Thursday, May 24, 2012

Singing Torah

There's a lot of questions lately within the field of Jewish education. What is our ultimate goal? Do we care about details and facts, or are we concerned about belonging and connection? I think that relational connections are crucial and seeking them out is a very important goal of Jewish education.

And yet it totally warms my heart when my kids can demonstrate something that they have learned in Religious School....something concrete, specific, and delivered with pride and enthusiasm....

I do believe that our children learn to value what we value.
A little knowledge goes a long way....

We're Tweeting #Torah to the Top all day Friday in preparation for standing at Sinai. Join us!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Haircut Mitzvah

My daughter has beautiful hair. She is pure adorableness.
Each year at the synagogue, we offer our students the opportunity to cut their hair for Locks of Love, an organization that provides wigs for children with long-term medical hair loss.

I have participated a few times (I think it was 3 or 4 times) but not in Yael's memory.
We have talked about her possible participation for quite some time.
Can a five-year-old understand what it means to donate her hair?
I don't really know.
But she was totally into the idea.
So I went with it.
People asked me if she really understood what she was doing.
I don't know.
But does it really matter? She did it.
Na'aseh v'nishma.
We will do and (perhaps) then we will understand.
This week, we stand at Sinai.
Sometimes it takes something as simple as snipping a ponytail to help us remember what it all really means.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Coca-Cola Cake {Recipe}

It sounds weird.
But then, intriguing.

It's one of those things.

I've never ever heard of anything like that but somehow it caught my fancy.

This is not one of those diet cakes.
Trust me.

But it is quite delicious. In a weird way.
It tastes like chocolate and Coke. Together.

Coca-Cola Cake
adapted from a hand-written recipe that reads almost exactly like this one

2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups small marshmallows
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup Coca-Cola (don't use diet, use regular)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons Coca-Cola
1 pound confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. Add marshmallows. Set bowl aside.
In a saucepan, mix butter, oil, cocoa, and Coca-Cola. Bring to a boil and then pour over dry
ingredients. Blend well. Some of the marshmallows will melt and some will not. Add buttermilk, baking soda, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into a well-greased 9x13 pan and bake 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and frost immediately (while hot) but let cool before eating.

Frosting: Combine butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola in a saucepan. Bring to aboil, remove from heat and then add the confectioners' sugar. Add vanilla extract and mix well! Spread over hot cake while the frosting is still warm.

Mmmm....very moist, good with vanilla ice cream.
Okay, it might not look like much.
But yum.

And in terms of was actually pretty simple. Because I didn't have to wait for the cake to cool in order to frost it, the whole project was accomplished in about an hour. To make it even easier, I didn't even have to wash out the saucepan in between the two different cooking steps. It worked out really well. I think it would make a good cake to prepare on Friday morning or afternoon for Shabbat dinner!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Whose Project?

Just a day ago, Mara posted about a deal on Amazon.

She does that a lot and I try really hard to say, "I don't need that."

But this was a good deal!!!

And I thought that these would make some good birthday presents as well as rainy day activities for my little artists. So I bought them. And, amazingly, they arrived this morning! When they arrived, I quickly swept the box out of sight and said, "it's for a rainy day..." Sam was very helpful to point out that it was sprinkling outside, and therefore it WAS a rainy day.

So we opened them....and had a great time all day with these crazy things.

And of course, this is what I made today...
Whose project was it, anyway?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Finding Joy

A rainstorm might mean you don't have to water the grass.
Or it might mean that you have to check the basement for leaks.
Or that you can't wear your favorite open-toed shoes because you don't like wet feet.
Maybe it means you get to wear your rain boots or your favorite rain coat.
Maybe it means you get to stay inside and snuggle up with a good book.

But as an adult, a rainstorm never leaves behind this kind of joy:

And as I watched him laugh with delight, I remembered just how important it is to find joy in every moment.
To take the time to find it
and examine it
and revel in it

and to get your feet wet.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's hard to be a brother...

It is hard to be the littlest brother.
You want to do everything just like your biggest brother.

It is hard to be the biggest brother.
You have to learn to play all the songs one octave up from where they are written.
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