Posted by Mihal Levy
I’m not a fan of this time of year. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my father died eleven years ago during this time. While latkes were frying and sleigh bells were ringing, there were no falalalalas for my family. We were busy prepping for my father’s funeral.
Frankly, the in-your-face merchandising, Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays and Taco Tuesdays (there has got to be a Taco Tuesday at some bar’s happy hour, right?) are a bit too much. They have taken away from what the holidays really mean: family
get togethers. (I would take Taco Tuesday over family drama any day and would probably chase it with a margarita as well. And I don’t drink, so that should tell you something. But I digress…)
I have also noticed this year that when I actually try to be festive, I can’t. It is not all my doing. I have searched all over Los Angeles for Chanukah decorations and voila…nothing. No sign of Chanukah anywhere? Has anyone else noticed this, or is it just me? It seems a tad bit scarce this year. Michael’s Crafts And Hobbies did not have one Chanukah item/craft. The same with Toys “R” Us. Not even Chanukah wrapping paper for the Legos I bought my son. I find it a little odd and disturbing. I was born and raised here all my life and always found some knick knack or Ode to Chanukah with at least a “Happy Holidays” written in red and green (with a cross above the “happy”) on network television. And now, nothing. Did anyone realize that Chanukah is here, while there are about twenty-three more days until Christmas? Has Mel Gibson left Hollywood to head up holiday merchandising?
How can we all be merry when the makeshift Chanukah decorations I did find were located behind the aisles of Christmas décor? I saw blue and silver paper plates with Jewish stars on them that frankly were more appropriate for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah than Chanukah. I have to hand it to Bed Bath and Beyond for actually having a Chanukah section out in front (at least in my area). (They were obviously not afraid of the wrath of Mel Gibson.) They tried. Although along with menorahs and dreidels, they did include Passover Seder plates and a “matzah man” musical stuffed doll. (I still appreciate the effort and may have to have a piece of matzah on Chanukah in their honor.)
It is not only Chanukah that has been ignored; what happened to Kwanzaa? I used to see plenty of items for Kwanzaa as well. Were Chanukah and Kwanzaa simply cancelled this year? I will check my calendar to see if they are even happening this year. Maybe not. That would explain the Chanukah Boycott in the city of L.A.
There, I vented. I feel much better now. Well, not really. I will just decorate my home with blue and silver tinsel and string popcorn around my birthday candle-filled menorah.
Let the family
festivities begin, with or without decorations.
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November 30, 2010 | 12:00 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
If you can’t celebrate Chanukah at the happiest place on Earth this year bring a little bit of Disney home.
Before you fry up the latkes, enjoy a fun family activity with your children. Create your own Disney dreidel, featuring Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy. Print the dreidel pattern online along with two other crafts; Mickey Mouse Chanukah Candy Box and Chanukah Gift Tags. All you need is a printer, a pair of scissors and glue or double-sided tape.
Make as many as you like and give them as gifts. Fill the candy box with gelt to give as a gift. Enjoy a fun family time preparing for the holiday with Disney…and you don’t even have to stand in a long line to do it.
Click here for patterns: Disney Chanukah Printables
November 23, 2010 | 11:57 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
We have spoken Hebrew at home since my son was born four years ago. I have to admit that it has not been easy, since I don’t think in Hebrew and always have to translate everything in my mind first. So with each passing year we have begun to speak Hebrew a little less, to the point where I am worried my son may begin to forget everything he has already learned.
Luckily his interested once again piqued with the help of a little panda; Little Pim. Ok, not a real panda, but a plush one that came with three learning DVDs; Eating and Drinking, Wake Up Smiling, and Playtime.
When the set arrived on our doorstep, I handed Little Pim to my four-year-old, who was not impressed at first. Then after much convincing (let’s face it is a plush panda, not a racetrack, Lego set or soccer ball) I placed the first DVD in. The DVD reminded me of the popular Baby Einstein DVD series for babies and toddlers, only with real children not puppets. The DVD began with a short introductory cartoon with the panda and then showed children engaging in different activities (in this case Eating and Drinking) with music and a voice over that names the activity, food or drink in Hebrew.
He knew many of the words and was thrilled every time he heard something familiar.
Little Pim is a great learning tool and a must for anyone trying to immerse their child in a new language (Also available in Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, German and Russian.)
We have now watched all three DVDs several times. My son actually became interested in learning and speaking Hebrew with us at home and even with his grandparents. I believe that Little Pim was beneficial in helping pique his interest in learning the language (since I thought he had forgotten so much of it already and was not interested). He even repeats phrases that he has learned throughout the day.
Although Little Pim is recommended for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, it appears to be geared more toward babies and toddlers without enough engaging activities for older preschoolers. However, that being said, my son did still pick up new words and piqued his interest in learning more.
I hope that Little Pim continues teaching little ones and even comes up with a few new DVDs for older children. Adults will pick up a few words along the way as well. And I thought I knew it all…go figure.
I think Little Pim is a great tool in helping your little one learn a new language.
November 1, 2010 | 1:28 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
I took my son to the park a few days ago, and there she was- a fairy princess. “Look Mommy it is Snow White,” he said, his eyes beaming. He wanted to meet Snow White. However, Snow White had other plans that did not yet include Prince Charming.
Snow White was all of four years old. She was adorable. She was building a sand castle in her beautiful gown, constantly untangling herself from the dress, and pushing her headband up over her eyes every time she knelt down to add more sand to her castle. She looked like Snow White with fair skin only lighter hair and bright pink tennis shoes (can’t remember if Snow White had those).
My son was smitten. I have never seen him like this. “She is so pretty Mommy,” he said. (I turned off my Motherly yentaness..”Is she good enough for my son?”) Before I could comment or even comprehend what was going on here, he was off to meet her.
He knelt down beside her in the sand box. “Hi Princess. Can I build the castle with you.” Without even staring up at him, she answered, “No.”
“I would really like to help you,” he continued.
“No! I don’t need your help,” she said affirmatively.
“Then can I just watch you as you build it?” he asked.
She ignored him. He tried again. “Is it ok if I sit here and watch you Snow White?”
She gave him the silent treatment. My son glanced up at me and shrugged his shoulders. I tried not to make eye contact. I did not want to get involved. I wanted to see how it would play out.
Suddenly Snow White dropped her shovel and ran off. (Glass slipper, plastic shovel, what’s the difference?) My son stood there glancing first at the shovel and then at Snow White on the run. He picked up the shovel and decided to run after her.
“Hey! Wait! Snow White. You forgot your shovel.” They ran out of the sand box and over the grass. I wanted to stop him. (“Don’t run with the shovel in your hand.” “Don’t run after her if she doesn’t want you to play with her.”) But I let them play.
She kept looking back to see how far behind he was and would giggle. (Was she playing hard to get? Hmmm, it appeared so. It must be an inherent characteristic in girls.) He finally stopped as if noticing the game. “I’m going to put the shovel down here. If you want it, come and get it,” he said as he walked away and went on to play elsewhere. Just as soon as he gave up, she gave in, walking back to claim her shovel.
She watched him play on the jungle gym. He kept looking back at her without saying a word. Finally she headed over to her mom and decided to remove her costume. It was getting in the way of her “getaways.”
He then recognized her without her costume. “Hi Princess,” he still shouted.
She looked away. He came up to me as I watched from the sidelines.
“Mommy, will you help me pick flowers for the Princess. I need to bring her flowers.”
There were no flowers around, I told him to pretend. So he found some leaves and gathered them in a bouquet. They were beautiful fallen leaves; red, orange, and yellow. I watched as he walked over to the princess, who was now playing with two other girls.
“Princess, I brought you flowers.” He handed them to her.
She looked at them and took them from his hands and threw them on the ground. “I don’t want your flowers.”
He was saddened for a moment. I had to chime in. How could I not. She rejected my son and his kind gesture? (I know they are only four, but still.) How hard was it to be guy and make the first move. Was it intrinsic? What was he thinking? He just liked her.
At this point, it was time for us to leave. We walked away. I asked if he wanted to say bye to the Princess. He said, “No thanks.”
Just as we were half way to our car, we heard the pitter patter of tennis shoes behind us (pink ones). It was her. He stopped and smiled at ther,“Yes, Princess?” He asked.
She held up her pail in her hands and asked, “Will you help me fill up some water for my castle.”
I helped him help her. (A true yenta mom at this point.) I turned on the drinking fountain, as he held her pail to fill it. He smiled. She did not. He looked at her. She looked down. “Anything else you need?” he asked.
“That’s all.” She said blushing as she ran away. And my son smiled all the way to the car.