Monthly Archives: February 2011

Laundry elves

One of my kids is taking total advantage of the fact that I have no voice. At supper he was relating a story from his day. A friend of his asked him if he did his own laundry. His answer was that he has this magic box that he puts his dirty clothes in, and the next day they show up clean on his shelves. (Here’s the kicker and he says this looking directly at me) “But some days the elves get lazy and it takes them two days”.

We need our own reality show…..


Cupcake Deliciousness!

Do you remember my post not too long ago mentioning how I craved cupcakes? My girlie Shira, from Baltimore, who makes the most gorgeous and delicious creations, drove up to Monsey today and dropped off a dozen of the most phenomenal cupcakes. Her company is called Delightfully Sweet – obviously it’s named for her! (Shira totally went out of her way to bring them to my house.)

My Cupcakes

We first met a few weeks ago at an event that I attended in Baltimore – she was demonstrating how to frost cupcakes, making it look so easy – I cannot make my cupcake frosting look like flowers, not for love nor money. Here is the kicker – she is totally self taught! Where she finds the time to make such gorgeous gateaux in her busy household, I don’t know, but she is so totally talented. Anyway, we hit it off, we’ve been chatting up a storm on FB and she is a total darling.

She makes one-of-a-kind cake creations, each more beautiful than the last. If you are in the Baltimore area, or close by, and you need a cute custom kosher cake – give her a call. Say I sent you. Also, Shira can ship you custom cookies and will soon (hopefully) be able to ship cupcakes.

So Shira, my dear, thank you so much for the cupcakes. My sinus infection and sore throat feel so much better already!

The Awesomeness that is Shabbat

I love Shabbat. I look forward to it every week. I love the family time, the lack of external interruptions. The food – as many of you know I cook the whole day Friday for Shabbat. I bake my own challahs, I make cholent and potato kugel, of course I make gefilte fish and chicken soup. I push the boat out on salads and desserts – the food over Shabbat is just so extra special.

OK – Shabbat isn’t just about the food. It’s about taking a break from the mundane, and recharging one’s soul. NJOP / Jewish Treats has brought out this stunning eBook that explains Shabbat in a great way – I am honoured to have been a contributor to this eBook, and I join such stellar co-contributors: Jamie Geller, Susie Fishbein, Chaviva Galatz, Vicky Boykis, Jack – to name a few. It is worth downloading and printing. To download click here.

If you want to enjoy the pure goodness that is Shabbat, this coming weekend is NJOP’s Shabbat Across America. (I am so thrilled that my shul is participating this year!)

From the NJOP’s website:

On Friday night, March 4, 2011 hundreds of synagogues* across the continent will take part in an historic national Jewish event to celebrate what unifies all Jews — Shabbat! Everyone is invited… singles, couples, families — all ages.

“Turn an ordinary Friday night into something extraordinary!”

That’s the magic of Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Across Canada. By participating in this continent wide event, you will not only have the opportunity to experience Shabbat, but you will be sharing your experience with tens of thousands of Jews across North America.

No matter what your affiliation or which Shabbat Across America or Shabbat Across Canada location you choose to attend, NJOP’s annual Shabbat program will give you a “taste” of Shabbat. Explanatory services, traditional rituals, delicious meals and lively discussions are all important components of the Shabbat experience, as well as the opportunity to spend the evening with like-minded people, friends and family.

Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Across Canada is for every Jew, and those who are unable to go to a registered location can participate in their own homes or in gatherings with friends/family.

*Find a participating Shabbat Across America and Canada location in your community by clicking here.

If you are a rabbi or synagogue lay leader and want to learn how to sign up your congregation for Shabbat Across America, click here.

What are you waiting for? Sign up and get your Shabbat on!!

Carpool Conversation

I don’t know about you, but our Sundays are filled with carpool. We have four boys in three schools and four different start times and end times. It seems I spend lots of my Sundays ferrying boys to and fro.

Some of the conversations really tickle my funny bone, and some just leave me scratching my head.

I had two boys left in the car, one mine, one not. The other kid started asking my kid if he had siblings, brothers or sisters. Any half siblings? Kid said no, but he has plenty of step siblings. So the boy then clarified what he meant. He didn’t mean half siblings. He meant siblings that are half male half female.

My son was rather perplexed at this question – not something you expect to hear out of the mouth of a yeshiva boy. He answered in the negative but shot me a look of “what the heck?”

I was sure when we got home there would be some questions, but I guess he chalked it up to this kid making up stories. I do wonder, though, what was going through this kid’s head. As adults, we know that there are such people who are neither one nor the other, although in the religious community I believe it isn’t discussed at all.

Should I have a word with the parents? Or just let it lie? What would you do?

Lessons Kids Learn

Actual conversation in the car on the way to the library:

Me: HockeyFan, I finally found a dress to wear to your barmitzvah.
HF: Great, whatever.
Me: Aren’t you interested at all in the colour or the style?
HF: No, not really. Boooooring!(At least he’s honest, right?)

Then a voice from the back pipes up:

Squiggy: HF, watch and learn. Ahem, Ima, did you find something to wear for the barmitzvah?
Me: Yes, I did.
Squiggy (feigning excitement): What colour is it? Do you have shoes to match? What about accessories?
Me: Well….. (I got cut off)
Squiggy: See, HF, I pretended to be interested and it made Ima all happy and stuff. When Ima is happy we all benefit. So we pretend to care about clothes and stuff so that she stays happy and cooks us good food and does our laundry and does Ima stuff for us. Got it?
HF: Yeah, I guess so.
Me: Let’s start again. I found a dress to wear to your barmitzvah.
HF (obviously trying really hard not to roll his eyes): Oh really? (squeal) What colour is it?

ChatterBox, having learned at the feet of the master, pipes up: Do you need shoes to match?

They make me chuckle. I hope one day they will make good husbands. Squiggy did go on to teach HockeyFan that he shouldn’t answer any questions that involve “does this dress make my …….. look big / fat” or “does this look good on me”. He’s learned so much at the tender age of 14….

Brachot Fair – Parental Projects

I just returned from my third grader’s brachot fair at his school. The boys were given a few weeks to work on a poster or a 3-D project – they had to choose one of the brachot (blessings) and design a project accordingly.

My son and his friend chose the bracha of reading a megillah. Working together, they designed a 3-D shul, open at the front, with a table with a “megillah” on it, and an aron kodesh – very appropriately done for 3rd graders. This Ima is so proud.

However. Yes, you knew there was a however coming. I was most unhappy that I could immediately separate the projects into 2 categories. Those that the boys worked on themselves, and those that the parents “helped” them. In some cases, it was even hard to tell if the boy himself had any involvement at all as the design was so intricate.

I am a control freak – there is nothing I would like more than directing my son’s projects and doing it all for him so that it is perfect, BUT I know that in the long run this will harm him and he won’t benefit from it at all so I stand back and bite my tongue. So I get that the parents want the boys’ projects to be the most awesome and the most amazing and for all his friends to go “wow!” – but when we complete projects and homework assignments for our kids, what message are they getting? They need to learn on their own, they have to learn about failure as well as success. They need to understand that putting in hard work and graft pays off and learn what that feeling of accomplishment is.

The school didn’t send home any guidelines saying there should be minimal parental involvement. Some boys are not mature enough to have been able to conceptualize their projects without adult help, and I understand that. There is a huge difference, though, between gentle coaching and doing the entire project!

My son was proud of his project and that’s really what matters to me.

Non Scientific Purim Poll

It’s the time of year when everyone is thinking about Purim Mishloach Manot baskets, some people have a theme, some match their theme to their costume – it can get very detailed.

I have written before about how low key I tend to be – but I was curious. How many Mishloach Manot do you send, how many do your kids, and how much do you reckon that you spend per recipient?

Kosher Food and Wine Experience 2011

This huge event was held yesterday at the Chelsea Piers in NYC. It brought together kosher food, kosher chefs and kosher wine all under one beautiful roof overlooking the Hudson.

Jamie Geller, with whom I work, was one of the five guest chefs to be invited, so I tagged along. Words cannot even describe the delicious food – presentation and taste and oh the variety!

I was so honoured to meet the energetic Levana Kirschenbaum, the talented Jeff Nathan of Abigael’s, the prolific cookbook author Susie Fishbein, the lovely gentlemen behind Jack’s Gourmet Sausages, the blokes from Got Cholent (I so want some tees for my boys!) and many more “big” people in the kosher world. A great many people from my social media crew were there – along with 1600 or so others who paid a fair price to experience such a lavish evening.

We arrived there for 4 o’clock – and had the luxury of looking around before the rest of the crowd were allowed in at half past six. It was so well organized – press and trade came in first to do their schmoozing and networking without having to fight the crowds.

There were over thirty restaurants showcasing their delectable dishes – and of course, we were tempted to try every single dish. Some of the dishes were just so beautifully presented it was a shame to eat them but well worth it.

I was the designated driver so I didn’t get to taste any of the 360 or so wines that were being showcased – who knew there were so many kosher wines? Up in Montreal we never knew there was such a vast selection. I did however have a teeny taste of the Walders Vanilla Vodka – delicious.

I made some awesome contacts for both my personal and my professional life, and one of the greatest moments (that happened a few times) for me was “Oh you’re HSM?!! I read your blog!!” or “You’re that In The Pink lady”.

One of my friends from Montreal came down as she is a wine merchant – and getting a hug from her made my evening. She has been dispatched back to Montreal with plenty of hugs for my friends back “home”.

I have posted more photos on the kosherdotcom FB page – so go LIKE us and you can see more photos.

Wednesday’s Wacky Sign


Advertising jingles. Which ones stick in your head? I have that annoying 1877 Kars for Kids one stuck in my head today. My kids remember commercials from Montreal – with the right phone numbers – Monsieur Renove, 274 1159. I can bet you my mother remembers commercials (or adverts as we call them) from back when she was younger.

What commercials stick in your head and why – is it the jingle or the product or the cute baby advertising it?