Chanuka cont’d

December 28, 2008

We made it to the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem after a yummy breakfast of french toast and soufganiot of course! 

At the museum they have a fantastic display of musical instruments from long, LONG ago.  There are ancient artifacts that the older children loved seeing and there were special Chanuka programs and projects for all ages.  The 2 middle kids and I had fun in the craft room working with clay.  E made a chanukiah shaped like an elephant and M made an engraved menorah.  There were other crafts too like making a giant chocolate coin and decorating  a candle with colored wax.  While the 2 middles were occupied with the crafts, the oldest and youngest went around the museum with Abba and along with the cool exhibits they saw people dressed up in costumes.

Afterwards of course we had to go to the gift shop where A got a beautiful candle,    M got 2 ancient coin replicas, for E a fairytale book and puppet set and I bought a mosaic friendship kit.

We finished off the day with falafel and pizza in Ramot where we picked up a friend for M for yet Another sleepover!  Fun day for all!

Chanuka at the Mall

December 27, 2008

Chanuka, along with Sukkot and Pesach are BIG vacation times for us in Israel. The kids get off from school and although many people still have work during this time, lots of them take off at least some days for family fun.

In our family we like to give each night a theme activity rather than eight presents one for each night.  The first night is “Classic Chanuka” we give presents, eat latkes, play dreidle and chanuka music. Night 2  is sleepover night with the 2 older kids having a friend sleep over. The next day was pajama day and we stayed in our pjs (at least until after 12:00pm!) and pretended we were snowed in. We had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and didn’t have to rush anywhere(unlike our usual hectic schedule).
Night 3 was baking night and we made soufganiot from scratch, yeast and all! Some were shaped like circles and others we used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make heart soufganiot. We filled some of them with jelly and some with the ubiquitous chocolate spread:) During the day we tried going to a museum for cartoons and caricatures that sounded great…but instead of mickey mouse or Superman there were political type cartoons..so we quickly decided on “Plan B” …our family’s favorite restaurant-Ristretto in Modiin. The kids were happy with pasta, tuna cheese melts and chocolate milkshakes!

Night 4 was Movie and popcorn night and we had pizza delivered. Since most of the houses don’t have numbers(including ours) the pizza delivery guy was riding up and down our street on his motorcycle honking his horn until P came out and waved him down.
Night 5 was art night and since all the kids love art as much as their Ima, they were all given various how-to draw books and sketch pads. That was a hit and it was great to see them all drawing quietly together, the various flowers, cars and animals.

The next day we went to Chasmonaim village(Kfar Hashmonaim) which is a 5 minute drive from our house. It had some special activities for Chanuka including making mosaics, a menorah out of clay, and fragrant sachets made from the beautiful smelling plants in the village. There was an energetic tour guide who showed us the small stone huts that people lived in during the times of the Macabees. He showed us the exact type of house the Hashmonaim (the Macabee family)lived in. Each house was built to the exact same specifications. The walls were one meter thick(how did they move those stones??) and there was a menorah etched over the doorway. Our guide said it took 10 years to build a house! He also showed us grape and olive presses and let the kids take turns turning the big heavy stone wheel. When we were ready to leave he wished us a Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach.

Night 6 was game night and we played board games and cards together after the baby was asleep.  On Shabbat we had guests celebrate the day with us and at night (#7)    we had chocolate making. We melted chocolate chips and poured the melted chocolate into molds of various shapes.  P and I went out to the Mall after the kids went to bed and how nice it was to see “Chag Sameach” in the store windows,
giant dreidles hanging from the ceilings, and long tables in the middle of the mall with endless varieties of souganiot including pistachio and rum.

Well ,we are planning a “real Sunday” for tommorow(b/c Sundays are work days here, when vacation time comes we like to take a Sunday and fill it with family fun) We are planning to go to Jerusalem to the Bible Lands Museum where they have all kinds of Chanuaka activites.. hopefully it will be a good as it looks, if not, well there’s always “plan B”;)

The Pomello Tree

December 7, 2008

In our backyard garden we have a beautiful Pomello tree and now is the time that the fruit is ripe.  Well everyday for a while the children and I would stand on a chair and pick Pomellos. 

The tree is at the point where all  of the pomellos are very yellow and ripe, but they’re too high up!  Now the tree isn’t all that tall, but neither are we;) 

So today I decided to try to get some of the higher ones and I got a stick to try to knock some down…it worked!  My family also had one for our bedtime snack and it was DELICIOUS!  It’s the most amamzing fruit I’ve ever eaten, a kind of grapefruit taste but with a sweet honeysuckle flavor to it.  I wish I could bring some to you in America, but you know the laws about the “dangerous produce”…