7 Quick Takes – 8


— 1 —

This weekend is the final of the Hungarian Eurovision Song Contest pre-selection show, called A Dal (The Song). Each of the 30 contestants who were selected for the quarter-finals made a promise to do something special in case they make the final. A capella group Fool Moon were to sing their song only wearing a sock. So they did. And you should watch this video, I promise it's totally safe for work. Or for kids who have parents with a sense of humour.

— 2 —

If talking about Fool Moon, they are the group I intend to vote for this weekend for the final. Here is the full song. Yes, it's in English.


I have this thing for a capella music, maybe because vocal music has such a strong tradition in Judaism. So I definitely hope they will represent Hungary in Denmark in May!

— 3 —

Since I've been writing these quick takes for three days now and it is now Sunday, here is the song Hungary will actually send to Denmark:

— 4 —

I baked this weekend. One of our shared favourites with Kevin is ministure powder donuts. While I don't have a miniature donut tin, I do have access to a miniature muffin tin, so I made donut holes. They were exceedingly yummy, and gone in like three seconds. We were assisted in devouring them by two teenage boys who have been friends with my kids online and came over to meet at last.

— 5 —

I still can't get enough of the video in #1. I think I have a Purim costume idea now! Of course walking might not be tgat easy in them, but at least I'll know where the kids are. And if we are still talking A Dal, last year's Hungarian entry, Kedvesem by ByeAlex was performed in an unusual way last night (Saturday) at the final. I was dozing off throughout the evening, but I was glad to wake up for this!

— 6 —

I heard Netflix is making an expansion! Woohoo! I saw Hungary and Israel both on the potential lists! I also found a similar service for Hungary, which works fabulously at home using my Hungarian proxy. I am tempted to buy Apple TV and downgrade our cable package. I am currently re-watching The Borgias because I love to love history's bad guys… Especially if they were turned into bad guys by their enemies without too much foundation. I quite like Richard III as well, and reall enjoyed the documentary on him… On Netflix.

— 7 —

In May my son Patrik is turning 13. He will be a bar mitzva, and he and his sisters who have turned 12 this past year will have a combined party (kids' choice: this way they get a bigger party, at a nice place, catered, fun… So they are smart). I asked what he wanted as his birthday and bar mitzvah present, expecting the usual cash or electronics. He said Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi. Yes, the very same one Piper and whatever the name of the guy played by Jason Biggs in Orange is the New Black have in their kitchen. I might not be able to wait till his birthday to get it, to be honest. Actually… If you are on your tablet, Patrik, make sure to synchronize your Kindle library.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!



Conversations with my Sons – History


I am raising several kids, who think their history textbooks are light reading for entertainment, and during the summer already went through the books planned for the school year. I suggested they study a bit about their birth countries’ histories, and this morning I had a great conversation with Patrik about Hungarian history. He just completed the section about Hungary’s first ruling house, the turmoil following the death of the last king of the Árpád House, the crowning and reforms initiated by Károly Róbert (Charles I, aka Charles Robert) of the the Anjou house.

Patrik was eagerly telling me about his new found knowledge:

“And then Andrew III died in 1301, and with him the Árpáds were extinct, and then they chose Róbert Gida (Christopher Robin)!”

A.A. Milne would be proud.

Kiss Me, I’m Irish!


All of a sudden I needed a onesie for Blistex Judy to proclaim her Irish heritage. She wasn’t supposed to make her grand entrance into this world for a few more days, so I had not ordered one ahead of time. I knew of one place where I was sure I could get one and stopped by this morning. And then I got slightly upset, as all of the baby clothes had four-leave clovers rather than shamrocks. A shamrock has three leaves: St. Patrick allegedly used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Now how can you do that with a four-leave clover? “Just ignore the fourth leaf? No, there is no fourth person in the Trinity. I told you to ignore that leaf. You know what, I’d rather drive all the snakes out of this country than trying to explain this to you!”


Oh, Patrick, where is your seatbelt? And none of those snakes are in apropriate car seats! OK, 5-point harnesses might be difficult vithout limbs…

Saint Patrick didn’t have it easy. Also, did you know that St. Patrick was not Irish? He was from Roman Britain, a missionary to Ireland.

So, what did I do to resolve the situation? Of course I made an iron on transfer on a plain white onesie. You don’t tell me you don’t all have t-shirt transfer sheets (and ceramic transfer sheets and and glass transfer sheets) at all times ready for emergencies? Is it only me, who thinks that they are neccessary?

We had green cupcakes for breakfast, to celebrate both St. Patrick any my son Patrik’s name day. We keep that tradition here, for at least some of the children. The others have random celebration days each year, just to make sure we have something to celebrate every few weeks. The school Patrik attends is very big on getting to know all kinds of cultures, so Patrik gets to take cupcakes today, and share about both the Hungarian and the Irish traditions for today. He was adopted by an Irishman, that’s an Irish connection all right!

Many thanks to Ágó and Udi for the additional pictures!

As I type this, we were just told that Judy passed both of her hearing tests. With a history of Waardenburg Syndrome in the family she was tested with both screening tools the hospital uses, and she passed. We were prepared that she might not, which wouldn’t have been a big tragedy.  We already use sign language in my family, and we know how to work with cochlear implants. And she would be just like me. So really, it’s great news, but she will still learn to sign.

I hope everyone has a great St. Patrick’s Day!


I’d Like a Cup of Coffee, Please


Yesterday one of my boys war surfing online, when he said, “Harel Skaat is appearing tonight at Zappa”, and then quietly added, “and there are still tickets available.”

We got home before 12:30 a.m. Five of us went, and we had a blast. I really need to go and spend money on Harel’s concerts, especially when he does free shows as well. The kids all paid for their own tickets, and Nirel did invite me. Making cakes pays better than he thought. That aside, we got home after midnight on a school night, and then woke around 6 to get ready for school. I was the grumpiest this morning. Because I was grumpy I didn’t make individuale omelets, just a big batch of scrambled eggs. Also no toast, just plain bread and cottage cheese for those who didn’t want eggs.

The last few months Patrik has been going vegetarian. When he said he’d like to try it, we agreed, but he has to plan, and often prepare his own meals. He checks with us to see if he has everything covered. He still eats dairy and eggs, which makes planning easier, especially when the rest of the family eats something that can easily be made meat free. He packs his own snack and lunch, and often helps with the other kids’ lunch preparations. I’m not sure how long he will be vegetarian, maybe for the rest of his life.

One of the reasons why he has to plan his own meals and help prepare them is that he is a lot more crative with vegetarian meal ideas than either Kevin or I. It’s not a punishment or something to make him revert back to eating meat, but something, at age 11, he is perfectly capable of doing and something that he enjoys. When he looks at a zucchini he gets several different ideas about what he’d like to try making from it. When I look at one, all I can think of is “yuck”. This morning he made some smoked flavoured zucchini chips to go with his eggs instead of turkey bacon.

After dropping a few kids off at various bus stops I took the littles and the middles to school. Today was the first real day for all of us, even though the school year began yesterday. Today is the first day of gan for Ezra and Shiri. Many of the kids in the gan only start in the second year, so they were all welcomed with a special little ceremony this morning rather than yesterday. I got to stay, and witness them getting all excited about getting their seats, with their names written on the back, their little lockers and beds. They really enjoy being with other children their age. Kevin will pick them up in about an hour and I can’t wait to hear all they have to say about their day.

Itai started 7th grade, which is quasi middle school. He liked it a lot, and was excited to find out that two of his friends from the summer camp are his new classmates. It worked out perfectly that way! Noya was less happy about her new class, missing some of her old friends, but hopefully in a few more days she will make new friends.

How was my first day teaching? Hard. Parents would make things a lot easier if they actually gave accurate information about their children. Let’s leave it at that. We started working on our first theme of the year, which is summer adventures. Since there are different grade levels in my class, it means different things for the kids. One grade was reading Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome for summer reading, so the work with the book ties in with this first theme. At the end of the two week period, we are going to watch the film adaptation from 1974 for our popcon night.

So we all survived the first day. Piano and choir started again, and fencing is now three times a week, so the twins dropped Krav Maga. It’s okay, they already have the foundations to work with when they decide to start it again, or when they will be taught in the military. Luckily they can take a direct bus from school to fencing and then take one to the point where we usually pick them up, so they can go by themselves. Eli went with them last week once, and he decided he’d like to try fencing as well. Just to make it more fun, he decided on the third weapon. 🙂 Luckily classes are at the same time for beginners in all three weapons!

We are doing homework now, and I’m desperately trying to stay awake. Can someone please brew some strong coffee?

So how was your day?

Decisions, decisions


My youngest two turned 3 last October, and while they were eligible to start gan (kindergarten for kids between the ages 3 and 6) then, we opted to keep them home an extra year. They are definitely ready to start gan now, and we enrolled them at the municipal secular gan to start at the end of August. We still have to make some decisions. One is, which age group should they be? They really should be in the 4-year-old class. The gan wants to put them in the 3-year-old class, and maybe skip the 4-year-old class next year. I really don’t want them to have to be the new kids in class two years in a row.

At the same time, there are now two openings in the 4-year-old class at the gan of the private school where I work. Logistically it would be a lot better for us. I believe the lot lower pupil/teacher ratio would be good for my kids. They would, however, be in the same class and tuition would be considerably higher, and once again, they wouldn’t be in a Hebrew only environment. With one of our older children moving to public school, we can afford it… the question is, do we want to send them there? We have been going back and forth with this, and I think this week of gan day camp at the private school should help us make this decision. I sure hope so.

That said, the idea to move Patrik to public school for the last year of elementary school was a difficult decision. For some time we knew that me teaching him wasn’t a very good idea, and the other 6th grade option was even less ideal due to academic issues. Now throwing him into a class that has spent the last 5 years together and they already have their social dynamics worked out will be hard, but a challenge P is willing to conquer. He will be ghoing to the same school, and possibly same class as his cousin. This will also switch him to a 6-day schedule, which I’m not particularly happy about. It is compensated by, however, with the awesome extracurricular activities the school offers and the fact that it’s a block from home.

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