Long Day. Kids with colds. Lotsa activties.
So yeah, I love days when we all stay in pajamas, like today. Well, except for Josh cause he went to out this morning. And, I guess, except for the boys because one went along when the other needed to go for a throat culture this morning. And now that I think about, the two year old got dressed to go play in the backyard. Hmmm. And if you want to get technical, the baby doesnt really count because she pretty much lives in a stretchie, so I guess that just leaves, um, me. Okay fine, you got me, maybe I was the only one to stay in pajamas all day. Like I said, I love days like these.
At about 8:30 this morning, Josh left for a couple of hours and at exactly the same time, Curious George ended on TV. The kids, en masse, turned to look at me. Hmm, I hadn't yet planned our crafty day. It was time to improvise. So I don't know where my mom found these stencils but I had put them away for a rainy day and while it wasn't technically raining outside, it was definitly raining dirty tissues in my house so out came the stencils. They're big, colorful and filled with the letters of the alphabet. These babies are fantastic. There were enough of them so the kids didn't fight and all they wanted to do was line them up on the living room floor. And they're educational too!
About thirty minutes later, we stopped for a second breakfast and then broke out these Hebrew ABC blocks that our primer teacher lent us for the weekend. We have been having some trouble remembering the difference between some of the letters so this incredibly sweet teacher sent home these two boxes of blocks to play with. More educational toys and today is still Sunday! I am impressed with us (me). We spent about an hour, all playing with these blocks, spelling the names of every single person we knew. And fun was had by all.
After a quick trip to the doctor (no strept!), we reconvened back in the living room looking for our next project. So we took out some ABC stickers (have you noticed the theme of the day yet?), fun little happy face stampers, and markers. And paper. And the kids went to town - I couldnt believe it. It really occupied them for the better part of the afternoon. Yes, their little bodies are covered in happy-face stamps, but that's ok, because the little faces are happy. Yes, their teachers will think (again) that these children don't bathe, but the ink really wasn't coming off. Really.
Oh, and we made pipe cleaner crowns.
And then finally, the kids went to bed.
Just as a postscript, this afternoon Josh went out and bought two jumbo bags of KitKats for all the trick or treaters (2 for $5 and a $1 off coupon). We turned on the porch light. We were pumped. After an hour, we even made sure the doorbell worked. And no one came. Why not? Did we give out bad candy last year? Maybe we did, I think we had Butterfingers. But I only bought those because I dont like them and I didnt want to eat the leftovers. Darn, now no one wants our candy and we have good stuff this year. And now we have two delicious looking bags of chocolates just sitting on the dining room table. Oh, what to do? What to do?
This post takes the road less traveled, bringing with it a picnic basket filled with maternal guilt for lunch. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow.
My son's kindergarten class held a mock wedding today in honor of Parshat Chayei Sarah. And my child volunteered to be the rabbi. This, mind you, is a child who spent the entire year of nursery glued to his red chair, with his coat, backpack and watch on, always ready to go home, never quite knowing what time it was. He did not speak to anyone in his class the entire year and once in a while would utter a word to the teacher if he absolutely had to. Otherwise, as he learned very quickly, pantomiming the need to go to the bathroom got his message across just fine.
So I was astounded, and a little worried, when he came home with an invitation to the mock wedding in his backpack, along with a note saying he was to be the rabbi. The note informed us that he needed to dress up as a rabbi, bring a snack for 16 kids and be prepared to make the bracha on some grape juice. Ahh, so that was it, the grape juice.
When I questioned him, he confirmed my suspicions.
Me: "Did you really say you wanted to be the rabbi?"
Me: "Home come?"
Him: "There's grape juice."
If I had to peg my kid as anything at this mock wedding it would have been your standard shmorg-loving guest. Maybe a shmorg-loving guest who hangs out against the wall with his buddies, eating and minding his own business. But nope, he heard the magical words "grape" and "juice" and his hand shot up.
So today was the day - he went to school looking fantastic in his fancy clothes that he wore to his cousin's bar mitzvah, all ready to be the rabbi. And apparently, he actually was fantastic. He marched down the aisle with the rest of the kids, made his bracha and proceeded to drink the entire cup of grape juice instead of sharing it with the bride and groom like he was supposed to. Well, you know what, good for him! He must have been thirsty, all that pressure. After all, he was the only one with a speaking part.
A mother's pride knows no bounds. I am just so freakin proud of him and I told him exactly why at least ten times this afternoon - and he ate it up. He played his part of the rabbi with no crying, no whimpering, no backing out at the last minute, all standard shtick pulled regularly in this family. He did what he had to do and he got some grape juice as a reward.
Later, while we were having dinner, his teacher called to tell me how proud she was of him, and what a good job he did.
And then it all went to pot.
My love, my son, had left the room for a few minutes during dinner and came back with marker on his face.
Me: "What'd you do with the marker?"
Me: "What did you do with the marker?"
Him: "I wrote on the curtains."
Me: "You what?! Show me."
And he does show me. And there's nothing on the curtains and I'm begining to think maybe he just wrote on his face and made the whole curtain thing up, cause that's what he does. I sat down on the couch for a second, looked to my left for no reason and saw it. He had written all over the wall with the marker. Strike one.
A little while later I came into the kitchen to get a bottle for the baby and there he is, up to his eyeballs in the garbage can, looking for nothing, "just looking, mommy." Uh-huh. Strike two.
And then, right before we were going upstairs to read stories, he asked if he could have a piece of challah. We had made challah this afternoon and they were sitting on the counter. I explained that the challahs were for shabbos, we already had dinner and we were done eating for the day, so no. And not two seconds later, as I am changing someone's diaper, he saunters (not walked, the boy actually sauntered) out of the kitchen with a piece of challah in his mouth, looking like he not only swallowed a canary but was still chewing it. Strike three.
Bedtime is was.
All the praise, all the hoorays, must have been too much for him. It was almost like he needed to create mayhem to deflect from what he accomplished today. Is that a boy thing? A four-year-old thing? A second child thing? Not being any of those things, I have no idea. But I do know that being four is not easy. And being a second kid is not easy. And being a boy is probably not easy either.
I can just hope he understands that I am so proud of him everyday, not just on days when he performs for a free cup of grape juice.
A few weeks ago we went pumpkin picking and as usually happens when we do these kinds of semi-unstructured activities, we wound up with too many whatevers - apples, blueberries, leaves, twigs, socks belonging to other children, you get the idea. In this case, it was pumpkins.
So we culled the herd early on and sent each school-going child to school with a pumpkin or three. Let the teachers sort it out.
That left us with several at home. One went on the front stoop, because even though we don't celebrate Halloween, we didn't want our front steps to be left out of all the fun the other front steps on the block were having. Although now that I think about it, we should be honest, we do kind of semi-celebrate Halloween - we happily eat the candy that's on a fantastic sale everywhere, we give out treats to any kids who come to the door and we buy (hoard) the costumes on November 1st when the half-off sales start. So okay, maybe we don't celebrate in the strictest sense of the word, but we do benefit, so hooray America!
Enough philosophizing. So there is one pumpkin, for a reason that I still do not understand, sitting on the TV stand. I was told I was not allowed to move it so I didn't. I dusted around it. Are you laughing? Cause I am. I can't even type that with a straight face. I don't dust. Just add it to the list.
And then there was one last little pumpkin sitting on the kitchen counter just begging to be crafted with. The only problem was, I had no idea how what to do with it. I don't know how to carve a pumpkin - and anyway that didn't seem too safe with the little kiddies twirling around my feet so I moved on. I considered cooking it and pureeing it so we could bake muffins, but i couldn't do that either. That little pumpkin sitting on the counter had become like a small orange member of the family and cooking it didn't seem to be the loving way to go, so that was out.
And then while I was trying to make dinner the other day, and I had an unhappy two-year-old looking for something to do, it came to me. We didn't need to maim or otherwise hurt our pumpkin, we could just decorate it. So as the onions sauteed and the meat browned in the big frying pan so the Sloppy Joes could do their thing, we sat down with the pumpkin and the box of macaroni that was going to accompany the Sloppy Joes.
This turned out to be a great project for a two-year-old; she didn't even need that much help. First, she started by painting the noodles with blue and silver paint.
While those dried, we got out some scraps of scrapbook paper and cut out hearts because, as my baby said, "The pumpkin loves me". While I finished cooking (check out how cool the smoke looks coming out of the pan), she glued, all by herself, the noodles and the hearts to the pumpkin.
When she was done, we went over the whole thing with silver sparkly paint because "that is the pumpkin's favorite color" and let the whole gluey mess dry.
Good thing Elmer's glue dries clear because that was a new bottle of glue and now it is empty.
And now her pretty pumpkin that she says hello to every time we leave the house is sitting outside on the front steps. All by it's lonesome self. Yeah, I know there was another pumpkin outside when this whole story started. Where did it go? Beats me. Maybe it went to have fun with the other pumpkins across the street. I just hope the little guy is happy.
Now that we have gotten into a groove with the Homework Box, homework time has become almost second nature to all of us. Almost. It's all very exciting. And we also implemented the shoe bin, where the kids dump their shoes as soon as they walk into the house - and they have totally gotten the hang of that too. So since things in boxes seems to be working so well, I have taken it a step farther and made The Kippah Box.
Putting on their kippahs is probably the most stressfull part of my boys' (and mine, Josh's, you name it) morning routine. They can never ever remember where they took off their kippahs the day before and there is no way in the world they have any clue where the kippah clips are because how silly would it be to actually clip the clip back on to the kippah when you take it off.
Josh tried to remedy the kippah clip problem this past summer by ordering, I kid you not, 1000 clips on Ebay. Three months later, we are down to about 100 clips. If I am doing my math correctly, that means we have been losing kippah clips at the rate of 10 per day. That is not only insane, it is unacceptable.
And so enter The Kippah Box. This was not so much a craft project as it was me dumping out the contents of a small box into a ziploc bag, putting stickers on the box that spell out "Kippah Box" and placing said box on the credenza in the porch, the last room we see before we leave in the morning and the first we see when we come home. I suppose that means that this is more of an organizing post than a crafting post, but if it helps anyone with a similair kippah crisis, then so be it.
The goal was for the box to live in the porch and for the boys to deposit their kippahs there when they came home from school. Yes, yes, I am well aware that my boys should be wearing their kippahs from the time they get up in the morning until they go to bed, but seriously people, baby steps here, baby steps.
At this point, the box only works sometimes - as in when the box is actually in the porch. For some reason though, it seems that the box is always everywhere except where it should be. Really. I am constantly knocking it off the kitchen counter or tripping over it in the dining room. I have yet to figure out a way to keep it in its place. I considered hot-gluing it to my credenza but I like the credenza too much. My next idea is velcro, but I am not sure if the box would sit straight with velcro under it.
All I know is that I will not give up until I make this Kippah Box work. Because at this rate, in another ten days, we will have no clips left at all.
This will work. It has too. It's a box and it has stickers on it. Seriously, what's the problem? Maybe it's because I didn't decoupage it. Oh, lord.
This was a quick and fun project that we did outside on a warm fall day. Over the summer, I had bought a pack of four canvases so the kids could paint them and keep themselves busy for at least ten minutes on the super-long day of Tishav-B'av. The kids had a blast doing their canvases, they were busy for a good hour (yahoo!) and it was so interesting to see how they each decided to do something different.
If I was a psychologist, I am sure I would sit and stare at the canvases for hours, unlocking the mysteries of each child's personality. As it is, last night while I was watching some pictures of the kids upload to the computer, I said to Josh, "Wouldn't you just love to live in each one of their heads for just a day?"
Do you think I might be a little too involved? Nah, me neither. You know you would love to be a fly on the wall of your kids' heads too. You don't have to admit it. I admit it freely and so does my good friend Miriam - and we're not embarrassed to say it outloud.
Anyway, so there was one canvas left over from the pack as the baby was a little too little to paint one.
What to do with one canvas? They couldn't share it. And then wait, they could!
We picked a sunny day so we could do our project outside. We headed to the backyard with our canvas, paints, some brushes and a Sharpie marker. And snacks. Always snacks.
I painted each kid's hands with whatever color they chose and they pressed their hands onto the canvas.
Once we had eight little hands cleaned off and dried, one of the boys painted a flower pot on the bottom of the canvas and the other little boy used the Sharpie marker to draw stems for the flowers and write each kid's name next to their flower hands. Use the Sharpie to date the project and you're done.
The canvas dried so nicely and it's, I think, a really sweet way, years from now, to remember how little their hands were. And the kids love looking at the picture. They take such pride in their work, which is so refreshing in itself. Adults just don't do that. Every time we walk by the picture, my two year old turns to me, smiles, and says, "We made that'. I love it.
Our happy little canvas has been sitting on the landing of the upstairs steps for a couple of weeks now, right under the spot where it will eventually hang. It's slated to be hung up in the next wave of hammer wielding and nail banging. Whenever that is.
equals the easiest dinner ever.
And all you add is water. No oil, no eggs, no mess.
And if everyone is really hungry or you need to actually feed a husband, just add scrambled eggs and an Israeli salad and yum! Everyone ate it. Everyone.
This pancake mix is awesome.
We’ve been through a bunch and this one is the clear winner.
Besides toting a truck load of fiber in each serving, they are pretty darn good all by themselves. But then, if on the advice of your two-year-old who has been walking around with a box of vanilla pudding mix for days, you add said box of pudding mix to the batter – man, oh man, pancake heaven. The pancakes tasted like the Duncan Heinz Fairy kissed them.
The entire cooking process, including washing the dishes (eat on paper tonight) won’t take more than 20 minutes. Really. It’s only 7:30pm and I am not in the kitchen anymore – that never happens.
This dinner is a keeper. Maybe even a once a week keeper.
Ooooh. That means we have homemade pizza one night and pancakes and stuff another. I just need two more keepers and we have ourselves a weekly school night menu! I know, I know, I dream big dreams. It's never really gonna happen.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)