Sunday, 19 June 2016

can I skip june?



The last two weeks of June are such a burden on parents (at least in Israel).

Our schedule is being filled with end-of-the-school-year events and parent-teacher meetings.

While I can see the importance of parent-teacher meetings, I have a hard time understanding why everywhere and everything needs to have a "celebration". My older daughter is in 3rd grade- she has an end-of-3rd-grade-celebration in school although they will continue with exactly the same teacher next year. She has a concert with the flute and a concert with the choir- very nice, but why in the last week before the summer holidays? She has an end-of-the-year celebration with her basketball team which I find completely unnecessary- or at least do it without parents. In addition there are some birthday parties and her own birthday.

And that's just one of our kids- we have two more.

For most of those occasions you need to bring some food and drink (yes, please bring some lovely homemade cakes!) , money is collected for gifts and in some cases the parents even do a show/ contribution in addition to what the kids do (this I completely fail to understand). In most cases smaller siblings are not really welcome and you either have to organize a babysitter or only one parent will attend. In some cases events fall on the same date and time.

I just hate to run around like this. I am a very "homely" person and I hate weeks where I am booked out every day from morning to evening, where housework is not being done (and I anyway don't have much time for it) and dinners turn into snacking fatty salty snacks and huge amounts of cakes at these events (less me but sure our kids).

At least I am already smart enough to sign up for the least time consuming foods to bring with us (cut melon, cups, drinks…) and I try to avoid any whats-app groups that discuss teachers gifts and similar things (usually long, time consuming conversations that lead to nothing).

Well- I guess I will need a holiday in the end of June.

And you know what- you can also ignore this post- I just had to vent a bit. J


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

play-dough and a birthday present




After a long time we made play-dough again. The batch of store-bought dough dried out. We made our own from conditioner and cornstarch- soft and nice smelling :-)
Add some beads, pipe cleaners, plastic eyes and the kids are busy.


The 4th birthday of our youngest is getting closer. If you ask him, waht he wants he will tell you all sorts of things like "a box of screws", "a wood plane, like Aba has" (woodworking tool, not the flying thing), nails, toolbox (he has already 3)...
He's so much into drilling, sawing, hammering etc. Actually he's like this already for over 2 years.
Well- but he also likes superheroes (where does that come from?), knights, swords, dinosaurs and dragons and the like. That's why I made a super-hero mask for him from felt. If I will have time, I will also sew a superhero-cape.



Tuesday, 17 May 2016

a bag for kindergarten


My niece is starting kindergarten in summer. In Switzerland kids don't need to take too much to kindergarten- only a small snack and a water-bottle- so they carry small bags with them.
I had the honour to sew her bag. In the beginning of June I will be in Switzerland for a few days (adding some days after a business trip to Munich) and then I can give her the bag personally.



My niece is a country girl- growing up in the mountains. I chose a goat and I hope she will like it.



My sewing machine is getting old. I have a very old Bernina that my mother once bought second hand and brought to Israel for me. It is the same model I learned to sew with at home. Must be over 40 years old. But I start to have problems with the thread tension. I can adjust it but it's getting harder. I can still do button holes, but some of the "automatic" is not working anymore and I need to use some tricks.
I should save some money and buy a new one- leave the old one maybe for the kids to learn.


Monday, 2 May 2016

kids doodle




The ones who know me, know how much I love kids drawings and paintings. They have this care free way to put down on paper what they feel, see, dream... They don't think too much about how exactly to draw a certain thing- they just do it.
I used to draw a lot when I was a kid- actually up into my early thirties. In the last years I found less and less time for it.

The other day Helen showed me the above doodle she made in kindergarten- apparently she drew it with one of her friends in team work. I love the many small details, the way they covered the whole page.

There are drawings that are so complex I need to get explanations- and I enjoy the stories they tell about their art. Like a small window to their inner world, their thoughts.



Wednesday, 13 April 2016

parenting



I did not read many parenting books during my parenting-career so far.
I feel that sometimes it is like with pregnancy books- the more you read the more you get confused and scared and stressed. That's why- especially during the pregnancies and in the first years- I trusted on my own instinct, the knowledge I had and common sense.

But sometimes you get to points where you just don't know what to do anymore…
There were suddenly days where I started to feel fed up with my kids. Their nagging and fighting (mostly amongst each other), the "not-listening-to-me" and "ignoring-me" when I wanted to say something that they did not want to hear.
Do you know this feeling?

There were moments where we just keep shouting at each other. I try to stay calm but sometimes it just gets too much and then I start to shout back and afterwards I feel so disappointed with myself and of course shouting is not helping- it just makes everyone feel miserable.
There are moments where I use stupid threats- like "if you won't do x and y you won't get z" … and even if I go through with the "punishment", it is usually not a satisfying solution.

I ordered a book on the internet a while ago: 
"How to Talk So Kids Will Listen &Listen So Kids Will Talk" written by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish some 35 years ago.
As I read it and tried to apply some of the things in my every-day-life and tried to improve other things, I came to think about just how much our parenting is influenced by the way our parents behaved towards us.

Don't get me wrong- I do have caring parents. My mother is still my role model when it comes to mothering. She had a seemingly never ending patience with us kids and always listened to us. But still- some of the behavior patterns I have and would like to change come from generations before me- not only my parents. And I am sure that they all meant well.
It's just that some of the ways to treat kids are not really productive, supportive, successful- even if we might initially think they are.

I hope that I will success more and more to implement a good, supportive, caring, emphatic way of parenting our kids. It's hard work some days and on others everything works just fine but I guess it will be a process that will never end.

Another interesting book I read some years ago is "Brain Rules" by John Medina. His conclusions are mainly the same as in the above book- if I remember everything well.

Monday, 11 April 2016

beads


Neomi started to make very nice things from beads in the day-care and Helen wanted to learn how to do this too.
So we checked out the internet for some easy things and some more complicated ones for later. I remembered that I used to make crocodiles and turtles. You can check out this and this and this for some inspiration.


The kids have a small collection of beads and I also gave them from mine. We probably will continue today- it is addictive.




Tuesday, 29 March 2016

knights- more purim


Just a few pictures from the costumes me and my husband made and wore on the purim party.

Swords, shields and helmets from cardboard, tunics and some old knitted child-poncho.

Not the best pictures- next time we should do some pictures in day light.



Now Yotam carries the sword and shield with him all day and fends off evil and stinky dragons that lurk behind corners, cars and inside bushes :-)

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

purim


Purim arrived! Finally- the kids were so excited in the last days.
I did not invest too much time this year with costumes. 
Helen wanted to be a minion and she could take the costume Neomi made last year.
Yotam wanted to be a dinosaur- I used a cap I knitted for him when he was small and added a spike-tail, I sew a cape and made some dinosaur-feet.
Neomi wanted to be a computer and with a little help from my side she created her costume by herself.


While Neomi worked on her computer-costume, the smaller ones mainly cut the remains in pieces and scattered them everywhere and I made a simple mask just for fun.



Now I still need to work on the costumes for myself and my husband. We will be knights on the costume party for the grown ups.







Monday, 21 March 2016

a long weekend in the desert



We spent a long weekend in the desert in the South of Israel.
It was a nice break, the weather was not too hot and we enjoyed some nice walks.
Above you can see us on the edge of the "small crater" – it was already late afternoon, very windy but worth it.


We spent the nights in a field school- a nice, quiet and simple place. It would have been nice to sleep in a Bedouin camp although on weekends it can be a not-so-nice experience- especially if you have a huge group of loud, egoistic people that don't care about the environment and have no manners…


Anyway. We hiked in the "river" Pratsim with it's soft stone that turns into white, floury powder. The kids loved it. There were even some flowers growing and some dragonflies although we did not see any water.


On the second evening we made a nice, guided night walk with lanterns. It was beautiful and exciting for the kids to walk in the dark, hear explanations about birds and stars. I thought that we need to buy some lanterns and do more night walks. Lanterns are so much better than flash lights- giving a soft light and don't dazzle, allowing the eyes to adjust to the dark.



On the last day we went to Massada- the ancient desert fortress that Herod built. We took the cable car up and wanted to walk down the narrow, winding snake path- but after walking around the ruins for more than 2 hours the smallest ones were too tired, so we went down also with the cable car. The kids were quite interested, tried to imagine the palace that was there, marveled at the beautiful mosaics.



There is a great legend about this place. It is not really historically proofed- at least not everything- but I am amazed how deep this story is rooted. The Zealots on the mountain that tried to fight of the Romans and when it was clear that they will lose they chose to commit suicide in order not to become slaves. Even if it is true- I fail to see the heroic part. It is a sad story, a story of desperation. But then it depends on how you look at it and who tells you the story. The story could easily be turned around and be told as the story of the "heroic" Romans that fought the "lawless terrorists" on the mountain…

Whatever- I am always impressed how they could build such a place in the middle of the desert on a plateau that is hard to climb. The bath-house, the palace with it's vivid colours that you can still see today, the water cisterns…


Sunday, 28 February 2016

play dough


As I mentioned in my last post- I made some play dough on the weekend.
I found a large left over of aquaeous cream (probably around 130ml) and we mixed it with approx. 700g of cornflour (much more than mentioned in some recipes). It turned out very smooth and nice to touch and form.
After a while the girls requested colour and we added some red, green and yellow food colour.
We also added a few drops of essential lavender oil to make it nice smelling.

The kids had a lot of fun and the table and floor were nicely dusted with cornflour and dotted with dough pieces (I hate to clean!).
If wrapped tightly you can use the dough again.