I saw this Purim project on creativejewishmom, where really, everything is
just very creative.
I'm pretty sure we are hosting Purim at our house this year and so what
would be more helpful than a centerpiece, right?
So we built a replica* of Shushan (the Persian city where the whole Purim
story takes place) out of boxes and things from our recycling closet.
What did we use, you ask? Excellent question.
The base was a medium sized cardboard bin from one of many apple-picking
trips. I turned it over and it made the perfect base for our city.
The houses and palaces were made from a small shoebox, an empty breadcrumb
container, several paper towel rolls and an empty pringle canister.
The rest of the project was made using colored paper, some half-used sheets
of scrapbook paper and several sheets of colored foamie papers. Throw in some
glue, safety scissors and a pencil (oh yeah, and four kids) and you're in for a
First I read all the directions from the original project. We used some of
creativejewishmom's ideas and some of our own, which is how it should be. Art is
not about copying, it's about interpreting - and that is my deep thought for the
We cut, we glued, we colored, we decided it didn't look quite right, we had
to take away the scissors from some people and some of us had to leave the table
until we were ready to behave, listen and share, but the end result is pretty
I really believe that when working on a project like this, that it's all
about the details. An extra flag, gates around the city, a chimney; it's all
about the cuteness factor, and really, anything made in mini is almost
The first thing the kids wanted to do was play with it. I said no, they
said yes. So we compromised, instead of waiting until after Purim to play with
it, they will be allowed to play with it once a picture has been taken of
Shushan city on the table, all set for Purim. Deal. They think they got what
they wanted and I really got what I wanted. Isn't that the definition of good
*When I say replica, I don't really mean that we replicated Shushan in
the strict sense of the word; that would be crazy. I just kind of mean that we
built some houses and palaces and we're making pretend that this is what Shushan
looked like. Really, I think it has more of an Aladdin kinda thing going on. And
Purim will be here in about five minutes so if you have not yet started thinking about your mishloach manot or costumes for the kids, you might want to get on that.
In the spirit of helping, here are a few ideas we had last year - the good, the easy and the dismal failures. Enjoy!
First of all, I have to say that I am thinking about investing is some plastic orange cones
to have on hand for when a stomach virus sweeps through the house because
apparently, when I loudly say, no one step over there, I am going to get towels,
no one hears me. And in that brief sentence, I have just told you about my weekend.
But to the point of this post, I believe that my oldest child may have some commitment issues.
His first grade teacher is having the class do a book share, where each child chooses and reads
a non-fiction book, a book in which he or she will learn something and share it
with the class. According to the instructions, the book can be chosen from "...
biographies, cookbooks, gardening, science-related or a how-to book." So many
choices, so little time.
First he wanted to bake something - he looked through the three kiddie cookbooks
that we have in the house, choosing every cupcake recipe that featured frosting
and sprinkles. Great, we had a plan.
And because he has a big heart (and big eyes) he wanted to bake enough cupcakes
so he could not only share the book but share the treats with his whole class.
Thing is, homemade food is not allowed to be shared inside the school. His rule:
No sharing cupcakes, no making cupcakes.
Next little boy idea: building something out of lego. Problem is, the instruction
booklet that comes with a box of lego is not a book. We searched Amazon
and googled and could not really find a book in the strict sense of the word. No book, no share.
We did, however, find a cool looking science related book on Amazon,
something about building machines using the enclosed batteries and coils
and wires and other metal things. Excellent, we had a book share path.
Once the book arrived, we quickly realized that this book was way above
first grade level; I wasn't understanding much of it. And as much as he wanted
to use the book, we kind of felt like if the book share was something that
Josh and I were going to do ourselves on a Saturday night after the kids
were in bed, then it wouldn't really be his book share. Lame? Yeah, because I
am sure most parents are doing their kid's book share, but I'd like to think that
the kids are helping at least a little. This battery book was definitely a no kid
required book, so that was out. Now I have (another) box on my porch waiting
to be shipping back to Amazon.
Then last Monday, we took a trip to Barnes and Noble and in the corner of the
kiddie section, there it was.
If the store hadn't be so crowded, I think I would have heard some angelic music
playing as the sun shown on the discount book shelf because sitting right there
was a book about making paper airplanes. And not only was it about making paper
airplanes, but it was packaged in a box with a stack of paper airplane paper.
Apparently these papers are specifically made for making paper airplanes. Who knew?
To make this very long story slightly less long, here's what happened, quickly.
We attempted to make every single airplane in the book and not one was easy
enough for a child to make.
But read the book we did. So it counts. And Josh, who really had had enough of all of
this way back when we were first discussing the possibility of a lego book,
decided that he was going to teach his child to make paper planes the way he did
when he was in first grade. So he did. And the little one learned. And there you
We took step by step pictures of the first grader making the planes, glued them
onto a poster and done. The first grader sat down and wrote the requisite
five sentences about the book, drew his bookshare cover, and then went to play,
so happy that Mommy wasn't making him practice reading his bookshare out loud.
All I can say is that it's a good thing his teacher gives us a way more than a
month to put these book shares together - not because it takes that long to read and write.
That we do in an afternoon. It's the picking and planning that takes weeks. I'm scared to see
what's going to happen when the Purim-costume-changing-of-the-minds starts.
Should be happening in about five minutes.
The long-awaited day is here! My first grader is getting his chumash* today and his much practiced for chumash play is tonight - right in the middle of the younger kids' bedtimes and the older kids' bathrimes, but we won't go there.
For weeks and weeks, we have been practicing his part, listening to him sing all the songs and watching him as he learned a little more chumash each day, in preparation for the big day. Can you say nachas? Cause I can!
And you want to know how excited we are? I just turned the house upside down looking for my little flip video camera. Sometimes these things are just too mini for their own good. But my point here - if I couldn't find it by noon, I was ready to make a Best Buy run and buy a new one, any one they had. And I don't make these purchases lightly. Electronics are researched to the nth degree in this house before being bought.
Anyway, while I was turning the house upside down, searching, I saw this:
Not sure who did it, but I couldn't stop laughing. In case you can't tell, it says "First Grade Chumash Play". Love it!
Mazal tov big boy!
*The word chumash, is one of the Hebrew words that refer to the Five Books of Moses, or the Torah. Interestingly, the word chumash is related to the Hebrew word chomesh, meaning one-fifth, which can refer to any one of the five books that comprise the Torah.
Children begin to learn the chumash at a young age, in my son's school's case, it's first grade. When the children receive their very own chumash for the first time, they generally put on a play for the parents and grandparents and everyone that their mom invites. And of course, there are cookies and drinks afterwards, otherwise what would be the point, right? I'm kidding. Kind of. I mean, really, it's all about the snacks, right?
This might be the most awesome (and easy) birthday cake I have ever made.
Sadly, I did not think of the idea, I found it on a blog called Paige's Pantry, but I totally
wish I would have thought of it, it's that good of an idea.
We made our newly minted two-year-old a family party on Sunday with cousins
and grandparents and aunts and uncles and some friends. I was not in the mood
to do a whole big fancy cake and really, who needs such a big cake. We (Okay, I) should
be eating some carrot sticks anyway. I had a vague idea of wanting to make
some kind of cake decorated with candy because it seemed so
much easier than decorating with icing and frosting and molded chocolates and
things. So I googled, and shockingly, did not come up with much, until I hit the
jackpot with this kitkat and m&m cake.
It really couldn't get much easier than this for a good-looking cake.
Step 1. Bake 2 8"round cakes. You can do this with just one box of cake mix.
Step 2. Frost the cake between the layers and all over the top and sides.
The beauty here is that you don't need to make it pretty because the whole thing
(yup, the whole thing) will be covered so no one will see your frosting skills.
3. Unwrap the kitkats. Try not to eat them - and I'll tell you why.
It's not because I don't want you to have them, it's because you will
need the whole bag to surround the cake. Stand the kitkats up around the sides
of the cake, pressing them in slightly.
4. Open the large bag of m&ms. You can eat some of these because you will only
need about half the bag to cover the top of the cake. Pour and kind of pat them
down into a single layer.
5. I thought the bow in the original picture on Paige's blog was kind of overkill
but once I was done, I realized mine needed a bow too, if just to keep those kitkats in line.
Wrap, tie the bow and store in the (basement) fridge until cake time. I don't really
know if you need to keep it in the fridge, but in my house, it's always better and safer to
be out of sight, out of mind.
Sing Happy Birthday and enjoy!
And then when everyone leaves, have yourself a handful of m&ms when no
one is looking because there's gonna be a whole lotta dishes in the sink waiting
My now two-year old loves loves love balloons. So we made balloon cupcakes for the little party we are making tomorrow.
These could not be easier even if I tried to make them easier. Don't believe me? Watch.
1. Bake cupcakes.
3. Stick lollypops into the cupcakes.
And you're done.
Listen as the kids squeal in delight, not so much because they appreciate the aesthetics of a cupcake, but more because they get to have a cupcake and a lolly at the same time.
To each his own.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)