swing--- here are some things we have done this week:

In learning about this weeks Parshah, we learned that when the Jews keep the Mitzvos and study Torah, Hashem sends lots of rain to Israel and lots of fruit and vegetables grow. There will be Peace in Israel and the animals will be good to each other. Here are some cute projects the kids did to illustrate that:

Here are 2 Mitzvah Trains the kids made to show some Mitzvos that we can do to get these Brachot: 

And this is just 2 Space stations/Satellites that my son made out of paper cups, bowls, pencils and cardboard. He is very into Space and had a ball making these: 

This is one of those Color-a-cookie I brought back from NY for my kiddos to enjoy: 

And that, my friends, is what is going on in our neck of the woods. 
Wishing you all a wonderful week,

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pretty Awesome Lag B'Omer Project and Activity Booklet

We have been reading the book The Story of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the kiddos came up with this awesome idea to make a real cave out of actual rocks, make the carob tree and water stream and use mentchies to re-enact the story of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

How adorable did it come out?!

The only part I played in this project was master of the glue gun. I just followed directions of what to glue to what.

They ran outside and collected rocks and branches. They used green feathers as leaves and rice as carob. We used blue tissue paper as the water.

Thats Rabbi Shimon inside the cave with his son, Rabbi Elazar and outside is Eliyahu HaNavi saying that the Roman Emperor has died and they can now come out of their cave:)

Here is a FREE Lag B'Omer Activity Booklet I made for the kids for you to enjoy with yours-

Have a fabulous week and a super fun Lag B'Omer- and don't eat too many S'mores (although you probably deserve to;)!


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