Monday, November 29, 2010

I can see a little light... an ode to beautiful menorahs

I have spent way too much time lately seeking out the oddest, ugliest and just plain goofiest menorahs I can find.  Luckily, along the way I also found some truly spectacular menorahs. So, in the true spirit of the holiday, here are some amazing menorahs to light up your Hanukkah.

I love just about all of the menorahs at Modern Tribe, but I really, really love the ChanuKKit - 8 Menorahs Made of Wax.  This modern - and totally eco-friendly - menorah is actually eight separate menorahs made completely out of wax, one for each night. I love the fabulous triangular box they come in too.  For all these reasons, this is the menorah we'll be lighting at our house this year.

Other menorahs I think our pure genius include:

The Energy Alternative Menorah: This menorah from the Museum of Tolerance features the symbols for biofuel, electric, wind, coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar and water, and provides a quiet reminder to adopt alternative energy sources.

The Wine Cork Menorah: Part of me wants to mock this, but why? It's small, travel-friendly and Kosher.

And until I leave menorahs until next year, I leave you just one final - very ugly - menorah:

Happy Hanukkah everyone!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Menorahs Kids Can Make from Handprints, Branches, MetroCards and Cupcakes

Have you ever wondered how to make a Handprint Menorah?  With Hanukkah right around the corner, now's the perfect time for making handprint menorahs with kids!

I'm a little bit of a Handprint Menorah purist, so I don't really approve of the ones that have all nine candles (i.e. fingers, with the thumbs combining in the middle as one) at the same height. Any menorah, even a handprint one, should have one candle, the shamash, that is set apart from the other eight mitzvah candles.

Crayola's official site has great, easy-to-follow directions for a traditional stick-your-hand-in-the-paint Handprint Menorah:

You can also trace your child's handprint onto construction paper and then cut it out for an equally festive but less messy version.  Here's the one from All Kids Network:

Kaboose has a beautiful Mosaic Menorah, perfect if you're looking for a project different aged kids can all enjoy.'s Family Crafts has a gorgeous Tree Branch Menorah. With drills and spray paint though, this option is best for older children.

A Design Affair presents the amazing Metro Card Menorah.

And last, what's not to love about a Cupcake Menorah?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ugly Menorahs VIII: The Christmas Menorahs Edition

I saved the best for last, that's right, this final edition of The Ugly Menorah Gazette features Menorahs in the Key of Christmas. There just ain't no way to make a Christmas-themed menorah pretty.

I found this Santa and his reindeer Menorah at Kesher Talk:

And there's also the always popular Christmas Tree Menorah:

For those of you who are sad to see the ugly menorah posts come to an end, I leave you with one more encore: Goofy Menorahs from And goofy they are.

You can see all the ugly menorah posts here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ugly Menorahs Part VII: What's a Nice Menorah Like You Doing in a Place Like This?

For the next-to-last installment of The Ugly Menorah Times, I'm highlighting perfectly nice looking menorahs that are ugly by virtue of their placement.

For example, does a menorah really need to be on a pair of novelty glasses?

Or a bow tie?

Or on Gitzy the Bear's sweater?

 How 'bout the menorah on knife action here?

And this Menorah Man costume.  Is that necessary?

A menorah in a snow globe? Not a fan of that either.  But I've saved the best for last.

The menorah on ornament!

Call me old-fashioned, but I just don't think a menorah should be on a Christmas Tree ornament. Ever. Even if you're a blendy holiday kind of family.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy (Handprint) Turkey Day! Thanksgiving Handprint Crafts for November

A quick look at my Google stats revealed that a lot of people want to know how to make a Handprint Turkey, and that Google thinks a site called Random Handprints is going to help with that. However, until now, handprint art seeking folks were out of luck here. That is true no more!

Random Handprints can now serve all your turkey handprinting needs!

Here in all their glory is a round-up of the Best Turkey Handprint Crafts!  Enjoy these fun art projects and if you have a great one, please leave a comment so I can add it to the list:
And finally, for folks who are so beyond the whole Turkey Handprint thing, here's how to make a Hand AND FOOT Turkey Craft, and even a Handprint Mayflower.

If you are looking for even more ideas for Thanksgiving art projects, you'll find amazing ones at the The Crafty Crow, a children's craft collective.

And perhaps most importantly, you can find a list here of Fabric Paints that are Safe for Handprinting

Best wishes to everyone for a Happy Handprint Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo found online from Chico Valley Moms Stroller Strides Meet-up Group.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Perfect New York City Day: Gustafer Yellowgold's Show and Murray's Sturgeon Shop

We had an incredible time at Gustafer Yellowgold's show on Saturday. It was at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side, literally just a few blocks from where we used to live. We drove by our old building looking for a parking space and the kids pointed out some of their favorite memories from our old stomping grounds - the horse statue, the "sitting place" on the front stairs, the meeting place of the (now defunct) "Sleeping Outside Club," and butterfly corner, every bit as resplendent as we remembered it.

Even though we no longer live in Manhattan, I feel Magpie and Kay will always have a decent amount of New Yorker in them.  But Ziggy, sadly, not so much. He's the only member of our family to never live in New York City. And he is clearly not a City Baby. When we told him we were going to the City, he immediately got out his little tourist map.

This is how he spent the rest of breakfast:

Gustafer Yellowgold's Show was fabulous, and in addition to hearing so many of our favorite songs like Panther Stamp Pants and Pinecone Lovely, we were also lucky enough to hear some fantastic new songs from the soon-to-be-released Infinity Sock DVD.

After the show, Gustafer was kind enough to meet his many adoring fans.

And to pose for a photo with Magpie.

Magpie got to meet Morgan Taylor, too.

After the show, we walked a few blocks down to Murray's Sturgeon Shop. We've been going to Mursy's (as toddler Magpie used to call it) since before the kids were born, and believe it or not, my parents and grandparents used to go there, too. (It's been an UWS landmark since 1946.)  H&H bagels, hand-sliced nova, and (for me) tofu cream cheese. This, you just can't get in the suburbs.

It was a perfect New York City day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ugly Menorahs Part VI: The Inflatables

There's just no way to make a blow-up menorah attractive. If it's on your lawn, it's ugly. Seriously.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Saturday Nov. 20: Gustafer Yellowgold's Show is at Symphony Space... and we're going!

Tomorrow my kids and I are going to see the wonder that is The Gustafer Yellowgold Show at Symphony Space. We have been fans for a long time now, and this will be our second time seeing the live show. We can't wait.

Making tomorrow's trip even more exciting is that Morgan Taylor, the man behind Gustafer Yellowgold, was kind enough to answer a few questions from my daughters, Magpie and Kay:

Where were you born?In Dayton, Ohio in a suburb called Kettering.

Where do you live now?
I live up in the Catskill mountains in a little town called Kerhonkson.

Who do you live with?I live with my wife, Rachel, who helps me a lot with Gustafer stuff. She arranges all the shows and she even sings on stage with me sometimes. Our little boy, Harvey, also lives with us. He's 2-and-a half and loves to draw and sing, too.
Photo credit of family: Erin Patrice O'Brien

What 's your favorite song of yours?
Probably one of the new ones from the upcoming Infinity Sock DVD. Maybe the one called Beehive.

What's your favorite song by someone else?
I have many favorite songs. It's too hard to pick one because there is not one single song that satisfies every bit of what I enjoy about music. I do love the Beatles though. Their song Getting Better from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band is one I will never tire of hearing.

What's your favorite place to go or thing to do?Getting to have fun family time with Harvey and Rachel, anywhere, anytime. And I love what I do with making Gustafer DVDs. I'm so lucky that I get to draw and sing and play music. All the things I Iove, all wrapped up in one.

We can't thank Morgan Taylor enough for taking the time to tell us a little about himself and his family. And of course, we also are very thankful for the magic that is Gustafer Yellowgold, Slimothy, Forrest Applecrumbie and the rest of the mellow gang.

In small world stories, the next stop for Gustafer Yellowgold's Show is my hometown of McLean, Virginia. They're playing at 3pm on Sunday, November 21 at the McLean Community Center as part of the McLean Kids Series. If you're lucky enough to be in Northern Virginia this Sunday, I can't think of a better way to spend the afternoon. Especially if I went to Captain Pell's after the show.

A quick disclosure: I was lucky enough to win four tickets to Gustafer Yellowgold's Show from The Culture Mom, but I was a fan of the friendly creature from the sun long before, and these opinions are all my own.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Day 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2007

Ugly Menorahs Part V: The Hats and Pets Edition

It's a menorah! It's a hat! It's ugly!
Menorah hat for dogs...
... and for people.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Ugly Menorahs which will feature outdoor menorahs! After that, we've got handmade menorahs and for the final and eighth edition, a survey of the best of the worst.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ugly Menorahs Part IV: The Hobbies and Pastimes Edition

Next up in our survey of the world's ugliest menorahs, is one especially for the ladies.

'Cause nothin' says Festival of Lights like a make-up menorah:

For golfers, I was able to narrow down the many, many ugly options to just two:

Rounding out our Hobbies and Pastimes Edition, is the Cruise Lovers menorah and my personal favorite, the Casino menorah. 'Cause nothing says Hanukkah like playing the slots!

Next edition of ugly menorahs - we're moving outside and including the family pets!

I Love Playmobil - I Love Winning!

Just took part in a great Twitter Party with @ResourcefulMom and @PlaymobilUSA in celebration of the First Annual Day of Play, which will be this Saturday, November 20.

I love - uh, I mean my kids love - Playmobil, so it was really fun to talk about one of my - I mean their - favorite toys.

I even managed to remember where a couple of great Playmobil photos are - taken by my brother
at Thanksgiving, two years ago.

And I was a lucky Playmobil winner - Hooray!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ugly Menorahs Part III: The Dogs Edition

Stay tuned for the next edition of the Ugly Menorah Gazette, which will be featuring sports and hobbies!

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