Monday, July 29, 2013

One on One time with Mommy

For those of us with more than one child, finding time to have one on one time with our kids could pose a challenge, especially when we homeschool and are with all of them most of the day. 

I have a friend (her kids go to school) who takes a different child out for dinner every Monday night. Another friend takes her kids out by themselves for their birthdays. Another takes each child out once a month for the morning.

My kids are still young and if I am getting a babysitter in the evening or the morning, it's either for me and my hubby to go out or for me to take some time off for myself, so at this stage in the game, I don't take my kids out on personal trips, not just yet. But having said that, I do make it a point to have special one on one moments with my kids which I know they enjoy tremendously.

Growing up, one thing my parents did really right was that they ALWAYS, no matter what, had time for us kids. They were always interested in what we had to say, and would listen to us talk about whatever was on our minds as if what we were saying was the most important thing that they had ever heard.  

I am the oldest of 5 and I really don't remember ever having any official one on one trips with any of my parents. But I also never really felt the desire for it. Sure I enjoyed going shopping for clothes with my mom or having my dad walk me to my friends house on Friday nights, but I do think that its possible to give kids their one on one time by simply listening to them and let them realize that what they say really matters. 

I have many one on one moments with my kids throughout the day that I see they truly enjoy. When the little ones are napping and the boys are watching a video and my daughter walks into the kitchen, I offer her a cup of tea and ask her to join me for a few minutes to chat. While the little ones are playing and the older two are building Lego, I invite my four year old to come snuggle on my lap for a bit so we can just cuddle for a few minutes. 

Even the little ones, if I see the bigger ones are busy, I'll sit down and have a tickle fest with one of them then continue to chase the second one around the house. 

There are so many of these moments that we can seize and to the kids it means the world to them. It also gives them a chance to talk to you about things that they may not say while among their siblings. So if you see your other kids are busy and one of your kids happens upon you, invite them to join you for a cup of lemonade on the back porch, or to jump on your lap in the rocking chair.

It's a lot more simple then we think and has an amazing impact.

Have a wonderful week,

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Terrific Way to Learn Chumash

Here is a terrific Online Chumash course based on the popular Khan Academy template. Berry Schwartz uses drawings, pictures and videos to teach Chumash and Rashi in a clear and concise manner. I would have LOVED to learn Chumash like this as a kid- check out the video below to get an idea of what it's all about-

Click Here to see actual Online Classes he has made and see how your kids enjoy them-

Now that you see how incredibly awesome these video's are, head on over to his website HERE and sign up for a FREE trial- all you need to do is enter your e-mail address. Oh, and don't forget to give them a great big LIKE on Facebook- Just Click Here!

I am sure you will enjoy!

Have a wonderful week, and if you havn't entered the DotbyDot Giveaway, Click Here for a chance to win a $25 gift card to their site- Good Luck!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

'Dot by Dot' Creative Kriah Workbook Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

I was fortunate to receive a beautiful copy of  Creative Kriah Workbook, Volume 1 by Dot by Dot to review.

What I personally love about this workbook is the clean and clear look. Click Here to see some sample pages of the book. Every page is color, there are 25 pages of activities for EACH vowel as well as a variety of skill based worksheets which makes practicing to read lots and lots of fun. Just ask my 5 year old. While my kids were all playing outside, I was on my beach chair paging through the workbook- hence the shadows on the pictures below.

My daughter ran over to take a peek and immediately asked me if she could get her crayons, scissors and glue and do some of the activities. It was such a pleasure to watch her do each page. To think she asked ME if she could do them. 

You can Click Here to download 6 full color worksheets from the book for your kids to try out. 

You can then head on over to to buy the book before August 1st to get 10% off OR you can enter the Giveaway and win a $25 Gift Certificate to Dot by Dot!

Included with the Workbook was an adorable game which my kids played and really enjoyed.

You can actually sign up to receive a FREE Hebrew Reading Game EVERY month, just like the one above. Yes. I said FREE. And I said EVERY month. Just Click Here. Put in your info. And that's it.

Now enter the Raffle to win!

Good Luck and have a Fabulous Week! 
More Giveaways still to come...

The Importance of Letting Kids Play by Themselves

A few weeks ago I put my 3 older kids in Day Camp for a week. Camp was from 9-4 filled with fabulous trips and activities and my kids had a ball.

The thing that bothered me though, was the fact that everyday when they came home they were like 3 little zombies. They were absolutely exhausted from going going going ALL day that all they wanted to do was watch a video, eat dinner and go to sleep.

I am known on my personal Facebook page for all the hilarious and smart things my kids say on a daily basis. I post these things to share with my friends and people are constantly telling me I need to write a book with all these fun sayings.

That week in day camp though, I don't recall any funny or cool things my kids said to me. Honestly, I don't even recall having too many real conversations with them. They just came home and needed to zone out for a while from 7 full hours of mental and physical stimulation.

I see all these "Mommy Camps" circulating the web of things to do with your kids this summer which is great, but we cant forget to give them the gift of free time. Time to play by themselves. Time to think. Time to Imagine. Time to use those amazing little brains of theirs.

Often, our kids don't necessarily need us to play with them, they merely need our presence to be there. They need that security. So what I have done, and it works like a charm, is put a really comfy beach chair outside in our outdoor play area and a really comfy recliner in our playroom.

I often go sit down when I need a break and the kids often follow. I have no iphone, ipad, ipod or laptop with me, just mom with a cup of tea or coffee. My kids see that I am fully there and hence don't feel the need to get my attention and so they play. And play, and play. Sometimes for up to 2 hours. They play together, or alone. I'm there to break up any fights if they come along or to assist when assistance is needed. But that's it.

I encourage moms everywhere to do this. Even if your kids sit on the floor and do the same puzzle 5 times in a row. Or sit on the grass and look for bugs. Let them figure out how to entertain themselves. They will do it and it is so great for them and for you. They come up with questions, and ideas and observe things that you probably have never seen.

It's not about filling up their brains and time with things. It's about giving them the ability to learn from everything around them.

Wishing you a wonderful week,
P.S. I have TWO fabulous Giveaways coming up this week- stay tuned!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cute Siddur Bookmarks

Here are some cute Siddur Bookmarks for Boys and Girls. I have also included blank ones for you to fill in your own Tefillos or page numbers-

Have a wonderful Shabbos,

Monday, July 8, 2013

FREE Jewish Charades Game and Jewish Memory Game for Kids!

Who doesn't love a good game of Charades? 

Here I have made the Jewish version with 3 different categories:
1- Jewish Objects
2- Jewish Actions
3- Kosher Animals
Just print it out on card stock and laminate it. Cut each card out and there you have it-

Click here to download and enjoy!

To play Jewish Memory, just print 2 copies of each paper, laminate and cut them out.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Guilt Free Brownies

I've had a long weekend. A good one, but a long one. This evening, I was positively exhausted and just had no energy for the whole bedtime routine.

I decided to gather the troops about 30 minutes before bedtime and make a deal with them. If they all put on their P.J.s and brushed their teeth, they could all watch a 20 minute video.

Within minutes I had all the kids in fresh P.J.'s and sparkling teeth sitting on the couch ready for their video- they were beyond excited... a video before bed? Wooohooo! Who has the coolest mommy EVER???

So I pressed play, grabbed the last piece of brownies left over from Shabbos and topped it with nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream. I tip-toed onto the back porch to watch the sun set and listen to the outside world mellow down. I had my feet up, my head back and not a pang of guilt could be felt anywhere.

No guilt for letting my kids watch a video before bed. No guilt for eating the brownies and ice cream. No guilt for not reading to them.

Because its okay. Its okay to take a step back when you feel you really need it. Its okay to treat ourselves out to a sunset once in a while. It was a blissful 20 minutes, whereby I returned to the living room feeling pretty good (still tired) but quite happy to tuck each munchkin into bed, say Shema and give them each a great big snuggle before lights out.

So heres to taking those few moments when we feel we really need them. Our kids will be fine. In fact, if we treat ourselves to these little moments, our kids will benefit from having happy mommies, not exhausted mommies who cant wait to get them into bed quick enough.

Wishing you all a wonderful week,

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Jewish Headbanz Game!

We have the game Headbanz which my kids LOVE--- they play it EVERY Shabbos and just can't get enough of it. They often have friends over to play so I figured, why not make a Jewish version!

Each child has a plastic head band that they wear and attach a card with a picture to it that only the other players can see. Each child has 60 seconds to ask yes or no questions about what their card is... "is it a place? is it a food? is it an animal? is it big? is it small? etc."

Its a fabulous game, so here is a Jewish version for you to enjoy~ Just print it out on card stock or regular paper and laminate it. Cut them out and there you have your cards.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Moshiach and the Beis Hamikdash

As Rosh Chodesh Av approaches, we enter the 9 days and then Tisha B'Av. This is a really great time to explore the Beis Hamikdash and the idea of the coming of Moshiach, and I really need to thank my friend Sarah for inspiring me to write this post.

Although learning about the Beis Hamikdash can seem far fetched for the kids, with the Karbanos and all, it can become very real if discussed in a very real way...

Print out pictures from the internet and sit together and talk about the details of how it was built...

Here is a really great video put together by the Preschool at Yeshiva where you can get some great ideas on teaching your kids about the Beis Hamikdash. Click Here to see it.

Here are some great products to use in learning about the Beis Hamikdash

And here are a few activities that we have done in the past in connection to the Beis Hamikdash...

Build the Kotel out of blocks, talk about how it is the last part of the Beis Hamikdash that is standing, how holy it is and how people from all over the world go to daven there.  You can also make the Shulchan and put little breads in it to get a visual idea of what it looked like.

Draw and color the Menorah in Gold to show what the actual Menorah in the Beis Hamikdash looked like.

Build a Kotel out of Legos and make a Minyan davening there. Notice the little Kipas my little guy made :) 

Teaching kids about the coming of Moshiach can be really exciting...

Here are some great books about Mitzvos and on how the world will be when Moshiach comes...

And encourage them to do lots of Mitzvos to make it actually happen! 

Give lots of Tzedaka every day...

Be kind to others... make a friendship craft...

Show them how special it is to wear their "Jewish Uniforms" which shows the world how proud they are to be Jewish... 

You can make Mitzvah charts with stickers etc. and each time you see your child doing a mitzvah, acknowledge it, make it so exciting that it makes them so excited to keep doing more.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer~
Have a fabulous week!
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