Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reading Railroad


Sroch is almost there.

She knows K-I-D-S spells keh-ih-duh-ssss, but she's just THIS shy of knowing it makes KIDS.

She got that word eventually, though.

And then GO and STAR and ZOO.

She's practically reading. I'm trying not to push it, I haven't attacked her with workbooks lately or nothing (the opposite of railroading her), and for heaven's sake, she's fluent in two languages, wonderfully expressive, and knows two alphabets and the letter sounds in both. What do I expect?

Still... Oh, what a delightful thing are brains! Yay!

The Long Overdue Crafting post, part II

Play-dough extravanganza:

Back to Filth Wizardry for play-dough, although she got the recipe from the lovelydesign site. There are tons of homemade play-dough recipes; this one isn't nasty, however.

Based on online comments and research, etc, I adapted this recipe to my Israeli reality (read: no cream of tartar in quantity). It's still pretty greasy, but that makes it smooth. Just don't leave it on any paper surfaces you don't want grease-stained:

2 cups of water
1 cup salt
oodles of food coloring
8 tsp lemon juice (cheap = okay)

Heat until almost boiling. Then add...

4 tablespoons oil
2 cups flour (don't have to sift first, yay!)

Stir until globby mess is pulling away from sides, then remove from heat. Wait until it cools enough to handle, and then knead into childhood joy.

Note: if you double it, use 1/4 cup lemon juice, and possibly as little as 6 tablespoons of oil.

It's the kneading that really does it. I took compulsive Crafty-Mommy-Blogger pictures, because I do appreciate the online community that puts tons of stuff online for me to cull. So here we go from initial boiling to glob to kneading to my finished batches:

We then used it for our last turn at hosting the rotating 'chug' with a bunch of other girlies. My plan of what to do with it failed when I couldn't get it to cling to the surfaces I had planned to use for verticals (plastic? metal? shoot, it was too long ago, I forgot what Plan A was already!). But it sticks to paper. So I tried to instruct the girls to make castles. Yeah, well, whatever, they made lumps. Can you tell which is Sroch's? Hint: it's very topographical.

Anyway, it's a great recipe. It stays good for a long time if covered, and it will eventually dry if you want to keep something permanently. Until Pesach anyway.

Well, the idea was to take a ton of tulle and make tu-tu skirt things. Although once I crunched the numbers from that site, it would have seemed for the 5 girls today I would have needed like 35 meters of tulle. A little pricey.

So I went for the "al-bad," which literally translates as "un-fabric." I have no idea if there's an American equivalent - it's basically disposable fabric, super lightweight and cheap, but awesome for craft projects. I used about 10 meters or so (about 20 NIS worth).

The idea is tie strips of tulle / al-bad / fabric around elastic, then wrap elastic around waist. So ours were more like hula-skirts than tu-tus, but miraculously, the girls were happy with them.

I cut out a million shkabillion strips of the 'fabric,' and measured out the elastic generously. Then I taped the elastic from the edge of the table to the floor, making a very primitive loom for them to work off of (I guessed, accurately, they wouldn't be able to handle holding the elastic in their laps and making knots for the first time in their lives).

I keep over-estimating their attention spans for these projects. After knotting (all but one girl had to be taught how to make a knot (too many velcro shoes!), and all but one finally got it) about 6 or so, most girls ran out of steam, so we had a break and came back to it. In the end, I added probably 10 strips to each of theirs, and - once again - Llama slept through the whole thing, but I had a pink one for her when she woke up. It had to be hoisted up under her armpits to not be too long.

Two long skewers taped together and topped with a pink strip and a gold ribbon made nice wand / scepter thingies. Here's the pictures. I edited out some of the girly faces, because SOME people don't want their kids' pictures on the internet. Whodathunk?

And so far, that's it! For now. :)

The Long Overdue Crafting post, part I

So, I'm not Filth Wizardry. But I have been inspired. The crafty projects I do with the kids (okay, mostly with Sroch) have gotten more elaborate, and I'm frankly proud of the results, even if the process is almost always different than I think it will be.

Previous projects:
Skirts, dress-up dress and swords
Sukkah painting

Tissue paper window:
I think we did this back in October (who's behind in blogging? Not I!). This again is from the inimitable Filth Wizardry post.

My kitchen has two big sliding glass doors. Due to geometry, anyone in the neighbor's yard can see into my kitchen through one of those. So for about a year or so I had the door covered with a big plastic floor cover thing from Llama's first birthday party. Nostalgic, but not exactly decorative.

Enter this project. The idea was Sroch (then a mere 4-and-a-half) and Llama (just barely two) and I could all do it together! So one day while Llama was napping, Sroch and I starting cutting up lots and lots of tissue paper. So far, so good. Then we took our glue roller thingies (that I had gone to three stores for) and attacked the back window.

Sroch was so excited about the chance to shmear glue all over the window she did the whole thing by herself!

Oh, whoops, that's not true. That's what I expected. She actually glued about four pieces on, completely didn't grasp the deliberate overlap-but-not-entirely thing, and then wandered off. Oh well. And Llama just wanted to ruffle her hands through the big basket of paper.

But I had a good time. :)

Finished project in daylight and night, and detail of heart and butterfly motif:

In a few more months, it may be all dusty and gross, and it may die during Pesach cleaning if the splashing cleaning agents get too high. But it's washable glue and tissues, essentially, so it should goo off without too much fuss, I hope. And then we can do it again!

Chanuka menorahs:
I wish I had pictures of these (cough! Uncle Micah cough!). But when we were in Houston for Chanuka, I decided to use the mystical dollar stores that all the online crafty mommas rave about, and find something for my girls to make menorahs out of. Well, Sroch. Llama napped through the whole project.

In the end, we used...
-strange African vaguely religious tribalish artwork wooden plank things for a base, covered with
-contact paper, sitting on feet made of
-little mosaic tiles, with candleholders made of
-little X-mas red, green and gold plastic slinkies, and of course
-foil. Lots of foil. Glue too.

My mom also had gold paint, and teeny-weeny terra cotta pots, just the right size for a Chanuka candle holder. Well, until the heat cracked them. But we made it through the holiday. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Got yelled at by a delivery man, car wouldn't start, dust storm blew
in, Llama pooped in the tub and Sroch threw up when we woke her up to
go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Baruch Hashem, a good day. :)

Thank God for 2 year olds

2 year olds, ah, 2 year olds. Who else could make full sentences so PAINFULLY cute??

Monday, February 14, 2011


Last night I was in a show (partially written by me, lots of fun except for beyond absurd technical difficulties, but anyway), and so tonight at bedtime Sroch wanted me to 'tell' her the show. So I sang her like three songs from it and told her part of my lines, and then said I'd sing her one more song.

That song was "Ima Tagidi Li," a wonderfully emotional sweet song about a child asking her mother what her mother is praying for, and the mother answering with the words from the after candle-lighting prayer, which I said even before I was blessed with these girlies.

So I start singing the chorus, and... Sarah Rochel chimes in singing with me!

"Sroch," I exclaim, "how on earth do you know that song?!" (it's very American, despite being in Hebrew, and I don't know where she could have learned it)

"I don't know," she says, "but I heard it and I saved it in my heart for you, so I could learn it by heart."

Oh. Oh, my heart.