Pesach Prep – 2 weeks to go // VLOG

I thought it would be fun to document the two weeks leading up to Pesach (Passover). For Passover we are required to clean out our entire house of any chametz (any of the 5 grains that has touched water for more than 18 minutes before being completely cooked). So we’re talking about pulling out all furniture and cleaning thoroughly behind it all, cleaning down all surfaces, toys, books etc. Obviously getting rid of all this food from the house (use it up, don’t throw it out!), and then kashering the kitchen and changing over most kitchen tools and appliances to Passover friendly ones.

It’s intense. As with everything there are different levels of observance – we aim for orthodox observance.

It’s probably obvious, but this is just a glimpse of what the week was like – I didn’t document every part of it!

Counting The Omer Questions for Kids – Day 2

I’m sharing some questions and discussion points to talk to kids about each day of the omer. I’ve also included an affirmation each day. You can see more of these on my instagram – @jewishaffirmations

Day 2
Gevurah in Chesed
Discipline in Lovingkindness

What does discipline mean? 
Discipline when we talk about love usually means self control.
Why do you think we would need discipline / self control in love?

Imagine that you had a friend who loved giving compliments and this was the way they gave their friends love. Every day, many times in the day they give you compliments – they like your hair, they like your beanie boo, they like the drawing you did, they like… well, everything, and they always tell you!

Do you think you might get sick of that after a while?
Do you think your friend is showing self control and thinking about how you feel, if you’re starting to get annoyed by their compliments all the time?

I know sometimes when I am tired and grumpy I like to be by myself. Do you ever feel like that?

If someone comes up to you and gives you a big bear hug and lots of kisses when you’re feeling that way, does it feel like love to you? Not really – this is why it’s important that we have self control when we love people. We need to be sure that the love we’re giving people is going to be received the right way, and that it will actually make the person feel loved!

Counting The Omer Questions for Kids – Day 1

We’re counting the Omer from Pesach to Shavuot! I find the sefirot accompaniment to the Omer count to be so helpful for me personally, that I wanted to talk about it with my kids as well. Some of the topics can be a bit hard for kids though, so I’ve gone through and written myself a little script with things to say, and how to turn it into a more kid friendly topic, without watering down the ideas! I thought I’d share them here, as well as my daily affirmation (you can find them all on instagram at @jewishaffirmations ).

Day 1
Chesed of Chesed
Loving kindness of loving kindness

Love! Who loves love!? What does it feel like to be loved? Who loves you? Who do you love? How do you show them that you love them?

What does it look like to love a friend?

We know that it’s important to every person to feel loved, and that means it’s important that we show other people love! Look around – look at all the people walking past the street, or all the kids and teachers at your school. Everyone wants to be loved and to have people be kind to them.

How can you show love or kindness to someone today?

Purim 2019! (VLOG)

We had a really lovely time celebrating Purim this year! We to the shule in the city to celebrate instead of our own Shule because the kids go to their Cheder, and were in the Purim play. I’ve put together our Purim adventures in a video below:

This video was a collaboration with Chana and Melissa, so check out their videos also:
Little Kosher Lunch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekoMbTcznoQ
Cheder at home – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e8oTWQ5X_A

The play was such a success that we’re quickly moving on to a Pesach model seder that all the kids are involved in. Even Ahava who is 3, and certainly the youngest of the group had lines in the play, and sung the songs. She’s already memorised her song in the Pesach seder which is exciting to see.

We enjoyed all the festivities, giving out our Mishloach Manot, reading the Megillah both in the evening and the next day, feating, and dressing up! Purim day co-incided with Harmony day here in Australia (maybe internationally, not sure…) and it was lovely to have this celebration of cultural and religious diversity on such a special day. We’re really grateful to be part of a school that recognises and celebrates the diversity.

I hope everyone reading this had a lovely Purim (for those who celebrated!), otherwise a great Harmony day. Now on to the Pesach prep!

Lessons I’ve Learnt – Tishrei

3rd of October 2018
24th Tishrei 5779

I feel so tired. Exhausted. My biggest lesson I’ve learnt standing at the end of this holiday season is that I need to be realistic about my capabilities at this time, and I need to prioritise the Yom Tov over other events.

So we went through Rosh Hashanah fine – totally observant, and really enjoying the time. We hosted family on the first night, and had a really special family time on the second night.

Yom Kippur went okay. Luke attended services and I was at home with the kids which was a bit hard. I felt myself getting really sick and flaring (Hashimotos style) towards the afternoon, and I realised that perhaps my health isn’t good enough to really fast a full 24 hours at the moment. This was a disappointing realisation, and one I will have to be mindful of with future fasts while I am in this healing period. G-D willings, I will be better next year though!

Luke left to go to Melbourne straight after Yom Kippur (like, that night), so then I solo parented for a few days, while also trying to finish up Sukkot gift shopping, Sukkot supply shopping and food prep. I did as little as I could, as I was pretty wrecked, and that meant that we weren’t super well prepared for the start of Sukkot.

The Yom Tovs to start Sukkot were still great, and we celebrated them well – taking time to rest and go to services and enjoy time in the sukkah. Same throughout the rest of the week – we had our neighbours over which was lovely, and had great family time. I was aware that next year I would like to have more activities in the sukkah with the kids during the week, but it was fine for now.

We hosted two “parties” on the weekend, and while they were both enjoyable, I felt really tired and drained after them and was too tired and worn out to properly observe the ending Yom Tovs of Shimini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. I deeply regret this, and realised that I should have prioritised these yom tovs over other events.

So the holiday season ended in a less than stellar way, BUT overall it was still really enjoyable. I learnt a lot, and enjoyed services so much more this year having gone through the Machzor beforehand with our Rabbi.

Things to be mindful of next year:

  • Prioritise the Yomim Tovim over any other events. Ideally host people on these days and not on other days.
  • Family events are nice, and I’m grateful that our family is so supportive that they’re keen to come to these events even thought they’re not interested in Judaism themselves, but just our family is also really nice. We don’t NEED to have other people over for for every holiday for it to special.
  • Have a budget and stick to it.
  • Put more effort into kids activities throughout the Chagim. I want to make this special for the kids, and I think that this stage it’s more important that we do those activities then do big fancy meals etc. Teaching my children and making this memorable for them should be my priority as a mother.

Preparing for the High Holidays

On my mind at the moment is preparation for the high holidays. Rosh Hashanah is just over 4 weeks away, then of course Yom Kippur a week later and Sukkot is hot on it’s heals.

In the lead up every holiday I always end up a grumpy ball of stress, usually at being the one who’s had to do everything, and no one else in my family opening their eyes to help. This year to try and combat that I’ll be having a sit down with everyone in the next week or two and detailing my expectations of everyone, which will involve everyone being proactive to help and keep things rolling. Okay, so this might be a bit of a stretch for my youngest two children, but it hopefully the message will be understood and taken on board by my husband and eldest son.

After going pretty hard core with children centred craft prep for these holidays for a few years (while we were just playing with the idea of this, and not committed to converting), the last year was much more focused on the technicalities of the days. This year I want to get in early and have a bunch of activities for my kids prepped and ready to make in the week or two before Rosh Hashanah, through to the end of Sukkot.

Here are some idea of things I want to do:

  • Colouring in activities
  • Maybe a big poster?
  • Stained glass hanging pomegranates
  • dried orange garland
  • Mini edible sukkahs
  • Plush items for holidays (plush strong and lulav, torah scroll, honey pot?)

Other items on my to do list:

  • Order some kosher meat and develop some menus
  • Get out boxes of decorations from last year and see what we need to be fixed/replaced/kept
  • Do a declutter in the house so that everything feels free and clean for the new year
  • Email all the fam to start the ball rolling for a family get-together
  • Organise and start buying gifts

Sukkot Menu Plan (part 1)

I love to, no, I NEED to menu plan. It is the only way I survive the holiday season, and really the only way I can stick to my food budget from week to week. I don’t have heaps of desserts and sweets planned, though I will probably add a few more to that list (see: Sukkoth Snacks) as we go through. I love rummaging around a fridge full of leftovers to make sandwiches and salads the next day, and I think this menu will allow for lots of that! I’m also just going to buy all my challah this year (shock! horror!). I just have to admit to myself that this is already a lot of cooking, and a lot of prep, and this is something I can easily do to make my life just a little bit easier.

In case you’re wondering why I’ve only included half a week, it is for a very simple reason – I only menu plan one week at a time. 😛 Also, I want to get a good idea of how much food we did and didn’t eat in this first week, and make good use of any leftovers in the second week – recreating them into beautiful dishes on their own. For example, I can see us turning the leftover roast beef from Sunday night into tacos the next day, and maybe even a shepherd’s pie later in the week, depending how much is left over…

_____________________________

Days before Sukkot:

Mon – leftovers

Tuesday – Vegetarian pizza

_____________________________

Sukkot snacks:

Baklava

Cookies

_____________________________

Sukkot I (Wed nigh, Thursday)

Dinner: Shul dinner

Breakfast: Pancake breakfast in the sukkah

Lunch: Antipasti

Sukkot II (Thursday night, Friday)

Dinner: Potato kugel, MEDITERRANEAN SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

Breakfast: Regular breakfast

Lunch: Funeral – eat there.

Sukkot III (Sabbath. Friday night, Saturday)

Dinner: Slow cooker lemon garlic chicken with veg . Orange Cardamom Malabi with Drunken Figs (this recipe)

Breakfast: Regular breakfast (weet-bix etc.)

Lunch: hummus bowls (spiced beef and caramelised onions)

Sukkot IV (Saturday night, Sunday)

Dinner: Eggs on toast / leftovers

Breakfast: Regular breakfast

Lunch: Shul BBQ (check what we need to bring…)

Sukkot V (Family dinner – Sunday night)

Dinner: Roast beef. Beetroot salad. Lemon pie & fruit for dessert (maybe this recipe). + Things others bring.


 

Stuffed Papers for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is tonight, and our house is looking beautiful and festive thanks to these stuffed papers we made. No tutorial necessary, as these are SO incredibly simple to make. I tried to use the symbolise foods for Rosh Hashanah as as well as a shofar, because… well, duh, it’s Rosh Hashanah. Shofars are it!

I just googled the pictures for each, and saved them and printed them out so that they took up half a page. The boys set to work painting them with watercolours, and then we cute them out. We used the scraps of paper that were cut off to stuff inside the shapes once we’d stapled them! So it turned into a pretty clean and nifty craft!

stuffed papers for Rosh Hashanah

stuffed papers for Rosh Hashanah stuffed papers for Rosh Hashanah

Children’s Book Review – High Holidays // VIDEO

I was pleasantly surprised when my book order came through nice and quickly last week. I had bought a number of books to add to our collection for the Fall Feasts – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, and usually it takes AGES for things to arrive to us, but this seems to be another advantage to living in a capital city now – faster shipping. 🙂

Anyway, we got a bunch of books which I’ll list below, and I’m really happy with them. I love books for their unique ability to make you feel warm and fuzzy, loved, not alone, and excited for the holidays that are approaching. Books are wonderful. I’ve done a video below with a little book review (includes cameos of cute/annoying children) of each of the books we got in this pack.

If you have any suggestions for books that you love for these holidays, or for other Jewish holidays than I’d love to know about them! Please leave them in a comment below so we can all gain from your experience.

Book List:

  • Shabbat is Coming by Tracy Newman
  • Rosh Hashanah is Coming by Tracy Newman
  • Sammy Spider’s First Simchat Torah by Sylvia A Rouss
  • One Good Deed by Terri Fields
  • Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast by Jamie Korngold
  • Talia’s Yum Kippur by 

high holiday books