Counting Down to Hanukkah (with a new twist)

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There is a Yiddish proverb that says “Man plans and G-d laughs.”  This sort of sums up life over the last several months as our family has dealt with some unexpected health challenges and stress.  But we are hanging in there and our kids still want to countdown to Hanukkah (and some of you who haven’t given up on me have emailed and do too).  So, without further ado, this year’s Made by Mamaleh Hanukkah Countdown Calendar.

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Happy Heart Day!

Handmade Crayon Valentine

I have been missing in action for quite a while now and thankfully many of you have not given up on me.  In fact, some have even written to ask when I might be posting again.  Well, here I am!  There’s been a lot going on around here!  I just finished chairing our big synagogue gala/auction this past Sunday which was a smashing success but which has been consuming much of my free time over the last several months.  I can’t wait to share some of the décor elements with you but that will have to wait for a future post when I have pics back (I was too busy working to take any pics myself!)

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Counting Down the Days until…Hanukkah!

Printable Hanukkah Countdown Calendar

I have been missing in action and I do apologize.  Things have been insanely busy and that has meant blogging and crafting have had to take a backseat.  But with Thanksgiving almost here, it’s time to start thinking about Hanukkah.  Some of you have emailed to ask if I’d be doing the yearly printable countdown calendar so of course I had to oblige.  Without Thanksgivukkah to spur on this year’s calendar design, I  joined the Frozen-craze still going strong in my son’s world and made this year’s calendar a bit frosty, complete with star of David snowflakes.

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Ten Commandments Scavenger Hunt for Shavuot

As I may have mentioned before, I was a founder and chair of our synagogue’s Young Families group over the last several years.  Last year we had a big Shavuot event with PJ Library where we read stories, made butter, had ice cream and waited two hours for a goat to arrive (don’t get me started).  This year we wanted to do something low-key but also educational and fun.

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Popping by to say Happy Purim!

Printable labels for Purim treats

It’s been WAAAAYYYY too long and I do apologize!  Life has simply happened and I have been busy trying to keep up.  I’m still here just not crafting as much as I’d like at the moment.  But with Purim almost here (it starts Saturday night), it’s time to think about some Purim goodies!  You might recall that last year after my son got lots of Valentine’s treats, I opted to make some fun mini mishloach manot instead.  So, I decided to do the same thing again this year and since his pre-K class is on the smaller side, I decided to treat the kids to one of my favorite (and quite novel) Israeli sweets: Elite Milk Chocolate with Popping Candies, or in other words a chocolate bar with pop rocks!  If you’ve never tried these, you are missing out!  I must confess to you that when my husband (who back then was my boyfriend) and I did Birthright back in 2005, we came back with so many of these in our suitcase, I’m pretty sure the El Al agents had a good laugh at our expense.  There are several places you can order these online but the prices are definitely higher than what you’d find in Israel or even locally.  I was so excited when I discovered our local Safeway started carrying them, especially in Seattle!

Mini Mishloach Manot for Purim

So, in order to put together these cute mini mishloach manot, I designed some simple label wraps in Publisher and printed them on vellum for a fun look (my son was very intrigued that you could see through the paper). But really any paper or light-weight cardstock would work equally well.  Each is 2.5 inches wide so you’ll get 4 per standard 8.5×11 sheet of paper – there are no cut lines just start from the left and cut every 2.5 inches.  Once they are printed and cut, address them (as you can see my son is working on writing all of his letters) and use some cute washi tape to secure them in back and you have some adorable Purim treats.  You can download the label wraps for yourself for some last-minute Purim printables.

These would also work well used as an addition to a traditional Purim basket of goodies.  If you are looking for ideas in that department, two of my favorite Jewish blogs, Chai & Home and Design Megillah each have some darling ideas!  What about you?  Are you putting together any purim goodies?

Happy Purim!

Countdown to Hanukkah 2013

Hanukkah Countdown Calendar

Ever since Halloween finally came and went last week, my four-year-old has asked me numerous times, “When is it time for Hanukkah?”  So, since last year’s printable Hanukkah countdown calendar was such a hit, I decided to make a new version for this year.  Since this year Hanukkah overlaps with Thanksgiving, I decided to embrace the fall colors to help your little ones count down the anticipation in the days leading up to Hanukkah (or Thanksgivukkah as so many are calling it).  Unlike last year, I couldn’t make chai (18) to Hanukkah work thanks to the calendar configuration but it’s designed for you to start counting down on Sunday, November 10th.

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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

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 1: There’s a…

DINOSAUR!

It’s here!  It may be grey outside in Seattle but A Very Jewish Summer is kicking off today with a super fun post by the fabulous ladies of Yenta Mamas.  I know in our house, the song they reference in today’s post gets lots of air time since my son goes to preschool at the JCC so I absolutely LOVE these cookies, especially the version wearing kippahs!  Check out their blog for “A lot of baking, but mostly a lot of kibitzing” for even more fun ideas.  As a lifelong frosted sugar cookie maker, I adore it!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Chai & Home, followed by moi on Wednesday as I help you put together fun (Jewish) camp care packages as a A Very Jewish Summer continues!