Sunday, January 27, 2013

"ME" Moments

As moms, it is always so easy to forget about yourself. Some of us take better care of ourselves then others, but not all of us have the luxury to take a lot of time out for ourselves. 

What I have incorporated into my days are small little "ME" moments. Yes, just moments. But they are moments where I stop, breathe, and do a little something for ME.

Some examples...

My morning Cup of Coffee. 
Once all the troops are sitting down and chowing down on their breakfast, mom sits down to enjoy a really good cup of coffee, usually made by dad on his way out. This is a really, really, REALLY great ME moment. Even if its only for a few minutes, I really enjoy it immensely.

Coconut water.
 I have a constant supply of coconut water in the fridge, which not only is super healthy and gives me so much energy, I LOVE the taste. Sipping this through out the day keeps me hydrated and makes me happy. And no, I don't drink it out of a coconut, I just liked the photo :) Btw, dehydration really leads to crankiness. It is SO important to drink!

My Stash.
Yes, I have a stash in my bedroom. It is hidden away far better then any of my most expensive Jewelry. My stash consists of a variety of some of the most delicious chocolates one can encounter, and no, I dont share. With anyone. Not even the hubs. My stash makes me happy because when I am stressed or having a hard day, I go to my room for 5 minutes, close the door, access one little goodie and truly enjoy it. I have self control, hence I can have a stash. Many of my friends say they would eat the whole stash. Hence they have no stash. I love my stash. It makes me happy.

In the bathroom. Yes, I keep my favorite magazines in my bathroom and when I need a few minutes to check out, I sneak away and read an article or two until I start hearing the little knocks on the door. I like Oprah, Readers Digest, Better Homes and Gardens and a few more that I keep in there. 

So my fellow mama's, get creative. Create little ME moments for yourself. It will give you something to look forward to everyday, and it doesn't have to be food. It can be a great smelling lotion that you put on and smell all day. It can be a pretty lip gloss that makes you feel pretty. But the important thing is, you are doing these little things for YOU. And I can bet you that your kids and your hubby will benefit greatly because when mommy is happy, everyone is happy!

Wishing you all a wonderful week, filled with many "ME" Moments!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Talent of Taste 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 TASTE is the eleventh, the month of Shvat (January-February). 

 Of all the talents, the talent of taste is the one that we use to determine what will integrate well into our daily lives. There is tremendous pleasure in using this talent. On a physical level we are able to sense which tastes and delicate spices have been used in seasoning. A person with this talent has an intuitive sense of how to choose and what is the appropriate amount to take in. In this way, we balance pleasure with with an intuitive sense of what will bring higher understanding and good results as we experience and taste life. This particular talent reflects a G-d given ability to choose only what will integrate well with our lives and our bodies. 

 The 15th of the month of Shvat marks the new year of the trees in Israel. At this time, the trees, which are bare and fruitless, begin their new cycle of growth. The sap begins to move up into the trees, beginning the process of bringing life force from the roots up into the trees, until. The tree symbolizes all of us, connecting us to our roots with faith, and taking in what nurtures us until we bring good fruits and deeds into the world. The talent of this month teaches us how to connect with our Source, to recognize and integrate the gifts of life, and to take in only what will enable us to be personally productive and fruitful in the world. 

When we are sensitized and understand that we have this unique talent, we choose carefully and we feel a sense of balance and gratitude. 

We can be role models to our children by helping them to understand what will be good for them and by guiding them. We can encourage them, show them and guide them to develop their intuitive talent of how to make good choices. This knowledge of what to pick up and take in, and what to leave behind is the basis of good taste. 

Tools For Developing The Talent of Taste: 
1. Take the time to sense the quality of what is being offered to us. 
2. Develop the ability to almost sense whether this will be beneficial for us before deciding whether to take it in. 
3. Learn to get satisfaction from what is good for us and what is just the right amount to nourish, and not more.


The Kabalah of the Talent of Taste: 

The month of Shvat includes the New Year (Rosh Hashana) of the Trees on the 15th of Shvat. This holiday affects the laws of the ages of trees and has legal relevance. We celebrate by eating fruits, especially the 7 fruits of the Holy land, which are wheat, barley, grapes, dates, grapes, olives, figs and pomegranates. It is a holiday full of spiritual as well as physical meaning. Recognizing G-dliness in the food that we eat gives true pleasure. We bless and thank G-d for all the spiritual nourishment that enriches the physical food that we eat. 

The tribe of this month is Asher. Asher was blessed with rich land that would grow olive trees that would give give delicious and plentiful olives and olive oil.

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


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Paint by Number... not so much-

My kids received a Paint by Number gift set. They were really excited as they had never done this before.

I gave each one of them a picture from the box, my son got the parrots in the jungle and my daughter got the tropical fish under the ocean.

I gave them each the paints and they set to work.

My son is more academic then artistic so I was quite impressed to see how into it he was. My daughter, who can spend her days painting, drawing, cutting, gluing, etc looked at me after 5 minutes and asked, "Mommy, why do we have to paint the colors that they want us to paint? Why can't we paint our own colors?"

I told her she is more then welcome to paint in whatever colors she chooses and she continued painting, but not by number.

I then realized that my son liked this activity because to him it was like a puzzle, and if he followed the directions and painted the right colors, he would then see the end result.

To my daughter, this was an art project. And she expresses her little self through art. By someone else telling her what colors to paint, it was their work, not hers. And it bothered her. So she took matters into her own hands and painted it her way.

We all homeschool our kids differently, and there is no perfect way. There is however, the perfect way for each of us and our kids.

I have friends who have a set routine with their kids everyday with a set curriculum and they are able to document everything their kids are learning and where they are up to. I think this is awesome, but the type of person I am and the type of mom I am, I just couldn't do it. Though there are many times I wish I could.

Sometimes I feel like kids really don't need to 'paint by number' and its okay to use 'their own colors'. My kids have very different learning styles and as their mom and primary educator it is so important to tap in these.

My son likes the end result. He has no patience to go through the motions so he finds ways to get there by himself. For example, learning to read. He had no interest in sitting with me and reading the Bob books, which he found silly. Instead of begging him to read every day, I left him alone and made sure to read to him every night.

One night I was tired and decided to skip a few lines in one of the books we were reading. "Hey mommy, that's not what it says" was my little mans response. All this time he was learning how to read, by looking at the words while listening to me say them. He is 7 and reads fluently. I never taught him the ABC's. He figured it out.

My daughter loves going through the motions. She loves playing word games and doing her workbooks. She loves decorating each page that she completes. It gives her a sense of pride.

My 4 year old loves cooking. So as often as I can, I let him help out in the kitchen. Peeling a cucumber and cutting it up for lunch, making the coleslaw for Shabbos, braiding the challah.

So whatever way you homeschool, always remember to teach each child according to their ways and once in a while, its always nice to let them paint by number using their own colors~

Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


Monday, January 14, 2013

Our "Curriculum"

While I really believe that kids learn so much through their 5 senses and interacting with the world hands on, some kids really thrive on Workbooks (my 5 year old daughter...) and can literally do an entire workbook in an hour- so I have compiled a few of our favorite learning materials for the little ones, in both Jewish and Secular subjects...

These are some of the Jewish books we use:

And these are some of the English books we use:

These are some great timeless toys that have been a big success in our house... no batteries required, just imagination :)

And here are some great Montessori materials that my kids love--- 

I also came across this great video- if you have time, check it out, very interesting!

Wishing you all a wonderful week,


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

~Kids in the Kitchen~ with Guest Blogger and Jewish Homeschooling Mama, Altie

I am the type who would rather cook and clean up without the kids trying to help. My daughters love being in the kitchen. They are always asking me if they can bake, and make up recipes, they write them down in their own cookbook. You could find one of my daughters reading a cookbook (of course with lots of pictures) at any given time.

Often I allow them to whip up pancakes (knowing the cleaning lady is coming that day and knowing I hate to fry so if I want my kids to know what pancakes are I better let my daughter make them!)

For our anniversary my daughters then 8 and 9 cooked a whole dinner for us, with menu cards, place cards, candles and all! For the last 2 years every week my 8 year old now almost 10 has been making the Challah, seriously. Of course with my guidance, but at this point she doesn't even need my help. She loves the attention she gets every Friday night when the guests say “wow this Challah is amazing……”

Often I have to bite my tongue and let them do things their way in the kitchen. I try and let my boys all under 8 do something in the kitchen  if they beg: like mix the knaidlach, make their own egg omelets and of course braid their own little Challah. This all requires lots of patients on my end.

I was so excited last Thursday with the realization that I actually enjoy cooking now with my girls in the kitchen. They are now 10 and 11. They can put away all the ingredients that they used. They can follow a recipe nicely and we can all have fun. The best part is that they actually helped me cook the things that I needed to make….one likes baking, the other  cutting and making the salad dressings... perfect! 

At one point I looked at them and said “girls I have nothing left to cook for tonight!”

So for all of those women who don’t enjoy the kids puttering around in your kitchen, chances are the time will come when you will enjoy the benefits of it- so be patient and you will soon come to enjoy you r very own sous-chefs!

Thanks for reading and Bitayavon!
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