Sunday, June 26, 2011

A very brief update

We are still trying to catch our breath from this move.  It's been very difficult, at times excruciatingly so but we are trying to regain our equilibrium and hoping that all current problems will be resolved and make us stronger.  The kids are very happy though.  They love the big yard and are making lots of friends.  We took a break from organized learning for a while but now we are trying to ease our way back into a learning routine.  Otherwise, the children have been busy playing and observing the new surroundings, we already had cats and birds visit our new domain, but mostly they spend a lot of time doing what each one loves to do, one reads, one dreams of building clubhouses and spends a lot of time out of doors, one makes up dances, one digs in the dirt, one crawls around and tries to get into everything.  It looks like children are pretty much impervious to the turmoil and stress around them as long is their personal space and inner world is at peace.  So that gives me hope and helps me get through less than perfect and difficult days. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Crafts: Homemade Eye Spy book

I love this great idea from Pink and Green Mama for making homemade Eye Spy books.  We are still digging out from this never ending move and are nowhere near project making or anything remotely like that but one can always dream for the future. Enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Crafts: Birthday counting cards tutorial

It's birthday season around here. So here is a very cute idea for a set of counting cards for a birthday.  I've made some birthday coupons in the past equal in number to the child's age for all kinds of things a particular child might enjoy. I would write it in calligraphy and decorate an envelope in some festive birthday style.   So this is kind of a variation on the theme and something quick to make especially if one might be moving in a couple of days and can't think straight:).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Two videos for Shavuos

Here are two videos for Shavuos, the first  a real moving one from Rabbi Lazer Brody and the second one a cute and funny song.  Enjoy! Chag Sameach!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The goings on

It's been really busy and stressful around here.  I am glad we didn't have to do this for the past five years.  Moving is stressful (did I mention this already?) and tiring and I can't wait to be done with it already:)  We've been doing little else besides packing and sorting and packing some more. Well, in a few days it will be over, G-d willing and than we can proceed to the unpacking and the settling in stage. My head is full of all kinds of ideas for the best way to organize and arrange everything in the new place but really I believe one has to live somewhere first before truly knowing the best place for everything to go.  I've been looking through all my gardening books for all kinds of gardening and other outdoor things I am hoping to dowith the kids in the new place.  I keep calling it "the new place", becasue it will take time to make it into a home.  Hopefully not too long.  We have been keeping to a minimalist learning schedule of math and copywork besides the usual limudei kodesh stuff.  But there really has been no time for anything else - projects, etc.  The kids are doing very well with the Mammoth math, we are doing a mix of division, multiplication and fractions and it's nice to see how all the various sections fit well together and reinforce each other.  I think the children are seeing their own progress and are finding it encouraging.  There has been a lot of creative free play which is always cute for me to watch.  We had a little birthday party.  I think the kids picked up on a few life skills with all the moving related activities.  On the geopolitical front, things are always exciting in this part of the world.  We had violent Arab mobs again trying to crash through our border next to Syria.  The moral equivalency nonsense and other twisted reporting coming out of some reporter's mouths/pens in the wake of Israel having to take defensive albeit very very restrained actions to protect our sovereign borders just boggles the mind.  Considering how political and slanted much of the reporting in the Western media is, I wonder if it's at all possible for an average European to ever really understand things here. Some good articles here  and here and here to shed some light on the situation, mostly for the benefit of my European readers.  You won't get this from the BBC(see this too while you are at it).  The insanity and the dishonesty, deliberate or through sloppy and bigoted reporting gets to me sometimes.  There have to be some intellectually honest people out there who don't buy into this endless distortion and falsification of history and current events.  So, I am looking forward to Shavuos and to the days when the headlines won't be full of projections for this or that political eventuality, to how many missiles will fall on Israel in the next war and where, to the ever growing number and spectrum of threats and our level of preparedness for all or some of them.  G-d is watching us and guarding us here.  I wish the world would leave us alone already and mind their own business, Heaven knows they have more than enough problems of their own.  We don't need any fake peace proposals or processes.  We need the kind of peace that only G-d provides when we do what He wants.  Chag Sameach everyone, happy Shavuos, do some learning, eat some cheesecake and  leave the everyday cares for a while for this special holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah, which made us into the unique nation that we are.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Crafts: Another flower and contact paper beauty! -flower stained glass

Here is another simple and lovely project from the Artful Parent -flower stained glass.  This will have to wait until we move in into our new apartment but it might be a great way to beautify our new space. Maybe for the girls' room window. I am looking forward to trying this with the kids!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yom Yerushalaim, birthdays, moving and other goings on

It's Yom Yerushalaim (Jerusalem Day)here today. This was the day on which in 1967 with great miracles of the Six Day War was won and the holy city of Jerusalem was reunited and restored to the Jewish hands.  Judea and Samaria were too returned to the Jewish nation at that time.  The Arabs are still upset that their genocidal plans did not succeed then when they attacked Israel and would like to turn the clock back to that time and try again, hence the whole obsession with the 1967 lines,  but I digress.   There is a very famous picture that I love, of three Jewish soldiers looking up at the Western Wall, the Kotel with awe, right after the area has been conquered by Israel and the Jews could once again access this holy site.  It's a very special day and something to be very grateful for.  May Hashem continue to shower us with His blessings and perform more miracles for us and expand our borders to where they rightfully belong.  So at some point during the second intifada there was a campaign in the US, to support Israel by buying Israeli products.  So I bought two posters, one was of the above picture and one an amazing panoramic view of Jerusalem.  I had them hanging in my house to always remind us where our hearts should really be.  When we moved to Israel, I think I gave them to a friend.  And so it was that a year after I came to visit Israel for the first time, Hashem has answered my prayers and  miraculously we were able to move here.  We came here a day after the Second Lebanon War stopped.  And I can't believe, that it's been almost five years.  In aliyah lore they say, that five years has a special significance.  Five, they claim shows staying power.  People who managed to hold on and adjust despite the difficulties in the first five years generally stay for good. Yes, it was almost five years ago, when we packed some suitcases, took our babies, 4 years old, 3 years old and a two months old, gave away all our things in America and came here to live.  We didn't go with Nefesh B'Nefesh, didn't send a lift, we just came.  I can't believe it's been almost five years.  The babies have grown up, we've added two more since then.  Today, the two months old of then has celebrated her fifth birthday. Wow!  And now, almost  on  our fifth anniversary of moving to Israel, we are moving to a different apartment.  Weirdly, in some ways I am finding this move more difficult than moving to Israel sometimes:) Perhaps, it's another new beginning for our family, G-d willing a good one.  But part of me has a very hard time letting go of our first home here, the ancient hills outside my window, where every time I look out I feel the Land of Israel embracing me.  Maybe precisely because it was an adjustment, because it took time to make new friendships and build new relationships, I am nervous to leave the safety of it all behind again.  There are so many memories here, sigh.  But, it's for the good and it's another step in our settling here and making this place our own and  we are still going to live close to our old neighbourhood, so it's not like moving overseas.   So five years later, I am still in love with this place, I still feel the Land of Israel embracing me, I am still adjusting and I still don't want to be anywhere else.  So today on Yom Yerushalaim, I am thankful for many miracles of then and many miracle of now as we continue on our personal and national journey in this Promised Land to which G-d has led us.