Friday, December 28, 2007

Shabbat Shalom!

Please note that on Friday afternoons until Saturday evening, the author of this blog is unavailable, in observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

Comments made during this time will be held in a queue, to be moderated afterward.

Thank you for your patience.

(The cake for Parshat Shemot is from a previous year.
I'm not baking this week because the family is away visiting relatives.)

Shabbat Shalom!

Just a couple of LINKS that caught my eye:

That College Kid provides a way of making a rss feed from any website. Suggested as a way for students to keep up with their professor's sites, but would be nice for keeping up with relatives' infrequently updated sites, too.

Who is wise? He who learns from everyone. Here's someone wise enough to learn from George Costanza.

I don't normally "do" resolutions, but if I did, I'd adopt Cheerful Oncologist's. He plans to raise his prices and stop prostituting his tastes.

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Shabbat Shalom!

Please note that on Friday afternoons until Saturday evening, the author of this blog is unavailable, in observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

Comments made during this time will be held in a queue, to be moderated afterward.

Thank you for your patience.

We made hand-shaped cookies (tracing the kids' hands from gingerbread cookie dough) in honor of the way Yaakov (Jacob) crossed his hands when he blessed his grandsons, Ephraim and Menashe, in this week's parsha. They are in the oven, so I won't get a chance to snap a picture in time for this post. Sorry! Stay warm and Shabbat Shalom!


Some LINKS that made me smile, some that made me think, and a few that made me want to share...

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Son of a Draft Dodger and Charlie the Tuna

How to attach a magnetic draft dodger to a wood door:

The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
On snowing.

And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing.

-Winnie The Pooh, as reported to A. A. Milne

The draft dodger I made on Monday was so helpful, I've been making them for the other drafty doors in our house.

Magnets inside the draft dodger tube keep it attached as the door swings open and closed. In our mudroom, the magnets were aligned with the nails that held the door flashing.

Most of the doors in our house are wooden and without flashing. In order to use this design on non-metal doors, I could have stuck a few tacks or nails along the bottom. However, I didn't want to do anything permanent to the doors; I didn't want to mar their surface with nails, or risk misaligning the hinges by banging on them with a hammer.

Enter Charlie, stage right. Last week, he solved my vitamin-pill woes. This week, I called upon him to protect my chilly toes.

I used the same method as before, attaching (clean!) tuna can lids with leftover 3M command strips. These allow for a secure attachment, but a complete removal if necessary.

To improve the aesthetics, I cut them into butterflies and painted them. (What? You were expecting me to panel the house in tuna lids? )

The tuna lids cut easily, but have sharp edges. I'd recommend NOT using your best scissors for this activity.

I used Jacquard "lumiere" metallic and opalescent paints for this. I love these paints; they are a joy to use. I started with one of their "exciter" sample kits a few years ago, and fell in love with its rich, generous, high-quality pigment concentration and beautiful colors.

It is expensive paint, but I think it worth the price. Now I buy them in bulk either on-line from dickblick or dharma, or from the local craft store (when I have a coupon.)

Note the ever present bottle-cap paint pallets.

A commenter suggested it would be better if were waterproof. I'm not sure it's necessary, yet it can't hurt. So I've been lining them with duct tape and giving them a quick spray of Scotchguard.

Off topic tip: I've also used these strips to attach strong magnets to the inside of my baking cabinet, to hold a few dedicated measuring cups and measuring spoons.

The adhesive strips were placed on the diagonal, to hide them from view.

Here is the front of a tuna-can butterfly, with the adhesive strip attached to its back. I placed them so the wings would cover the strip-removal-tags. The metal is thin enough to bend forward if I need to get to the tabs and remove the butterflies.

Wiping the wall with rubbing alcohol prepares the surface for the command strip adhesive. (per package instructions.)

Here you can see our Butterfly Verification Assistant, carefully executing the Critical Butterfly Count (CBC) . The CBC is a vital step in Butterfly Placement Assessment. We passed.

Be sure to test the door movement before attaching the fabric cover.

Here is the completed project, in use:

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's time to abolish the draft. (Creating a draft dodger.)

The drafty door between our unheated mudroom and our kitchen has been driving me nutty!

The tile floor was too cold for bare feet, and I could almost see the money from our heating budget seeping through the crack!

This morning, I finally fixed it. Here's how I did it.

First, I measured the door in units of empty paper towel tubes. Since they had to fit inside one another to form one long tube, the total length (of three tubes for my door) had to be a bit longer than the width of the door.

I fit the three tubes together, folding one to fit inside the other, forming a "supertube". These were attached with a ring of glue from a hot glue gun, along the inside of the outer tube.

Using a chopstick and a broom handle, I stuffed the supertube with plastic grocery bags, packing them tightly.

On the door flashing, I placed a super-strong magnet on each nail. Then, I put some hot glue on the magnets, and quickly pressed the stuffed supertube onto the glue-y magnets.

The result is a supertube that attaches to the (nails in the) flashing, magnetically.

This project requires the strong magnets, because the flashing is aluminum (not attracted to magnets), so the tiny nail-heads are the only metal for holding the whole supertube. In order to work properly, the attraction has to be strong enough to hold up to frequent door opening.

For doors without flashing or metal, see the next post for what to do.

When opening the door is tested with a full length supertube, it will knock the supertube off, due to interference from the corner/end piece.

Trim the end piece just enough to allow the door to open easily, allowing the maximum draft-covering length to remain.

I needed about 3/4 of an inch of clearance.

Then I covered the supertube with fabric, using the glue gun. I was careful to leave only one layer of fabric over the magnets, to avoid interfering with their hold capacity.

This was a very quick project, using materials on-hand and about 10 minutes (including photographs.) The frog fabric was from my stash, purchased on clearance at about $2/yard, and I used less than a quarter-yard. Scraps of sheets/tablecloths would work nicely, too. The total cost was under $2.

I wonder how many minutes of New England Winter it will take to recoup my costs from the heating oil bill?

It works very well, and our bare toes are grateful!

Stay warm, everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Shabbat Shalom!

Please note that on Friday afternoons until Saturday evening, the author of this blog is unavailable, in observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

Comments made during this time will be held in a queue, to be moderated afterwards.

Thank you for your patience.

This cake for parshat Vayigash depicts Joseph's servant on his way to bring gifts for Joseph's father Yaakov, traveling from Egypt in a Pharoh's chariot, after the brothers have been reunited.

We're having a minimalist, from-the-freezer, snowed-in, guest-less, cocooning shabbat this week with challot from the freezer and just one cake.

Shabbat Shalom!

LINKS that made me smile
"To the person who broke into my car last night." What a great attitude! You deserve to enjoy your new toys, Epes.

Nerd sniping is a dangerous trend that threatens to harm our family and many of our friends. Stop it now.

I wish this video were slower, so I could figure out the steps to make this origami toy.

The public needs to be made aware of this egregious example of the politics of personal destruction and this important public service announcement (via Neatorama)

The glowing reviews of these onion goggles intrigue me. The problem is, I wear strong prescription glasses. I wonder if I could rig up something made of foam to fit around my glasses, that would work in the same way?

Thanks to WiseBread, I have that song from 1776 stuck in my head..."To the right, ever to the right; Never to the left, forever to the right ..." but I forgive them, because I've bookmarked their cell phone signal boosting hacks list, which touts a method that might justify the existence of my twist-tie stockpile. (While this artistic prodigy's latest work justifies hoarding all those little ketchup packets.)

Jessica Hagy's Indexed is like peeking into the contents of a great idea index!

I find it hard to tell friend from foe in the Kipple Wars. My problem is Kipple disguised as non-Kipple, and vice-versa.

Brian Clark asserts that all bloggers have muses. Hmmm. Here's mine.

I've printed a copy of Furoshiki - Japanese fabric package/gift wrapping techniques to study.

Are you an over-buyer or an under-buyer? from The Happiness Project .

I may be susceptible to this virus. Must. Be. Careful.

There's a video going around of a masked "superhero" in New York, defending someone from a group of attackers. Here's another hero, sans mask.

RWAC says his cute Mad Libs Eulogy is in bad taste, but I disagree. I know he meant it in jest, but in the throes of grief, having any starting point, especially one as non-threatening as this, could be helpful. Humor is an emotional tool in stressful situations.

Delivering a eulogy combines public speaking and death. What could be more stressful? (Please don't answer that. Let's all think happy thoughts, and have good news to share. Amen.)

On a more serious note, consider this a gentle nudge to discuss and record your life-end preferences with loved ones, today. May you live long and prosper** to 120.

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks' weekly "Torah Thoughts" are reliably eloquent and consistently excellent. Here's his dvar torah for Parshat Vayigash from last year.

Shabbat Shalom!

** Since on their wedding day, a Jewish bride and groom's prayers get Priority Shipping* to Heaven, it is customary for the couple to bless the wedding guests.

Composing a meaningful personalized blessing for each guest in the midst of all that nuptial hubbub (on an empty stomach) is challenging, particularly if you've never met the person!

On my wedding day, when confronted with the need to bless countless newly-introduced spouses-of-colleagues-of-in-laws with unspecified religious preferences and family situations, all I could think was, "I didn't know there was going to be a diplomacy quiz!"

Whenever stymied for an appropriate blessing, I fell back on "live long and prosper" from Star Trek. Thank you, Mr. Spock.

(* It is said that G-d forgives the bride and groom on their wedding day, purifying the couple as though through a private Yom Kippur.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In Praise of Parallax

Emily (age 7) has discovered oatmeal. It is her new favorite breakfast.

On Monday, her older sister and veteran oatmeal fan, Hannah, taught her how to make it. (We have an instant water dispenser, which makes this very simple.)

Yesterday, after witnessing Emily's less-than-successful first solo attempt (result: oat soup), I subjected the girls to a lecture entitled, "Best Practices in Measuring Cup Management: Theoretical Approaches and Practical Concerns".

It was a multi-media presentation (diagrams on the refrigerator door) complete with a live demonstration with audience participation (we moved our heads around while looking at some water in a measuring cup) and a question-and-answer period at the end of the session.

I know it was well received, because this morning, Abigail (age 9) serenaded Emily with:

"Measure from the bottom of the meniscus - that is how to pour the water for breakfast..."

This original composition is best appreciated when rendered by someone whose natural mispronunciations make it rhyme. ("menist-kist", "brefkist")

After they left for school, I settled down to read my e-mails.

I subscribe to more e-mail newsletters than I can read. To keep my inbox clear, I set up filters that collect newsletters in a folder. I read what I can when time permits.

This morning, I received a copy of an internationally-distributed-sometimes-inspiring-and-profound-Torah-portion-related newsletter that I usually just skim, apparently forwarded by my rabbi, Rabbi G., directly to me.

Mine was the only e-mail address in the "to" field, yet he hadn't written an introductory note. I hadn't spoken with him in over a month. This was the first time he forwarded something from the Internet to me.

Rabbi G. often contacts me by e-mail, but his messages are usually very focused and specific one-sentence notes that ask or answer a question or request. When he sends e-mails to the whole shul, they are always short and action-oriented.

Clearly there was something in this newsletter that demanded my attention, something he assumed I'd want or need to know, something I'd notice and understand immediately when I saw it. It had to be something that needed no explanation.

Ignoring all the barking e-mails in my inbox, I studied this (long) newsletter, trying to discern its message for me. I read and re-read the divrei Torah, thinking about each sentence, testing its applicability to my life - and to my imagination of Rabbi G.'s perception of my life.

I read all of the classifieds, donations, and dedications, looking for names of relatives and close friends. Did someone die? Did a family member make a sizable donation? What was the last question I asked Rabbi G.?

Could the parenting advice column be what he wanted me to read? Was this his way of telling me something, gently preparing me for something about a friend or loved one?

My anxiety mounted. I was missing it. It was still too early in the morning to call him and ask for clarification.

Maybe it was meant for someone else. Maybe it was a slip of his mouse, sent to me in error. Perhaps I'd soon receive another e-mail, this time with an explanatory note.

On my third reading, I figured it out.

The newsletter was not sent by my rabbi, but from the e-mail address of one of the newsletter's editors who shares my rabbi's surname. Not Rabbi G. G., but Rabbi D. G.

The newsletter editors must have had a problem sending this issue, and sent it as a forward from a personal address. Thus it fell through my e-mail filters and into my inbox. I had never noticed that the editor of this newsletter had the same last name as my rabbi. Since they use "BCC", each recipient gets an copy as the only recipient address in the "to" box.

I took a deep breath, and indulged my inner Winnie the Pooh with a smile. "Silly old bear."

Later this morning, talking to a friend on the telephone, I caught myself sharing a couple of points mentioned in that newsletter.

I had this information to share, only because I read the newsletter so carefully. This only happened because I thought mistakenly it was addressed directly to me.

Changing my perspective changed my measurement of the value newsletter's content. Unlike the water in Emily's oatmeal, when I looked at the newsletter from a different point of view, I really did get more out of it.

My "parallax error" in perception resulted in better accuracy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Magnets on the inside of cabinets

Remember that tuna can project a few weeks ago? Admit it: You were wondering what I did with the lids. I knew it.

I use a seven-section pill container for my vitamins. It had a reserved place in a corner of one of my kitchen cabinets, but I kept forgetting about it because it was tucked away, out of sight.

I wanted a place for it that I'd always be able to see, but I didn't feel comfortable leaving something personal (and perhaps dangerously attractive to children) out in the open.

The solution was to glue-gun magnets to the back of the container, and stick it to.... something metal.

The "something metal" was the tuna can lids.

I washed them well, and lined their potentially sharp edges with glue from the glue gun. When the hot glue dried, I used leftover 3M Command strips to attach the tuna can lids to the inside of the cabinet door.

(I didn't want to do anything that would ruin the cabinet door. The clothespins in the picture are also held up with leftover command strips. I put them there to hold in-use recipes.)

(I'm a big fan of those Command Strips. The package with hooks usually comes with extra adhesive strips, which I save for projects like this. I've even used these strips for a friend's seasonal rental apartment, where nails were prohibited, everywhere, including in the shower and to attach mezuzot firmly to the door-frame for a season. They stayed up all summer and removed completely with a single stroke.)

This has worked really well. The tuna lids are very thin, so the combined width of the pill container fits in the gap between the edge of the shelf and the cabinet door. I was able to put them up higher than the children's unaided reach.

The best part is, I haven't forgotten to take my vitamins since setting this up, three weeks ago!

UPDATE: This project works well inside a cabinet, but if you want something more aesthetically appealing, try cutting the metal into shapes and/or painting, as described in this post.

7 for the Seventh Day

chanukah candles for seventh night

A few weeks ago, Teacherninja tagged me with the seven things meme, in which I'm supposed to share seven weird or random things about myself, and then inflict it upon invite seven others to do the same.

Though I've shared eight things in a meme not too long ago, I started sorting through my abundant idiosyncrasy supply to meet his challenge. I quickly realized that there are just too many odd things from which to choose. (Well, *I* don't think they're odd, but there does seem to be a consensus forming amongst those who know me...)

Since today is the seventh day of Chanukah, I decided to narrow the list to weird or random things about how I celebrate Chanukah.

1. We prefer our donuts without jelly. All of us. I bought one of those Bismark tips for filling them, but rarely bother to use it.

2. When my son was two and a half, he came to me one Chanukah morning, and proudly said, "I lit the candles."

"That's nice," I said, thinking he was engaging in imaginative play. It took a beat before I realized this was a naive and dangerous assumption.

"Show me. Show me the candles you lit."

He led me downstairs and cheerfully pointed to the chanukah candles burning on the table. He then took me to the kitchen, where he explained the furniture ladder he constructed to reach the matches that were stored in a high cabinet above the counter.

Breathing deeply to hide my panic as I put the fire out, I asked him as casually as I could, "So, did you light any other candles today?"

He shrugged and said, "I don't remember." Then he skipped away.

Thank G-d, there was only that one fire

He's fifteen now, and has taught others about fire safety as a Boy Scout. Yet there hasn't been a Chanukah since that he (and everyone else) hasn't had to listen to a fire safety lecture from me.

3. We have a tradition that everyone must give tzedaka before any of the gifts are opened. I dump a pile of change on the dining table, and the kids take from it and deposit it in the tzedaka box.

[begin kvell] This year, a few of the kids insisted on giving from their own money, instead of using mine! [end kvell]

4. We light with candles. After too many mishaps with olive oil, we've decided (for us) it's more mehudar (beautifying) to keep our house unchared and my heart out of my teeth.

I ordered a case of 48 candle boxes about eight years ago, and still have about half of it. The candles cost about 20 cents a box this way. I think we're building up stock, however, as we get a few boxes each year from tzedaka mail, my mother, and this year the PTA sent each child home with their own box.

These trays go under each person's menorah.

5. Over the years, we've developed a system we like that lets the kids receive a gift for each night of Chanukah, without overdoing the consumerism, mess, and needless acquisition (and acquisitiveness.) I hope.

A few weeks before Chanukah, I hang a large personalized black bag for each family member on a portable garment rack in our hallway. Also hanging on this rack, is another bag that holds a collection of reusable fabric bags for wrapping the gifts. I made these using colorful fabrics from torn t-shirts and stained tablecloths.

chanukah gift bags on the garment rack

An old t-shirt being made into three quick gift bags:  turn shirt inside out, seam across the chest, under the armpits, and then seam each sleeve below the shoulder.  Cut excess with pinking scissors.  Voila!  Two small bags and one large one.(Here's an old t-shirt being made into three quick gift bags: turn shirt inside out, seam across the chest, under the armpits, and then seam each sleeve below the shoulder. Cut excess with pinking scissors. Voila! Two small bags and one large one. We tie them with pipe cleaners - easy to remove and reusable, too.)

When the grandparents and aunts ship gifts to the children, they know they needn't bother with (or pay for) wrapping paper. As the gifts arrive, I put them in the gift bags, and then in the appropriate big black bag.

By the time Chanukah arrives, there are usually five gifts in each child's bag from the grandparents and aunts, leaving me with three gifts per child to get. For the girls, I provide a hair ornament, a book, and a craft supply. For my son, it's a book, a larger pair of slippers, and a roll of duct tape. (This is not a gag gift. He loves making things from duct tape.)

The idea is to have something for them to open each night, without accumulating a bunch of unnecessary stuff, and without a trash bag full of expensive and unappreciated wrapping paper.

I also like this system because it extends the anticipation, and allows each gift to have its own spotlight night. Since the wrapping bags come from home, when the children reach into their bags to select a gift, they really don't know whether they are getting an extravagant gift from a grandparent, a toy from an aunt, or very modest gift from us.

Even when they know what they're getting, they don't know which night they'll choose it. This also makes it much more difficult for the children to compare what they receive to what their siblings get.

6. When something does arrive in wrapping paper, (surprise!) I save and hoard it for crafts.

Gretta's book made from salvaged chanukah wrapping paper and a cardboard candy box

7. I made our chanukah napkins knowingly using fabric that has a misprint on it, because the fabric was $1 /yard on clearance one February (ten years ago!)

misprinted chanukah fabric

It has a chet on the dreidel, not a hey. Useful acronyms, anyone? Neis Gadol ???? Sham?

And now for the next victims lucky tagees:
FernChasida, AidelMaidel , Miriam, Jendeis, BabkaNosher, Ayelet, Tzipporah

Here are the links to thier completed tag posts (updated as I find out about them):
FernChasida, AidelMaidel, Miriam, Jendeis, BabkaNosher, Ayelet, Tzipporah, (and Batya, indirectly!)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Link Potpourri - Productivity, Chanukah, etc.

How am I supposed to get anything done, while this whole Internet thingy is still going on?




Gut Chodesh, everyone!

Disclaimer: I read widely and have eclectic taste. I seek and enjoy diverse perspectives, distinct voices, and opinions that differ from my own. I don't restrict my reading to "kosher" lists or sources. (Or blogs, for that matter!)

Orthodox readers who prefer to limit their exposure to non-Orthodox material should not construe the expression of my appreciation of this book as an indication that this book meets their requirements, or as an endorsement of its authors' arguments, conclusions, or lifestyle choices.

If you're trying to keep your bookshelves hashkafically pure, then this book is not for you.

I found it a fascinating collection of well-written essays from young women trying to reconcile their identities, Judaism, post-feminism, yearning for spirituality, and practical concerns. As they wrestled with G-d, I didn't always identify with or cheer about the outcomes, but I did appreciate the integrity of their struggles.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah!

Please note that on Friday afternoons until Saturday evening, the author of this blog is unavailable, in observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

Comments made during this time will be held in a queue, to be moderated afterwards.

Thank you for your patience.

I had a little fun with the shapes of this week's challah, making an oil flask and a menorah with 4 lit candles (orange peels) in honor of tonight being the fourth night of chanukah. (The oil flask one isn't burnt, that's cocoa I put on the background to set off the shape of the flask.)

The cakes are about parshat Miketz, where we read about Pharaoh's dreams. One is of seven lean and hungry cows, ready to dine on the seven fat ones. The other cake has two stalks of grain, one with seven fat ears and the other with seven skinny ears.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah!

In addition to Ted's generous and wonderful "The Magic and Mystery of Challah", Jen Taylor Friedman (inventor of "Tefillin Barbie") kindly linked to my toy shul instructions, sparking discussion on Jewschool (which I found, thanks to an e-mail from Stacey, a Juggling Frogs reader, and sent in a lengthy comment.)

Shortly afterwards, it was featured on the very popular BoingBoing news site. (Thanks to Aidel Maidel telling me (and everyone else) about it, and for her kind words!) From there, discussions and links exploded, and now I've lost track of them all.

Many thanks to readers who have pointed out (thanks jewinjeru!), chatiryworld, fodors (which has a couple of threads, I think, but this was the first), and Menupages Boston's Blogston Proper: All Hanukah Edition!.

There were also a couple of prolific and extended, passionately negative, disturbingly x-rated and profanity-laced discussions, which I don't understand and obviously can't share here. Sometimes I think the Internet is one big Rorschach test. May everyone get the therapy they need.

LINKS that made me smile
CrunchyGranolaMom's redesigned family soapsite looks wonderful! May you have every success!

I enjoyed this well-written (and free) e-book about Time Management for Creative People by at wishful thinking.

Tim Ferris' "How to Take Notes like an AlphaGeek" does a great job of explaining his system, parts of which are remarkably similar to mine.

He numbers his pages 1, 2, 3, and then uses 1.5 to refer to the back of the page, while I prefer the Vilna-Talmud-inspired "B" side for designating the back of the page; he likes graph paper, as is in my beloved squared notebooks, and has developed a similar indexing system for retrieval of the information stored in his notes.

It's interesting that while he's running around the world and taking on all comers in a 4 hour workweek, and I'm at home playing with my kids in a zero hour workweek, the same type of system works for both of us.

MAZAL TOV again to the winners of the Chanukah Book Giveaway: Preemie Twins' Nanny**,Shelli**, Chavlene**, Phyllis Sommer, and SephardiLady, and THANKS to all who entered, and to Sharon Estroff and Broadway Books for providing the copies of this book to give away to Juggling Frogs readers.

I'm interested to hear what you think of the book when you read it. You can see Amazon's page/reviews for it here. Send me links to your reviews, and I'll attempt to compile them.

(** Please send your mailing address to Carolyn at Jugglingfrogs dot com, so I can get your prize to you before I spill something on it!)

Juggling dreidls
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Making Latkes tonight? Check out this potato peeling method:

I had to share these two potato peeling demonstration videos that demonstrate the same quick method for peeling potatoes.

The first one is in Chinese (I think). Japanese. (Thanks, Jaffer!) It is delivered with so much energy that I felt for my wallet. There's nothing for sale, just a cool idea:

From what I can tell, she scored the skin, parboiled (maybe: see below) the potato, submersed it in an ice bath, and squeezed the skin off.

Here's another video that shows the same method, with a lot less enthusiasm and detail, but in English:

Maybe we'll have latkes tonight instead of donuts!

Update #1: (see comments by Mother-in-Israel) - The jury's still out on this one, because we're not sure if the potatoes are really parboiled, or cooked through. I guess we'll have wait for verification of this technique from empirical research before recommending it.
If any of you understand Chinese Japanese. , or know of this technique, please clue us in!
Update #2: Thanks to Jaffer's Japanese-speaking brother, it looks like parboiling gets another vote!

Chanukah candle magnets (craft for kids)

Here's a quick Chanukah craft for kids. We made Chanukah candle magnets by painting a couple of those promotional business-card magnets that seem to breed behind our refrigerator.

You can always buy the magnets if your junk mail supply runs low. There are also printableversions available if you need to make things in bulk, say for a birthday party or classroom activity.)

I used two junk-mail magnets to make this project. One magnet was cut horizontally into nine candles (8 chanukah candles + 1 for the shamash), and the other into 9+ flames.

Then my crack painting professional went to work. Glitter paint was used (not necessary, but nice) to make the flames "sparkle". (Note our standard painting setup: shopping bag taped to kitchen table and yogurt-container-lid paint palette.)

A carefully opened (so no sharp edges) and well washed metal can makes a fantastic storage container for play magnets. This one was from one of Costco's 4.5 lbs of tuna!

Since the container itself attracts the magnets, its outside can be used for play, while the contents don't spill when the can is knocked over.

By the way, if your child has one of those MagnaDoodle toys, you can extend the play value by using whatever magnets you have to use with it. Light magnets, such as the chanukah candles above, will stick to the device's surface. If removed, they'll make their shape.

You (or the children) can make all sorts of custom magnets (suggestions: Hebrew alphabet, shapes, numbers, stars, whole words, etc.) to use with it.

In fact, if using one of those toys, there's a lot of Chanukah play value to be had by taking a business card magnet and making just the one candle and one flame. No paint or drying time needed!

If you liked this article, congratulations! You have great taste. Please brew yourself a cup of coffee.
subscribe to Juggling Frogs