Monthly Archives: March 2013

Chocolate Matzah for Passover

Chocolate Matzah for Passover

Tonight marks the first night of Passover and is celebrated by a Passover Seder, a dinner with family and friends to retell the story of the Jews liberation from Egyptian bondage.  This story is told in the Book of Exodus.  Since the Jews had to flee Egypt so quickly they were not able to wait for their bread dough to rise.  Later, when the dough was baked, it was Matzah.  Traditionally Jews eat Matzah in place of bread during the eight days of Passover to remember this story.

In our house, we celebrate my husband’s Jewish heritage with a family Passover Seder where friends are always included.  A favorite treat for us to share is Chocolate Matzah.  I’ve included the recipe here for you all to enjoy.  Matzah may usually be found in supermarkets around Passover time, especially in areas with large Jewish populations.  Forewarning, this treat is addictive, you may end up eating the whole batch yourself!


4 – 6 Unsalted Matzohs

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat over to 375 degrees.  Line a large cookie sheet with foil.  Cover the bottom of the sheet with baking parchment paper – on top of the foil.  This is important since the mixture becomes sticky during baking.

Line the bottom of the cookie sheet evenly with the matzah, cutting extra pieces as required to fit any spaces.

In a 3 quart, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and pour over the matzah, covering completely.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees.  Bake for 15 minutes checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chocolate chips.  Let stand for 5 minutes then spread the melted chocolate over the matzah.  While still warm break into squares or odd shapes.  Chill still in the pan in the freezer until set.

‘Gender Neutral’ Toys for Girls

‘Gender Neutral’ Toys for Girls

Toy manufacturers seem to finally realize that girls want toys that are a little more ‘boyish’.  With the emphasis on gender-neutral toys and the push for girls to have more support in exploring STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) opportunities, there has been an explosion of new toys on the market.  I’ve done some research and come up with some of the latest and greatest toys you might want to consider for your daughter.

This list is in completely random order:

Does your daughter want to be a doctor?

In my day the game ‘Operation’ helped teach about the different organs of the body, now girls can explore with Squishy Human Body from SmartLabs.  With a true to life human body and removable organs, kids can see exactly what is under their skin without getting any blood on their hands.  An instruction book is included along with tweezers and forceps so kids can ‘operate’ with ease.

Does your daughter want to be an engineer?

Now admittedly, this toy is not ‘gender-neutral’ but it’s aim is to get girls interested in engineering so I’m allowing it on the list. Soon to be on the market – and funded by KickStarter – GoldieBlox is the new engineering toy for girls.  Goldie is the engineer and in her debut toy she builds a spinning machine for her dog Nacho to chase his tail.  The toy is receiving lots of press so I can imagine that you will soon see GoldieBlox in every little girl’s bedroom very soon.

Does your daughter want to be a builder?

Structures by KEVA is the best choice for getting your daughter interested in building.  Using the wooden blanks, a girl can build bridges, buildings, or whatever else she dreams up.  A book with structure ideas is included.  Keva has other toys too including MindWare KEVA Contraptions to challenge the girl who likes to play with chutes and ladders.

Does your daughter want to be a chemist?

75 unique experiments are included in the CHEM C1000 beginner’s chemistry set.  This chemistry set will allow your daughter to build a strong foundation in chemistry with experiments ranging from writing in invisible ink to testing air pressure and other weather phenomena.  Safety instructions are included and I’m sure your daughter would also love a lab coat and safety glasses to go along with the chemistry set.

Celebrate Pi Day 2013!

Celebrate Pi Day 2013!

Girls and MathToday Pi Day is celebrated around the world.  Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.  Pi is learned by most school kids and then quickly forgotten as how many times in life are we called upon to state the ratio of the circumference of a circle to it’s diameter?

As I was thinking of Pi Day, I took a walk down memory lane and remembered the math contests my 7th grade teacher used to hold every week.  She would put a problem on the blackboard and the class had to work out the answer.  Once you found the answer, you stood up and who ever stood up first was the winner.  She would do several problems so several students would have the chance to come in first.  Being very competitive I always wanted to come in first, and I also always wanted to beat the boys in the class, which I did many times.  Before the start of 8th grade many of the boys transferred from the small Catholic school I attended to the public middle school in town.  This made math competitions far less fun and over time, I lost my interest in math.

This is typical of girls, around middle school girls somehow get the message that math is for boys and they move away from the subject.  But according to an article by Kavita Varma-Whit, a TODAY contributor, girls just need to stick with it, especially in math competitions.  Ms. Varma-Whit quotes a study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.  The study found that in math competitions with more than one round, girls performed as well or sometimes better than boys.  Read the whole article here.

What is the lesson here for you as a parent and for your daughter?  The same lesson that can be applied in so many situations – stick to it!  Whether that be a math competition, a sports competition or just sticking to a new habit for more than one day.  Trying once, not being successful, and then stopping can lead to a sense of frustration at never accomplishing anything.  And we all need to know we can be successful at something.