Monthly Archives: May 2014

Mission Control to Mars

Have boys age 9 – 15?  Mission Control to Mars has our vote!

“It’s hard to find books like this,” says my son, who’s currently serving as my junior reviewer. “It has everything in one: adventure, a bit of mystery, and also regular stuff like getting along with friends.”

I couldn’t agree more.  That was exactly my own impression of this creative, fun book.  The setting is original, but the characters are boys we all recognize in our own communities, struggling to get along and find their place even as they deal with crisis and, in this case, inter-planetary emergencies!

Stay tuned for impressions of our other reviewers…

[Mission Control to Mars, by C. B. Gavant, Menucha Publishers]

Available here:



In a Boy House/In a Girl House

In a Boy House/In a Girl House

By Beily Paluch

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in Hamodia:

When my first five boys were little, the energy level in our house hardly ever dropped below medium-to-high.  In fact, I developed a ”scientific”  theory that this energy multiplies exponentially with each consecutive boy, as the brothers feed off each other’s exuberance and become a force much greater than the sum of its parts.

One lively afternoon, coming on the heels of a hectic morning, I tried to maintain my equilibrium among whatever game of concert, zoo or police was the selection of the day.  In the midst of the chaos, I closed my eyes, covered my ears, and indulged in positive imagery.  The image?  Five docile daughters, sitting at a table in the playroom, coloring rainbows.  One creates, others copy. The only time I’m interrupted is to answer the question, “Is it nice?”

Interviewing mothers of all-girl and all-boy families for this article gave me the opportunity to revisit my daydream, as we candidly shared what it’s like “in a boy house” and “in a girl house.”


Who’s who?
“In a boy house”

Chana Malka C., 4 boys under age 5

Tzipora F., 4 boys under age 7

Devory L., 6 boys under 14

Ruchie M., 7 boys under 17


“In a girl house”

Leah T., oldest of six sisters

Esty M., 5 girls under 11

Toby B., 8 girls under 16

Sharon D., 5 girls age 10 – 20

Brochie, 2 girls under 7


What do your children like to do together?

Chana Malka:Play with cars, tag, play in the sand, one pretends to be a dog and chases the others around.

Tzipora: Play fight, rough and tumble, piling on top of each other.

Devory: Whatever they do, they do it together!  You will rarely find one reading a book alone.  When one goes outside to play, they are all outside playing; when one or two want to play board games, everyone needs to be part of the game.

Esty: Play house for hours.  School. Teacher.  Therapist.  We have shelves of dolls and accessories, dress-up clothes, kitchen sets, and art supplies.

Toby:  Sing camp songs, G.O. songs, choirs with the motions. They also love doing dances from school performances .

Sharon: They like to shop and play games.  They also like to cook.
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Top Trumps – Oiber Chochom

If your kids can sit on the couch with a few decks of cards playng War for hours on end (and then pick up again where they left off the next day), wait till they see Top Trumps! Top Trumps is War 2.0, giving each player a turn to choose his best-bet factoid from a choice of 5 on each card, increasing his chance to win. Cards are themed and educational, with sets on US Presidents, Creatures under the Sea and War Planes, among others.

For those who prefer the Jewish version , you can buy a set of Gedolim or Talmud Bavli Oiber Chochom at your local Judaica store.

And if that’s not enough, challenge your son to make his OWN set of cards, using any set of data that interests him: the 50 states, the people in your family,or lehavdil, personalities from Tanach.  We have a set of Talmud Yerushalmi, painstakingly put together by my son and his chavrusa,  and we’re happy to share that with anyone who’s interested.

Oiber Chochom is also available online at Judaica Place


A Tale Out of Kindergarten

Throughout the year, Shloimy complained numerous times about a particular boy who started up with him; let’s call him Chaim.

Last week, he had a class trip to the park.  When he came home, he shared some of his adventures, including the following (my reactions in parenthesis to keep the flow).

“Mommy, you want to know what happened to me today?” (Sure.) “You’re sure you want to hear? It’s very scary.” (Oh, my! What happened?)  “Someone bit me.” (Gasp!) “I didn’t have a chance to bite him back, so I called the big troublemaker. (Chaim?!) “Yeah, and I told him to beat the other boy up for me.” (And did he?) “Yeah, he beat him up!”

And I thought Chaim was his nemesis!


Zemiros and Yiddishe Niggunim – Book & CD (Waxberger)

If your boys understand Yiddish, and enjoy beautiful Yiddish songs, this is a fantastic gift to bring home…for a birthday, in honor of a siyum, a new baby, or after a trip abroad…find an excuse!

This book includes the lyrics for all your Yiddish favorites, and your children can follow along while listening to the CD.  Of course, each page is also illustrated with captivating images, Waxberger style.

A guest left this behind as a gift for our family, and it’s been a hit since the first day.

The Cheery Bim Band Series

These might  be out of print, but they’re not out of style!  Right now, our house in Cheery Bim Band land, with my son excited each time he finds one available at our local library.  “It goes like this,” he tells me, “Gavriel comes up with the idea, then Shaya thinks it over, and then Moshe Chaim makes it happen.”

If these books can get my eleven-year-old, never the biggest reader, to reach the last page and come back for more, that’s enough reason for me to list this series, even though it is neither new nor easy to find.  I did see some available at Eichlers, and

[The Cheery Bim Band Series by Chaim Finkelstein/M. C. Millman, CIS Publishers]

Welcoming a Baby Boy Erev Pesach

Welcoming a Baby Boy on Erev Pesach

(Due to popular demand, this post answers all your questions about “how did you do it?”, as well as explaining what yapchuk is…)

All winter long (and it was a rather long winter!), I reassured my friends that erev Pesach was actually a very good time for me to have a baby.  It would be bein hazemanim, , and my big boys would be home.  They would clean, cook and bake, and what’s more, they would watch the little ones, and I wouldn’t need to farm anyone out.

My due date arrived, and I was right on schedule.  It was two weeks to Pesach, but my clothes shopping was done, and my kitchen was Pesachdig.  I started cooking on Tuesday, and I figured the timing was just right.  Fill the freezer as much as possible, give birth by Shabbos, and be home in time for Yom Tov.

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