Black Friday Specials & Hanukkah in Motion

Celebrate Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! My favorite part of all holidays is celebrating with the little ones. If there’s laughter and mess and happy noise, so much the better! Here are two easy ideas to keep your kids out of their chairs and in motion out during Hanukkah celebrations in your home. Warning: if you're prone to headaches around loudness, you might rethink the first idea!   Hanukkah parade If your crew needs to work out excess energy before family dinner, invite everyone to participate in a Hanukkah parade. Crank up some upbeat Hanukkah tunes (like The Maccabeats Candlelights), hand … [Read more...]

Hanukkah Miracle – Celebrate Olive Oil

This summer, an old friend visited and brought us tangy Meyer lemon-infused olive oil as a hostess gift. A few months later, when that bottle was empty, I discovered a new gourmet shop in our town with flavored olive oils. All of this reinforced my wish to elevate olive oil in our family as the stuff of which the Hanukkah miracle was made. I’ve felt guilty about not doing enough about this in years past. Really? Jewish guilt about oil? Well, a little. Like lots of families, we use candles in our menorahs . . . but that doesn’t help underscore the miracle of the oil, lasting and … [Read more...]

Hanukkah DIY Gift – Family Recipe Keepsake

When our 10-year-old nephew stayed with us, we got to see so many new sides of him, including his love of cooking. He was happy as a clam making and decorating Hanukkah cookies with me. Level 1 – the minimal approach So after his visit, I made up a quickie cookbook for him of easy recipes that he could make for himself at home with little or no adult help. For this, I took the most basic approach: I typed up 10 recipes, put one on each page, added some borders, printed on pale blue paper, stapled, and sent it to him. If this is all you have time for, don’t dismiss it as too rudimentary. … [Read more...]

Hanukkah Countdown – 40 Days

November 2014

Once I flip my wall o’ calendars to November, I always feel the strong end-of-year wind at my back. It’s exciting. It’s sobering. It’s hang-on-for-the-ride time. For us, in addition to the potlucks and invitations to local events, it’s who is hosting Thanksgiving? Who is coming for end-of-year visits? And when can we get together to celebrate Hanukkah? Even though we're not into tons of gifting, I already feel a little better having inaugurated a spiral notebook to make notes on gifts from us, gifts we buy from my mother for her great-grands, and -- eventually, I hope! -- plans for some … [Read more...]

What Do You Look for in Children’s Books?

Little Girl Reading

With Hanukkah around the corner, I start thinking about little gifts for our grands – which always include some books. I picked up two at our town’s charming independent bookstore, where the covers seemed to shout “pick me, pick me!” For our little guy, I got Ball by Mary Sullivan, a Theodore Geisel Honor Book. It’s got one word. Yes, you guessed it! The illustrations carry the story of the dog who yearns for someone to toss the ball for him – and gets creative when he can’t find a buddy to help him out. For our older toddler, I got Who’s Next Door? by Mayuko Kishira, illustrated by … [Read more...]