I love Birthdays. Yesterday, mine. Today, the State of Israel.
My kids came home from school all sugared up, humming Israeli songs, dressed in hand-painted Israeli flag t-shirts and smelling faintly of falafel, telling tales of chumus and pita and apple cider. I have not yet figured out the significance of the apple cider but the rest of their day sounded awesome. These are the kinds of days when I kind of wish I was still a little kid, going to school everyday.
Today is the kind of day that calls for a big thank you to the teachers for turning Yom Ha'atzmaut into a joyous and teachable day, where love of The Land is reinforced in kids who might forget why they sing the Hatikvah on a day to day basis.
Happy 65th, my friend. Oh how I wish we could celebrate together. I mean, I'm not knocking the giant blue and white cookies for they are indeed tasty and celebratory, but it would be nice to celebrate together, thousands of miles away from where I sit now.
(And just in case you're really interested, right now I'm sitting on a little stepstool next to the bathtub while the girls fight over who gets to come out of the bath second...)
Today is the 64th birthday of the State of Israel - Happy birthday Israel! We
wish we were there celebrating with you! But we're not. We're in the kitchen and
the kids are hungry. So in honor of Israel's birthday and the colors of her
flag, blue and white, we're going with a color themed dinner. Blueberry
pancakes. Blueberries for the blue and pancakes for the white, but you already
knew that, didn't ya?
You can go ahead and hit the fruit store for some blueberries and you can go
ahead and make some pancakes from scratch. Or, if you're, you know, me, you can
break out this:
My trusty box of yummy blueberry pancake mix. Soo easy, just add water and go lay down.
Okay, fine, it's not quite so easy, but it's close. Add water and stand there in
front of the frying pan and wait for bubbles to appear on each pancake so you can
flip 'em. You can totally zone out while doing this so I wasn't totally wrong,
it's sort of like sleeping.
Serve warm with some Israeli* salad and maybe a vanilla yogurt with a few blue sprinkles
thrown in for good measure.
If you really want to go to town, you can bake a batch of these Israeli flag cupcakes
we made last year. *Do you know how to make Israeli salad? It's yum - and one of the only ways
my kids will eat salad. Chop up a couple of cucumbers and tomatoes into small
pieces and mix. That's it. Many people add chopped onions or peppers but my kids
won't touch those. You can also add an olive oil based dressing. The Israeli
kind usually has some kind of herbs in it, like parsley, but again, my kids
would run away. So we just stick with cucumbers and tomatoes and call it a day.
This was a mommy-kid joint effort - but is there any better kind?
Continuing right along with our Yom Ha'atzmaut theme, we will be celebrating Israel's 63rd birthday, with (what else?) blue and white cupcakes.
Each year, around Yom Ha'atzmaut, the "in" cookie becomes the blue and white cookie (the colors on the Israeli flag), a take off of the beloved black and white cookie. I considered making those, but man, what a huge pain in the neck. I made them once and I think that was enough for me.
So we'll make a knock-off today. A much much easier knock-off.
First things first, bake yourself a batch of Duncan Hines (what else?) cupcakes. Any flavor, any kind, doesn't matter. It's all good. And be sure to let them cool. We made the marble fudge kind because that's what we had and also because for many nights now, Josh and I both keep saying we need to go to Shoprite - and then we fall asleep. Doesn't matter where. The couch, the floor. If we're lucky, it's in bed. But usually not. So fudge marble it is.
Then we did this: We made the icing. A blue icing and a white icing, but first the white because the leftover white becomes the blue. You'll see. It's not hard.
Here is the icing recipe:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons water
several drops of blue gel food coloring gel (liquid is fine too if that's all you have on hand)
Mix all in a bowl, by hand, until smooth and there are no lumps from the sugar. Divide the icing in half and remove to another bowl. Tint half of it blue.
There was more than enough icing for 12 cupcakes. You could probably even ice 18 cupcakes with this amount of icing.
And decorate to your heart's content.
Allow the cupcakes to sit with the icing for a while, until the icing hardens. Sing happy birthday, serve and eat. And don't forget to wave your flag and raise your glass and all that.
So we've added another phobia to the list - my two year old is now scared of, not only sprinkles, but the wind. Yes, that's what I said. The wind. As in, "it's windy, mommy, we can't go for a walk". So, today, on this beautiful day, we stayed inside. And because it is Yom Ha'atzmaut, The State of Israel's birthday and Independence Day, we made some super quicky projects for my very very young ones.
First up: Foamie Magen Davids.
At some point my mom had bought us a truckload of arts and crafts supplies and looking through them today, I found rectangle shaped foamie sheets with sticky backs. And so because we were standing at the windows looking at the wind, we decided to make magen davids (stars of david) to stick on the window. I cut the foamie rectangles into strips, took the backing off, and we stuck the strips onto the windows in the shape of the six pointed star.
The girls both stood on the radiator cover at the back window and did the sticking. We made one triangle from the very unevenly cut pieces and then another upside down triangle on top. And they had so much fun! And the cute part is that the foam is blue on the sticky side too so the magen davids can be seen from the backyard too, which I think the boys will get a kick out of.
And while we sat on the living room floor admiring our magen davids, we picked through a huge bag of beads looking for blue and white ones, the colors of the Israeli flag. We, (and when I say we here, I mean me, because these beads were pretty small and pretty much a choking hazard) strung the beads on stretchy bracelet string that I had found in this huge box of arts and crafts.
It's kind of blurry cause she wouldn't hold her hand still.
Except that it's not that stretchy because the baby managed to rip the string apart on one pull. So in case anyone was wondering, stretchy string is not so child friendly, and really, not that stretchy.
After picking up all the beads before anyone got the idea that there was candy on the floor, we restrung the beads on a regular, unrippable ribbon that was thick enough so that the beads stayed put and made a necklace for my two year old. She's in love.
And then we painted with blue paint. But I'll share that tomorrow.