A little bit of creativity

These days my workload is somewhat easier than normal, and as I understood that, I immediately started making all kinds of plans for how I was going to take advantage of all this spare time! 🙂

flowers in the garden

What project should I hit first?! Maybe paint all the interior walls of our house? Cook and bake a whole lot and fill up our freezer-space? Get caught up on the years I am behind on the children’s scrapbooks?? Not thinking big projects or anything… Well, I have enjoyed some scrapbooking, and have done maybe 7 pages (about 700 to go…). I made enough meatballs and gravy for about ten meals, which will be convenient to have on busier days. And I have done some smaller painting projects, one of them being this wooden box that some neighbors had thrown out after receiving some fancy wine in it. It fits perfectly in this open shelf that we have in our bedroom.

white box

I have wanted to paint it white for a while, and now was the time. I love these types of projects! You finish them so quickly, and they are like “big”, – you really notice them. Think, less than an hour’s work, and what a result! So much better than, let’s say, – cleaning… You could work for more than an hour, and nobody really notices it. (It’s the type of thing that is most noticed when it is left undone…)

Anyway, – back to the box. I had these nice wallstickers that my mother in law had brought me from the States, and it was hard to choose which one to put on the front of the white box. So I put one on each side, and can just change it around whenever I would like to! 🙂 (Now of course, those baskets on the shelf above are begging to be painted white as well…)

white box

These are some of the little things in life that just makes me a happier person! No, they are not very deep, I admit that, but then again, if they add something positive to my everyday life, then maybe it will encourage me to add depth in other ways. 😉

Oh, and look at our blooming pomegranate tree just outside our kitchen window:

pomegranate tree

And we just noticed that for the first time we have almonds on our young almond tree:

almond tree

Oh yes, good things are coming, I can feel it! 🙂

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Hand dipped Hanukkah-candles.

Here in Israel there are two categories of Hanukkah candles for sale. There are the regular ones. And there are the fancy hand dipped ones. The latter are many times more expensive than the first, so when we take into account the amount of candles needed to light all of our hanukkiot, it is not a difficult choice at all. We buy the regular ones.

hand dipped candles

Then last year, when we after Hanukkah made candles of leftover wax from old candles, I got the idea that we could hand dip our Hanukkah candles by ourselves! So, yesterday was the day. We were going to have our annual candle-making, and boy, did it become a PRODUCTION!!

hand dipped candles

After having worked on it for about five hours (!), I did the math, and realized that I had hand-dipped close to seven hundred candles!!!

dipping candles

The children were excited to be part of it in the beginning. Our girl left the project early on, as she didn’t like how hot it was and all of that. Our boy stayed with it for a bit longer, because he was very excited to make special Thanksgiving – Hanukkah – candles. This is the first time in history that those two holidays come at the same time, so it is a pretty big thing. We have fall-colored candles and even pumpkin-pie-scented Hanukkah-candles (hard to beat, huh?).

dipping candles

I am very happy with the result of our candle-dipping, and think it was all worth it, even though it did take a loooong time. We will have very special and unique hanukkah-candles for this holiday (or rather; these holidays!).

hand dipped candles

The idea is very simple really. You start by melting some wax in some empty cans in a pot of boiling water. We had some wax from old candles, but you could of course just take some hanukkah-candles.

candle dipping

Once it is melted, you dip your candle in it, and get this nice “fancy” look of a candle with two different colors. It takes them a moment to dry, and I quickly realized that it would take waaaaayy to long to stand around and hold each candle until it had dried, so I used a hanukkiah as a “drying rack”…

hand dipped candles

Also, – since I was making such a huge amount, I had to keep on returning the can of wax to the pot of boiling water for the wax to stay melted enough.

I admit, it was a mess to clean up from afterwards… But we might as well just get used to cleaning a lot of wax as there will be plenty of it during Hanukkah…. And again, – it was so worth it! Our candles are so beautiful. And they smell so good!

hand dipped candles

And, as with anything homemade, – they are all different! Each one unique and one of a kind.

hand dipped hanukkah candlesI like to think of the hanukkah-candles as symbolizing people. All of us different, unique, one of a kind. All of us lit by the Shamash, the Servant Candle, together making a bright light that helps spread warmth and remove darkness.

Homemade edible dreidels

We have been talking about this craft for a little while, and decided that Friday would be a good day for a this special one. So finally, – we made edible sevivonim / dreidels for Hanukkah. (*Who knows if there will be any left by the time Hanukkah comes around… oh, well, then there will be other goodies!)

edible dreidels

Here is what you need:

ingredients for edible dreidels

Marshmallows, Pretzel sticks and Hershey kisses. (And Nutella, which we soon found out by experience.)

You make a hole in the Marshmallow, which you stick the Pretzel through.

making edible dreidels

The idea was that you were going to make a whole in the chocolate too, and stick the pretzel into that. But that did not work. (We had to suffer through eating broken chocolates and pretzels as we learnt this the hard way. ;-)) So, we used “glue” instead (glue = Nutella or Peanutbutter or something like that).

making edible dreidels

This worked very well, and we were able to finish the project really fast.

edible dreidels

We also decorated for Hanukkah on Friday, which is not a minimalistic project in this home…

hanukkah decorations

Homemade Hanukkiot

Our Hanukkah-craft-station is definitely being actively used this week as well. And now we have advanced to making Hanukkiot! This is something we do every year, and we keep them all, – so I admit it, we have quite a few.

making hanukkiot

We go out and buy what is needed for this on rosh chodesh Kislev, because the selection in the store is best at that time. But then we keep it until the week before Hanukkah, – and yes, the excitement builds up… -Imma, when are we going to make the hanukkiot??

making hanukkiot

It is really very easy to make a hanukkiah. You just need some sort of base, which you decorate however you choose, and then glue some type of candle-holders to. Our boy will normally choose whatever seems the biggest or longest or something like that. And he likes the jar-theme, reminding us of the fact that it was the jar of oil that was found in the temple, that was used for the miracle. (*He also shares his name with the Maccabee-brother who found this jar of oil…)

making hanukkiotOur girl will normally choose whatever is shiny or glittery… and if that could be combined with pink and purple, then it is just perfect! 😉

making hanukkiot

This year she made a pretty creative one though! She made an aquarium-hanukkiah! It has a square-flask-base, which we filled with water and small plastic fishes. She painted the back of it blue, and decorated other parts of it with shiny “diamonds”…

homemade hanukkiah

Here is the final result. Well, not quite final. Afterwards she found some other small white marbles that she wants to add to it. So I guess it is one of those that will keep changing as we go along…

homemade hanukkiah

And here is the jar-one. He painted the inside of all the small glass ones, so they turned out very nice and colorful, don’t you think? We were not quite sure how to fit one of the little things that actually holds the candle on top of the big jar. But then he saw one of the many CDs we have lying around from our dreidel-making project, and just cut a piece of a CD to glue on top of the big jar! Good to have creative solutions. 🙂

And now our home is enriched with two new hanukkiot…

homemade hanukkiot

And also with more fun memories making them! 🙂

homemade hanukkiot

Hanukkah is coming…!

hanukkah is coming

We are less than two weeks away from Hanukkah, believe it or not! And in spite of the fact that the holiday lasts for eight whole days and all of that, we still feel that there is so much to enjoy that even eight days is not enough… So we claim the whole month of Kislev as our Hanukkah-month!

playing with sevivonim

We have brought out our Hanukkah-dreidels or sevivonim as we call them in Hebrew. We have collected them throughout the years, so we have quite a few, – and we love them all! The kids play with them in all sorts of ways. They sort them into groups and make families of them. They see how long they can get them to spin. They see how many they can get to go at the same time. They spin them upside down! And then there is the traditional dreidel-game of course. More about that in another post.

craft making

This week we also set up a permanent Hanukkah-craft-station on our dining room table. We anyway eat most of our meals during the week on our kitchen-bar, so it was good to get some more use out of our dining room table, don’t you think?

craft station

Until now we have mostly focused on window-decorations and dreidel-making-crafts. It is so much fun! Even I really enjoy it! Which makes the kids have a blast! (They are like: “Abba, – you are missing out!!!)

dreidel making

The dreidels we have made from CDs that we decorate with glas-decor-paint and then glue a big marble to it with hot glue. So easy! We have practically been mass-producing them! 🙂

dreidel making

We have moved our garden bench (which I made from a baby bed) inside for the winter (in hope of lots of rain outside). Now we have it right alongside our dining room table, which I also turned around to face the window. Nice with a little bit of a change and new look without having to actually buy anything!

I like the fact that it gives a more friendly and less formal look. It sort of invites to a fun game night, or just relaxed meals with family and friends. Or a craft station, like we have had this week!

shabbat table

And now the craft station is tidied away for the coming of Shabbat. We are looking forward to sitting around the table with grandparents from both sides tonight, and also a very sweet soldier who we count as part of our family.

shabbat table

Ok, I have to go stick the challot in the oven. Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem to you all!

Free IKEA-visit and New Garden-couch.

It has been a while since I last wrote a blog post. Here, anyway. And this is the only blog I have, so the other place I have written blog-posts is in my head. Like, – I was going to write about how much fun one could have without spending any money. Going flower-picking, or rather, picking wild herbs like rosemary or lavender, in our case. Or, going biking, if you already have the bikes, that is. Or just hanging out reading books or playing games. Or going to IKEA.

Fun 2 shekel IKEA ice-creams!

Fun 2 shekel IKEA ice-creams!

Yes, we did that the other day, when we had errands to do around the country, and one of them was something my husband had to do near IKEA, and the kids and I decided to wait for him in the nicely air-conditioned IKEA for about three hours! Without buying anything at all, other than cheap meals for the kids!! They had a GREAT time! We had so much time at every place, the playroom, the movie-place, the shop itself, the restaurant, – everywhere! The children said, – this is so much fun, it is like we LIVE at IKEA! 🙂 And then they asked; – Imma, do we have to pay to get into IKEA??? – No, I answered, – normally we have to pay quite a bit to get OUT… hehe… 😉

watching a movie at IKEA, while eating the ice cream.

watching a movie at IKEA, while enjoying the ice-creams. Nice life.

And, what I have looked forward to showing you is this new garden-couch or bench-thing that I made out of our old baby-bed!

garden couch

I just put it up with only one of the long sides, and the mattress placed high up, painted it white, sewed some new pillow-cases for it, and walla, – I have a whole new look on my terrace!!

my terrace

It made me SO happy, – and the whole thing was totally free! How satisfying! Reusing everything! (*By the way, if you want to do this yourself, also get some type of strengthening for the seating, because of course, most of us are heavier than babies… I found some pieces of wood that others had thrown away, that I just added on top of the support that was already there, and now it is nice and strong.)

The other night, just as we came home from gymnastics and baseball practice, we got some big drops of rain filled with dust, which equals mud, and we quickly brought our “new” garden furniture inside, and found that this garden couch works very well as a bench at the end of our dining room table too! How convenient!

garden couch inside

I even found another good use for the one side-piece of the bed that there was no use for here, but I will show you that in another post. Haven’t painted it white yet. It is such a blessing to be able to renew the look of one’s home by just using what one already has. Really makes me happy!

To be. To be alive. How wonderful!

To be. To be alive. How wonderful!

Summer has most definitely arrived in Israel, and we enjoy beautiful candle-lit evenings outside. Like, right now, I sit here on my new garden-couch. Candles and wine on the table in front of me. Nice Life.

“Baby Moshe on the Nile” – Craft

This is such a brilliant Pesach craft. (I can say that, because I was not the one who came up with the idea!) It is so simple and fast, – and yet so sure of success.

Baby Moshe on the Nile

You need: A piece of cardboard to draw the Nile on, A little basket of sorts, a little doll to be baby Moshe, possibly a little piece of cloth for a blanket, and last but certainly not least two quite strong magnets.

You color everything, – well, not the baby…

Making a Pesach Craft

And you glue one piece of magnet to the bottom of the little basket and put it on “the Nile”.

basket on the Nile craft

The other one you hold underneath the cardboard under the place where you have just placed the basket.

magic with magnets

And here is the trick; – when you move the magnet under the cardboard, – the basket with baby Moshe moves on the Nile! By itself, so to speak!! It’s magic!!!

Moshe in the basket on the Nile Craft

I have now done this with several groups of kids, and they have all loved it! I am warmly recommending it!