What is my blog about? It's about Torah family living. It's about letting Torah affect our daily lives, from mealtime to bedtime, homeschooling to farm chores.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

You're kidding!

It's that time of year again!  Our first kid arrived today.  Doug found him a few minutes after birth.  We got him up on his feet and nursing and he is doing quite well.  His name is Magnum PI, in honor of Tom Selleck.  Good job, Peach!  You're a good mommy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Read Hebrew Today curriculum review

I was very excited to have the opportunity to review materials from "Read Hebrew Today" on http://www.currclick.com/.   We have been working on learning Hebrew for some time now, and have changed materials frequently, trying to get a good fit.  I am pleased with the materials I reviewed for two reasons: simplicity and flexibility. 

Note: This review applies particularly to Evonne Mandella's program - Read Hebrew Today Vol. 1, but I will cover some of her other materials in a moment.

1. Simplicity - I don't like complex, complicated, or overly stimulating, graphic, or too much emphasis on being cute and fun.  If you are looking for a canned Hebrew curriculum, look elsewhere.  This program is simple, and consists of ingenious printable flashcards that walk you through pronunciation and vocabulary.  Each flashcard has one word.  You do not need to know any Hebrew at all to pick up a flashcard and learn or teach a new word.  It will easily fit in your homeschool program and can even be added to other Hebrew materials you may be using.  We have simply gone through about 3 flashcards a day, and reviewed the old ones.  Our folder of flashcards gets pulled out at the dinner table and we have fun reading and defining the words.  By the way, the only thing you need to do to start using "Read Hebrew Today" is print the flashcards.  We printed them on cardstock and hole-punched them to keep them in a binder.  Simply beautiful.

2.  Flexibility - I like materials that I can use in many ways.  I like options.  These flashcards give you options.  Here are some ways we have used them. 
- I teach the new word, and the kids read it out loud with me.
- The kids copy the new word in their notebooks.
- I ask a kid running by me what the Hebrew word for goat is.
- I ask them what "kar" means in English.
- We try reading the words in Hebrew off the cards while sitting at the dinner table.
- We flip through our binder and try to remember the definition without turning the page.
- We make up silly sentences with the new words we have learned.

Anyone from the beginner to someone that has been working on Hebrew for awhile can use this program.  However, her products do vary in difficulty.  Of the products I reviewed, I would list them in order of difficulty like this.

Now I know my Alephbet - same flashcard format with individual letters
Read Hebrew Today level 1 - one syllable words
Read Hebrew Today level 2 - two syllable words
The Blessing Series and The Princess Series - Bible verses in Hebrew
Hebrew Bible Readers - Bible verses with no vowels

Hebrew is such an important language to learn, as we seek to understand our Bibles better.  I would encourage you to use these wonderful tools to help you on your way.  We are enjoying them and finding them very helpful.

Evonne is also offering a wonderful giveaway.  Simply leave a comment here with a suggestion for a Bible verse you would like to see in a future "Read Hebrew Today" resource.  If she uses your verse, you will win a bundle of products from her.  Just be sure to include your email so she can contact you if you win.

I was given free materials in exchange for an honest review.

New Zealand earthquake

I am sure you are all praying for the people in New Zealand affected by this terrible earthquake.  If you would like to do more, you may want to take advantage of this opportunity.  Currclick has put together a bundle of curriculum from various publishers.  It is worth over $200, which you get to download.  Your donation of $20 goes 100% to help New Zealand's Red Cross relief effort.

Currclick New Zealand Red Cross earthquake relief bundle

We have been counting all the coins in our charity bottle.  I think it's a great opportunity to help our children think of the people in other parts of the world and do what they can to help, truly "Love your neighbor" at its best.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homeschooling tip: online resource organizing

If someone asked me what curriculum I use to homeschool my kids, I might be tempted to answer "PDF."  I admit, I use alot of resources I find online.  I have dialup, so that rules out video, but it still leaves a whole lot of PDF.  So how do I keep track of all these wonderful things?  It took me awhile to figure out, and you probably all know this, but I'll share anyway.

I have a flashdrive that I store everything on.  But then there's the problem of finding it when I need it.  I go exploring and might find something that we won't need for a year.  The answer is folders, lots of folders.  I have no loose files.  I use the Heart of Wisdom history and science rotation which helps me organize info.

My catergories look like this: (I didn't include every folder, you get the idea.)
     Year 1
       Folders: Ancient Israel, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, etc.
     Year 2
     Year 3
     Year 4
Just for fun
     Year 2
        Weather, Oceanography, Botany, Geology
     Alphabet, Shapes, colors
Torah Portions
     I have a folder for each torah portion, with a number in front so they stay in order.

With this system, if I stumble across a cool weather coloring page or worksheet, I put it in the weather folder and forget about it.  When I get a couple months away from doing the weather unit study, I go to that folder to see what I have, and then I can wisely decide what I still need.  This has worked great because I subscribe to weekly freebies from several sites.  The topic could be anything from volcanoes to Thomas Edison.  I can put it in the folder and use it a year later.

But what about all the websites that have great photos and info, but can't be downloaded?

Use the Favorites bar in your browser.  Keep the folder thing going.  I try to use the same catergories as my flashdrive, with some additions like green living, homemaking, shopping, etc.  Then I can check out websites ahead of time, and only put them in the folder if they are acceptable.  Then I can click on the links with the kids and know what I will find at the other end.

I know you guys already know all this, but if your files are a mixed up mess, I hope this will help.  It took me about an hour to set it up from a mess, so you can do it!


This is our version of Yorkshire Pudding, but it has undergone some changes since it left the cookbook.  We used to eat this alot when I was a kid, but we thought we would have to leave it behind because it's made with pork.  It was a happy day when we realized that sausage can be made with any meat.  We make our sausage with lamb, mutton, ground beef that's been in the freezer too long lol.  It's the seasoning that counts.  Even turkey sausage from the store would work great.  So here's the recipe.

2 lbs italian sausage
2 c flour
2 c milk
2 eggs
1 t salt

Brown your sausage.  If you need help with seasoning choices, just ask.
Grease a 9x13 pan really well. (I use glass.)
Put the meat in the pan.
Blend together the flour, milk, eggs, and salt.  You want this batter as smooth as you can, but don't sweat it.
Pour the batter over the meat, being sure to cover all the meat.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

We like ours with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Here's my gravy recipe.

1/4 c butter
1/2 c flour
2 c broth (We use chicken boullion because we like it.  Do what you like lol.)

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Slowly stir in the flour until you have lumpy, crumbly stuff.
Then slowly, slowly, slowly add the broth a little at a time.
Do not add more broth until you have the first broth mixed in well.
Continue adding broth and mixing thoroughly until you use all the broth.

Happy cooking!
This feeds our family of seven with leftovers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

All Rise!

And the verdict is.......

We have a beautiful, healthy baby boy!

He looks great and is measuring about 2 weeks ahead of what we were anticipating.  I'll have to adjust my pregnancy ticker a little lol.  I don't seem to have excess fluid, so we're not completely sure why I was measuring big, but we are delighted to know he is healthy and growing well at about 2.5 lbs.

We were emotionally and physically prepared for twins, so there was a little bit of a let down, but we could feel nothing but blessed for this wonderful gift!  Praise YHVH!  He gives life and we are so thankful to receive it.  And one baby to care for suddenly seems like a breeze!

We are also thankful that our traveling went well, and the kids all did well at Gramps and Marme's house.  Even Elisha, who is a serious momma's boy, did well.

Now to officially introduce our baby boy, his name is Noah Ephraim.

Thank you everyone, for your prayers.

Friday, February 18, 2011

25 weeks

The camera nd I were both ready at the same time!  I will be 25 weeks on Shabbat.  I actually felt a little elbow or knee this morning!

I'm feeling very good this morning.  Yesterday, I filed our taxes and today I am taking a very large envelope to the post office.  I am mailing my final assignment for my college writing class!  After this, I get my diploma.  Just so you know, you can fit 97 pages in a 9x11 envelope, but I don't think you could fit 98.

Keep an eye out for a Hebrew curriculum review later next week!  Have a great prep day and Shabbat.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bedroom cleaning

Okay, nesting is big at my house right now.  So, I take on jobs twenty minutes at a time, and then rest because I'm out of breath lol.  Doug has been so helpful lately.  Every Sunday we took on a bedroom.  We pulled everything out, thoroughly cleaned the floor, moved the furniture, and sorted through all the boxes of stuff we pulled out.  Here are some pics of our work.  The girls' room is beautiful, but Naomi's pics came out fuzzy, so we'll have to take those pics again.  First up is the boys' room.

And now my room.  We moved the bed and the room suddenly looks huge!  I was able to make enough space for a sewing table and a baby bed when we need it.  Yes, I do have dressers, but they are all on the one wall I didn't photograph.

So off to the next cleaning job!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm still alive

I think I will ramble for a few minutes, just so you know I am still alive.  It has been a very full couple of weeks and I have many things on my mind that I am trying to process.

School has been going well.  We are now halfway through the year.  If we maintain a good pace, we should finish roughly near my due date.  I have had a frantic need to have all their schoolwork lined up for the next, well, year and a half.  I am trying to stick with the Heart of Wisdom science and history rotation.  We will be heading into year 2.  I have decided to get a jump start, so we are in the middle of studying oceans right now.  Then we will spend some time on Ancient Greece.  That has been a tricky one for me.  I am trying to teach my children to think hebraically rather than greek.  How do I maintain that teaching when every study out there glorifies the Greeks, even though they ran around naked, abandoned their babies, and worshipped false gods?  The answer: Do it myself. 

Which leads me to another thing that has been heavy on my mind, the sanctity of life.  I struggle with the view our society has of life.  Even "believers" in the church, who march to stop abortions, will raise their eyebrows when you dare to have another child.  Am I missing something here?  I am allowing YHVH to bless me with another life to raise for Him, but that is not a wise choice?  Before which of my children was I supposed to stop having children?  Torah resounds with a very clear message: CHOOSE LIFE! 
Moses said it well:
 (Deu 30:19) I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

(Deu 30:20) loving YHVH your Elohim, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that YHVH swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."

The Jews teach that to save one life is to save the world, paraphrased by memory.  Then I have saved six and hope I will have the opportunity to save more.  Life is precious, and we should reach for it with open arms, whether it be another baby, or a gramma who can no longer take care of herself.  CHOOSE LIFE!

I was blessed to learn that a friend of ours was blessed with a beautiful 5 lb. baby boy, and got him circumcised on the eighth day.  Praise YHVH!

Hopefully very soon I will know when I am due and who is in that big belly of mine.  My ultrasound is in just over a week.  Be praying for us as we have a three hour drive one way.  Hopefully before then I will have finished Doug's sweater and my final college assignment, which includes the chapters in my book from Beresheet to Shemot.

Writing has also been on my mind alot lately.  I feel such an urgency and a vacuum.  We need Torah based materials to teach our children.  But the resources available are few and far between.  (I am thankful for the ones I have found.)  I tried my hand at writing a science unit study this week, just to see if I had what it took.  I enjoyed working on it very much, but yesterday as I was writing, I felt a tremendous heaviness.  I asked YHVH, What do you want me to write?  "Torah, torah, torah.  My people need Torah."  So I will write about Torah.  I don't know near enough, but the value is not in handing people a pretty package with all the work done.  The value is in sending them on the journey to find the jewels for themselves.

I think I shall stop for now.  I am heading for a nice soak in the tub, which will hopefully relieve the pain and achiness I have been having in my thigh.  I assume it is due to the rapid shift in weight I have been experiencing. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Shabbat.  I am looking forward to resting after the busy week I have had.  Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Psalm 37:7 Hebrew word study

“Be still before YHVH and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”

Damam - Be still - This word, when taken back to ancient Hebrew, is almost disturbing. The concept of flowing blood and the color red are closely connected to this word. Why? Because when an animal’s red blood is shed, it becomes still and silent. I immediately think of the concept of dying to self.

Khool - Wait patiently - Okay, this word really threw me. When you go back to the ancient Hebrew, the idea of waiting patiently doesn’t exist. Rather you find first the idea of drilling a hole, then piercing, then pain and sickness, then twisting and dancing (like the drill.) Then it occurred to me that we might be experiencing pain, sickness, an unsettled, whirling spirit. At that moment we are to wait.

Kha rah - Fret - This word means to burn, even to the point of anger.

Tsalach - Prosper - This word means to move forward or advance.

Ra a - Evil - to remove the function or purpose of an object or person.

Now, here’s this verse in my own words. It may look a bit different.

When your whole world is out of sorts, and your head is spinning, you must wait. When you feel pain, emotional or physical, you must wait. You must be still as a dead animal. You can bring nothing of yourself to the table. Your opinions, solutions, fears, questions, must all be left behind. You will find yourself a whirling contradiction, full of emotion, yet empty of yourself. This is where YHVH will meet you. This is where He will bring His solution. You will be tempted to burn with anger at those around you. They always seem to have a solution. Everything seems to go their way. But they have used their own ideas, and followed their own way of doing things. In the process, they have trampled on the very design YHVH put into them and the people and things around them. Deep down, they are a broken bowl that cannot be used. But you, you have given up your own ideas. Now YHVH can use you for the purpose He intended. He can fix your hurts and pains in the most perfect and beautiful way. He is your designer and He knows best.

You may enjoy reading:

More thoughts to consider