Your Favourite Things – Aaron

TV programme:  We recently finished watching the White Rabbit Project and you keep asking when the new season will be starting.
iPhone App: Clash Royale
Meal:  Pizza. I don’t think this will ever change.
Fruit:  You don’t really like fruit. Apples at a push.
Vegetable:  Fresh carrots and cucumbers.
Breakfast:  Pretty much anything, oats, cereal, toast.
Drink:  Water. My healthy child.
Toy:  When Nana was here in December she brought you a VR headset, unfortunately its not compatible with your current phone, but we will work on that.
You love: Making YouTube videos about games you are playing.

Something that happened yesterday: We went on a tiyul in the Ben Shemen Forest and you picked pine cones for me to add the my pine cone vase, you made sure every one was perfect. 

Things I have recently learned…

Boys are gross

OK, so not something I didn’t already know but still. 

I could not look at Aaron’s room for a single minute more on Friday. So I asked demanded that he clean everything. I made him pick up and throw away every last piece of paper, string, broken toy, piece of crap off his floor. He had to clean out his toy box, bedside table and computer desk. He had to dust everything, wipe down all the surfaces and then sweep the floor. I then came in and used my awesome steam mop thingy to clean the floors. The best part was when I told him I want the floor clean enough to eat off. His eyes almost bugged out until I told him that it was a saying and we were not really going to eat off the floor.

So now his room is pretty clean, except for the cardboard boxes he is turning into a plane. Lets see how long it lasts this time.

Winter – Pic taken by Paul

The vacuum cleaner wasn’t broken

About 2 years ago we bought a really cheap vacuum cleaner from the local grocery store. It was cheap but it worked really well. For the last little while I’ve noticed that it wasnt working as well as it used to. We cleaned it out. Paul pulled out a fair bit of fluff and hairballs and it worked a bit better but no where near as well as when it was new. I thought that was that. Its a cheap machine, obviously has a short lifespan. I asked Paul to give it a clean so I could use it on the above mentioned boy’s room. Paul landed up taking the thing apart and actually washing one of the big sponge filters, which was disgustingly dirty. 

Let me just say, the machine now works like I just took it out the box. It even picked up glitter off the tiles and carpet. 

Moral of the story? Clean and service your appliances before throwing them out. 

Jerusalem – pic taken by Paul

You can make cake using plain Greek yogurt and no sugar

I felt like making a cake for tea yesterday and I didnt have any diabetic cup for cup sugar replacement available. What I did have was stevia liquid. I searched online and found a simple trick for using liquid stevia as a replacement in a regular recipe.  Basically 1 teaspoon stevia for each cup of sugar as well as 1/3 cup liquid for each cup of sugar. In my case I used plain yogurt.

The cake came out delicious!

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cake
A dense and yummy lemon cake with no sugar.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 3/4 cups flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon butter (you can use the equivalent in oil)
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 teaspoons stevia liquid
  9. 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  10. 1/2 cup lemon juice (you can also add a bit of lemon rind if you used a fresh lemon but its not necessary)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. In 1 bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a 2nd bowl mix the butter/oil, eggs, vanilla, stevia, yogurt and lemon juice.
  4. Slowly add the dry bowl into the liquids bowl, mixing well as you add them together.
  5. Mix well until there are no lumps.
  6. Pour the batter into a prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes.
Notes
  1. We ate this cake straight from the oven. It was totally delicious.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Party!

Last week was Aaron’s birthday party at our house. It was hectic and loud and fun!

Here it is by the numbers:

  • 10 children
  • 7 packets of microwave popcorn
  • 6 (possibly more) litres of juice
  • 3 hours of party time
  • 3 bags of Bisli
  • 2 packets of marshmallows
  • 1 packet of suckers
  • 1 movie (Tintin)
  • 1 melktert
  • 1 very happy birthday boy

aaron

I cannot get over that my first born is 9. He is almost as tall as I am, wears a size bigger shoe than me and we wear the same size jeans!

Where has the time gone?

Questions for kids

A friend posted these questions on FB and I grabbed them for my kids. 

Starting with Faith

  • What is your name? Faith
  • How old are you? 5 and a half
  • When is your Birthday? December
  • What is your favorite colour? I don’t know. Blue or pink
  • What is your favorite food? Sausages and chocolate ice cream and Choco (chocolate milk drink)
  • Who is your best friend? I don’t know I have a lot of friends. Noa. 
  • What is your favorite song? Something on a minecraft video and Let It Go
  • What is your favorite animal? Lions
  • What are you scared of? I don’t want to tell (whispers snakes and spiders)
  • What makes you happy? My taggies and stuffed doggy
  • Where is your favorite place to go? To the Gymboree 
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? I don’t know. I want to do everything 
  • What does love mean? That you love people. 


And now for Aaron

  • What is your name? Aaron. Jacobson. 
  • How old are you? Do I say 8 and a half or 9? Ok 8 and a half. 
  • When is your Birthday? 5 November
  • What is your favorite colour? Red
  • What is your favorite food? Pizza!
  • Who is your best friend? Noam
  • What is your favorite song? I don’t know what it’s called. It’s a Minecraft song. I think it’s called I’ll Make A Cake. 
  • What is your favorite animal? Hamster
  • What are you scared of? The internet dropping 
  • What makes you happy? That I see Noam all the time
  • Where is your favorite place to go? Uncle Matthews house
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? That’s very hard. Oh easy! Youtuber!
  • What does love mean? For me? I dunno. Nothing. 

Your Favourite Things – Aaron

TV programme:  Anything super hero. You love watching Avengers cartoons with Abba.
iPhone App: Minecraft!
Meal:  Pizza. Still. If the day ever comes that you dont like pizza I will know the world is ending.
Fruit:  Apples.
Vegetable:  As long as they are raw and not cooked you love carrots. You also eat red peppers and have decided you like shakshuka but still wont eat a regular tomato.
Breakfast:  Yogurt. With chocolate cereal balls mixed in.
Drink:  Juice mostly although you love weekends when we drink cold drinks too.
Toy:  Not so much a toy, you love riding your bike. Without training wheels!
You love: Minecraft. Reading. Super heroes. Harry Potter.

aaron1

Something that happened yesterday: You dropped your pillow off your bed last night, it knocked over your metal water bottle and you woke up with a huge fright. I sat with you for a few minutes and got the best middle of the night cuddles before you went back to sleep.

Bilingual Children

I’ve spoken before about how amazing my kids are in regards to learning Hebrew. How that, within the 1st few months of living in Israel, they were already able to hold a conversation with their friends, teachers and the cashiers at the supermarket.

The fact is that both kids are now fluent. They even know words in Hebrew that they don’t know the English for. Lots of dictionary looking up going on over here.

kids

One of the things that struck me this week is that Faith tends to speak Hebrew when she is playing by herself. I often listen to her playing with her dolls or other toys and speaking in Hebrew to them and making them speak in Hebrew. She very rarely speaks to her dolls in English. She also sings in Hebrew all the time.

Its interesting to me because I don’t think Aaron would do it if he still played with his dolls and action figures by himself (he tends to prefer reading when he is by himself now).

When they play together, just the two of them, they will play in English with a few random Hebrew words or phrases thrown in. When they play together and they have friends over, they speak Hebrew mostly but they switch to English when they are telling each other what to do or fighting about something. I have to keep reminding them that they must speak Hebrew even if it doesn’t involve their friends because its rude to speak English in front of people who don’t understand.

Totally fascinating how they have adjusted.

 

Neighbourly Neighbours

On Thursday afternoon, while on the way to a work fun evening, I received a message from our babysitter that she was ill and wouldn’t be able to fetch the kids. The problem was that, because it is Chanukah holidays, the kids finished their after school program earlier than usual and there was no way Paul or I could get to fetch them on time.

We panicked. Paul called a variety of our friends who have kids at school with ours but they were all unavailable. Aunty Roro (who has been my saving grace before in an emergency) was not at home either. In the mean time, I had hopped on a bus to get back to my office so I could catch my regular bus home and Paul was at the train station waiting for the next train.

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The after care teacher had called me to see where we were as she needed to leave and a mom who was at the school waiting for her kid to finish an extramural said she could wait another 15 minutes with my kids. At this point I was at least 1 hour and 15 minutes away and Paul was an hour away.

That’s when Paul had a genius idea. He contacted our neighbour who has 3 children, 2 older boys and a girl Faith’s age. As it turns out, the oldest boy was able to run up the road and pick up Aaron and Faith and take them to their apartment.

When Paul got there about 45 minutes later they were all happy and playing and pretty much unaware of the crisis.

I’m not sure what we would have done without our amazing neighbours. We took them some yummy donuts as a thank you and from now on, Aaron will have a key to our apartment just in case they need to walk home from school. I’ve said before how hard it is not having immediate family close by but I can say that our neighbours and friends are a huge part of a village that is raising our children.

School meet & greet

Two months of school vacation is almost over! At one point I really really didn’t think we would make it through in one piece.

But here we are, a day away from the new school year.

Last night we had the kids orientation meetings.

Faith has moved from her small kindergarten (Gan – גן) to the equivalent of Grade R or Grade 0. And she is now going to the same school as Aaron. Quite a few of the kids from her Gan have also moved to the new school and there are a few kids from other kindergartens that are joining them. There are about 25 children in her class. Her teacher seems really sweet and friendly. 

When we got there the children had to colour in an apple (or a pomegranate, I’m not sure, its the first project for Rosh Hashanah) with their name on it and the parents had to write a note for the kids on a little cut out of a dove that will be given to them when school starts. Then all the kids went into the main classroom with the teacher and she read them a story about starting school. When that was finished the children had to go and find their lockers and look inside. Inside each locker was a note from the teacher wishing them luck and a sucker. Really really sweet. By the time the 45 minutes were up, Faith was quite comfortable and had picked out the friends she knew from before and made a few new ones.

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A bit later we went to Aaron’s meeting in his new classroom. We were supposed to bring his stationery with but something got lost in translation. Oops. One of his friends shared his though so that was good. It seems that all the kids from his 1st Grade class move up to 2nd grade in the same class, which for our anxious boy is a good thing as he doesn’t have to make all new friends again. Speaking of anxious, he is already starting to worry about the new class and the new teacher (who is very sweet) and the work he will have to do. We have tried to explain that he will be fine, that he knows all the kids and that he knows the alphabet and the math that he needs to know. I’m sure he will settle quickly. The teacher was very sweet, when she had them all sitting she asked them who had a sore tummy (which is one of Aarons anxiety symptoms) and quite a few kids put their hands up. I think its a great way for the kids to see that they are not alone.

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He was quite excited when he got home. They both were. I think they like the idea that they are going to the same school too.

So school starts tomorrow. I’m not sure who is more excited/anxious/nervous/happy, me or the kids!

A day in my life

My typical weekday (Sunday – Thursday*)** goes something like this…

05:30 ~ 06:30 – Aaron wakes up.

05:51 – My first alarm goes off.

06:00 – Paul’s alarm goes off (usually he has actually already gotten out of bed).

06:00 ~ 07:25 – Paul gets ready for the day, sorts out the kids with breakfast, kids get dressed and mess around.

This is from the beginning of the year. I cant get over how much they have both grown since then :)
This is from the beginning of the year. I cant get over how much they have both grown since then 🙂

06:01 – My snooze alarm goes off.

06:10 – I get out of bed.

06:10 ~ 06:30 – I get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, wake Faith up (she is totally my child, hates waking up), give copious hugs and kisses to family.

06:30 – Leave the house to walk to the bus stop (about half a km walk).

06:40 ~ 06:50 – Wait for my bus, obsessively check the app to make sure I haven’t missed it.

06:45 ~ 07:15 – Play games on my phone or catch a cat nap on the bus ride to work.

07:15 – Unlock office (I’m usually, but not always, the first one in) and turn on the coffee machine before booting up my computer and settling in.

07:30 ~ 08:00 – Paul drops the kids at their respective schools (both within a 200m walk from home) on his way to the train station. From September this will be a whole lot easier since Faith will be attending the same school as Aaron.

07:30 – 13:00 – Work, drink coffee, work, drink more coffee and occasionally a cup of 5 Roses tea. Sometime before 11:00 I order lunch (we are given a budget for the month and can order from a variety of places that will deliver to us).

13:00 ~ 13:30 – Join the rest of the office in the dining area and enjoy lunch.

Love the concentration tongue!
Love the concentration tongue!

13:30 ~ 16:10/17:30 – Work and drink more coffee. Depending on the day, I either leave the office at 16:10 to catch a bus back home in order to fetch the kids from after care by 16:45. On the days that our babysitter fetches the kids, I work later to make up some time and usually leave the office at around 17:30 to catch a bus home.

16:10/17:30 ~ 16:30/18:00 – Bus ride home.

16:30/18:00 ~ 19:00/19:30 – Fetch kids/get home, do a load of laundry (not every day), play with kids, wash dishes,  read my book, bath kids (Aaron has now discovered showering on his own, when the hell did he grow up?), start supper, set table, hang laundry if applicable, clean floors or vacuum if necessary, make a salad so we get some fresh veggies in our diet.

19:00/19:30 – Paul gets home and we eat supper.

20:00 – Kids brush teeth and get ready for bed, story is read, debate over which parent puts which child to sleep.

20:15 ~ 21:00 – Put kids to sleep. This takes so long because Aaron is a chatterbox and needs to get all the words out before he can sleep. Once a child is asleep, that adult then baths/showers, followed by the other adult when the 2nd child (Aaron) eventually falls asleep. Dishes from dinner are washed in between all of this by whoever is free.

21:00 ~ 22:00 – We usually watch at least one episode of a show we are watching, at the moment we are re-watching Firefly, Netflix is awesome!

22:00 ~ 22:30 – Wash up any leftover dishes from dinner and Paul usually sorts out the kids lunches/snacks for the next day.

22:30 – Get ready for bed.

22:45 – Collapse in a heap, possibly read a chapter or two of a book or play on Twitter/FB.

23:30 – Fall asleep, sometimes earlier, sometimes later but this is the average.

And that’s our normal weekday.

*Fridays are slightly different because neither Paul or I work on a Friday and the kids finish school at 12:30ish. So Paul and I clean the apartment or go do a big grocery shop while the kids are at school and then we fetch them and spend the afternoon playing and getting ready for Shabbat.

**Saturdays are spent at the park or watching movies (again, thanks Netflix), there is no public transport and most if not all stores are closed.

 

 

Dumb Phone

Aaron is an anxious child. He really doesn’t like new places or situations and takes a few days to settle into a new routine.

This week both kids are at a new camp. Its small and intimate, about 8 kids, in the camp mothers house. We thought that since the kids would be together, Aaron’s anxiety would not be so bad. We also decided that maybe having a way to communicate with us if he needed to would help him be more settled. So we bought a ₪150 (R500) Nokia ‘dumb’ phone (it makes calls, sends sms and has a radio) and added him to our cell contract for an additional ₪10/month, which gives him a set number of minutes and sms.

I adore these men!
I adore these men!

We told him the phone is for emergencies and he must only use it if he really really needed us.

On Sunday I received 10 calls from him. After having a chat about wasting the minutes and not having them when you really need them, I only received 6 calls yesterday. I’m hoping that they have settled in today and I don’t get any calls but I will probably get at least 3…