We prepared for Shabbat by...
Reading some interesting books
(for some reason the little ones REALLY liked "Annie's Shabbat" and Big Bro REALLY liked "Remember that")
And on Friday we skipped a chapter to read this one for "All of a Kind Family"
Played an online game preparing for Sabbath. This is a fun game!
Planning the meals (Friday and Saturday) and also planning all the things that needed to be done those days.
Decorating the table (made my fake flower out of a trash bag...next time I'll get real ones)
Watched some interesting Shabbat videos
Preparing the kids for the day/s and they looked forward to Shabbat for two whole weeks, it was awesome to see.
Then we celebrated Shabbat by...
Having a surprise. Daddy stayed home on Friday with us (we, including mommy) did not know he was going to do that!! It was so sweet.
Having a another surprise. The new bunk came on Friday and we thought we might have to use Shabbat to fix it. Instead, we were surprised by the assembly gentleman (didn't know it was part of it!) and we were very thankful. Yet, it gave me A LOT more things to do on Friday!
We tried our best to clean the house so that there will be NO CLEANING on Saturday. Usually Sat is our cleaning day and the kids are super happy to have that eliminated. I am happy too, because cleaning the house usually makes me focused on the task and since I know I am NOT to do it, it makes me able to rest.
Nevertheless, I was able to prepare the meals and challah.
I made fish (because I thought fish is "good" for a Jewish meal). The kids were okay with it and I think next feast I'm going to stick to chicken soup (and maybe even matzo ball!)
The girls helped me choose and make this AMAZING dessert.
Mommy lit the Shabbat candles and said the prayers for it. (I do like the prayer/blessing on "Celebrating Biblical Feasts")
Daddy gave his blessings on the children. This is most touching part of the celebration in my view. The kids were SOOO serious in this time it cracked me up!!! But in a way it's sweet, because they seemed to soak in Daddy's very personalized blessing for them.
Daddy thought he had to sing the blessing like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. =D
Daddy said blessing for the Kiddush (we had grape juice and this is a BIG reason the kids were SOOO looking forward to Shabbat. ha.)
The little one LOVED the grapejuice
Daddy said the Hamotzi. And we partook the challah. (Not as good I wish it would be)
And we had a nice leisure (as leisure as four young kids can take) meal.
On Saturday, we DID NOT stop travelling and work. Just because there was some things we needed to do. However, we DID NOT cook. In fact, we did not eat a meal at home. ha.
We spent the entire day together as a family.
In the morning we went to a park for breakfast (we brought sandwiches)
For lunch, we went to IKEA for free lunch. (we also got some stuff for the new bunk)
For dinner, I made some simple stuff and we went downstairs and had an al fresco dinner! VERY cool.
Then we had havdalah together, when not even one star was seen (our kids sleep early). =)
What we DID NOT DO...
We didn't do the Challah cover. I would have. It's so "me" to do it. But I chose not to. It is conscious reminder for me to rest from having to do it all.
We still do the dishes, travel and do some "stuff", but I think the principle of Shabbat (to rest) stayed! So much that I felt peaceful doing the dishes after Friday's meal.
We DID NOT have the Friday Shabbat meal at sun down. Too late for us. And we did not have havdalah late either.
What I learnt
It is SOOO hard to observe Shabbat. A real restful, peaceful Shabbat, when you cease from ALL WORK. For me, I have to learn to stop "thinking" over things that needed to be done (that's my work). I have to have extra faith that even if I don't do these things (or think these things) they can still be tackled after Shabbat is over. In fact, I dragged Shabbat to Sunday (we didn't do much on Sun either).
It is the principle of Shabbat that drives a real Shabbat. If we are only following rules, we cannot have real rest either. But if we follow the principle, even though we might have picking things up, or fixing a meal, it can be restful and peaceful.
Children are so adaptable to ceremonies and rituals. They actually really enjoyed it! =)
I want to do this again. Either on Friday again, or Sunday. It really helped me to focus on rest, God and the family. It was very nice.