We are down to the home stretch before school starts here in Israel. Most of the children fly the coop on September 1. Here are some activities to do if you have run out of ideas how to keep everyone happy.
Prepare for school:
(1) If you haven't done so, now is the time to get school books and supplies. The school supplies sales this week are not heavily advertised- no Kravitz coupon this week, no ad for Idan 2000 or HaPirat HaAdom for example. Bank HaPoalim customers get cash back at Kfar Shaashuim- check out the deals on their web site. The Haredi yeshivas are all on vacation so the stores in those neighborhoods should be quieter during the day. Home Center is having a sale on school supplies as well as student desks and chairs- you can see the ad here. For tips on what and where to get school supplies, check out my post from last year.
Prepare for the Year:
(2) The תשע"ה - 5765 - school vacation schedule is online. Go to your local crafts or office supply store to get a pad of big block paper and make a master family calendar. Along with the school schedule, mark who is in charge of dinner each night, have them fill in their meal choice and start doing the shopping now. I am a big believer of assigning children responsibility for dinner- it reduces the amount of "Icksa" complaints and encourages responsibility. Let each child prepare according to their age level- from cutting up vegetables to grilling burgers- make it fun and simple with some basic rules (marshmallows cannot be a main course, each meal must have a vegetable) and you are on your way.
(3) It is never too early to cook for the holidays. Here is a list of TNT foods from a previous post that you and your kids can make together and freeze for the holidays:
- Cookies- you can freeze dough or baked cookies. Make a batch of sugar cookies and let the kids "paint" them with a mixture of powdered sugar, food coloring, water, and vanilla extract.
- Cakes- there are lots of simple cake recipes- buy smaller "English cake" trays and have each kids make their own. Don't forget trifles for those not-so-perfect cakes!
- Challah- kids love rolling and shaping challah- why not have rolls instead of large challahs? I know we always end up with lots of challah slices and nothing to do with them them. Having lots of smaller challahs gives you enough for each bracha without a lot of waste.
- Chicken- you know the prices go up before the holidays, so get what you can now and freeze it. Put the raw chicken in a marinade and then freeze it- it will make the chicken softer and more flavorful. Or you can purchase Of Oz chicken which comes in thick vacuum packages which are great for freezing.
- Meatballs- spice them up and freeze them as individuals on a tray, then package them in bags, or cook them before freezing them. This is not a job for the kids, though.
- Potato kugel- if you don't have a "freezerable" recipe, there is one on my blog.
- Soup- it is never a bad time to make chicken soup.
- Meat boreka- brown ground beef, add spices/sauce, put it on a sheet of puff pastry dough and roll it up. I cook this before I freeze it. It is best sliced cold, before it goes on the plata.
***This year it is especially important to buy chicken early if you purchase fresh chicken. The Muslim holiday, Eid ul Adha coincides with Yom Kippur and Sukkot this year. Since Muslims are the primary, if not the only workers in Israeli slaughterhouses, the slaughterhouses will be closed for ten days and therefore not be able to provide fresh poultry. It is a time to be especially aware not to purchase poultry from less than exemplary stores so that you won't inadvertently purchase poultry that was defrosted and sold as fresh or is past its use by date.***
(4) Clear out that smartphone and make a digital album at Albombom. Right now they are offering 45% off each album until 31 Aug 2014. They also have great deals on personalized calendars. Lupa is also having a sale on photo calendars- buy one, get two free.
(5) If you are a former New Yorker, you remember Shakespeare in the Park. In Jerusalem you can have the same experience without waiting for tickets. Theater in the Rough is performing A Midsummer Night's Dream next week for free and in English. For more information, click here.
(6) Once school starts, the parade of birthday parties will start as well. Stock up with presents at Toys 'R Us. Use your Leumi card to purchase 300 shekels worth of merchandise and pay only 200 shekels! You must pay with your Leumi card and there are no double sales. For more details click here. Expires 31 Aug 2014.
(7) The Chutzot HaYotzer festival started this week and ends the 23rd of August. Discount tickets can be found at the Leumi card web site for 61 shekels each instead of 65 shekels. Other discounts are available for Jerusalem residents, students, Bank Yahav customers and more- go to the festival's web site for more information (Hebrew) (English).
(8) The holidays will be upon us before you know it and chances are you will be invited out for a meal or two. Instead of the standard bottle of wine or flowers, go to a paint-it-yourself ceramic studio such as Kad V'Chomer in Jerusalem, Keyad HaDimyon in Modiin, Rebecca in Moshav Yitzron or Studio Nomi in Herzliya and create a unique gift for your hosts.
Post your ideas and suggestions as well!