Monday, March 19, 2012

let's go fly a kite

mixing the dough
I decided to dedicate today more towards Pesach learning. I found illustrated Ma Nishtana for 5 yo on and a compilation of Pesach laws for 7 yo. I also decided to use OU's Pesach preparation guide as a springboard for discussion.

This morning 5 yo slept in till 9, some days kids need to sleep for 13 hours straight, but they will not be able to warn you the night before. So I started off with only two kids. 7 yo davened and then went downstairs for Rosetta Stone. Then we went over getting rid for chametz, not owning any, what is chametz and what is matzah. He worried about fish food; I told him we'll get worms for Pesach.

yeast makes it fluffy
Then we started on making our own matzah  experiment. We set up three bowls: two to rise for an hour and one to be baked right  away. One of the bowls which was to sit had yeast added to it. I mixed 1 cup of flour to 1/3 cup water. He and his sister had fun kneading it. Then we let it sit. In the meanwhile, I sent boys outside to run in the sunshine and 7 yo ran back with a bunch of flowers that he picked. He wanted to place them in colored water and watch what happens.

I'm very, very busy!
When the boys came in, I read about Ancient Egypt to 5 yo. We read about Khufu and he mentioned that he already heard about him. We also read about pyramids and how hard it was to build them without beasts of burden. Then we proceeded to try out three methods of writing that we read about: hieroglyphics on the rock, cuneiform on clay and ink on papyrus. I had some rocks for them to scratch and we looked up what hieroglyphics looked like. Those were some tough rocks, so 5 yo got discouraged that nothing was coming out. Then I pulled out Sculpey clay. The boys flattened it and drew on it with nails. Then I baked it. Finally, we proceeded to make our own paper. I used a bunch of scrap construction paper, everyone ripped it up and put it into food processor with a bit of water. OK, it required a whole lot of water to shred and not to ball up. 7 yo remarked that they made paper in Enrichment last year. We got red mush. I added a bit of bleach to lighten it and let the boys see how the color faded. Then I had a drying problem: I did not have a mesh to sit it out on. We pressed it into 9 X 13 pan and used hair dryer to speed up the process.
The finished product, left to right:
18 min, 1 hr and 1 hr with yeast.

Once this was done, we went back to making real ( chametz) matzah. 7 yo was able to complete the whole process, from mixing the ingredients to getting fully-baked flat bread in 18 minutes. Then we degustated with lunch. It tasted good with cream cheese and even better with chocolate spread. I did not realize how much flavor develops from dough sitting around and especially from yeast. It tasted like unpretentious pizza crust.

paper mush
After lunch, we did a bit more megillah. We discussed why Achashverosh could not sleep. 7 yo knew a midrash about the chronicles flopping back to the story of Mordechai. I said that it's possible that out of all stories being read to him, his mind was focused on that one, so it's as if all he could hear was how Mordechai saved his life, and was not rewarded. Then he asked why Achashverosh wanted to reward Mordechai, wasn't that his enemy that eh was planning to kill? I said that Achashverosh did not even think that Mordechai was Jewish and threatened. He just wanted to go back to sleep, so in his mind, as soon as Mordechai would be rewarded, he could relax. We also discussed how Haman assumed that he's king's favorite, so he did not think about his answer.

5 yo did a page of Yesh Lanu Lama. He wrote everything in himself, and even fixed his mistakes without any drama. Then both boys did math: a review of measurements for 7 yo and more place value in the hundreds for 5 yo.

Then we went to gymnastics. On the way over, 7 yo asked if we could go to mis'ada for dinner tonight. I said we'll go to mis'ada in NY, soon enough. On the way back from gymnastics I found myself straight in a piece from Mary Poppins: 5 yo is begging me to just go to the park to fly a kite and I'm saying no, no, we have to go home and eat dinner. And all he wants to do is fly his kite.

Maybe tomorrow.

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