Monday, 10 August 2015

how life changes in a second

Well... actually I already wanted to write a new post for some time now. We spent one month in Switzerland- a beautiful month with lots of fun and happy moments... 
But not even back for 3 weeks, I already have another ticket for Switzerland in my bag- but this time it's going to be a completely different story.

My little niece died. There was a very bad car accident. 
An outing for the kids of my sister and the kids of their friends that ended in a tragedy. Leaving two bereaved families. Two little girls that now will be badly missed. Thanks God, the bigger daughter of my sister survived without physical harm.
We are all terribly sad. I cried a lot but keep myself busy with work until I will fly. 
I will spend a few days with my sister, my niece (also my god-child) and my brother-in-law.

It will probably take a while before I will post again.

Monday, 13 April 2015

mechanical parts

Years back- when I worked as a teacher in a kindergarten, I used to collect old machines- like alarm-clocks and radios- bring them to the kindergarten and the kids could take them apart.
Today I brought some old, non-functional parts from work home. I work in a factory that develops and produces water meters and those small mechanical parts are always fascinating for the kids.
Yotam and Helen spent almost one hour taking apart, checking, sorting, trying to fit together again those gears, wheels, magnets etc.

Thursday, 26 March 2015


As I wrote in the last post, we went south last weekend.

In Kibbutz Zikim we were warmly welcomed by the families that we hosted last summer during the war. 
We toured their Kibbutz and I noticed mostly all those safe-room-cubicles that were added by the Government to each house/ apartment to give shelter from rockets. The other shelters near parking places, playgrounds etc. in case the alarm sounds and people have merely a few seconds to reach a shelter.
The kids daycares are fortified with concrete structures that cover the original buildings.

We visited an Arabic house that is one of the two left from the area before 1948 from people that had to flee. They renovate the house now with it's beautiful paintings and floors. (Unfortunately I was without camera)
From there you can see Gaza and the suburbs. The border to Gaza is less than 3km away. 

On the 8th of June last summer, terrorists from Gaza tried to infiltrate Zikim by swimming and getting on land on the beach near Zikim.
I know the stories of how the families experienced this day/ night and I can hardly imagine how terrified they must have felt.

On Saturday we went for a wonderful walk along a stream/ lake that stretches from the Shikma-reserve to the beach. At this time of the year the area is full of flowers.
The kids had a lot of fun playing at the beach and they were not very disturbed by the cold wind and water…

In the distance you can see the silouhette of Gaza

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Bet Guvrin- world heritage site

In one of the bell caves
We had a very interesting and fun weekend.

We went south to visit the families from Kibbutz Zikim that stayed last summer with us during the war. But before we went to there we stopped in an UNESCO world heritage site called "Bet Guvrin".

It is an amazing place- very interesting even for the kids. They still talk enthusiastically about it.

We visited caves that were over 2000 years old. In the whole area are thousands of caves. Some were used as Colobiariums (for raising doves) some were cisterns, storage rooms or used for oil presses and were situated under houses of the ancient city of Maresha. We especially liked the "Maze cave"- an underground labyrinth of caves that were originally not connected to each other, but in later periods pass ways were added.

In one of the Columbariums- you can see the niches for the doves.

A part of an ancient oilpress

There's also a large old church (St. Anne's Church) built during the byzantine period- but we skipped this one because the kids needed a break from walking.

We visited the "Bell Caves" that were used as quarries. They are huge and impressive.

I would love to go back and also visit the remains of the roman amphitheater, the crusaders fortress and others.

in the bell caves

Monday, 9 March 2015


We had a busy week. Last Wednesday was Purim- the biblical story of Esther is being told and everyone is dressing up. The week was full of events and it was way too much. I would have preferred to have everything concentrated to one-two days. I don't see the point in spreading out a holiday that lasts one day to a full week.

Anyway- Neomi wanted to be a Minion. She helped to create her costume and I think it turned out very nice. We used a wire construction covered with foamed rubber. For the head Neomi made a "helmet" from papier-mâché that we connected to the wire construction and covered with foamed rubber too. Some old jeans were used for the overall.

She won the first prize in school from all the 2nd class kids for the most unique costume.

Helen was a princess. I sew a nice dress for her, a cape and a small bag. The crown was store bought. She loved it. (Even though the other girls had store bought dresses. They are hard to compete with even if I personally prefer the handmade)
Yotam was a builder- I made a tool-belt and he used a helmet we had at home. Anyway he's always "fixing" things and walking around with his tools…
I threw together some old stuff I found at home and dressed up as a clown.
My husband and I went to the party for grown-ups as bats- but I have no pictures to post.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

for my little nephew

The family is growing. My sister gave birth to a little boy last week. 
As it is custom in the part of Switzerland where they live, friends, family members and work mates "plant trees"- which is usually a long pole, sometimes with a little decorated tree on top, and a sign with the name and birth date of the small baby. It is expected that the child parents will invite the "tree planters" later on for a feast to honor the new baby. Sometimes you can see gardens full of those trees- very colourful.
It is a nice custom and I missed it with my 3 nieces. This time I thought we should make at least a sign and send it- see above.

I made a small mobile for the baby. A wooden sailing ship and connected to it fishes and jelly fishes from fabric, felt and ribbons. I loved doing it and I think it turned out pretty nice.

The idea for the jellyfishes I got from here. They are just great!

Monday, 23 February 2015

this and that

In Neomi's after-school care they started to sew little puppets and animals from old socks. Helen wanted also to sew something. With my help she made this red, adorable cat. Now she carries it with her to wherever she's going :-)

If the kids are bored they sometimes readily help to prepare dinner. Even Yotam, at 2.5 years, cut last week all the vegetables for the salad.

If it's not freezing and rainy outside, Yotam is at his best when he can work with his (or mostly his father's) tools outside- hammering, screwing, sawing, drilling- some of it for real, some just acting. Maybe he will take up his grandfather's profession and will become a carpenter one day ;-)

But lately there was a lot of rain and cold weather and we were mostly stuck inside the house. Playing cards (Ligretto, Elfer raus, Uno/ Taki), drawing, playing other things. Yotam loves this one game we have with magnets. He can keep himself busy for a long time with it. Last week I added a baking tray- hurray- even more possibilities. 

And... my little sister gave birth to her second child. A boy. I am happy and sad at the same time. Sad because once more I can't hold one of my sisters babies in my arms and watch her/ him grow... I will see him in summer... 4 months to go. I will show you pictures of what I made for him as soon as the parcel will rech my sister. Don't want to spoil the surprise in case she's reading this...

Thursday, 19 February 2015

paper airplanes

Neomi knows how to fold a paper airplane. 
Helen does not. 
So Helen requested that I will fold one for her and after some more research on the internet we tried out all kinds of paper airplanes and "flying objects". We had small competitions and lots of fun.
Above the winner-airplane that flew the best.

The flying ring- very easy to do and flying nicely too.

The "helicopter".

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

visual rules

Meals with kids are not always enjoyable... at least not in our family. Still- it is very important for me that we enjoy meals together. It is a time of day to be all together and tell eachother what we did during the day, what bothers us, what we are looking forward etc. 
Since the kids eat breakfast and lunch in the daycare this one meal in the evening is even more important to me. 
But for some time now we were struggeling to have an enjoyable dinnertime. My oldest has a hard time sitting still and since I can remember she has a hard time using fork, spoon and knive instead of her hands. They all want to talk at the same time and sometimes start to fight.

Last week I made a small poster where the basic rules are visually stated. The icons are not mine- I just took them from the internet. I could have drawn something myself but had no time and I was so fed up with dinnertime that I urgently wanted to try this visual way of stating the rules instead of always repeating myself in telling them what to do and what not.

And- it worked!!!!
I fixed the rules on the wall beside the table. Before we ate, I went with the kids over the rules and asked them to try to stick to them. Here and there I silently pointed to the rules during the meal.
It works nicely since them. Not always perfect, but MUCH better and they even remind themselfs by checking out the rules (Like- "oops, I still need to clear my things from the table...")

What do you do to have a pleasent meal? Any other tricks?

Translation of the rules on the poster: 

  • wash your hands (before and after the meal)
  • use cutlery
  • don't shout
  • wait your turn (for talking)
  • be nice (say thanks and please and don't fight)
  • clear the table 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

magnetic pinwall- an idea for a present

Now that Christmas is over I want to show you the Christmas presents the kids made for their grandparents/ godmothers and godfathers.
The magnetic pinwalls are very simple and can be done even with smaller children.
We took metal plates/ sheets that we arranged from a metal-workshop in town. I thought to use baking trays but it was hard to find and expensive.
The kids chose fabric and we cut the fabric to the size of the metal sheets- leaving some spare on each side.
I made glue from flour and water and we brushed the metal sheets with it.

We then glued the fabric onto the metal.

We cut the edgesof the fabric so it could nicely be folded in.

Et voilà- just fold in the edges and leave to dry and the wall is finished.

The magnets can be done in various ways. We had some small wooden cubes left at home and we had some tiny, very strong magnets.
The kids painted the cubes (well- more dipped them in colour after a while when they did get fed up with painting them carefully)
And when the cubes were dry we drilled tiny holes and fitted the tiny magnets in. 

I loved the result. It is something nice and usefull to give as a present. I will make one for us too- maybe bigger and I have some other projects going on using fabric to cover wooden shelves.

And I forgot- we drilled two holes into the metal sheet so it can be nailed to the wall.