Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 7- Hanukkah Photo Tips

Welcome to Day 7!  Today I will be sharing my tips for better Hanukkah Pictures!

1) My first tip for you would be to turn off the flash!
Let the lights of the candles illuminate your subjects.  You will have to turn up your ISO and hold very steady but this is the most dramatic way to improve your Hanukkah photos

2) Try capturing a reflection of the candles for even more glow:
It sets a VERY subtle mood to photograph this setting. :) We like to light our Hanukkiahs in the window and I love the look of the reflection.

3) Put the candles in focus, not the people:
Here you get the feel for the child lighting the candles as her hand is in the frame, but we can see it is the third night of Hanukkah and the focus is on the candles.

4) Try a different angle to get a feel for the evening:
On this night we are at our large family party. Each family brings a Hanukkiah to light and I wanted to capture everyone's Hanukkiahs as we were lighting them.

5) Don't forget to capture the fun in action!!
We love a good game of dreidel!

6) Don't forget to take pictures of the decor:

Again, turning off the flash is the best tip here...and lastly, but certainly not least!

7) Photograph the FUN!!
It's always fun to capture a true and honest expression of joy!!

Hope you are enjoying our 8 Days of Hanukkah so far...please let us know in the comments section how you capture the best Hanukkah memories with your camera for your chance to win a prize!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 6: Hanukkah Books

Welcome to Day 6 of our 8 crazy days of Hanukkah! I'm here today to share a couple of our favorite Hanukkah books (and I hope you'll share your family favorites too).

For the younger set (and for introducing the basics of the holiday to older children), we like Harriet Ziefert's lift-the-flap story called "What is Hanukkah?" This book answers questions like why we light candles, play dreidel, eat latkes, and exchange gifts as well as presenting the history of the holiday in an easy-to-understand way. It follows a boy named Josh, and his family, as they ready for the holiday and every page features a flap with additional text or illustrations.

Fran Manushkin's book, "Latkes and Applesauce", starts off like a fairytale — "It happened long ago in a village far away..." and follows the Menashe family as their village is hit with a terrible blizzard and they realize there will be no apples for applesauce or potatoes for latkes. A stray dog and cat help them realize the miracle of the holiday and find a way to bring apples and potatoes to the family's home just in time. At the end of the book there is a historical account of Hanukkah as well as a latke recipe and directions for playing the dreidel game.

Last on my list today (but definitely not least) are two books by Linda Glaser — "The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes" and "Mrs. Greenberg's Messy Hanukkah". The first book starts on the last night of Hanukkah when Rachel's mother discovers she doesn't have enough potatoes to make latkes for all of their guests. Rachel is sent next door to Mrs. Greenberg's house to borrow some potatoes and what ensues is a sweet story of friendship and caring. Mrs. Greenberg and Rachel appear again in "Mrs. Greenberg's Messy Hanukkah". This time the pair attempts to make latkes in Mrs. Greenberg's sparkling clean kitchen. It turns out to be a really messy job and exhausts poor Mrs. Greenberg. Mrs. Greenberg, who lives on her own, soon learns that it is a wonderful mess, not a terrible one.

We're always looking for new books to read so please let me know what your favorite Hanukkah story is. Share your ideas and you'll be entered into the grand prize drawing.

Happy Hanukkah to you all!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dayh 5: Kosher Wines

With Hannukah coming up, there will be a lot of opportunities to bring house gifts and entertain guests. During Jewish holidays, I always choose to bring kosher wines, both to respect the holiday and support the kosher winegrowers. Kosher wine has come a long way from the square bottles that our parents drank. There are now wineries making kosher wines all over the world: Israel, California, France, South Africa, Portugal, and other places. Here are a few that we have enjoyed recently.

We discovered this Sforno Cabernet Sauvignon from Israel last Passover. We enjoyed it so much we went back to the store to stock up before they sold out.

I discovered this Red by W when I was shopping for High Holiday wines. This red blend from Weinstock vineyards is surprisingly inexpensive and very drinkable for the price. At under $10, this is a great choice for a casual family dinner at home, and since it's kosher it's perfect for a Shabbos dinner as well.

If you are into numerology and want to bring a special house gift, this Hai wine from Israel is perfect, and enjoyable to drink too.

Finally, if you're not able to drink alcohol, too young, or just not interested, there are still ways to enjoy the festivities of kosher wine at the holidays. We often serve the Kedem kosher sparkling grape juice which comes in a variety of grapes, such as the Merlot shown here. This festive beverage looks beautiful and is really tasty.

For the 5th day of our 8 crazy nights, we want to know what you think about kosher wines. What is your favorite kosher beverage? Share your suggestions here for a chance to be entered in the Hanukkah grand prize drawing.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 4: Homemade Hanukkah Menorahs

Welcome to the day 4 of our Hanukkah celebration! Hope your Shabbat was a peaceful one.
Today we will talk about Hanukkah Menorahs or as we say in Hebrew - Hanukkiah. Lightning the Menorah is the highlight of Hanukkah and that's why they are so important. You can find some very simple ones and you can find some gorgeous Menorahs designed by artists. But you also can make a Menorah at home. Nothing puts you in the holiday mood like working on your own Menorah!

You can start with baby food jar Menorah or blocks Menorah. There are plenty of tutorials for making Menorah from wooden blocks including an adorable blocks Menorah from Creative Jewish Mom and this cute Menorah from Hadasah Young Women website

Image by Hadassah Young Women

Another cute and simple version uses glass tea light holders and tissue paper. You can find a detailed tutorial by Diane Gilleland for Craftzine here

Mazo Ball Soup shares lots of great Hanukkah crafts including clay Menorah. Another great clay Menorah with instructions can be found at FamilyFun.com

Image by FamilyFun.com

If a trip to hardware store is on your agenda you can make this dazzling Menorah from a piece of wood and few nuts.
Image by MarthaStewart.com

Or you can make this cool industrial looking Menorah from pipe fittings!

If you want to be more artistic, Inna's Creations has few detailed posts on how to make gorgeous menorahs from clay. Check this adorable Menorah with bugs and flowers, or houses Menorah, or even flying saucer Menorah! I think my favorite is this jags Menorah - so easy and so cute.

Do you have any special homemade menorah? Or maybe you are inspired by one of the tutorials and want to make one this year. Please share! We would love to hear your ideas and see your creations! Remember all comments are entered into two prize drawings!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 3-A New Tradition:Tzedakah Night

Welcome to Day 3 of our 8 Days of Hanukkah!!
Several years ago we decided that on the night when we have our family best friends over for Hanukkah we were not going to exchange gifts.  Our children have so much already and really, the joy on that night is being together, lighting all the children's Hanukkiahs together, playing dreidel...
 and enjoying the act of giving.  On that night, each of our children selected an animal to "adopt" from World Wildlife Fund for one of their friends.  The kids LOVED doing this and each year since we have selected a new Charity to focus on...from the Binky Patrol where we made blankets, to collecting stuff for a local dog adoption agency that needed supplies to this year...well, sky's the limit!!  We will be making our own Tzedakah boxes to keep the giving all year round and see how much the kids collect over the course of a year- to be donated to a new Charity nex year!
Here is a great resource for blank Tzedakah Cans..I will be ordering from here for my Tzedakah Night Party; http://www.tjssc.com/pc-2064-41-tzedakah-boxes-arts-craft-project-for-decorating-10.aspx and we will be decorating them with the colorful and fun Hanukkah papers from Crafting Jewish Style.

Many other families are doing the same and I encourage you to consider giving up a night of presents for your own children and bring the focus of GIVING and TZEDAKAH back into the holiday for your family.
Some other worthy tzedakah causes to get you started:

MAZON, the ongoing Jewish battle against hunger.

Heifer International gives kids a fun way to send cows, goats and chickens to impoverished villages around the world.

Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, a way to say thanks to Righteous Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews from the Holocaust.

MooreMart is a civilian-based effort to send care packages, school supplies and sports equipment to American soldiers bonding with children in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Friends of the IDF gives Israeli soldiers a pizza, soft drinks, coffee, Bamba, and just a sense that strangers care about them and their mission.

88 Bikes spreads happiness one kid at a time, one bike at a time, to orphanages around the world.

My Charity Water

So what do you think of this new tradition?  Let us know in the comments for your chance to win a prize!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 2: Let the Hanukkah Games Begin!

When you think of Hanukkah games, is the dreidel game the first (and maybe the only) holiday game that comes to mind? We have quite a collection of dreidels in our family...plain wooden ones, colorful wooden ones, plastic, musical, and even bubble-blowing. Aside from the traditional dreidel game, we like to see who can keep theirs spinning the longest.

With a bit of creativity, and online searching, you can come up with a lot of other games and ideas.

Matching Game: You can find a fun one here or you can make your own using scrapbooking supplies you already have on hand. Cut 12-16 cards out of cardstock (about 3" x 5"), cover one side of each card with patterned paper (all the same). For the other side of the cards, you can use holiday-related photos, stickers or words. Try words like latke, Maccabees, menorah, dreidel, gelt, miracle, candle, etc. Be sure to make two of each word you choose so you'll have a set to match. :)

Pin the Hay on the Dreidel: For this game, cut a large dreidel shape out of construction paper, cardstock or butcher paper. Tape it to the wall. Next, print out a letter you would see on a dreidel, cut it out and have kids try to tape it onto the dreidel while they are blindfolded.

Candle Game: This is a game my daughter (now nine) came up with years ago. Place a piece of Hanukkah gelt or a coin in front of the menorah candle you think is going to burn out first (or last). The person who makes the correct guess or comes closest gets a small prize or gets to eat their piece of gelt.

Make it a "Scent"-sational Holiday: This game uses all of your senses. Have kids either say or make a list of holiday items related to each of our senses (touch=dreidel, sound=singing a song, smell=latkes cooking, taste=gelt, sight=candles flickering, etc.)

Web Sites: If online games are more your style, here are a couple of sites to check out:

Build your own Hanukkiah here.
Try your hand at Hanukkah tic-tac-toe here.
Take a look here for more games and puzzles and also here.

What games do you play with your family? Comment here and you'll be entered into the grand prize drawing. Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crafting Jewish Style Hannukah Party Giveaway from The Frog Prince Paperie!

Great news! We are so excited to inform you all that the Frog Prince Paperie is hosting a Hanukkah Giveaway at Crafting Jewish Style!

The free giveaway will include a package of pdf files to print and craft:

"Happy Hanukkah" banner with 7x10 inch panels
2 inch circles for cupcake toppers that can do double duty as vase decoration, napkin ring holders, favor tags, stickers, etc.
Four (4) pages of cupcake wraps that includes files for stripes, light blue, dark blue and a star of david print 4 inch circles in 2 designs
Gift labels in 5 designs
Eight (8) Milk Carton Boxes - a different design for each day of celebration!
Three (3) dreidel boxes perfect for little treats
Food labels (in jpg) in four (4) designs
And she will aso include free personalization with a family name of the 2 inch circles! Aren't they gorgeous? I love them all! :)

We will be posting more about this incredible offer soon. Let us know how would you use these adorable products. All comments will be entered in this giveaway and the Crafting Jewish Style giveaway. We'd love to hear from you!

Crafting Jewish Style 8 Day and Nights of Hannukah Fun and Crafts!

Hannukah is almost here and we at Crafting Jewish Style are so excited!
Hannukah is a wonderful time to get together with family to celebrate, and of course to eat yummy Hannukah food! Traditional Hannukah foods are usually fried in oil, to highlight the miracle of the menorah's oil lasting for eight days. Traditionally, latkes (fried potato pancakes)and sufganiot (Israeli jelly doughnuts) are eaten. Here are 2 great recipes for both.

● ■ ● ● ■ ● ● ■ ● potato latkes with applesauce ● ■ ● ● ■ ● ● ■ ●

These latkes are so yummy they are usually devoured as soon as they are ready and may never make it to the table! Serve with flavored applesauce — prepare it in advance so that the latkes will be hot when served. This recipe is from Crafting Jewish: Fun Holiday Crafts and Party Ideas for the Whole Family, used by permission.

Potato Latkes Ingredients:
- 4 potatoes
- 1 small onion
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons matzo meal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- vegetable oil
Strawberry Applesauce Ingredients:
- 16-ounce bag frozen strawberries
- 32-ounce jar applesauce
How to do it:
1. Use the vegetable peeler to peel the potatoes; place them into cold water in a large mixing bowl. With a knife, peel the onion and place it into the bowl.
2. Crack the eggs into the small bowl and stir them with the whisk.
3. Use the large hole attachment on your food processor to shred the potatoes and onion. Transfer to a mixing bowl. If using a box grater, grate the potatoes and onion over the mixing bowl against the large holes.
4. Take large scoops of potato mixture in your hands and squeeze out as much liquid as possible into the sink. Place the squeezed potato mixture into a mixing bowl.
5. Add the eggs, matzo meal, salt, and pepper to the potatoes and onions and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
6. Pour about an inch of oil into the frying pan and place the frying pan over medium to high heat. Allow the oil to become very hot.
7. Ladle about a half-ladle of the mixture into the pan. Flatten with a fork and ladle in 3 to 5 more latkes. Do not place too close together. Fry for about 5 minutes; then flip with the pancake turner and fry for 2 minutes, until crispy but still soft on the inside.
8. Place 1–2 paper towels on a serving plate and transfer the fried latkes to the plate. Serve immediately.
9. For strawberry applesauce: Place strawberries into a large microwave-safe bowl; microwave for 4–6 minutes, until mushy and juicy. Add the applesauce to the bowl and mix well with a spatula.
Estimated prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 7 – 10 minutes per batch
Parve • Yield: 8 – 10 latkes

■ ● ● ■ ● ● ■ ● sufganiot ● ■ ● ● ■ ● ● ■ ●

In Israel, around Chanukah time, it seems that sufganiot (doughnuts), are sold on every street corner. These delicacies are traditionally filled with jelly, but dulce de leche (caramel sauce) or custard filling taste yummy too. Nothing can compare to the taste of home-made doughnuts! Since there is hot oil involved, this project definitely requires adult supervision and involvement.

This recipe is from What’s Cooking: A Unique Collection of Kosher Recipes, used by permission.
- ¼ cup warm water (105°-115°F)
- 2 (¼-oz.) packets dry yeast
- ¾ cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon
- 1½ cups milk, soy milk, or rice milk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
- 5-6 cups flour, plus more for pastry board
- 4 cups oil
- 1-2 cups confectioners' sugar, optional
- optional fillings: jelly, dulce de leche (caramel sauce), purchased custard filling
How to do it:
1. Place the warm water into the mixer bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and the one tablespoon sugar over the water. Let stand for 5-10 minutes or until the yeast mixture becomes foamy and bubbly.
2. Add the milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and 2 cups flour. Mix on a low speed for a few minutes.
3. Beat in the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for approximately 5 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and elastic.
4. Cover the dough with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
5. Sprinkle a counter or pastry board with a light coating of flour. Place the dough onto the floured surface and use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough to a ½" thickness.
6. Use the cookie cutter or the opening of the drinking glass to cut the dough into circles. Let rise again until doubled in size, approximately ½-hour. Re-roll scraps and cut more circles.
7. While the doughnut rounds are rising, clip a deep-frying thermometer to the side of the pot. Place 4 cups of oil into the pot and heat on medium-high heat until the temperature measures 375°F on the deep-frying thermometer.
8. Cover a platter with paper towels and set aside.
9. Carefully slide 4 doughnut rounds into the hot oil, using a slotted spoon or flat spatula. Let fry for about 40 seconds–1 minute, or until they rise to the surface of the oil. Turn over with the slotted spoon and fry for another 40 seconds–1 minute, or until golden brown.
10. Remove the doughnuts from the oil and place on prepared platter.
11. Use the sugar sifter to sift the confectioners' sugar over the warm doughnuts.
Optional: Make a small slit in the side of each doughnut with a knife. Insert the jelly or other filling with a tablespoon. Or, fill a pastry bag with your filling of choice and insert the tip of the pastry bag into the opening. Pipe 1 tablespoon of filling into each doughnut.
Estimated prep time: 1 hour
Rising time: 1½ – 2 hours
Dairy or Parve • Yield: approximately 4 dozen sufganiot

Share your favorite recipes with us and tell us how you celebrate! Every comment will be entered into the 2 Hannukah giveways going on right now!
Wouldn't these doughnuts look great with the Hannukah Picks, from the giveaway, stuck inside? Yummy!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Card Sketch

with the eye on the coming holiday, we decided to dedicate all our cards to Channukah.

A card by Lisa Spiegel:

A card by Maya:

A card by Louise:

Cards by Nili:

Get inspired and make your own cards. We would love to see what you come up with, so don't forget to link your cards to this blog post.

Happy Channukah!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crafting Jewish Style Hannukah Card Kit Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner! Thanks to everyone who participated in our card kit giveaway. We appreciate all your comments and feedback. We used Random.org to choose a winner.
Shayna is the winner of the card kit!!(Please contact us to claim your prize.)

Our Hannukah gift to you- Receive 10% off you Crafting Jewish Style order. Use coupon code: happy hannukah on all orders @ www.craftingjewishstyle.com

Just a reminder, beginning on November 24, we will begin counting down our 8 Crazy Nights/Crafts of Hanukkah. For 8 days, we will be offering Hanukkah tips and giving you opportunities to share your ideas, layouts, projects, recipes and thoughts.

Our Grand Prize winner will receive:

1. A signed copy of Crafting Jewish

2. Hannukah 12x12 Kit

3. Hannukah cookie cutters

4. Assorted ribbon, trim, tags and adhesives for Hannukah gift wrapping fun
(photo for illustrative purposes; assortment will vary)

Leave us your comments, thoughts, ideas, and Hannukah crafty inspiration.
All comments left from now until Dec. 1st will be entered in this grand giveaway!

For an added chance to win, send us pictures of your Hannukah projects to be included in our Hannukah roundup!

Have fun and Happy Hannukah!:0)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Planning for Hanukkah!

I don't know about you, but planning for Hanukkah definitely takes some work for me.  Besides the fact that it usually falls during our school year, there are just so many events that are related to the holiday.  From Family Parties to our Annual Tzedakah Night, to Temple Services, there is a lot that happens in one week.  So this year I vowed to hit the holiday with a plan in action.  And to help me with this, I created a simple Hanukkah Planner with our Hanukkah papers and embellishments to keep me organized.

These type of planners come together so quickly as they use a simple file folder as the base.
As you can see, you simply open up the file folder, fold the bottom up and the sides in. I trimmed off the file tabs so that my planner was purely rectangular, but you can leave them if you like them.  I also added a strip of double sided tape to the outside pockets just to close them up.
 You can create whatever direction folds you desire, I chose to have the right hand panel be the back and the rest to fold into each other so that my calendar was the first visible panel.  I then left one panel empty and added a clip in case I make extra lists I'd like to add.  There is a pocket for reciepts and coupons, another for shopping lists, another for gift lists and lastly for menus.  I found the printables HERE.  I simply trimmed the bottom of my lists so that the URL wasn't on them.  They are very nice generic lists and you may find even more useful lists in their gallery (such as Holiday Card Lists).  They print up 3 to a page and are the perfect size for this style planner. 
For the cover, I selected my papers and glued the ribbon under the papers all the way around the planner so that it could tie at the open edge.  Very easy to do and with an extra piece of double sided tape on the outside edge where the ribbon comes out, it is very sturdy.  I can toss my planner in my purse and take it with me so everything is where it belongs, reciepts, coupons and lists.  I am actually excited to go shopping for Hanukkah now as I know I will be well prepared.  And as an added bonus, I'll have a record of what I did for next year! 
Hope you enjoy my Hanukkah planner.  Email me with any questions you may have in making your own and enjoy Hanukkah series!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hostess Gift

During Hanukkah, and this time of year in general, we often find ourselves leaving the house without a hostess gift in hand. In these cases, we often grab a nice bottle of wine to bring. To make them look less like a last minute gift, I keep a stash of wine bottle tags, which I can quickly use to dress-up the bottle.

I made these festive tags using the Hanukkah collection; adding a simple loop made with regular or curly ribbon. I know many paper-crafters are not fond of curly ribbon, but I feel it adds a certain festive feel. My tags are all backed with white cardstock, so we can write our names or a quick message on the back.

I also made an extra tag using this lovely wine-glass paper strip from the Passover collection. This tag can be used for Thanksgiving, general holiday gatherings, or saved until Passover.

Making tags is fun and easy, and a great way to use up scraps!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hannukah banner

Welcome to our first Hannukah post! This year I decided to put a little bit more effort in our Hannukah decorations and made a festive banner. I used the back side of the Hannukah paper kit packaging to die-cut the letters and to make the decorative border at the bottom of the banner.
The paper rosettes are made from 1.5"x18" strips of paper. I punched the long edge of the strip using Fiskars "Boundary Waters" border punch, made an accordion fold along the strip, formed a circle shape and glued it all together.

I like all the bright and festive colors. It reminds me the Hannukah candles. What about you dear readers? Do you decorate for Hannukah? Please share with us!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Getting Ready for Hanukkah

Can you believe it? Hanukkah is less than one month away. Over the next month, we will showing crafty Hannukah projects to help you get ready.

It's not too late to enter the drawing for the Hanuakkh card kit. The winner will be announced right here sometime this month.

Also, starting on November 24, we will begin counting down our 8 Crazy Nights of Hanukkah. For 8 days, we will be offering Hanukkah tips and giving you opportunities to share your ideas, and of course there will be a great prize.