Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Back to bed yelled Fred!

Lately, I have been doing what most moms should never do.  Veteran moms know not to do this. But new moms like moi...wellllll, we forget sometimes.  What is this "thing" that I am was doing?  I was congratulating myself on how well my son Kol sleeps at night. You see, a veteran mom  knows that the moment you start bragging about how great your son's sleeping habits are, said son stops sleeping so greatly!  Somehow the sleep angel hears your bragging words spilling out of your mouth and she flutters on over to your child and whispers "your Mama is bragging about your sleep, child, go ahead! It's time to show her what's what!"  And then, your peaceful night turns into not so peaceful anymore.  Last night we were up from 3:00am to 6:00am with Kol.  He woke up at 3am and I thought it was a fluke so I did a 'check-in' and told him that he's safe and we're here and love him and he should go back to sleep.  As his cries grew louder and did not quiet down as they usually do after a check-in at that hour, Dov went in for a another check-in.  And still the cries for Mama and Daddy just intensified.  So I proceeded to do it all, checked his diaper, checked the temperature in the room, made sure he was not in any pain from a possible teething situation or from a fever.  Everything was fine.  So honestly what the hell was going on??? After about an hour of check-ins, I did what I had promised myself I would never do, I gave him a bottle of milk in his crib, but honestly after an hour of screaming at 4am you are truly not to be held accountable for your actions! And anyway the bottle held him over for no more than 10 minutes.

The cries only subsided when Kol was brought into our bed but, sleep still evaded him.  Every couple of minutes,  which is when I assume that damn sleep angel would prod him to speak up,  I would hear Kol's mind moving through his mouth.  I heard him discussing with himself "" which when decoded, means he wants to go under the blanket and make a fortress and then shout out SURPRISE to the "unsuspecting" parent above the blanket.  He also kept repeating in the same intonation as the voice on the app "peek-a-boo barn" an Ipad app that Kol loves to play (it is a fabulous app where kids learn the animal names and sounds they make.)  After every adorable sentence Kol spoke -- he truly has the cutest voice (warning I may be biased) -- I told him if he does not go back to sleep I will put him back in his crib.  That kept him quiet for a good 5 minutes each time!  Thankfully at around 6:15 am  he fell asleep til 8.

As you can imagine, we were both exhausted all day!  Even though we were both good sports about it, I stopped being angry about my night after my second cup of coffee. (Thank you coffee bean at The Grove for that!) and Kol played nicely with the bubbles lady at The Grove (God bless her- she stands there for hours entertaining all of LA's children) and he truly enjoyed the swings this afternoon at the park. He even calmed down enough to eat some dinner after a serious melt down at around 5 pm.  It is 6:45pm now, Kol is sleeping and I plan on going to bed really early tonight.  I pray we all have a quiet, restful night but I will say, if we do, I wont be telling any of you about it!

Good Night, Sleep Tight!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gal Friday (Recipes included)

For most people, Friday is the beginning of the weekend. It is a day of excitement and the beginning of relaxation.  For those of us who keep the Sabbath, Shabbat, Shabbos or whatever you choose to call it, it is, hectic!  There is a huge dinner to prepare for the Friday night Shabbos meal and prep needed to be done for the Shabbos day meal, Saturday lunch. Included in prepping a huge meal, which is often reminiscent of a Thanksgiving feast, is also managing everything else going on in your life.  Your family, your work, your sanity.  The ladies (or men) who prep for Shabbos do not usually get a day off on Friday to leisurely shop in 5 stores and prepare the big evening meal with family standing near by  help chop all those little Brussel sprouts off the Brussel sprout stalks (you can find those awesome things in Trader Joes f.y.i.).  Unlike the prep for Thanksgiving, we are usually not drinking glasses of wine while we stir our delectable soup and slowly grab another cinnamon stick to throw in the bubbling pot.  In the actual Shabbat-prep world, for most of us, there are no other family members helping to chop and stir. There are children to take care of and work to be done and the world slowly does not exist.  In the real world of preparing for Shabbos every Friday, there is one word that is tried and true; RUSH!

Every Friday I rush and rush and rush.  You would think by now in my life, 6 years married and almost 2 years with a child, I would have organized my week better. I would shop on Wednesday and start cooking on Thursday. But no, what would be the fun if life ran smoothly?  And besides, I love bumping into all of my Friday friends at the local kosher markets in the morning.  We get to discuss what each one is making for dinner or lunch the next day and I always am inspired to make something new. 

Thankfully Kol is easily entertained and I can run back and forth between the kitchen and the living room switching records so he can dance on his own. The sunglasses are new and a must wear for my accessory man and he loves putting them on and taking them off. Notice the vacuum, yoga mat, and drum in the background. All great activities that last 3 minutes, enough time to open the oven door and place my chicken/brussel sprouts/cake inside before Kol comes rushing back into the kitchen saying "mama play!"

Through the rush I am aware of all that needs to get done before Sundown.  At sundown we light the Shabbat candles and no matter how busy or crazy my house was a minute before, peace begins to reign and it is truly magical!

I think this is why we happily go back to our Friday craziness.  There is nothing like that moment when Shabbos comes in and your world becomes calm.  There is no other time during the week that you are forced to become focused, to revel in your home and your family and to not allow any other distraction (work or play) disturb that tranquility that we bring into our home.  It is something so beautiful, real, and needed!

Everyone finds their own way to cope with the Friday rush. Mine has been creating a menu Thursday night so that when I shop on Friday, I know exactly what I need and then when I am home I know exactly what I need to do.  Since I can't be in the kitchen there with you,  I wanted to share 3 really quick and delightfully tasty dishes that may help enhance your Shabbat dinner and make your Friday run a bit smoother!

Sweet and Spicy Brussel Sprouts:

A bag of brussel sprouts, 3 Tablespoon e.v.o.o , 3 Tablespoon maple syrup, 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt , 1/4 Teaspoon black pepper, a dash (or two if you like spicy) crushed red pepper flakes.  Bake on 350 degrees for 20 (make sure to toss the brussel sprouts during the cooking time) minutes or until the brussel sprouts are browned.

Fluffy Brown Rice:
2 cups Brown Rice (make rice according to the package) , 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon garlic.  Add spices, fluff rice with fork and serve.

Mid cooking selfie:

Taken to share what real women look like when they are cooking a big meal and doing 1,000 other things at the same time. I love you foodie blogger world but please start posting what you look like when you spend all day in your kitchen. Thank you- Management.

Basil Chicken: 
Recipe given to me by my sister Hindel. There is no pretty plated picture on this one, I did not get a chance to plate it before sundown. That being said, this is one of the most delicious chicken recipes I have ever tasted.  It is a classic in my home and will probably stay that way for a long time!

1 Chicken, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoon fresh garlic, 2 tablespoon dried basil, 1/4 cup olive oil.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then pour over the chicken.  Cook chicken covered for  1 1/2 hours  on 350 degrees. (uncover for the last 1/2 hour).

This is what my kitchen looks like about 30 minutes before Shabbos starts every week.

And this was the best part of the day!

Hope you had a great weekend too!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

iHeart "Gifted"

 Some people are queen B's of gifts. I use a capitol B since you all know what it stands for and I believe these incredible gift givers are major B*****.  OK, most of them are not, in actuality they are some of the kindest, generous friends we all have, I am truly just jealous. But the difference between a great gift giver and a mediocre to poor gift giver is, well, that they are poor.  The previous sentence is incorrect but up until recently I actually thought that to be true.  I have always thought myself as a terrible gift giver, and even though I would not categorize myself as poor I have always had these elaborate ideas of what gifts I would love to bestow on family and friends for such momentous occasions as one's birthday.  I would graciously like to buy my sister a pair of Christian Louboutin's shoes, Or for a graduation present...I envision trekking around the villas of Tuscany with my two,  2013 high school graduate nieces (you go Shulas!! Yes they have the same name).  Since my lofty ideas of extravagant presents have not yet come to fruition I am always disappointed and seem to get gifts last minute because honestly what could possibly trump Tuscany in the summer or Louboutin's any time of year.

Yesterday on our Whats App, my sister Rik sent us photos of a beautiful leather bag a friend of hers bought her as a gift after a recent trip guessed it...Italy.  As we all drooled over the deep moss color and how soft the leather looked and I imagined felt, I complained how I never buy anyone great gifts.  My other sister Hindel went on a bit of a rampage, most people find rampaging sisters too intense but I was honored by what she had to say and honestly doesn't intensity just mean passion!?!  Hindel reminded me (passionately) that I was always getting her stuff, lipsticks, nail polishes, magazines, books, Ziploc bags (yes you heard right, ?iplocks, she lives out of the country and this is a HUGE gift) and her list went on.  She is right! To be honest I get very excited when Dov comes home with a $1 Slurpee from seven eleven.  It really is not the amount you spend on a gift that matters  but the thought, and the excitement of not expecting a gift.  OK and maybe it should matter an eensy weensy bit that the gift represents the receiver in some way.  A friend told me once that a gift is always a little bit of the giver and a little bit of the receiver. That line completely resonates with me, as I'm sure it does with you, when you look back on the gifts you have been given!

Tomorrow I have a birthday dinner to go to.  And though I can not afford the Chanel bag that I know the birthday girl is coveting, I will be picking out a luxurious Chanel lipstick and a matching nail color for her. Because we all know the next best thing to your shoes matching your bag,  is a matching lip and nail color!

                                       Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Somptueuse

                                             Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Dragon

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy Foodie New Year

Wednesday night started the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana.  This is the new year for the Jews, the time of rebirth, the time of making new and old resolutions of renewing our faith and... blah blah blah. OK let's be honest: This is really a time for showing off our gourmet culinary skills!  As the foodie movement hits all corners of the world and then some, the orthodox Jewish women have jumped on the #instayum train with much gusto. The three days leading up to the Jewish new year had my instagram, facebook, and twitter feeds flooded with round challah's and exquisite pomegranate salads, marinades, and fuzzy beverages. The fresh recipes, delicious-looking food, and creative presentation were astounding; not only in the abundance of posts but in their frequency (all-day, all-night!)

I looked at every picture and then circled back to check out almost everyone's blogs and websites. I had to see the food from all sides and read what the recipes entailed.  And let's face it, I was a little bit jealous I was not posting my gourmet High Holiday meals.  But alas, a practical problem got in the way... The 2 meals I was hosting were going to be on the last two days of the holiday, which meant I was going to be doing most of my cooking on the day I was actually serving my food.  And as an orthodox Jew I do not use my cell phone on Rosh Hashana which means no instagram, no facebook and no twitter pages to show off my tasty delights.  I did make a couple of things before the holiday, but, my round challahs, although incredibly yummy, looked more like 2 curvy boobs from every angle. I kid you not, this is the truth. [Sorry readers, no pictures here.]

So I looked and I drooled and thoroughly enjoyed myself, living vicariously through every friend and blogger posting dish, after plate, after dish - including my creatively talented sister-in-law Esther who ALWAYS has the best place cards. See exhibit A below. (Mini apples, drizzled with chocolate, and names written on paper leaves.)

Then the holiday came in and miraculously everything stopped. The computers shut down, phones shut off, Ipads hidden behind the couch (from tiny little fingers who love Elmo).  My obsession with the internet food display slowly dissipated as I lit the holiday candles and thought about our new year to come. I focused on myself, my family, my friends, and our life. And I realized it's nice to be in the moment sometimes, even more than being in - or seeing - or taking the picture.

Later that night, we hosted a "half-meal" in which we invited a handful of friends to come over after services for just soup, challah, chummus, and wine.  Luckily I grew up in a home with 12 kids (hence blog name, Lucky #9) and about 60 people filtering through our home every Friday night for Shabbat dinner so when I make a pot of soup it is always a LARGE pot of soup.  I say 'luckily' because in true "Schwartz"style (my maiden name), my youngest brother showed up with 6 extra people, turning our 'handful' into a total of 16!!! No sweat. We took the party outside to the backyard, set up some more tables and chairs and brought a few extra bottles of wine to celebrate.  I have no pictures of the hot summery evening with our backyard lights brightening the night sky. No pictures of the tasty mushroom barley soup served in plastic bowls or the guests gathered around my holiday table, helping themselves to the very last drop. And no pictures of the emotions of happiness and comfort that were palpable amongst our family and friends on that first Rosh Hashana night. But what I do have are permanent memories, a warm recharged feeling that is still present idea for a great Rosh Hashana Mushroom Barley picture blog.

Happy Foodie New Year!

P.s. Here are  some pictures I snuck in right before lighting the Holiday candles.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Forced Outlet

I tried to force a blog yesterday. It was about balancing life and work and family. I was forcing it because I have not written a blog in about 5 months and I really wanted to put something out there. I had originally told myself I would write one blog per month and if I had extra time or the writing bug hit me I would write more.  So after 5 months of being a complete slacker when it came to writing and then constantly seeing all these half written and half ass blog ideas on the notes pages of my iphone I decided to put something to paper computer and get it out there.

So I forced it.  I took a paragraph from one blog idea and mashed it with a paragraph from another. I took random pictures that had nothing to do with my words and shmushed them in between the paragraphs so my friends and family would not be as bored as I was reading the damn thing.  I added some new ideas but most of it was a confused work of writing from thoughts I had 3, 4, 5 months ago and the feelings were not the same anymore. How was I even trying to write about going to work for the first time after having a baby and my world being turned upside down and dealing with that.  I dealt with that! I have been there, I have done that. I figured out how to make the wheels of my home/life spin again even if I am not there every minute of every day. That's not where I am at and yet I was trying to recreate the feelings for the sake of writing something...anything.

The real question is why am I feeling the need to force writing?!?!  Writing is my extra curricular activity.  It is pure pleasure for me! I get no monetary reward I get no publishing credits, it is supposed to be a fun outlet.  And then I figured it out...well it was not all that is more like a- and then 5 months later I figured it out.  I have forgotten to give myself an outlet.  I have figured out my work life into my home life. I have figured out how to stay on top of my work schedule I get paid for and how to stay on top of my other work projects I will hopefully one day get paid for.  I have figured out how to go from working for quite a few hours and coming straight home to Kol, doing dinner, bath, bed all with a great attitude and a lot of love (most nights - lets be realistic I am human here!) And I have figured out how to, somehow between all the work and mothering, get a healthy homemade dinner ready for my husband and I to sit down and enjoy together on most nights (once again - human here.) 

But, then I realized I forgot to schedule in some me "outlet" time.  I have not gotten my nails done in months, I have not had a girls night out in a while and though I have been usually good about doing some cardio bar in the mornings a couple days a week I have skipped it all this week and half of last.  So instead of those 'luxurious' activities, I decided to try to force a blog.  And though it wasn't great, aside from the title - "The ultimate balancing act"- it was good for me to see what I am missing in my perfectly  almost-perfectly-still-human run household.  And so I will be heading out in 20 minutes to drinks with my girlfriends.  I already feel my shoulders relaxing. Namaste!

                                                    Drinks on the town wearing m.r.s