Friday, January 13, 2012

Flowers for our Shabbat Table...DIY style!

A Shabbat custom is to have flowers on your table.  It is a nice one.  We don't do it a lot for various reasons, but I love having flowers.  Our shabbes guests brought us tulips on Friday afternoon.

Here is my arrangement:

The Schweppes Bitter lemon came from my trip to Berlin.  The Gold's Horseradish is a way of turning zayde's favorite condiment into something hip, and the San Pellegrino is one of my favorite "fancy" sodas that is more readily available here in the states.  All are glass bottles.

We got a 2nd bunch of tulips.  My mom gave us this cool disposable Made in Israel vase that comes folded up, called the Vazu.

It is throwaway, which isn't my inclination, but it was pretty handy!

Shabbat shalom!

Shtuff girls say

A few weeks ago, actress Juliette Lewis was in a YouTube viral video (wow, it is over 10 million hits!) , entitled Sh*t Girls Say.  Really funny stuff.  Not quite kosher, but I found it great.

There are a few episodes. Love them all...

Circulating today in the Jewish blogosphere, just before shabbes, is Sh*t Frum Girls Say.  Listen for the Canadian accent, as it reminds me of Kids In The Hall.  Haha "koisel"...

I gotta say, coming from a frum perspective that is good SHTUFF!  (Though I do think the "baruch hashem" could  have flowed better from the tongue.)

Lest you think Frum (observant) Jews are the epicenter of the world, they are not.

Jews are so small in numbers.  Frum Jews?  Even smaller.

The Black girls and Asian girls also have parodies.


Mama Tip #2: Become a Creature of Habit With Room to Wiggle

Early this morning, I found myself 10 minutes late to spin class.  Normally I sit in the same area, but I saw a friend with an open seat in her vicinity and was tempted to sit next to her.  I am glad I didn't.  I have my reasons:  it is near the windows, I like to be up front in the mirrors, and it offers more privacy.  It is my makom kavua, or dedicated space, that I return to day after day.

If I succumbed to impulse just to be social, I would have lost out.  Don't get me wrong:  I love to mix it up.  But I would have given up the reasons why I am there in the first place.  And one of those is not to catch up with my girlfriends.  (actually, we did get a chance to chat, but it was after the class, which is the appropriate time and place).   

When it comes to children, routines are essential.  They enable them to thrive and yet getting them to stick to the routine is challenging.  One area where I have been successful due to sticking to consistency with my kinderlach is in clearing the table.  We use the Hebrew word  toranut to refer to clean-up.  When the Wolfman leaves the table with his breakfast dishes still there, I will say simply, "Did you do your toranut?"  Repetition of this question has instilled that he knows it is his responsibility.  When he acts like he doesn't want to do this job, I will ask probing questions such as:  "Is there something you need help with?  Are the dishes too heavy?"  Often, this helps.

There is a time and a place for everything, and routines help us get there.

Pete Seeger captured this  Jewish concept in "Turn, Turn, Turn," a song popularized by the Byrds.  It is based on the Book of Ecclesiastes (which appears in the Old Testament or Tanach).  It is called  Kohelet in Hebrew and is read in synagogue during the holiday of Sukkot, a harvest festival all about changes of the seasons.  As creatures of habit, every year our sukkah has the same look and feel, but the people who come to it bring variety of all stripes.  

I like that.

Mama Tip #1: Let Your Children Pour Their Own Beverages

The Wolfman's Brother is eating his oatmeal with strawberries, a bit of maple syrup and a chocolate syrup drizzle as I type.

If there is one thing that I learned while teaching early childhood with the lovely Original PurpleGirl, it is to use small pitchers for the children so they can pour their own.  Here, we have an Arcoroc glass pitcher you can pick up at Crate and Barrel.

This is the perfect size for small hands, and even my older two (The Wolfman is 6 and Concealed Light is 8) find it useful.

Easier than trying to get them to pour from a gallon container.

And empowering.

Finding the Good Stuff in Lake Placid While on Break from Andover (or Hotchkiss)

My sister, Reba, is confused as to what type of blog this is.

It is a me blog.

And a big part of me is seeking out the good stuff.

I am posting stuff here that I like and hopefully it will all make sense.

We have spent a day in Lake Placid the past couple of years en route to our Adirondack Mountain vacation.  I love the ADKs, having gone to summer camp there.

On Mirror Lake Drive, the main drag in Lake Placid, you are sure to find touristy shops and restaurants.  I believe I found the best one of all, and even on the outside of the store which is called "ADK Outlet" you will not know the goodness unless you go inside.
photo courtesy of the ADK outlet's Facebook page

Awesome oversized patch from ADK Outlet, 2472 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid, NY  12946

There is nothing touristy-cheesy about the ADK Outlet.

Last summer we finally met the proprietor of ADK Outlet.  His name is Tom Dalton.  He played guitar in the store with my children.  He currently has no web site but produces a lot of preppy-inspired reproductions.  Rugbies, felt college banners, vintage-looking college shirts for Syracuse, Michigan and other popular schools.  He himself exudes the prep-school boy ski bum image, though he is well past the school years and is from Upstate New York.  You feel like he is Ralph Lauren (nee Lifshitz)'s long-lost brother. He is doing preppy for cheaper.

Tom lives in China half of the year where his quality goods are produced.  Last summer I purchased some jersey-knit knee-length skirts that I have not found anywhere else.  The quality is is superb.  He embroiders the skirts right on-site.  For those frum readers among you, these are the best comfy "sweatshirt" A-line skirts you will ever find.  They are elastic waist with drawstrings.  They are really the perfect skirt I have been looking for years for.  Colors include:  cobalt blue, black, hunter green, gray.  I sniff a business idea.  Not.

His shop is decorated beautifully with a plethora of vintage collegiate memorabilia including felt pennants, sporting equipment, and Adirondack hiking gear.  If someone blindfolded you and brought you into his store, you would think it was Ralph Lauren.  

This all reminds me that I have never heard "Prep School Hippie" and there isn't even a YouTube since Phish no longer plays it, but here are the lyrics:

Prep school hippie
Or hip school preppie
I can't decide
Should I spend my adolescent days wearing tie dyes or Vuarnets
I can't decide
Big ten kegger at the frat
Or watching Jerry shake his fat

Prep school hippie
Or hip school preppie
I can't decide

I can't wait till I'm 21

Doesn't this give you the hankering to get back to Oak Bluffs?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cleaning house

Further to my recent entry on Feng Shui, I am finally able to part with some items from 1st and 2nd grade (late 1970s).

The first are the remnants of my Hello Kitty address book.

My childhood friends in 2nd or 3rd grade.  I only hope that Concealed Light will have really great friends, too. 

My brother's work.  Let's just call him The Goalie

In 2nd grade we did an imaginary trip to Australia with Mrs. Burn.  

We made Koalas stuffed with popcorn kernels.  We cut out the fabric and sewed the koalas.  I remember looking through the travel brochures about Australia and all the kids laughing when we got to the photos of the nude tribal people.  Things were looser back then.

Koala Feeding Instructions

The Koala just hanging out in its box

Here is the Koala, whom I have had since 1980.

Now it's time to say goodbye to my Koala.  He's had a good run.

This is all about tossing away the stuff you don't need in the end, keeping what's important and knowing who is your friend   (go to 2:52)


Bat Mitzvah Necklaces

My sister is a phenomonal jewelry designer using semi-precious stones.   These would make great Bat Mitzvah necklaces.  Contact here here at her Etsy store.

Jazzed about Saucony and How to Properly Pronounce that Awesome Sneaker Company Name

These are the Saucony Grid Lightspeed gym shoes which I purchased yesterday at DSW.   Alas, a quick Google search just now doesn't reveal this most awesome color combo anywhere on the Internet.  Just goes to show ya, the Internet isn't the end all be all.

I recently blogged about Nike, and I think they're a great company.  I initially bought, at DSW, a pair of their pretty well-known shoes from their "Free" line, which look similar to the pair above.

I got sucked in to following the herd (since all the cool kids at the gym wear Frees, I wanted a pair, too and also their ad that I linked to in the recent blog entry where talked a bit about Nike, I am confident will agree it is a great advertisement) and not trusting my instinct.  I was a product of being marketed at!

Over the years I have had numerous pairs of Saucony Jazz.  Black, red, navy, green and yellow, etc.  They are, without a doubt, the most comfortable but cool (some can say hipster, that is fine with me) fun sneaker out there.

Anyway, I got home, put on the Nikes and They.Didn't.Feel.Comfortable.

Saucony always, always, always did right by me, so I persuaded DSW to let me use a $5 birthday coupon which I didn't even have with me but didn't use this year.

Oh, and how to pronounce?


Monday, January 9, 2012

Tu B'Shevat is coming to Philly

From our melava malka on Saturday night (with Stango and Concealed Light and, if you listen closely, the Wolfman or his brother on percussion which was a plastic bottle):

Here is our Concealed Light yesterday afternoon.

 And then a coupla minutes later she picks up our new melodica.

Tune written by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach z'l

Recently, I had the greatest honor to meet the acquaintance of Nigel Savage, founder of Hazon.  He has transformed Jewish philanthropy through his organization.  Hazon wants you to help "create healthier and more sustainable communities in the Jewish world and beyond."  Sue, a new friend of mine who was introduced to the organization through its trademark bike ride, told me that involvement with Hazon has transformed her life.  She recently celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, having previously only a minimal knowledge of the alef-beit.  I met her last summer through the Hazon CSA, thinking it would be a good way to connect with the Jewish community here in Philadelphia.

I invite you to join us for a shmooze at "Taste of Hazon"

(it is a Tu B'Shevat benefit, and by invite I mean you register for yourself.  One day we would love to sponsor a table.  We'll get there.)

February 7, 2012
cocktails at 5:45pm
program and dinner at 6:45pm
National Museum of Jewish History Gala Ballroom
101 South Independent Mall East, Philadelphia