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Five Favourites – 2014/1

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fivefaves

I know, I haven’t really been active with my Five Favourites, but here I am now, doing one. 🙂

1. BIC Round Stic Ball Pen, Medium Point, Blue

 As homeschoolers, we go through lots and lots of pens. One of my kids thinks that homeschooling is pointless if I still make them write by hand, but alas, I’m a cruel and very old fashioned father, and handwriting is necessary. I just don’t want them to end up like me, when I had the opportunity for a free graphology consultation, and I turned in my required paragraph, and the expert’s only analysis was, “You don’t write by hand much.” She was spot on.

So anyway, we do write by hand a lot, and while I believe in HB (No 2) pencils and quality fountain pens for learning to write, we need some writing instruments that are less sensitive to another person writing with them, and also some that don’t give me strokes when my kids lose them. And for that, BIC Round Stic pens are perfect. I like to enforce the use of blue ink for school assignments, and having plenty of young writers, who are not too easy on the tips, medium is our preferred point. I like them for my own journal writing, too. Problem is, I can rarely get a whole box of them.

2. Van Morrison’s Gloria

Reading Jen’s post today reminded me of my love of Van Morrison, and this song in particular. Here is the original version when he was part of Them.

3. Lie To Me 

After becoming a Netflix addict, and finishing Season 1 of Arrow and The Following, and the whole series on teh Tudors, I needed something else to watch. Kevin suggested Dexter, but we soon realized it wasn’t for us. We gave a chance to the American remake of The Killing, but the Danish original was better. Then I remembered a friend of mine mentioning “Lie To Me”, and how much the actor (Tim Roth) annoyed her. We still gave it a try, and while Tim Roth tends to be annoying in this role, the stories in the first season are great. So yes, we are loving it for now.

4. Corn chowder

There is a soup place that sells the best corn chowder I ever had. So I decided to learn to make it. Anyone has a good recipe? I’m thinking something with a potato and veggie soup base. Maybe I should just experiment. The one place has shrimp in it, which I am not eating this year, but it makes it very nice.

5. Yarn 2013-12-05 16.42.48

Prime, a shameless plug

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If you are not an Amazon Prime subscriber, now its the time to try it. Ok, it's not that big a deal for you, but if you subscribe to the free trial till January 10, 2014 using the affiliate link of your favourite blogger (like the one above), they can earn up to 5 times the regular affiliate fees, and who knows, you might fall in love with the service and keep it indefinitely.

Prime is not available at my location, but if it were, I'd subscribe. It's not only the free streaming video content that is attractive, but the Kindle lending library that would save a small fortune for me, with the amount of books my kids, Kevin and I go through, and then there is the free two-day shipping for many, many items… To be completely honest, I have a Facebook friend who had less than stellar experience with the shipping part, but others have loved it.

Currently I have no noble fundraising goals. In the past I used the income generated by the affiliate link to donate a Kindle for an adoption fundraiser, some Z-Vibes to an orphanage in Belgrade, Serbia, and a gift card to the Miller family, who had lost everything they had in a house fire. Now I just want to buy a Kindle Paperwhite for my foster son's birthday, so I might actually get mine back. While he has a tablet, the Kindle e-book readers give a far superior reading experience than the iPad Mini. We do a lot of reading for our homeschool, and living in a country that's being reclaimed fromthe desert, we try to minimize paper usage. Reading 200 pages is more comfortable with e-ink technology than even with retina display. So yeah, I'm saving my Amazon gift cards for that.

So anyway, this is a prome tome to get Prime!

 

Post-holiday Quick Takes

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— 1 —

The weather outside is frightful. Well, not really, but it’s wintertime. Actually it snowed in Israel. One of my soldiers had his very first ever snowball fight in the Golan yesterday. He was very excited about it. Excited enough to text me about it! For me winter means rain. Being Irish, I guess every season means rain. 🙂 But Tel Aviv winters greatly resemble Cork City summers.

— 2 —

With cold(er) weather come hot(ter) beverages. And with them come cozies. Gosh, I love them. I didn’t know you can get them in stores, but Jill told me Target sells them. I found many on Etsy, and oh my, Pinterest is so full of them I couldn’t decide which ones to repin. They are actually quick and easy projects for the beginning crocheter.  A cozy like the one below took about an hour to make while also chatting on Facebook and watching Criminal Minds. Of course maybe if I hadn’t been watching Crimilan Minds, all the points of the Magen David would have looked nice.  (Will replace the photo with a better one.)cozy

— 3 —

Yesterday was the last day of Chanukah, but school/homeschool already started back up. It was nice to be off for a week, but the kids were ready for some learning. One of the things every kid has to do is to keep a portfolio of his work, and make quaterly presentations on what he has learnt. We also do topic books every two weeks, based on “project time”. Project time is certain time deicated to a topic, either assigned by me or chosen by the kids, and every kid makes a topic book at the nd of the two-week project period. We originally picked the idea up from a friend, who is a teacher for the deaf, and it is something that is an important part o deaf education in Hungary. Then the schoolthe kids attended here did something similar, and we kept it for our homeschool. We started a new period yesterday, and I’m super excited about the topic Noya chose: exoplanets. I wrote it elsewhere that when I was in school we were taught in grography class (basic knowledge about the Universe was included) that there are no known exoplanets. The very same year the first two were discovered.

— 4 —

Because our life has becom even more hectic, and, again, I’m going to be away from home for several days/a whole week this month, so we are always looking for practical, easy to prepare meals. I ran into a site collecting links for 472 meals in a jar. To be frank, it’s more like 472 edible things, from sauces to single dish meals to spice mixes. We are definitely going to try a few, including this KFC chicken spice mix.

— 5 —

RIP Nelson Mandela. One of the events of my childhood I remember best is watching the coverage on the elections where he was elected… He was a great leader and I wish many of the other leaders of the world would have learnt from him.

— 6 —

Netflix is awesome. Our new foster boy and I started to watch Arrow season 1. I almost forgot how much I loved that show. Partly because of this:

Source: http://greenarrow.wikia.com/wiki/Merlyn_(John_Barrowman)/Gallery

Source: http://greenarrow.wikia.com/wiki/Merlyn_(John_Barrowman)/Gallery

John Barrowman plays Malcolm Merlyn, and I adore John Barrowman. Partly because Oliver Queen is cool and awesome, and uses Windows, not a Mac. Partly because it is jsut a great show to watch with teenagers.

— 7 —

Shabbat Shalom! With Chanukah over, and over a year away, the candles we lit today were for the Shabbat. While we don’t strictly observe it, the Shabbat is still such a blessing in our week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes – a day late

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— 1 —

November has come and with it the cold. Well, relatively cold weather, I'd say. So I decided I needed a scarf. And I'd make that scarf myself. Here is a small piece of the scarf in progress. It is such a lovely yarn and it will be a nice, soft, long scarf. Not as long as the Fourth Doctor's scarf, but long enough.

2013-11-05 19.09.05

This is a yarn from Michaels, that I got from Jill, and while I found it on eBay with the idea of making a matching hat for myself, I decided against it. I might make a matching kipah… Decisions, decisions…

— 2 —

I am in full X Factor mode. Watching the American series, the Hungarian and the Israeli competitions. In Israel a Facebook friend's boys made it to boot camp, as well as one of the friends of my son Eli. Who recently decided to spell the trinsliteration of his name Elay or Ellie, depending who is saying it. Back to my FB friend's talented family, their segment starts around the 10 minute mark on the video linked above. They are good!

— 3 —

You know what this is?

kávé

That is an iced Pumpkin Spice Latte. Home made. Costs about $1.20, and that is because I actually used Starbucks Via for it. It's probably the best thing ever. I'm making one right now, without the ice cream. Yes. Life is good.

— 4 —

Several friends posted an article on Facebook about the Eurocentric bias of maps when it comes to representing the true size of Africa. A friend pointed out to me, that most of the “bias” comes for the 2D representation of our 3D world. She also kindly provided a photo to show that getting rid of globes in our schools to save space is a mistake. If you look at it, you can see the actual size difference between Europe and Africa. If you look at the map, the distortions due to “flattening” of the surface of teh Earth will show that Africa is bigger… just not how much bigger it is!

2013-11-02 13.47.30-2

— 5 —

Matthew is fascinated by the globe in the above photo. Can you see why?

— 6 —

There is an adoptive family, the Millers, whose house burnt down a few days ago. Fortunately everyone at home, including seven of the children, managed to escape unharmed, and they had basic insurance so they will be able to rebuild their house, but they probably won't have enough funds to replace the contents. Currently they are well clothed due to the overwhelming response they got, but are short on money to replace glasses that were left behind as they escaped the flames in the middle of the night, wearing PJs. To read more about them and donate, please click here.

— 7 —

I am loving the new acoustic version of Harel Skaat's new song! It's only available on ynet, on the link I included, but here is a cute screenshot.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

 

7 Quick Days Friday

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— 1 —

Our family has temporarily grown with Yonah and Yehiel moving in the basement and commuting to Uni daily. Yonah has temporary custody of two of his brothers, and our “guest suite” is now their temporary home. Our home is a little more crowded, especially since Yonah’s new dog has moved with them, but I think we will manage.

— 2 —

I am a bit behind on my 31 Day Challenge (31 Days in the Jewish Quarter), partly because the above thing happening, and partly because I am just being extremely busy with homeschool and coordinating extracurricular activities. Fencing and art have started back up, as well as Krav Maga and piano lessons. There have been lots of doctor’s appointments as well–though not as many as some of you are used to–and I finally scheduled eye appointments for everyone who needs them! The biggest problem is that I still can’t drive, so we have to plan a lot more time to use public transportation. Luckily we do have regular buses!

— 3 —

Winter is coming! Ok, with the temperature getting close to 30°C (80+°F), it doesn’t really feel like that, but we have t he first cholent of the season already in the oven, and we finish the day with mulled cider. We have already devoured the candy corn that my friend Nathan brought us, including the one last emergency piece. To extend the availability for the candy corn, I mixed the candy corn with pretzels and peanuts in a big bowl. Now we have a big bowl of pretzels and peanuts. My kids are too smart for tricks like this.

— 4 —

The other day I was watching the Deaf News segment. Kevin walked in and turned the volume up high before realizing that the deaf news still don’t have sound. He commented, “They should have put on some sound at least where they were singing with the beer.” My reply? “You definitely don’t want to hear 200 deaf drunks sing!”

For some reason we found this hysterical. Gosh, I still get tears from laughing just thinking of it!

— 5 —

On the homeschool front, I am a glutton for punishment, and started to teach my newly 5-year-olds to read English. They are doing pretty well with Hebrew reading, even though they are not really starting reading till first grade, but our traditional religious classes do teach reading. So there. We are working on English. Kevin, I and it seems all the other Anglo homeschoolers disagree on just how it’s supposed to be done, and apparently some Anglo homeschoolers take offense at my view that my kids are Israeli and their mastering Hebrew is more important than reading Dr. Seuss at age 5 years and 2 months. Luckily there are others, who just think we are plain crazy raising children in a household speaking 6 languages now. Bella learnt Yiddish at school in Russia, and is now delighted to use it with Yonah’s brothers, whose first language is Yiddish. She also speaks Russian with Eli and Harel. Noa speaks Armenian with Kevin, and Nirel and Yonah speak a Dutch/Afrikaans mix to each other. Craig, Patrik, Matthew and Justin use Hungarian with each other and me, and English with Kevin, and then of course most everyone speaks Hebrew. And some sign. Let me tell you, it makes life and homeschool interesting!

— 6 —

Harel Skaat is releasing his first song from his new album soon! I’m getting super duper excited about it! Kevin is, too, he really likes going to concerts with me, even if it’s Mr. Skaat. He is pretty happy that the next one we are going to is Ivri Lider.

— 7 —

Sunday I have an appointment with a bone specialist. After both my wrist (that had surgery after the last time I broke it) and the bony labyrinth on my non-implanted left side show bone being a lot thinner than it should be.  Maybe he will be able to come up with something.

Shabbat Shalom!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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