It is Hanukkah time! Admittedly, we are kind of limited with the crafts that we make on this holiday (where are the partridges, drummer-boys and gingerbread houses?), but the variations on the classics are endless! Menorahs, dreidels, and lots of Jewish stars.
I always like to start the holiday with a menorah craft that invites kids of all ages to light their own menorah. I know my kids love to have their own menorah set-up, and if you have little ones that are too young to strike a match, this is a great flameless menorah craft that allows them to feel a part of the holiday.
You can find all of the steps and materials below— feel free to use whatever you have on hand for the flames! I used yellow pom-poms, but you can use felt, tissue, paper, construction paper, buttons,… The options are endless!
Materials: You can find a link to all of the materials here.
1. Adhere thin washi tape strips to the front of 9 wooden clothespins (8 medium sized and 1 larger).
2. Add stripes of matching tape to a 2-inch wooden block to make a stand for the “candles”.
3. Use hot-glue to attach the backs of the wooden clothespins to a wooden tongue depressor. You can glue the tallest clothespin as the shamash either in the center or on either end. You can glue the two parts together but it’s kind of convenient to keep them separate.
4. Each day of Hanukkah, clip a yellow pom-pom, a teardrop cut from yellow felt, or a tuft of yellow tissue paper first onto the tall candle, and then on each candle corresponding to the day of the holiday.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that yearly, I post about our family Yom Kippur ritual with my kids.
Having grown up in a conservative synagogue, I’ve always taken this holiday seriously—fasting (even before I was 13), asking others for forgiveness, and thumping my fist over my heart (IYKYK). Yom Kippur felt so tangible to me…I understood what was being asked of me and I did the rituals. I liked the inter-personal nature of it, and if it got me forgiveness for crashing the car, then sign me up!
But the one person I never asked forgiveness from was myself, then and actually, even now. My therapist often reflects back how I *talk* to myself, asking me if my child came to me with the same troubles and feelings, would I speak to them the same way I *speak* to myself? Never. It’s so enlightening every dang time, and I want my kids to start valuing the building opportunities from mistakes and offering themselves grace and kindness NOW!
In the early days, we used to go to the park on Yom Kippur, discuss what it meant to be a part of this family unit and then write down our goals for the year. Last year I shared a fun fill-in-the-blank worksheet that I made for my family, but now, as my kids are entering their teen years and have a pretty good grasp on our family values and goals, I wanted to steer this year’s message a bit more inward. I did some reading (mostly on my favorite Jewish media sites like Hey Alma, Tablet, and Kveller) to put together this *equally* fun, and I hope meaningful, exercise.
Every year we look back at the Yom Kippurs past and the kids get so much entertainment seeing their handwriting and adorable spelling mistakes!
To end on a high, happy note, I always add a drawing prompt at the bottom (last year it was to draw Hugg McHuggster—see our drawings below!). You’ll have to download this year’s to see who you get to create!
I say this every year…this exercise is rather agnostic—there is a little mention of the holiday but it’s useful for anyone of any belief set.
Some of the things I read and listened to:
Until next year…Rabbi Kingloff out!
To commemorate my 12 years celebrating Mother’s Day as a mother, here are 12 gifts that I wouldn’t be mad about. In full transparency, I made the declaration when Oliver was born that I didn’t need anything to happen FOR me on Mother’s Day…I just got to decide what I wanted to do for that day. So if I wanted to spend the day picnicking in the park with my husband and kids, they had to join me. And if I wanted to be alone with my dog, well, they had to honor that too.
And even though I don’t expect gifts, these last minute treats would make me quite happy. And for you last minute gift buyers, if you order NOW, these will all arrive on your doorstep before Sunday. You’re welcome
1. My love for colored glass rivals my obsession with the coup-champagne style drink ware. Sometimes I pour my Spindrift in one just to feel a little fancy as I WFH in my sweats. This set is just beyond and will add that touch of joy to any shelf or bar cart.
2. I have been searching for the perfect sleep mask and this silk, cushioned one by Lunya might be the one.
3. I never used to care about pajamas, but now I’m all about them. And bonus points for a set of pajamas that I can wear with my Birks when I take the trash out. This Eberje set is a splurge, but I swear she’ll never want to take them off.
4. I spend a lot of time with my mugs. They are the first object I want to interact with every morning and they stay by my side until at least noon. I fell in love with this chubby mug and saucer set that would also welcome a tasty scone into the picture.
5. I saw these Sherpani fanny packs in a store recently and fell head over fanny for them!
6. You can’t convince me that all portable mugs are the same. The hand-feel, the weight, the design, and the thickness of the lip (yes, I’m that picky) all matter. And with a terrazzo design, these Porter mugs kill it in all departments.
7. I’m a total sucker for a good neckerchief, and this selection from the Japanese company Topdrawer is perfection. Wear it around your neck or in your hair…in which case, you can go ahead and call it a hair-kerchief.
8. Even before the lock-down pandemic puzzle craze, I was crazy for puzzles. This delightful sticker design puzzle by Pipsticks for Workman is just the right combo of challenge and fun.
9. The cheekiness of these balloon letter initial charms just send me…up up and away. A perfect accessory that says mom without saying mom. Wear your initial or get one for each kid.
10. I never buy myself candlesticks, which is why I think they make the perfect gift. Serene and neutral, they go with any room, anywhere.
11. My kids gave me this flower LEGO bouquet a few years ago, and I relished in the assembly of every petal. I allowed them each to make one flower, but it was my turn to throw a tantrum when I swore up and down that I was missing a piece!
12. Sometimes as a mother, you just don’t want to be the one to make the decisions. Thank goodness for relaxing, art projects like this Paint by Number set by Pink Picasso that will give you the satisfaction of making a piece of art without the worry of getting it right! Moms deserve some arts and crafts time too!
This post contains affiliate links.
When I started this mini-diorama craft, I pulled out plastic animals, twine, and little pebbles. I’m thrilled with a miniature landscape any day, really, but I guess my more sentimental chords got the best of me.
These easy photo dioramas are made using upcycled box lids, cheese wheel lids, thick jar caps, and even a sardine can! They are so fun to plan out and easy to make. You can get super creative by adding extra elements, like moss underfoot or maybe a moon hanging above. And glitter, much to most people’s dismay, is always a good idea!
Here are the instructions for making these DIY mini photo dioramas…I swear, you will want to fill a wall with these cuties!
What you’ll need:
1.Cut out your photo.
2. Trace your box onto the decorative paper and cut out. You’ll likely need to trim it down to make it fit inside since you are tracing the outside! (Just a little craft geometry!)
3. Glue the paper to the inside of the back with your tacky glue stick.
4. Cut small pieces of cardboard from a box making sure that they are small enough to not be seen behind the photo. Glue them into the box, and then glue the photo on top.
5. Now hang or stand your little dioramas on a wall or shelf!
DIY photo dioramas are a great activity to do with a group of people (as long as they either come with a printed photo or they send you one in advance). Think family reunion activity, birthday party, office ice breaker…you name it!
This post is sponsored by our friends JOANN Stores.
In my gazillion years of spreading the joy of crafting, the one statement I hear all the time is I’M NOT CREATIVE. (This is usually from adults, mind you. Not kids.) But if you define the word CREATIVE, it literally means having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas.
If you are feeling stuck, whether it’s creatively, emotionally, or even in a challenging work or school project, sometimes the best way to get unstuck is to simply just MAKE SOMETHING. Easier said than done, but if you take away the pressure to be perfect, you might discover something surprising in the process. These easy-to-make inkblot tote bags are the perfect project to help you create something beautiful with super low stakes.
Our friends at JOANN sell all the materials you need to make these beautiful bags. I suggest buying a few bags and an assortment of paint…you won’t want to stop at just one!
What you’ll need:
1. First put a piece of scrap cardboard inside tote bag to prevent the paint from bleeding through.
2. Place your plastic sheet, file folder, or cardboard on top of the tote bag. If you are using plastic or cardboard, make a crease in the center. Make a mark on the top edge to show the boundary of where your paint should go. Remember that it will bleed out a little bit once you fold it.
3. Squirt paint onto one side of the folder or board. Have fun and make a mess! You can be generous with your paint squirts.
4. Fold over and press so that the paint transfers to the other side. Open up to see your Rorschach, or inkblot, design!
5. Flip the design over and lay it on your tote bag. Smooth out to transfer the paint to the bag.
Peel the folder or board off the tote bag and let it dry!
Thanks again to JOANN Stores for supporting our creative projects!