Tuesday Tales: The Night Before Hanukkah

Growing up, there were not a lot of books about Hanukkah or most Jewish holidays. My children do not understand this because they are lucky enough to have so many wonderful Hanukkah tales to pick from. As fans of The Night Before series of books by Natasha Wing, we were excited to receive an email asking us to review her latest book. The Night Before Hanukkah is the latest of Ms. Wing’s 22 children’s books which include popular favorites like The Night Before Kindergarten which has sold over 1.5 million copies since it was published in 2001.

The Night Before Hanukkah

The Night Before Hanukkah – Written by Natasha Wing – Illustrated by Amy Wummer

Published by Gosset & Dunlap October ISBN 9780448481401 – $3.99 – Ages 3-5

Like other books in The Night Before series, The Night Before Hanukkah uses the familiar rhyme and pattern from The Night Before Christmas story. The focus of the book is on the family within it and how they celebrate Hanukkah. The beautiful illustrations by Amy Wummer help to make Wing’s words come alive. We are able to see this Jewish family get ready for The Festival of Lights the night before the eight day celebration. Then, we follow along to see their traditions each evening when the family lights their menorah. We are able to watch them play the dredel game, eat chocolate gelt, listen to the story of the Maccabees, devour latkes, and more.

Inside The Night Before Hanukkah Book

Once again, Natasha Wing has hit it out of the park with The Night Before Hanukkah. The book shares the essence of this Jewish holiday. Kids will be able to identify items that they do with their families, and others that may be new and different. She also incorporates traditions that the family has continued from generation to generation, which is important to the Jewish community. I know that I will be taking this book in to share with my son’s second grade classroom. I think the kids will adore listening to a story and hearing how JSL does many of the same items with our family. I definitely recommend this book to young readers to learn more about this holiday even if you do not celebrate Hanukkah.

Have you read any of The Night Before series? I would love to know what if your favorite and why. As always, Tuesday Tales is all about sharing our love of books. Please let me know what you have read recently. Link up to your book posts in the comments below. Include something you read on your own, with a child, or someone else.

It's Me

Disclosure: As noted above, I received this book from the author to review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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Apps for The Festival of Lights

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

No matter how you spell it, The Festival of Lights begins at sundown on December 16, 2014. That means that we will just finish lighting the candles on our menorah before everyone else is celebrating Christmas. To get into the holiday spirit, I thought I would share some fun apps that my family will be enjoying this Hanukkah (or Chanukah).

Apps for the Festival of Lights

Menorah – Chanukah

This app is a virtual menorah that will help users to light their Chanukah candles each night. There is an animation that will actually show you which way to add and light candles once the holiday begins. In addition to this, you may listen to Chanukah prayers with music. The menu at the bottom also allows you to follow along with the prayers in Hebrew, English, or the transliteration.

 Menorah app by Rusty Brick

The boys and I can not wait to have this to listen to while we light our candles each night.

 Match 8 Hanukkah Game

For some reason, we never found this game last year, but this year we are going to be addicted. Match 8 Hanukkah is a game that adds a touch of math with a twist. You must combine candles on the menorah so they add up to the number eight. As you do this, the candles will be burning and you do not want them to burn out. It is a simple and very addictive game. As you increase levels it gets a lot faster. You need to be quick with your fingers to combine candles before they burn and time runs out.

Match 8 Hanukkah Game

I have a feeling we will be having Match 8 competitions over the next few weeks.

Droidel

Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I play it on an app. When it’s time for Chanukah, I spin my 3D top! Yes Droidel is an Android version of the dreidel game. The count down calendar let’s us know how many more days until the Festival of Lights begins. We can customize the game for 2-4 players, change the song that plays, add a name to the droidel, and keep track of the spin statistics. The boys are having a blast using this one already and I have a feeling they may compete with the Droidel and reals dreidels once the holiday begins.

, Time to Play the Droidel app

When I put this onto my phone, I missed the fact that it is not compatible with my Galaxy S5. It does work, but I am unable to get the settings menu which is there for other Android devices. Be sure to check and see if it will work with yours before you download. Without the menu, you will not be able to adjust the player options, see your spin statistics, change the type of dreidel, or access other customizations.

What are some of your favorite apps for the holiday season? I would love to know, so please share in the comments below.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade

Ah, the memories of stopping from the hustle and bustle in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to watch Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. The first time we saw the parade (which is no longer taking place) was in 2010 when JSL was napping. We had spent a long cold morning in the park and he fell asleep after a visit to First Aid. As he slept we watched NHL’s face light up as familiar characters and beautifully colored floats passed by. Do you have memories of this parade? I would love to hear all about them.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade

Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Focused on the Magic

Be sure to stop by Focused on the Magic by clicking on the button above to join in the Disney magic this week.

It's Me

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Putting Jamberry Nails to the Test

When I was little, I was fascinated with my Nana’s nails. I would go with her to watch the manicure process which took forever back in the dark ages. Between visits, Nana would allow me to treat her cuticles, clean then, and polish my own nails.

I have always loved the look of shiny nail polish, but it never stays put. It isn’t just an issue of chipping, it will actually pop right off. I finally gave up and just do my toes for the summer months.Jamberry Autism Awareness Nail Wraps

In September, a friend invited me to a virtual Jamberry Nails party. I was intrigued and watched the videos of applying them. Since I have had problems with polish staying on my nails, I opted to try just one sheet first. Yes, the autism awareness nail photo above is of Jamberry nail wraps. While I was nervous applying them, the YouTube video and instructions really helped. I had a few items that I realized I needed to do for my next application, but was pretty impressed with how they looked.

First Jamberry Nail Wrap Manicure

Not only did they last, they stayed on my fingers for 13 days and still looked amazing. Sure my nails grew out and the tips showed wear and tear, but they were still there. On day 13, one of them snagged in my hair. I was home alone and stuck, so I pulled and it came off. Since they say they last 1-2 weeks for a manicure, I was not upset at all. Jamberry Nail Wrap Manicure for Autism Awareness

For Halloween season, the boys helped me to pick out some fun new Jamberry. Fright Night arrived and I put them on last Tuesday.

Second Jamberry Nail Wrap Manicure

What I love are the small details. Each finger is slightly different.

Jamberry Nail Wrap Time - Fright Night

Once again, my Jamberry manicure is going strong at eleven days and I am hooked. I am eyeing Jamberry wraps for Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and winter fun. In a house full of boys, pampering my own nails every so often makes me smile and my nails are happy and healthy before, during, and after.

Jamberry Nail Wraps after one week

Have you tried Jamberry yet?

Right now I am hosting an online Jamberry party (disclosure, I get fun stuff when people order). It is taking place until November 12 and there will be additional fun on the Facebook page. Let me know if you would like an invite. Oh and for super creative types, you can design Jamberry’s as well. I have seen some amazing fun Disney style options and other ones as well. So check out the options and let me know what your favorite design is. I have to admit, the Gobble Me Up for Thanksgiving are super fun and cute, plus the Let It Snow make me think of Elsa from Frozen.

It's Me

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Tuesday Tales: The Albany Children’s Book Festival

Over the weekend, TechyDad and I took the boys to The Albany Children’s Book Festival. The sixth annual event was hosted by The Albany Academies and included over fifty authors and illustrators. Last time we went to the event, we had an amazing experience. We met new talented people and were able to say hello to familiar faces from books that we love.

When we told the boys about the event taking place in November, they were beyond excited. Then I had told them that Artie Bennett would be there and they kept talking about meeting him thanks to our review of his book Belches, Burps, & Farts – Oh My! The kids wanted to find him as soon as we walked in the door. So, we followed the trail and located Artie. He immediately knew my name and blog. Such a kind, funny, and creative man.

Artie Bennett

As I finished chatting with Artie, the boys moved along and happened to stop to chat with Jennifer Berne. She is the author of the Calvin books that we have also reviewed over the years. The silly boys had forgotten that we own her newest book about Calvin and his new glasses. I know we are looking forward to more tales with Calvin.

Jennifer Berne

As we wandered around, we said hello to illustrator Diane deGroat. She has a great sense of humor and joked with us for awhile. As we moved down the row of tables with more and more author and illustrators, I was pretty sure I recognized someone.

Diane deGroat

Sure enough, I noticed author and illustrator Nick Bruel walk by. That is when JSL was on a mission. He brought two of his Bad Kitty books to be signed. My shy little guy was so thrilled to be seeing the man that truly inspired my kiddo to read this summer. As I have mentioned, JSL was afraid to read chapter books on own until he tried Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel. He devoured that first book in just under 24 hours and finished the series early in the summer. We shared this with Mr. Bruel who was beyond kind and showed JSL the next book in the series that will be coming out in January 2015.

Nick Bruel

Oh and check out the fun sign he put out when he left for five minutes.

Bad Kitty sign drawn by Nick Bruel

The boys also kept busy meeting new authors and illustrators thanks to a scavenger hunt of sorts for the event. They had specific authors to locate, answer a trivia question, and get an autograph. This helped us to meet Gail Carson Levine – Ella Enchanted, Coleen Paratore -The Wedding Planner’s Daughter, Steve Sheinkin – Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, Mark Teague – illustrator of the Where Do Dinosaurs books, and many others. We also learned that my oldest had met Elizabeth Zunon last year when she visited his school. I vaguely recall him mentioning something, but was amazed with this talented local woman.

Elizabeth Zunon - Steve Sheinkin - Mark Teague - Coleen Paratore

Before heading home, the boys were allowed to select a book to purchase and get signed by an author or illustrator. It took them a bit, but eventually they selected new series to try reading. NHL selected Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to NOT Reading by Tommy Greenwald. JSL picked out Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look.

Tommy Greenwald - Lenore Look

More about these books coming soon because both boys are already reading them and having a hard time putting them down.

Have you or your children met any of their favorite authors or illustrators? I would love to hear about their experience. As always, Tuesday Tales is all about sharing our love of books. Please let me know what you have read recently. Link up to your book posts in the comments below. Include something you read on your own, with a child, or someone else.

It's Me

Previous posts about The Albany Children’s Book Festival in April 2013 are The Albany Children’s Book Festival – Part 1 and The Albany Children’s Book Festival – Part 2.

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