Thursday, 18 September 2014

a peaceful afternoon

Neomi was bored (once again). She wanted to play on the Computer, she wanted to watch TV. She was very annoyed with me because I did not allow her TV or Computer. She was frustrated and complained for a while until I gave her the task to write a list with ten things she would like to do. After quite some thinking she got her 10 things nicely listed.

One of them was, to make muffins. I scheduled this for the day after. In order to give Neomi (and myself) the space to actually make the muffins with minimal interference from the younger ones, I asked Helen what she wanted to do and she decided to do some watercolour painting.

So I set up the easel outside for Helen and her watercolours. I put up an old wooden board for Yotam to draw on and I printed a muffins recipe in German for Neomi (like this she could also practice a bit her Latin letters).
We had a great, peaceful afternoon.

Neomi made great lemon-poppy-muffins almost all by herself (no pictures).

Helen painted for quite a long time.

Yotam made one drawing with his crayons but decided then that it was much more fun to use his wooden saw to "saw" apart the board. He was busy for a long time peeling off straps of wood.

I can reccommend this list writing. Neomi was busy all week- choosing almost every day something from her list and already wrote a new one.

I try to fit in some activity for myself. I embroidered an owl- now finished I will use it for a lavender sachet- as a present for a very dear person.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

simple Lego math-game

There are so many fun ways to use Legos for simple math activities.
One day I made a board game for the girls. Later I improved it a bit, but they loved it even before that.

You need:

  • the game board
  • Lego people
  • Lego blocks and 
  • a dice to play

Each player adds or takes away blocks according to the field he gets after rolling the dice.
The winner is the one that ends up with the highest Lego-tower.

Have fun and feel free to print out the game for your own use.


Already over two weeks passed since we had our spiral themed days.
The artwork (inspired by Hundertwasser) we made you can find here.

We also went looking for spirals in nature. In many things you can discover spirals:

Snail-shells, cactus, pinecones, sunflowers, ferns, spider-webs, vines…

We collected some of the spirals we found, made pictures of others. In addition I printed some nice pictures and we hung them on the wall.

One activity was to lay spirals with yarn on sandpaper. This requires a bit of patience and good fine motor skills. The big girl gave up fast, but Helen designed for quite a while different spirals- in the end it turned into "nest making" for some small figurines.

We also made spiral mobiles from paper. In the beginning I marked lines and they cut along the lines, later they made them without help.

Even now they still discover spirals in unexpected places. 
I even cut peper in a spiral form and add them to Neomi's school snak (She loves it!). 

At home they like to eat the apple skin if I peel it like a spiral (or snake)- the longer, the better.

Monday, 15 September 2014

bees and honey

Next week is "Rosh Hashanah"- the Jewish New Year. Usually celebrated with dipping apples in honey for a sweet new year.
We made some nice cards. Prints with bubble wrap for the "beehive" background and fingerprints for the bees. The kids were too lazy to draw the wings and black lines, so I did this part.

I would like to do a bit more crafting for Rosh Hashanah, but since some weeks I have a huge workload at work and I hardly have enough energy for other things. I hope we will manage one or two more things anyway.

Monday, 25 August 2014

like Hundertwasser

I like Hundertwasser. His colourful art and his great, unconventional architecture.
A while back I bought a book for children about Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Since daycare is closed this week and I have two days with my kids, I decided to do something that includes Hundertwasser-art.
His paintings often include spirals. This morning we went for a walk and looked for spirals in nature (an interesting thing to do- even for grown ups!).
This afternoon, while Yotam was sleeping, we made some Hundertwasser- inspired-art ourselves.

The girls painted with watercolour a background. Then we made spiral flowers using glue, yarn and fabric stripes. I already prepared myself for a break in the middle of the project- but they were so eager to continue and managed to work surprisingly long. :-) Nothing like a successful activity...

Sunday, 24 August 2014

another Sunday

I disconnect myself from the news on the weekend. I can't deal it and need breaks from all those bad news. Then it's usually like a slap in the face to read the news after the weekend (weekend being Friday/ Saturday here in Israel).

News of a 4-year old dying from a rocket while running (not fast enough) to the shelter. (Only this makes me so sick to the stomach that I lose my appetite. The age of my daughter…), men being executed in Gaza because they "apparently" collaborated with Israel, rockets now also from Syria and Lebanon, a father seriously wounded while pushing the last kids into the shelter at the daycare and sheltering them with his body, sirens all over the south- all the time…

Another family came to stay with us. They have 5 kids and so far they held out tin the South but they needed a break badly. Especially the younger daughter is traumatized.

If you want to look at the good part of this war (and how can there ever be a really good part about a war)- we met some truly great families and gained new friends and I am happy we could give them some shelter from the rockets and the threat of the tunnels. I am praying that nothing bad will happen to them.

One week from now the new school year should start. But as things stand right now it does not look good. They might delay the start. There's no way kids in the south could go back to school while rockets are still hitting the area. In addition to this- those kids had no summer holiday whatsoever. Spending weeks in the shelters. The lucky ones could afford some days away in hotels. Others were lucky to get shelter for some time with family/ friends and strangers.

My daughters told me that they want to go to live in Switzerland because there are no rockets. I asked them if it would not bother them to leave their friends… well they did not like this idea that much. 
Of course I do think about it from time to time. On the other hand you can't just leave everything. If it will get really bad for us here- this might be an option (if there are still flights…. Enough that they will shut down the airport and there will be no way to escape except maybe by sea.). 
And, to be completely honest, I am not sure it will be that good with all the anti-Semitism in Europe. Do I want my kids to be called "dirty Jews" and worse? (Even if they are not Jewish according to the Jewish law, because I am not)…

Let's hope this will finally end!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

peg board and tape road

During the football world cup, Neomi got interested in the flags of different countries. During the same time I had this idea for a peg board. I painted a wooden board black, added some nails and created some sheets. In the one above you need to connect the flags with a rubber-band to the name of the relevant country. There are endless possibilities for this board. I made some sheets with practises for learning the alphabet, counting, shapes...
It would be great if I could laminate the sheets because the paper is getting creased and tears easily after multiple use...

We have three quite big boxes of Lego. They are usually stored in our store room because we don't have a lot of space. From time to time we take them out. Right now the kids (and we grown-ups as well) are almsot everyday playing with them for hours. The other day they needed a road. but the actual lego-parts consist of only 3 road parts. I gave them tape and a marker and they added their own road on the floor.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

and here we go again...

After a few days where I started to get out of my "on-hold-mode" and actually started to think and plan a tiny bit ahead again, we are back to news of rockets and sounds of fighter-airplanes....
The news updates that started to look almost empty and with a new item maybe once an hour are back to updates almost every minute... 
(source "y-net")

Iron Dome intercepts rocket above Kiryat Gat area 
(11:15 , 08.20.14)
Three rockets explode in area of Eshkol Regional Council 
(11:15 , 08.20.14)
Code Red sirens sound in Hof Ashkelon, Eshkol, Sha'ar HaNegev and Sdot Negev Regional Councils 
(11:01 , 08.20.14)
Two rockets explode outside community in Eshkol Regional Council; no injuries 
(10:56 , 08.20.14)
Flight from Stockholm to Tel Aviv cancelled following renewal of rocket fire 
(10:55 , 08.20.14)
Code Red sirends sound in Eshkol 
(10:49 , 08.20.14)
Sirens sound in Kiryat Gat and Regional Councils of Sha'ar HaNegev, Be'er Tuvia, Hof Ashkelon, Yoav, and Lakish 
(10:43 , 08.20.14)
Rocket explodes in open area in Eshkol Regional Council 
(10:39 , 08.20.14)
3 rockets explode in open areas in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council 
(10:38 , 08.20.14)
3 rockets explode in open areas in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council 
(10:17 , 08.20.14)
Code Red siren sounds in Hof Ashkelon and Sha'ar HaNegev 
(10:08 , 08.20.14)

My heart is heavy...

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

frozen chalk

We love to play with liquid chalk. This time I added a twist to it (I got the idea from here). I added baking soda to the cornflour and water. Instead of food colour I added water colour. I then filled the mix in a ice cube tray and froze it.
The frozen chalk melted quite fast on the hot pavement.
I gave the kids a bottle with vinegar and a pipette. They drizzled the vinegar on the chalk and because of the baking soda the chalk began to bubble, fizzle and sizzle- not as much as I actually thought, but still quite fun. maybe I will add more baking soda next time.

To make the chalk, you need:

- 1 part cornflour
- 1 part baking soda
- 2 parts water
- watercolour or food colour

Mix everything and fill ice-cube-trays. 

For the "sizzle": vinegar. Maybe it could work also with lemon juice- I would have to try this. The smell would be nicer :-)

Since one hour we have another cease fire and it seems to be quiet. Let's hope this one will last. Otherwise it starts to be ridiculous. Why to agree to ceasefires if you just start shooting all over again...

Sunday, 3 August 2014

a strong voice for peace

Today I post parts of an article Achinoam Nini (Noa) wrote for the newspaper "Ha'aretz". Achinoam Nini is a famous Israeli singer. There were times I could not get enough of listening to her songs and beautiful voice. She is known as a strong voice for peace.
The whole text is much longer. I added the link but you need to subscribe to read the whole of it (you can do so for free if you want to read only this article).
It's such a strong message and we need voices like this now more than ever.

With the Taliban tactics of Hamas on one side and the F-16 bombers of the Israeli army on the other, these people (The Gazans) are clamped like walnuts, crushed by the thick metal jaws of blindness and stupidity. The death toll is rising and rising – for God’s sake, how much longer will this go on?
My heart goes out to the families of the victims wherever they are. I am happy to have a strong Israeli army to defend me against those who clearly state that their aim is to slit my children’s throats. But I do not want to use my sorrow and fear as a shield against human empathy and clear thinking. On the contrary, I want to do the opposite.
I want to stand in the middle of the rink and speak my truth.
There are only two sides, and they are not Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs. They are moderates and the extremists. I belong to the moderates, wherever they are. They are my camp – and this camp needs to unite. I have nothing whatsoever in common with the Jewish extremists who burn children alive, poison wells, uproot trees, throw stones at schoolchildren and are motivated by brainwashed hate and acute self-righteousness.
Violent radical Islamists terrify me. The pictures of how they torture and behead, kill and destroy – their indescribable cruelty and abominable treatment of women are horrifying to say the very least. But their wrath is directed not only against me but against the moderates in their own society, thus making us all brothers in arms.
Just as I urge the Arab moderates wherever they are to do everything in their power to shun extremism, I have no intention of blinding my eyes to the responsibility that must be taken by my side for the fiasco that is now occurring. Radical Islam is a dangerous phenomenon that must be dealt with not only by Israel, but by the entire world. And in the Muslim world there are more moderate voices; there are partners for dialogue. Have we done everything in our power to reach out to them?
The answer is no.
Only dialogue from a place of respect and empathy can save us. Only a concerted effort to strengthen the moderates and thus marginalize, as much as possible, the radicals can afford us some hope.
As much as we in Israel justifiably despise Hamas, it does not look like this group is going anywhere. Have we seriously considered the conditions it poses for a cease-fire? Many of them make sense. Why not attempt to alleviate the suffering of the Gazans, enable them to flourish economically, return dignity to their lives and gain a 10-year cease-fire? Ten years is a long time.
Young minds can be opened; even modest prosperity can be the catalyst of change. Why assume automatically that these years will be used only to strengthen Hamas’ military power? The conditions include international supervision. Maybe the years will create a reality in which Hamas, with a younger generation of leaders who see a different horizon, can be drawn into the political circle in a way that will finally enable dialogue?
I ask myself: Why don’t we surprise ourselves. Netanyahu, you are known to be a clever man: Why not go 180 degrees, change the rules of the game, think out of the box? Welcome Abu Mazen, strengthen him in the eyes of his people, think up creative solutions with him, stop the building in the settlements, support the unity government, open Gaza and enable commerce with international supervision, embrace the Palestinians’ aspirations alongside our own, welcome international intervention, especially by the Arab League, and gain a real ally against the waves of extremism. Checkmate.
Have we really made every effort to do all this before sending our young men off to die? Sadly, we have not. No one is dismantling the Israeli army anytime soon, and it should remain strong. But why are we so stubbornly refusing to take this calculated risk and instead choosing to sacrifice our children? It is beyond my comprehension.