Sunday, October 31, 2010

I am talking to myself

I just heard a great lecture by Rabbi Yisroel Reisman on gratitide. One of the things he mentioned is that the main purpose of a Seudas Hoda'ah - a thanksgiving meal  after one has been saved from something difficult, is to impress upon oneself the importance of gratitude and attributing our salvation to G-d rather than some natural phenomenon.  He went on to say, that sometimes we try to broadcast a certain message to others and it seems there is no one listening, but there should always be at least one listener, oneself.  I think that is something that is also important for parents to remember.  A lot of things that we try to teach our children are also things that we want to remember or learn better ourselves.  So when it seems that there are no takers for our all important declarations, it's still important to say these things even for ourselves (and the truth is more often than not, the children are really listening too).  It's also something good for bloggers to hear.  There is nothing wrong with talking to oneself every now and then.

Crafts: A Cardboard Play House

Playhouses are  another soft spot of mine.  Kids love them too. We've experimented with a few in our time. It's definitely a project with lots of creative possibilities for making and playing.  And it's made out of carboard which is a pretty accessible medium. Here is a lovely one to try. 
Victorian Cardboard Playhouse

Crafts: Paper filigree snowflakes

I love snow and I love snowflakes.  Snow, however, is not something we see too often in this part of the world.  Here is a really beautiful project that is in the que of things to make, quilled or paper filigree snowflakes.  Amazing the beauty one can create with just strips of paper. It would make nice sukkah decorations too.  There are many, many tutorials and pictures online.  Here is a particularly gorgeous link.
Paper filigree snowflakes and other quilled beauties

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The games we play

The other day, some of us were in a cranky mood and before we knew it, general bickering ensued among some children, and then escalated and then things were in danger of unraveling in a big way.  So after invoking some urgent  Divine assistance, I suddenly had an idea.  Why don't we play a game?  That should distract some and attract the others, especially if it's something noncompetitive.  So we played some word game and that diffused the tension, thank G-d.  We played the ABC-I like game, where we went through the alphabet and each person had to name one thing he liked starting with his letter. There are many variations one can play with this game.  We also played some improv games.  In general, I've been playing (pun intended) with the idea of making our own board games.  It's a very versatile project that can be useful for exploring and reinforcing many different subjects.  The kids like to play games.  There is no frustration of losing or destroying pieces, because you can always make new ones. It's something that can be done as a family and with multiple ages.  And the possibilites are virtually endless as is the potential for creativity.  So this is something I definitely would like to pursue in the near future. Meanwhile, here are a few related links.
Different printable games and templates
Using your PC to create personalized gameboards

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Mantra

When the going gets tough, this song never fails to cheer me up.  It's a teaching from Reb Nachman of Breslov.  In a nutshell, it translates, Whatever was was, but the important thing is to start from the beginning and not be afraid.  Father, renew me and ignite my soul.  So here is a beautiful rendition from Meidad Tasa, whose music always inspires me.  A very important mantra for any parent:)

Our main learning space

I am a homebody.  As much as I like nature, I find most of my activities taking place within the four walls of our home and I am not usually in a great rush to take on any extracurricular activities outside of it, not for me and not for my family.  The truth is there is more than enough things for us to do right here at any given time.  I don't think any of us will be bored any time soon.  The prime center of all our activities is our living room which is also our dining room and our family room.  It is a big airy room which gets a lot of light during the day and has a magnificent view outside its' window, it has both the porch and the kitchen branching off of it too.  It is a homey and cozy room with plenty of sitting and playing room for all the big, little and littleler people that live here.  There are two couches with covers on them to hide all the child and age inflicted wear, a big comfy arm chair, the dining room table, a kiddie table and chairs, a huge and somewhat incongrous closet, bookshelves overflowing with books, often also baskets overflowing with books ( the books often encroach on the sitting areas too), random toys and games in and out of their drawers, art supplies, ride on toys, a rocking horse, there used to be a rug to lounge on but it got so worn by all the activity that it has been retired and I need to find a replacement before things get too cold.  There is a baby quilt for the baby to roll on and observe all the excitement.  Usually there is the baby's bassinett as well.  There are pictures on the wall and kids' art on the closet and the back of the door.  There are family photos on top of the biggest bookshelf as well as some of the children's projects. There is a huge map of the world and an old shelf that serves as a bench for the little ones under it.  It is a well worn and well loved and well lived in space.  Here we eat and play and learn and read and talk (and fight sometimes) and do our projects. Much of the time there is some measure of disarray with various people and objects located in various traditional and not so traditional places and poses.  There is also a big windowsill for the kids to sit on and observe all the exciting things outside such as periodic agricultural activity in the fields across from our home, the flocks of sheep with the cattle egrets or the deer that sometimes come or the birds that seem to fly right by our window, sparrows, doves, storks, eagles, starlings, etc.  Sometimes it's just to watch the garbage truck come to collect the trash or to watch the rain when it comes or occasional hail.  It is a well loved room, which is rarely quiet when the children are awake. It is the place where we think and dream and pray. Here the children run and sing and play make belief. It is a place in flux, a place of transformation.  It is a happy place and a contemplative place and a sweet place to grow in.  Maybe it is not what museum quality interiors are made of, but it is what love is made of.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A multilayered song - Erev shel shoshanim

Here is a pretty multilayered song that could be interpreted on many levels, love between jewish soul and Hashem, love between jewish people and Hashem, love between jewish people and their land, etc.  Thanks Rabbi Brody for another great video, here is his post on the subject.

Monday, October 25, 2010

If you let them

I just finished reading The Call to Brilliance  by Resa Steindel Brown. One can find a good chunk of it here.  The main point of the book is that all children posess brilliance inside them, that will come out and develop if one provides an environment conducive to learning, discovery and creativity which is often lacking in a traditional school environment one finds today.  She describes her personal experience with her children and brings lots of material from a large number of sources which supports her thesis.  It was an interesting read and it got me thinking.  I largely agree with what the unschooling  movement claims the problems are with the traditional schooling methods, such as overemphasis of compliance over learning, not being able to pursue one's interests and inclinations in an adequate way, overemphasis of homework over family and play time, etc are a few examples.  These problems tend to be exacerbated even more if the child in question has any learning difficulties or generally doesn't fit in well into a regular mold.  But I was wondering,  what makes a child to some extent immune to these problems.  Because clearly there are people around who have gone through school and yet retained their love of learning, found their true voice and managed to actualize their potential.  For some it was despite of their schooling but for some I think something else was at play and that something else is the parents' involvement.  I think when the parents provide a rich environment at home and let their children learn and play and dream and discover, that in many ways compensates for and overrides the problems that could be created in a school environment.  As I watch my children, each one quite different from his/her siblings as they grow and pursue their own interests, dream their own dreams, I realize that a parent's job often is to step back and let them do things, to relinquish some control and let them experiment.  Let them do the projects the way they want to sometimes, let them choose their own activities, help them pursue their interests.  The parent becomes more of a mentor and a facilitator.  If one has all kinds of books around that kids would find interesting to read or to look at, and art supplies or whatever it is, if one lets them wash the floor when they want to, to rearrange their room within reason, choose their own style of clothes again within reason then I think in most cases one would see this magnifiscent kind of an unfolding of a personality emerge that the author is describing.  Again I would like  to stress, that the point is not necessarily to produce the next Reb Chaim or the next Einstein or the next Rembrandt.  But the point is to take one's ego out of the picture and let each child shine and become what he/she is meant to be.  And they will certainly shine, G-d willing - if you let them.

Crafts: T-shirt crafts

Here is a link to a great ebook about all kinds of exciting things one can make with an old t-shirt.
9 ways to transform a t-shirt

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Crafts: Fabric Painting and Design

Here is another great idea I'd like to try out with the kids.

Crafts: Plasticine Stamp Printing

Here is a link to a great craft idea Plasticine Stamp Printing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

If I heard it, they meant ME

I just heard a remarkable thought from Rabbi Shimshon Pincus of blessed memory.  There is a story in the Talmud of two rabbis who were very poor and they decided to leave their studies and travel overseas to try and improve their economic situation. As they were traveling one of them heard the angels speaking.  One angel was saying that these men should perish for they value material pursuits over spiritual. The second angel said that they should be spared because one will become an outstanding scholar.  So one man turned to his friend and asked whether he heard something and his friend answered in the negative, from which he deduced that they must have been speaking about him.  So he turned around and went back to his studies and indeed became very great.   So says R' Pincus, if sometimes we are struck by a message or something in life seems to speak directly at us even though no one else seems to hear, it's because it was meant for us.  Let us take these messages to heart and run with them.  Shavua Tov, have a good and enlightening week!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Children are for growth or I Digress, AGAIN

It's been a busy week and tonight has been a busy night.  I didn't get to start my evening after all the kids were down until much later and all the great plans I had for tonight dissipated in the evening's tired mist.  All week long I was walking around with all these great writing ideas bouncing and buzzing around my head but one thing that was in short supply was the actual writing time.  So I've been thinking, why is that , that life with children so often forces one to change one's carefully laid plan?  Why is it so often chaotic and unpredictable?  Why is that, that as soon as one thinks one understands something and has finally figured it out, the rug is pulled from under one and it's back to the drawing board.  So here is what I think is the lesson.  Chindren are for growth, of the parent that is and not just the child.  Being a parent forces on to constantly examine and re-examine things, to get to the core, to strip away all the nonsense that so often clutters our vision.  Parenting and the growth that it engenders is much more about the struggle and the journey and the lessons learned along the way than the items that could be checked off the endless "to do"  list at the end of the day.  Educating ourselves and our children, along the way, is not about the perfect end product in a conventional meaning of the term.  It's about self-perfection in the most meaningful  and ultimate sense, if one only lets.  If One only lets.  So bring on the change of plans, the other things will have to get written another time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Kid Crafts

Here is a whole line up of great kiddie craft ideas from

Craft: Coffee Filter Leaves Craft

Here is a very pretty, easy and frugal craft to do with the kids.
Autumn Leaves Craft

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On Literature

Good literature like good art and good music could really move one's soul.  The language, the imagery, the plot, the characters, the message , there is a reason why good literature is often an integral part of a well rounded education.  But here is the rub, well crafted and well written literature can transfer one into an alternate reality, it can paint a picture so enchanting that one will have a hard time returning to the here and now without being affected in a very deep way.  So literature of the wrong kind, with a wrong message but still well written and well crafted can really corrupt a person internally.  This of course creates a challenge for a Jewish parent who wants his/her child to benefit from the good things that literature offers but  not be negatively influenced and polluted in any way.  Here I am speaking mostly about fiction which is much more problematic generally.  In the past people resolved this dilemma by either abstaining entirely from secular literature or selecting something that was considered more or less pareve and therefore suitable for an orthodox reader.  Alternatively, they could just do away with fiction and stick to nonfiction exclusively.  There were of course frum works of fiction available but the selection was somewhat limited, especially for avid readers.  At the same time the newer fiction that comes out for the general audiences has grown more and more unsuitable, to put it mildly, both in language and subject matter. But a jewish novel is not a basically secular novel but with jewish characters. So there is a real need for good, solid jewish fiction.   Thank G-d the field of jewish fiction in english has really exploded in recent years and the quality has also improved dramatically. So if one wants to introduce one's children to good literature for the purpose of appreciating good writing, understanding how to communicate one's thoughts effectively, improving one's vocabulary and learning how to use language in a masterful and creative way, there is now jewish literature of the right kind available to fill this need.  Recently I read just such a book.  My sister-in-law lent me a book called Betrayal by M.Keinan, translated from hebrew by Libby Lazewnik, a wonderful writer in her own right.  It's not a light read, it's a jewish epic novel , beautifully written, with well developed characters and an authentic jewish message.  It really hits all the right notes because it contains all the elements of trully good literature without sacrificing anything in spiritual quality.  Just beautiful, a real masterpiece.

Crafts: Woven Hearts Galore

A long time ago we made a very simple woven heart decoration with the kids which I found in some crafting book.  But here are some much more interesting and complex variations on the theme.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I have a thing for blackboards.  I just love them.  It seems to me that many children share this love of blackboards if it's not associated with anything painful or unpleasant.  It has many educational possibilities for children young and old.  I used to have one and then we moved and I had to leave it behind due to its' bulk and impracticality of transporting it across the ocean.  But I continued to dream of having a blackboard and we have improvised with whiteboards or writing with dry erase markers on windows and glass doors.  I thought of making blackboard paint for a project and dedicating a wall or a some other suitable surface to blackboard design.  But in the end I discovered  another blackboard possibility-  Chalkboard paper.  It is kind of like a glorified contact paper but it's not bulky and easily removable from some surfaces and so I installed a piece on the back of one of our doors so it can be both in and out of sight.  It was already put to good use by many of the kids.  As I said blackboards and colored chalk are very exciting, as is  the look of a clean and fresh, newly erased board, temptingly so,  I might add.   So here is a link for some things that a blackboard could be used for.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

All in a day's work

It never ceases to amaze me how much activity little children pack into a regular day.  I find myself in the second iteration of early childhood education now that the girls have left babyhood and are now in the category of little kids at the ripe old age of almost 3 and 4  and a change respectively.  Usually they wake up bright and early and either come into my room, one for a cuddle and the other for some urgent discussion or they play with the boys in between coming into my room for one thing or another.  Then one of the parents, these days usually my husband gets up.  So there is the morning scrambling to get everyone washed, dressed, fed,etc.  all in between games and discussions and squabbles, of course. When the older ones and my husband are off to begin their day, we that stick around on the homefront start ours.  The girls start to play or help me to water the plants or just watch me do it, all the while keeping a look out for intruding cats.  I take care of the baby, do the laundry, put the house together a little, think about meals and snacks for the day.  Today the girls were coloring on the chalkboard and then enjoyed cleaning it off.  They like to participate in whatever household activities I am doing, so I try to include them, time and energy permitting.  Today they were busy cutting up some colorful contact paper into small bits.  I showed them how to take the backing off so they could stick it onto the paper for a project.  The younger one was pretending she was a lion while she was doing all this.  Then they decided they'd like a bath, generally it's more for water play rather than cleanliness so I put them in. I have lots of different bottles and containers for them to play with and they did with great pleasure, all the while chattering away about something.  When they emerged, we got everyone dressed, brushed, etc. Today they decided they wanted to play cooking, they got various play cooking utensils and were happily shoveling dirt in and out of them while they were deciding on the menu.  They had lunch and some snacks and drinks of water at various intervals.  They turned on the demo button on the piano so we were all listening to classical and other good piano music as we went about our business.  One took out some wooden beads and built castles for a while and then asked me to build a train or some stairs with her.  They sang and danced and played and yelled and asked a million questions about this and that.  They played that one was a puppy and the other  was taking her on a walk together with her baby in the stroller.  They asked me to put a leash on one and attach it to the doll stroller.  Then thay wanted to listen to some music, I turned on a lively CD and they were holding hands and jumping and dancing around until one decided that they better put on some fancy dresses because they were princesses at a wedding.  So they asked me to help them get their fancy dresses from the Purim costume selection.  There was minor bickering but soon everyone was ready and they continued to dance.  I joined in to make things a little more exciting.  We read stories, we looked at picture books and named various objects.  This was today and most of the above took place before noon.  When my husband came home, they played and talked and looked at the map together.  Then the boys came home.  For the rest of the day there is more play, more stories, a trip to the store, everyone pitched in to make pizza for supper, our project for today.  Then there was a hot drink and in theory everyone should've been off to bed.  Today they had a hard time winding down but finally the house was quiet.  Another busy day behind us.  Some days are more hectic and some less.  Sometimes I take them on outings with me.  Somedays there is more lounging around and some are dedicated to more household tasks.  Sometimes there is more formal learning or a special project.  But mostly it's just astounding how much they do all day on a regular day.  It's also interesting how they just flow naturally from one things to the next.  There is a rythm  to their day but it's not set in stone.  And so it goes and as they frolick and skip from one thing to another like carefree butterflies, they seem to pick up language and skills and think of all kinds of ideas, some naughty and some very creative.  They philosophize and try to make sense of the world around them.  All in a day's work.  Sigh.  All in a long, sweet, so busy, so new and so marvelously exciting day, every day.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A new modeling medium

We just tried out a new modeling medium with the kids.  It's modeling wax . I got this one.  It was approved by all the kids here across the board from 2.5 to 8 years old.  It has a very nice luminecent look to it, is pleasant to the touch, smells good and is made of natural materials primarily bee's wax.  They liked the fact that it doesn't feel sticky like plasticiline.  The colors are very nice too.  They enjoyed just holding on to a piece and squeezing it around.  It's on the expensive side as crafting supplies go, but if treated with care it's supposed to last for a while, I hope.  So this was definitely a successful purchase.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More Crafty Inspiration

Here are a few links to get those creative juices flowing:
Button Mosaics
Jewish Origami and Kirigami
A knitted farmyard

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The goings on

Lately as I was bemoaning the fact that still under the influence of a newborn and with everyone's ever busier schedules I don't get to do as much with the kids as I would like.  However, when I started to analyze in my mind all the various things that have been going on around here lately, to my great delight I've discovered that actually quite a lot of learning has been taking place here lately just in the course of regular living.  Today, when the almost 3 year old and the four year old were playing house, I heard the almost three year old say repeatedly and insistently - " This is not a competition".   So I guess their vocabulary is improving.  We read aloud to the kids, so even as they play apparently all of them are picking up on their language skills.  The 8 year old has finally discovered reading so that occupies a lot of his leasure time.  There has been a lot of creative play going on here as well a lot of dress up games.  I finally decided to make all the Purim costumes available all year around so they could play.  So at any given time one can find brides, princesses, soldiers, kings and other interesting characters in and out of costume parading, skipping and flying around the house.  Unexpectedly my dream of making a play kitchen for the kids has materialized out of an old table support, a drawer, sink drains and closet doorknobs as well as other miscelaneous perafernalia.  So the kids have been quite busy with that.  There was a lot of interior decorating of various nooks going on by the artistic crowd and some loud altercations over artistic differences to go with it.  The new big map of the world on our wall has everyone, even the younger set very interested in geography all of a sudden.  So everyone is memorizing continents and countries and generally talking about geographic stuff.   My husband loves maps so he is more than happy to share his love and knowledge with all of us.  I've wanted to try out wood staining with food coloring for a while and so we did with the kids.  I had them round up their old plain wooden blocks and Kapala and we dyed them.  It was a great success, the results were beautiful muted earthy toned colors.  So I am already looking forward to experimenting with other colors, etc. Today everyone suddenly decided to make houses out of old cardboard boxes.  That is usually a multi-day or even a multi-week project, when everyone is into painting, decorating and discussing various construction and design alternatives ad infinitum.  I am happy to supply them with materials and tools they might need.  Then there is the gardening. This past year I discoverd that one can grow shrubs and other plants from cuttings, I experimented and was overjoyed to discover that it actually worked and is not too difficult.  So when the local city lanscaping crew showed up to do some pruning and then threw out a ton of branches from all the flowering shrubs of various sorts.  I picked up a few of those discards and planted them in my yard.  I also planted some hadasim and aravos from succos for good measure.  As the rain season should be upon us,  I am hoping at least some of these cutting will take root so that is very exciting.  Of course the kids were very enthusiastic, some like to participate in my gardening adventures and some just like the idea of growing our own aravos.  Then there were numerous conversations on the importance of order, hard work, standing up and doing the right thing against peer pressure, the importance of good communication, etc, etc, etc.   Everyone is excited about the new piano, so there is a lot of listening to music, experimenting with the playing and looking forward to lessons by some. There is Torah learning and all kinds of theological discussions, sometimes of an unexpected out of the left field sort.  There is a lot of noise, a lot of dreaming and a lot of activity even when nothing much is taking place.  We are experimenting with various new routines and techniques to make life better and more efficient for all concerned.  These are just a few of the hilights, so clearly things are not as bad as I thought.  They are all growing up.  The big ones are getting more mature(at least some of the time), more independent in thought and action.  The little ones are suddenly morphing into the bigger ones.  Some babies are no longer babies and even the littlest one is changing all the time encouraged by the whole family.  More and more I find that I force myself to take a backseat and cede some control so they can all in their individual ways break out on their own.  It's sweet, exciting, awe inspiring and sometimes scary and painful.  But over all I am filled with a tremendous sense of gratitude to Hashem for giving me this gift to participate and often preside over these crazy, wild and unpredictable goings on.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crafts -Bendy Dolls

Here is a very cute and relatively easy craft with lots of possibilities made with pipe cleaners. Can't wait to try this out with the kids:)
Bendy Dolls Tutorial
Another Pipe Cleaner Doll Tutorial

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Art of Education

I love books on education, especially those written from the Torah perspective.  So here is an education book from the teachings of Chassidus.  I just started reading it and it's really  good.  It promises to be an interesting and inspiring and most importantly practically useful read.  Insert contented sigh of anticipation here.  Enjoy!!!
The Art of Education by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburgh

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pretend play kits

Kids love pretend play and often the more elaborate the better.  Once when I was looking for a site to print out some play money for my children, I came across this very cute pretend play kits available for printing - restaurant, store and library.  Of course you can use this as an inspiration to create your own kits.  Enjoy!!!
Pretend Play Kits

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kindergarten the old fashioned way

Here are two kindergarten curriculum books from the olden days for some ideas on how and what to teach the little ones. Adapt to your own needs as always.
Kindergarten at Home

The nursery lesson book

Some Really Neat Crafts

I don't remember if I already posted this one but this site has really great crafts made from stuff you probably already have in your house.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Parenting Helps and inspirations

Here are a few links for parenting inspiration and practical suggestions to navigate our often uneven and unchartered  terrain.

The first one is a great blog for jewish moms by Chana Weisberg -

This one I just discovered today and it has lots of articles with lots of good practical ideas for many areas of parenting -


It's night here.  There is a special sweetness to the house full of sleeping children.  The night light casts its' shadow over their slumbering features.  I look around at the remains of today.  The supper table that still needs to be cleared.  The toys that still need to be picked up,  the projects and games and dreams in progress all around me.  My body is tired but my brain keeps on going, abuzz with plans and ideas and hopes for tomorrow. Then there is the daily if not hourly analysis of everything that transpires within these four walls.  Today this one was sick, that one was tired, this one needed  more stimulation and that one more down time.  This one was acting out, clearly something is bothering him, but he is not the type to be able to verbalize what the problem is.  He can't understand why I can't read his mind to get all the information I might need.  He wants my help, but it's my job to figure out how and what to do.  Today, I nursed and cuddled, kissed and admonished, shopped for supplies, advised on projects, read stories, cooked.  Today I yelled in frustration.  Today I prayed for wisdom and patience to do the right thing, to help everyone in the way they need to be helped, to love them the way they deserve to be loved.  Today I could feel again how hard it is to fit everything in, but also how much more fits in than I could imagine on a regular basis.   They are all growing up and we are also growing up, each in our own way, in a myriad different ways.  We all exist on so many planes all at once, each day so multifaceted. We feel like we are on a treadmill running from one thing to the next.  And yet...  Today was fast but it was also slow.  It was painful at times but also beautiful beyond compare, it was simple and it was complex all in the same day, all at the same time. It was precious even with all the mistakes and the failures and faux pas because life is precious and every minute is a tremedous gift.  It's amazing when one begins to appreciate the cosmic significance of every moment, of every chain of moments, of a life that can be woven from all these glorious glorious moments, even today.  Today, when I wasn't necessarily at my all time best, didn't feel like I was my ideal dream parent or person, for that matter, didn't get everything done.  So thank G-d for today!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

For Quilling Inspiration

Here is a link for lots of beautiful examples of quilling and other paper art inspiration.

Craft D'jour: Pretty Lights

Here is an easy and pretty project to make- Pretty lights. It would make a nice night light or a decoration.
Pretty lights

A few great Montessori links

Here are a few montessori links for inspiration and practical ideas.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Yet another beautiful rendition of Ana B'Koach

Here is a particularly beautiful rendition of this Shabos song that I love so much, this one from Yossi Azzulay.

Jewish links

This year I've also discovered -a wonderful site with a plethora of different video lectures on all things jewish including childrearing. Totally awesome and free.

Here is a link for lots of wonderful and instructive chassidic stories from a book called Once Upon a Chassid by Yanky Tauber available for your perusal right here.

Here is a great and often very practical anthology from Nechama Greisman, A"H. I really like her suggestions for different homemaking ideas.

A great general resource for all subjects

This year I've discovered Google books. It's a great resource for all subjects. It gives you access to many many books, some in their entirety and some not, but still enough to give you a lot of information and a pretty good idea whether you would like to purchase the book in question. It's been very useful for me.

Making toys/ projects

Here are a few nice links for creative toy making I've discovered in the past year for both the handy and those less so. Enjoy!!!

Made by Joel
Science Toy Maker

Living math links

Here is a link for TONS of exciting math stuff- Math links from TJEDonline. All kinds of great ideas, printables, manipulatives, etc - very worthwhile.

Boy, what a long two week break

Sorry, I've been temporarily side tracked by a little boy:) Pregnancy and childbirth can do it sometimes. But I am back and I have something like an almost year's worth of ideas, links and thoughts to post. So stay tuned, hopefully it will take less than a year to get it all done.