Color-in New Year Cards for Kids {& A Little Giveaway}

DIY Jewish New Year Cards

One of the paper crafting blogs I follow is A Blog Named Hero.  A few weeks ago, they had an awesome post with an idea to make color-in thank you cards for kids using stamps.  I absolutely loved this idea and decided to take that and make it work for Rosh Hashanah.  Continue reading

It’s Time for A New Jewish Calendar, Again!

I can’t believe that Rosh Hashanah starts the evening of September 4th!  It’s coming up so quickly and I have so many projects still floating around in my head and we’ve been dealing with a bunch of, well, life. At least one thing I can take care of pretty easily is ordering my new Jewish calendar to help myself enter the new year organized!

For those that don’t know, the Jewish calendar follows a lunar calendar. Although secular calendars have tried to be more inclusive of Jewish holidays, they often only include the major ones and often confuse when they actually start and end.  So, I like to have at least one Jewish calendar in the house so that I always know when the holidays are. Some even provide details like candle-lighting and Torah portions. Ours hangs in the kitchen for daily reference and use as a family calendar.  There also happen to be some gorgeous ones out there that add a nice little Judaic flare to your wall. You can also give one as a fabulous Rosh Hashanah hostess gift if you are lucky enough to have someone cooking for you! So, once again, I am sharing with you my picks for a 5774 Jewish calendar:

My yearly pick hasn’t changed from last year (shockingly) and will probably always be the Jewish Art Calendar by Mickie Caspi.  You can see each piece of artwork featured on Caspi’s website.  I LOVE Mickie Caspi.  She sort of reminds me of a Jewish Mary Engelbreit in terms of the warmth and cheer of her art.  We gave both sets of parents her parents’ gifts when we got married and her artwork is simply beautiful.

I am super bummed that there is not an updated Sammy Spider kids’ Jewish calendar.  We ordered one for my son last year and it has been fantastic with great monthly projects/stories.  The only saving grace is that the 5773 version actually goes through the end of secular 2013 so I guess we can hold off but I am still bummed nonetheless.

My Very Own Jewish Calendar is seemingly kid-friendly but it’s certainly no Sammy Spider.  But, could be worth a try.

The art featured in Jewish Celebrations: Paintings by Malcah Zeldis offers a lot of vibrant, family imagery that kids and adults alike would enjoy.

If you need something a bit more portable or to keep on your desk, check out The Jewish Museum’s Jewish Engagement Calendar.  I am contemplating this one for blog planning purposes especially.

Another portable option seems to be the Executive Jewish Calendar but this doesn’t really look like it packs much pizzazz although maybe it’s great inside.  Who knows?  Has anyone tried it?

Well, there you have it.  I’m a bit disappointed in the lack of kid options since I think the calendar is a great place to add a little daily dose of Judaism.  Maybe I’ll have to get a head start on next year and start designing a kids’ DIY Jewish calendar (I remember buying one of those for myself in college and loving it – it came with stickers and everything!).  Oh the wheels in my brain are a turnin’…

Hope this helps you start to prepare for the new year just a little!  You can always check out last year’s free printables if you want to get a jump on some super easy but sweet decorations to ring in the new year.  Or check out what I think is the Best Honey Cake Recipe Ever!  And stay tuned for more  new year’s sweetness in the coming weeks!

Challenge: Air Mail!

I will spare you all of the crazy details but life has really gotten in the way of crafting lately so when I saw the current Air Mail Challenge over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog, I just knew I needed to enter and get those creative juices going again!  You see, after finding this older Denami Space Needle “stamp” stamp on eBay a while back, it was simply screaming to be combined with Sending Love from Seattle.  I decided to make my own Sealed with a Kiss by combining one of my fave alphabets with the lips from Mama Elephant’s Cup of Wishes.  I finished it off with an airmail stamp from Paper Source and skinny airmail washi tape.  Inks used: VersaMagic Night Sky, Brilliance Rocket Red and Brilliance Starlite Black.  All ready to send to a far-away friend in need of some love!

Air Mail Challenge Card

Challah at its eggiest (aka its best)!

Last year I introduced you to my go-to challah recipe. Well, I still like that one just fine but truth be told I have a new favorite. If you own any Jewish cookbooks, chances are at least one of them was written by the amazing Joan Nathan.  (Pretend you are watching me bow down here because there really are no words for me to describe how amazing Joan Nathan is when it comes to the Jewish kitchen).  Not only are her cookbooks full of delicious recipes and beautifully written but they are chock full of history as well.  My favorite book, probably because it speaks to the American Studies major in me, is Jewish Cooking in America. But the book that is home to my new favorite challah recipe is The Foods of Israel Today which makes my mouth water thinking of all the yummy foods my husband and I tried on our Birthright trip in 2005.  The “Beigel Family Challah” really showcases the farm fresh eggs we get each week from my friend Andie’s Farm.  After all, the recipe uses a total of 5 eggs –  just look at that gorgeous yellow hue!  Mmmm…eggy goodness!

Challah Recipe from Joan Nathan's The Foods of Israel Today

Thanks to the folks at Knopf for allowing me to share the recipe with you in full!  My one suggestion is to brush on a little bit of honey after the final egg wash – personally, I prefer this little added sweetness to seeds.  And, if you are like me and need visual directions, turn to the The Challah Blog for easy to follow braiding tutorials– the challahs pictured above were six strand loaves for a baby naming this past weekend.  Enjoy!

Beigel Family Challah

Excerpted from Joan Nathan’s  THE FOODS OF ISRAEL TODAY (Knopf)

Yield: 2 CHALLAHS

1 ½ packages dry yeast ( 1½ scant tablespoons)

5 large eggs

1 tablespoon plus ½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 ¾ cups lukewarm water

8-8½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup vegetable oil

Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in the water
  2. Whisk the oil into the yeast, then beat in 4 of the eggs, 1 at a time, with the remaining sugar and salt.  Gradually add 8 cups of the flour.  When the dough holds together, it is ready for kneading.  (You can also use a mixer with a dough hook both for the mixing and the kneading).
  3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.  Clean out the bowl and grease it, then return the dough to the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in bulk.  The dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees and then turned off.  Punch down the dough, cover, and let rise again in a warm place for another half hour.
  4. To make a 6-braided challah, take half the dough and divide into 6 balls.  Roll each ball with your hands into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide.  Pinch the strands together at 1 end, then gently spread them apart.  Move the outside right strand over 2 strands.  Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right.  Regroup to 3 on each side.  Take the outside left strand and move it over 2 to the middle, then move the second strand from the right over to the far left.  Regroup and start over with the outside right strand.  Continue this method until all the strands are braided, tucking the ends underneath the loaf.  They key is to always have 3 strands on each side so you can keep your braid balanced.  Make a second loaf the same way.  Place the braided loaves in greased 10-by-4-inch loaf pans or on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.
  5. Beat the remaining egg and brush it on the loaves.  Let loaves rise another hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and brush the loaves with egg again.  Sprinkle on poppy or sesame seeds.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and loaves sound hollow.  Cool the loaves on a rack.

8/8/13 Update: If you copied the recipe when originally posted, please note that a line regarding the proper rise time for the first rise was cut off.  The recipe has now been updated with the complete directions.  I apologize for any confusion. Mamaleh

A Very Jewish Summer Day 5: Ceviche and Champagne from Israel

What a fun week it’s been! It’s finally here, day 5 and we have a post from BisStyle, all the way from Israel.  It’s a lovely recipe of Ceviche and Champagne.  If, like me, you can’t read Hebrew, you’ll need a little help from Google translate but it sure does look refreshing and summery!  If only it weren’t raining in Seattle!

It’s been a super fun week full of fantastic summer inspiration.  Many many thanks to Dena at Chai & Home for putting together such a great week of emerging Jewish bloggers!  Here’s a recap of the week in case you missed anything:

Monday: Evoking Childhood Shabbat Memories on YentaMamas
Tuesday: Shabbat Style: Alfresco Orange Tablescape on Chai&Home
Wednesday: Summer Camp Care Packages on MadeByMamaleh                                                                                         Thursday: Portobello Burgers by Busy in Brooklyn

Hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as all of us did!  Shabbat Shalom!

A Very Jewish Summer Day 4: Grilled Goodness from Busy in Brooklyn

Welcome to a A Very Jewish Summer Day 4! Hope you enjoyed my post yesterday on creating a camp care package with love.  Today, we are joined by Chanie from Busy in Brooklyn where you’ll find lots of great recipes and other ideas! Chanie has a found a way to make a kosher “cheeseburger” by creating a lovely looking Portobello Burger with Sundried Tomato Aioli.  It’d be the perfect meal to serve for your Shabbat Alfresco.  Now truth be told, I don’t like mushrooms.  It’s just a thing.  I can’t help it but I must confess, this looks so good, I might just have to give to give it a try!  I am sure my husband would totally love this!

So, go check it out and get grilling!  If you missed this week’s earlier posts, here is a quick recap:

Monday: Evoking Childhood Shabbat Memories on YentaMamas
Tuesday: Shabbat Style: Alfresco Orange Tablescape on Chai&Home
Wednesday: Summer Camp Care Packages on MadeByMamaleh

Stay tuned tomorrow for the final installment of this blogging party, all the way from Israel (so get your Google translator ready!)

A Very Jewish Summer Day 3: Camp Care Packages With Love

Welcome to Day 3 of A Very Jewish Summer! I know for many people summer evokes memories of Jewish summer camp and specifically sleep-away camp, your first adventure away from home.  Growing up in Southern Oregon, I never got to experience Jewish summer camp but having gone to college 3,000 miles from home, I know firsthand how much care packages from home mean.  My little one has a way to go before he heads off to camp by himself (though I am very excited we’ll be heading to Jewish family camp at the end of the summer!).  So, since I have several close friends whose kids will be at camp this year I decided to put together a combo of DIY and store-bought goodies to send them a little love from Mamaleh.

Personalized Camp Stationery

First, a little something to send some love back home (and maybe a thank you note to yours truly) : personalized stationery.  I realize we live in the era of email and text but I think there is nothing better than an old-fashioned letter or card.  I decided to give this a Jewish twist by including both English and Hebrew names on the cards.  Using Microsoft Publisher, I created my own custom A2 size (4.25″x5.5″) template and then created a text block at the top, inserting a little symbol in between the English and Hebrew.  (If you need help using hebrew fonts on your computer, or are looking for some stylish ones, check out my earlier post on the subject.) Then I printed these out on a variety of nice cardstock and cut the cards (by making them A2 size, you get 4 cards per 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of cardstock).  I even rounded the corners on some for a little something extra.

DIY Personalized Stationery

To finish off these sets, I paired them with basic A2 envelopes, cute kid-friendly stamps and matching little folders cut from this folder template using Silhouette Chipboard, layered with cardstock and then stamped and embellished with a little glitter glue.  A tip for the folders – be sure to let the glue set after gluing down the tabs on the sides by putting some pressure on it – I used binder clips which worked really well to hold it in place until it dried.  Last, I punched holes and tied them shut with a little piece of ribbon.

Personalized Stationery Set

Besides personalized stationery, I had visions of glow-in-the-dark kippahs for Shabbat and Havdallah under the night sky. This proved a bit trickier than I’d envisioned.  I started with some grey suede kippahs from bestkippah.com (I found this was one of the few places that allowed me to order a single dozen versus the several dozen often ordered for weddings and other mitzvahs).  My original plan was to try some glow-in-the-dark heat transfer vinyl  but it wouldn’t stick to the suede so using my Silhouette  for something more intricate was out.

DIY kippah

Next, I tried a glow in the dark fabric marker – it worked on my first test kippah (above) but when I went to try it again the next day, it didn’t want to write on the suede, not exactly sure why, it was almost as if the nap of the suede prevented it from writing properly.  Besides, it didn’t have the same glow factor as my third choice: glow-in-the-dark dimensional fabric paint.  This is a bit tricky to apply because you may get a few bubbles or globs as you are squeezing it but if you go slow, it’s not too bad.  Here are the kippahs I came up with (and yes, one is for a girl, gotta be egalitarian):

DIY glow-in-the-dark kippahs

The result isn’t exactly what I was hoping for but I think it’s still fun and I am planning to go back over some areas to fill them in a bit more.  I know from experience that putting too thick a layer of dimensional paint can prevent it from properly drying so going back over it after it’s completely dry is definitely the way to go.  I also may keep my eye out for other colors of glow-paint to add a touch of color before I send these off.  Most importantly though, they definitely glow in the dark (I tried to get a photo of this but it proved way too difficult), so hopefully they will be a hit with these kiddos!

Finally, I did a lot of searching for just the right store-bought additions to these care packages, a little bit of something for everyone:

Camp Care Packages Mini Camp Bunk Box of Questions for some late night chit-chat fun; Girls World of Doodles – I must admit that I kinda wish I could keep this for myself just to spur my own creativity; Mr. Sketch Markers to use for doodling; Finger flashlights for late night reading or silliness, enough to share with the whole cabin; Mad Libs – these were one of my faves on long car trips so I figured they’d be great for camp as well: Lego Star Wars Mad Libs and Summer Fun Mad Libs Junior and finally the yiddish-named build-a-bagel card game Schmear which looks like a lot of fun!

Hope I’ve inspired you to be crafty and creative with your summer camp care packages this year.  If you aren’t feeling crafty or if you’re short on time, you can always opt to send one from somewhere that specializes in camp care packages like The Wrinkled Egg or Sealed With a Kiss.  One final thought, be sure to check what your camp’s care package policies are before sending – most don’t allow food and as a result will open things that are not obvious, hence I am not doing any sort of wrapping.  I can’t wait to pack up all of these goodies and send them off!  What about you? Are you planning on sending any care packages this summer?  What are you including?

That wraps up Day 3 of a A Very Jewish Summer, hope you are enjoying the party so far!  If you are just joining us for this blogging party, be sure to check out what you’ve missed so far –  we started out with the lovely dinosaur cookies by Yenta Mamas for a prehistoric Shabbat treat followed by a lovely Shabbat Alfresco tablescape by Chai & Home and tomorrow we’ll be treated to a yummy recipe from Busy in Brooklyn.  So stay tuned as a Very Jewish Summer continues!

A Very Jewish Summer Day 2: Shabbat Alfresco by Chai& Home

Welcome to Day 2 of A Very Jewish Summer.  Hope you joined us yesterday for Yenta Mamas fabulous dinosaur cookies.

Today, Dena, from Chai & Home, (and the lovely host of this blogging party), has some elegant summer Shabbat style for you.  Chai & Home is a style blog and source book for elegant Jewish living.  There you’ll find lots of inspiration to beautify your observance and really, just day-to-day life.  I love all of the ideas and finds both on the blog and on Chai & Home’s Pinterest boards.

I don’t know about you, but I love having Shabbat dinner on the porch and today’s post from Chai & Home really makes me want to step it up a notch.  So, head on over and check out the lovely Alfresco Orange Shabbat Dena has created.  You’ll be glad you did.  And stay tuned tomorrow for my post featuring (Jewish) Camp Care packages as a A Very Jewish Summer continues!