Monthly Archives: August 2010

Nagging the teens

I had a couple of long phone calls this morning, with two very good friends. Friends who have more experience than me in various areas of life.

Two things I gleaned (which is stuff I knew, but sometimes you need to have the message hammered home) – you have to pick your battles – with kids and spouses, and that nagging teens is not necessarily the way to go.

I had happened to mention that I still remind my teens to brush their teeth, or pick up their room, or take a shower if they smell, or even if they don’t. I was told that this kind of nagging can foster a deep sense of resentment. The teen has to learn to do all these things themselves. If he doesn’t brush his teeth who is it hurting? If he doesn’t shower, he is the one that smells – but then I can’t hug him if he is stinky…. 😦  . If you constantly remind him to do these things, you are hurting your relationship with him. Possibly. Part of me feels it is my job as Ima to remind them to take a shower and brush teeth and put their dirty clothes in the laundry.

I was curious – so I am asking my readers – do you nag your teens to take care of basic personal hygiene? Why or why not? At what age do you just hope that they have absorbed your message and leave them be? What do you wish you hadn’t been nagged about as a teenager? Do you ever know if your message has got through?

(PS Thanks ladies, you know who you are, for your insight and your bravery in talking straight to me and not soft soaping.)


Seinfeld and the Jews

This video was too funny not to share. This woman learned all about Judaism from Seinfeld.

Hat Tip @susqhb

Total Yummaliciousness!!

There is no other word to describe Duncan Hines new range of cake mixes. Seriously! We are huge cake aficionados in this house – these teenage boys sometimes seem as if they have hollow legs! I used to make their Devils Food chocolate cake all the time – and was lucky if it lasted 24 hours.

Recently at the Schmooze I picked up a couple of their new mixes – the new line of “Decadent” cake mixes. Well, their advertising is truthful. I whipped up the Triple Chocolate cake last week (Pareve) and was lucky to be able to snag a piece of its chocolatey goodness before the hordes descended and devoured every last morsel. Better than devils food chocolate cake. Like a million times better – and I hadn’t realized that there could be an improvement on that with a cake mix.

Last night I baked up the Apple Caramel Cake (Dairy). Oh Em Gee. The smell as it was baking left every mouth in this house watering. The KoD and I sampled it soon after it came out of the oven (kids were in bed….so sad too bad). And within a short while, oopsies, almost half the cake was gone. It was that good!

They are easy to make – two pouches, one for the cake mix, one for swirling in to the top of the cake. Add some eggs and oil and water, mix a bit, pop in the oven and within a half hour you are in heaven.

If Duncan Hines would deliver me a truckload of these Decadent Cake Mixes, I would bake one up every single day. I am sure it is easy to make cup cakes as well, which would be perfect for the kids’ lunchboxes. I have yet to try the decadent glazes that they have brought out…but to put more yumminess on top of delectable cake – how can you go wrong with that??!!

Sorry, I have to go and eat some more cake, before the kids get home from school.

Injunction against a seruv

Montreal – a religious woman is civilly divorced since 1997. She is still waiting for a Get, her Jewish divorce. Her ex is going to civil court to say that no Beit Din can force him to give his wife a Get – he just filed an injunction against the Beit Din.

Please click here to watch.

Hat Tip DBG.

Is this even an ethical dilemma?

I was reading a heart wrenching post on one of the message boards I visit. The woman’s 3 small children had been abused by a relative – the woman’s nephew. Authorities were called in and the nephew was taken into custody. A minor at the time, he went for intensive therapy and was released, only to reoffend now as an adult. Her entire family shunned her, because they felt it was her fault the nephew was reported and re-arrested. They won’t even acknowledge her on the street if they pass her. Talk about blaming the victim!!

His adult case is in front of the judge soon, and her children are expected to testify. She is wondering if she is doing the right thing by allowing them to testify. It is likely that without their testimony this person will go free. The family says he will be in therapy even if he goes free, but there are no guarantees. But if they do testify it closes the door on any future relationship this woman will have with her family. Plus testifying will take an emotional toll on the children.

She is torn about what to do. She mentions that his family will be moving if he doesn’t get sent away.

While I totally sympathize with her – it is indeed a horrible predicament to be in – I don’t agree that this is a dilemma. To me, it is cut and dried. She has to do whatever it takes in her power to make sure this man is not allowed to reoffend. Her children are prepared to testify – one already did the first time around, and she will get them help and therapy to deal with the stress of a trial. If she doesn’t allow them to testify, there is no guarantee that even if he and his family move out of town, he won’t reoffend. He is sick, he needs help. Does she want on her conscience that she could have prevented another little girl / boy from being molested and hurt?

Her sadness at the emotional distance between her and her family over this is understandable. But her family relationship, in my opinion, cannot be put above the safety of another child. And if they are so close minded as to shun her because it was her kids that were molested, why would she want anything to do with them? Her own parents blame her that their grandson was arrested for what HE did!!

What do you think?

(and yes, please bear in mind that none of us know all the facts in this case)

WWYD – Laundry

So you are really grateful that one of your kids heard the dryer stop, and went to fold the towels. Really and truly surprised but happily so. You pick up the pile to put it all away – and the towels are all still damp.

What do you do?

  1. Thank him and just quietly put them back in the dryer?
  2. Thank him and ask him if he noticed the towels were still damp?
  3. Thank him and ask him if he noticed the towels were still damp and make him put them back in the dryer and refold when dry?
  4. None of the above?


Unfortunate phrase

I am probably being way too hypersensitive here, but this bothered me. Last week I was dealing with some of the school issues that needed to be taken care of. The person with whom I was dealing wanted to know something about the KoD. Instead of asking me about my husband, he asked about my “current husband”. Now, we all know this is my second marriage. We all know we have been married for about 18 months. But what part of that screams “temporary”? None of it.

You wouldn’t say “current wife or husband” to someone who has been married for 20 years, now, would you? So why refer to the KoD as my current husband. Indeed he is current, but he is permanent.

Just needed to get that off my chest.

WWYD – friend’s child

(From the mailbag)

Dear Mama H,

I have a friend with a son the same age as mine. We live close to each other and at first I thought it would be great for the 2 boys to become friends.

However, I don’t like the way my friend speaks to her son (she seems to shout at him a lot, and can be quite aggressive) and her son also behaves the same way, he plays a bit too rough, shouts a lot and is very pushy. My son complained to me about this and so now they don’t play together any more

Just now another friend with a son the same age also mentioned how she doesn’t want her son playing with this friend’s son, for the same reasons (she didn’t say who it was, but I knew who she meant).

I feel really bad for my friend and worried a bit for her child. My friend does not have an easy time of things, but she definitely means well and tries hard to be a good parent. I don’t think I’m close enough to her to tell her all this, and even if I do, how would she change her son’s behavior so quickly, if at all?

WWYD? Would you say anything, and if so what?


So, readers, what would you advise this mother to do?

Sweet Potato Pie

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law who is the most amazing cook ever. I made this for the past Shabbat to rave reviews. Apparently it is good cold, too.

You will need:

2 eggs
1 Cup of sugar  (May substitute Splenda)
1 tsp. salt
1/8  tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Cup milk (or pareve substitute)
2 Tbs. margarine
1 1/2 Cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 8” pie shell (For Gluten-free leave off pie shell)

How to:

Beat eggs slightly.
Add sugar, salt, spices and milk (or pareve substitute).
Add butter or margarine (melted) to sweet potatoes, or stir in while hot.
Blend with milk and egg mixture.
Pour into pie shell or straight into round baking pan.
Bake in oven at 450 for 10 minutes.
Reduce to 350 for 30-40 minutes until filling is firm.
May put marshmallows on top and brown in 450 oven for a few minutes until light brown.  Do not overload the marshmallows.

Card Conundrum

I was toying with the idea of Shana Tova cards, basically, ever since the talented Leigh-Ann emailed me with the link to her new website of New Year cards. I love them, and I think this is a wonderful way to wish people a Happy New Year. (Yeah, I am a bit late on this but I guess it can apply to any occasion).

I would love to put pictures on it – but some of the kids refuse to pose… so do you think it’s ok to just have a pic of me and the KoD? Or no pic at all?

And then I got to thinking – how would we sign the card? My kids have a different last name than I do, and I use my maiden name and my married name.

So what are the options?

Shana Tova from the Milner / BoysName family? (But then, the SABO is left out…..) OR

Shana Tova from the nine of us – I would list all first names? OR

Shana Tova from QoH and KoD and assorted princes and princesses?

(There is laundry and housework to be done, but I much prefer to spend my time worrying about this…. 😀 )