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Currently Browsing: Parenting

Missing in Action

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So, as a brand new iPhone owner I really should blog more. The last few weeks have been crazy busy! Let me try to remember when I last blogged… Oh yeah, the elections that didn’t end with the results I had hoped for. Let me just stop there. Even though Bibi is, in my opinion, far from the besz thing for this country, he was elected by the people. And that itself is something that needs to be respected.

 

 The week before the elections my oldest daughter got married in Prague,  Czech Republic. It was a sweet and short wedding, with kids taking their job seriously. It was a great trip. We even joined a free walkong tour and the kids did wonderfully on the nearly three hour activity. Judy was carried on Kevin’s shoulders for part of it and walked part of it. The other kids walked the whole time! We stopped at the Bake Shop about halfway through, and I offered the kids some super expensive treats… And they turned me down. That was a first.

Judy turned two, and in the almost two weeks her vocabulary has grown like crazy. So has her curiosity and her independence. The great thing is that there is always someone around to keep an eye on her and only intervene if absolutely necessary. She is starting to play with other kids, and entertains herself surprisingly well for chunks of time. 

Getting back, it has been super busy. Between work, medical appointments, and homeschool I have very little free time. In fact most of our homeschool teaching is done by Kevin’s mom and the Open University. We decided to keep the littles in school for next year, too. They thrive there and are in a mostly Hebrew environment, so there is no reason to change that. 

In my limited free time we caught up on American Idol. I actually enjoy this season, though I wasn’t exactly impressed with most of the 80s week performances. I especially disliked Joey’s awful rendition of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and Jax’s Bon Jovi attempt. Clarke, on the other hand, was great. Nick was the best! I generally thought that the soundtrack of my childhood was trampled on. I know Boy George’s voice is not what it used to be, but he was still the best in the group performance of Karma Chameleon. Which, by the way, is one of my favourite songs from that decade. 

http://youtu.be/xvqlA41mxzY

Another thing I realized is that I must have a Jewdar. I’m not even kidding. We have been binge watching Salem. There are two characters I especially love: Cotton and Isaac. Part of the reason for that is that I find the two actors, Seth Gabel and Iddo Goldberg incredibly hot. After googling them it turns out that the former is a Jew from Florida and the latter is Israeli-British. 

Mentioning Salem, we need to do some Salem Witch Trial and English phonology and phonetics projects with the kids, lest they believe that Cotton Mather was against witch trials snd Increase Mather was sctive in them. Plus back then Brits spoke like Americans. So yes. I have a week of furlough, we can work on those.

Passover is fast approaching. We are mostly done with cleanong and preparing for eight days of unleavened bread. This is usually. Challenging week for me, because I don’t like matzah, but this year Kevin found some great recipes with it.

While cleaning is mostly done I was dreading all the cookibg for the Seder. Some of my friends suggested to just take it easy and serve a simple salad or sandwiches or something equally simple, but that is the equivalent of a simple salad and sandwiches for Christmas dinner. Luckily my awesome stepmom invited us to Seder! It is partly catered, so everyone wins.

We as a family also decided to spend the days of the counting of the Omer–the seven weeks between the Seder and Shavuot–eating vegetarian, at least till Lag B’Omer. No, not eating vegetarians, just following a meatless diet. We are drawing inspiration from Indian cuisine as well as Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty.

I have finally decided to try filet crochet. 

 

Five for the Weekend – Week 2

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Welcome back! How was your week?

1. For the longest time I refused to change my FB profile pic to say Je suis Charlie. The reason for that refusal is I just don’t identify with what Charlie Hebdo stands for. Their satire is racist, Anti-semitic, homophobic and generally Xenophobic in addition to being Islamophobic.  They make fun of rape victims, Boko Haram victims, etc. What they do is tasteless and often personally offensive to me. I agree with the criticism they have received over the years, and I really don’t mind them being called out on being awful.

However, since the attack, several posts, articles, tweets came to my attention where the authors are upset about the grief, mourning and outrage, and voice their opinion that fee speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism. These articles, posts and tweets imply that murdering twelve people is an acceptable form of criticism. Unfortunately most of these opinions come from the very group that Charlie Hebdo painted as barbaric, vicious, undesirable people, and they only reinforce that image. I know that at least some of the people posting these do not support mass murder, however, their writing does not reflect that.

Then there are those who whine that now everyone is so upset about freedom of speech, and no one was upset about that when Pro-Palestinian demonstrations (in reality most of these in France turned into violent Anti-Semitic mob attacks on non-Israeli French Jews) were banned. Equating violence with freedom of speech, once again, shows the violent side of a religion that is commonly viewed as the whole religion by westerners. Some of them, and their supporters, happily blame Israel for the murder of the journalists and police.

On the other hand: Moderate Muslims often fail to speak up in condemnation of the murder of teh Jews while they do condemn the murder of these twelve people.

While I don’t agree with the content Charlie Hebdo published, murder is never an appropriate response. Freedom of speech involves things that are offensive to you, to me, to someone else, being published. Those, who think it’s okay force me to say: Je suis Charlie, אני שארלי .

2. It is never okay to attack your peaceful Muslim neighbours for what happened in Paris, and that includes the hostages taken at a kosher shop. Just because jihadists target us, Islam is not exclusively about jihad. Of course, just reading the comments by “moderate” Muslims on the news regarding this most recent attack shows that many Muslims do support violence against Jews. Not even Israel, just local Jews. But then there are people like Ahmed Merabet, the policeman who was killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack, whose faith had been ridiculed by the magazine, and he still gave his life to protect the right of the magazine to do so. He is a face of Islam, too. There are those, who speak up against the violence. Not in their name. Not in their religion’s name.

3. The other day Itai made a comment how he has lost some of the respect he had for one of Israel’s very talented music stars because he had not served in the Army. While I might have mumbled something about we don’t know his motivation and there are many reasons for avoiding conscription, I was very proud of Itai. He is one of those handful Israelis who has a very legitimate option not to serve, but he is already looking forward to doing so.

4. On Wednesday I developed an intense dislike towards the universe.

There was a training organized in Jerusalem on Wednesday, but there was also a weather alert. It has been storming and raining in my area, and snowing in Jerusalem. We were fully expecting the training to be cancelled, but since the alert never came, we ended up going anyway. Let me tell you, being able to drive pretty well in bad weather is useless when no one else on the roads can do the same. We finally made it to Jerusalem, and twenty minutes after the training was supposed to start, with every single person registered for it coming from outside of the capital already present, we were told that the instructor couldn’t make it over from the other edge of Jerusalem, so training would be rescheduled.

At this point the highway home was already closed, it was snowing heavily, and we were stuck in traffic. We were told that we could try Highway 1, police were still letting trough some traffic. By the time we got there, they didn’t. We kinda gave up on getting home, but luckily the highways opened and we are finally on our way home. Thanks to a stupid training that was canceled, I spent 7 hours stuck in a car.

Only in Israel are rocket attacks an inconvenience but an inch of snow paralyzes the country!

5. Wow, this post has become a lot longer and a lot more serious than I originally intended it to become. I guess the world just does that every once in a while. And my last point will not be much lighter either. It’s amazing and scaring to me how anti science the American religious right is. It amazes me that those who so condemn the “culture of death” are willing to see people go without access to healthcare and die from preventable and easily treatable diseases, such as dental problems causing sepsis, because of financial reasons. It’s frightening that they don’t only opt to forego real medicine in favour of essential oils (usually overpriced MLM products) and are willing to allow their kids with treatable cancer to opt out of chemotherapy for some quackery that has not been able to produce any controlled study to prove its effectiveness. It is always frightening when I think of how the same folks value the parents’ rights so high that they eliminate the children’s rights completely. The fact that CPS cannot get involved in case of educational neglect in Texas makes me sick. Parents can not teach their kids, not send them to school, not provide any kind of education, raising an illiterate litter of kids without consequences… And these people will vote. They will vote for likeminded politicians. And they think the USA is the greatest country. I just can’t understand.

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Parties and Activities

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Today is Patrik’s 14th birthday, but because his friends have school, and in the evening Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) begins and that is not a day for parties, we had his party yesterday. He invited a dozen friends and cousins. They had fun in the pool, put together their on shashlik to grill, had cake and ice cream. We made various toppings and everyone was enjoying them.

I ended up cooking up a double batch of cold porcelain, and I broke out the old molds, cookie cutters and various parts with which to make pins and other fun things. The teenagers were more than happy to create various decorations for Independence Day!

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These are now drying in our kitchen, and will decorate our rooms and garden tomorrow–and in a few months, they will hang in our tent for Sukkot.

When Something Goes Right: Hard Chocolate Shell for Ice Cream

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The hot season is pretty long here. Ice cream season is even longer. My whole family love ice cream, and we also share our love for the chocolate shells for ice cream. Of course, at $5 for a small bottle, we can rarely afford to buy it for all of us. So here came the brilliant idea of making our own. After some experiments with Pinterest, we adjusted the recipes to work for us.

 

There are two ways to do it. One is using chocolate flavoured icing bars (csokoládés bevonómassza), or cheap, vegetable oil based “chocolate” chips, and simply melting them in the microwave and pouring it over the ice cream. Luckily many of us have no access to the horror that is bevonómassza, so we have to go the other way and use real chocolate.

The recipe we use is simple: break up a bar of real chocolate and put it in a microwave safe bowl. You can also use real chocolate chips. For every 3.5 oz we add one to two heaping teaspoonfuls of solid coconut oil. I usually go with one, but my daughter swears by two. Definitely NOT three tablespoons. Too much cocnut oil will make it taste like using cheap icing bars.

Put the chocolate and the coconut oil in the microwave, and warm it for 45 second, then stir. Repeat till the chocolate is all melted after stirring, and mixes well with the coconut oil. It can immediatelly be poured over the ice cream, where it forms a hard shell within seconds. A larger batch can be created and stored in a jar in the fridge. It can be reheated again and again till it's all gone.

 

7 Quick Takes – 14

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— 1 —

Two posts back I wrote about the tattoo I got for my birthday. I was a gift from my step-mom. I told her a while back that I wanted a tattoo of חי to celebrate the anniversary of being cancer free (the day of the transplant). She gave me a voucher to a local tattoo place that my sons recommended her. She had no idea how big or how complicated a design I wanted, so she ended up getting me a voucher that didn't only cover my tattoo, but Shiri's ears could be pierced as well. I was quite happy about it. Then Thursday morning I got a test that we can go and pick up the second pair of earrings for her that we ordered. I went… and ended up having to pay about NIS 10 only for the shipping!

— 2 —

Converse Outlet Store is getting ready for Easter.

2014-04-03 12.29.03Yes, the shoes are used for easter baskets. Thanks to some of my friends for this photo. It made me LOL. Really.

I love Converse shoes (I usually don't buy them, because my ankle braces wear them out fast), but I really don't get the sandal ones. What is their purpose? They look ugly, they look too hot for sandal weather and not covered enough for shoe weather. So… yeah.

— 3 —

…And here I am, halfway through Friday morning, working on the third quick take… and after a busy week, my mind is blank about what I should write about, besides the tattoo and Craig's birthday yesterday, which was awesome. We had some of his friends over, including our old neighbours from Tel Aviv. It had been a while since we saw them, and it was great to have them over. While it was several degrees colder than on Itamar's birthday, we had a lovely time swimming and grilling and generally having fun.

— 4 —

Craig is already done with the coursework for this school year, and he is starting to work on the last year's work. He is sitting exams early, and even while we are working on finishing up that aspect, he is considering enrolling for more courses at the Open University. He is committed to compelte a dual degree in Computer Science and Cognitive Science by the time he goes into the army, or very early in his miltary career. Nirel is also taking his first course there, and they are both doing fabulously.

— 5 —

Oh yes, in the busy time with birthdays and holidays, it is now time for me to get all the tests and appointments for my big, one-year-post-transplant check up. I've already had some of them, including one that required some sedation this morning. Based on all the other tests I've had, I'm fairly sure that everything will come back good. It's just annoying that my mornings are filled with doctors.

— 6 —

You know my teddy bear, who has been having lots of adventures

He is on the left. He is going to have a lot more adventures, and he had one just on Craig's birthday. You see, after all these neat and tidy kids it was inevitable to have a child who is a hider. Because the Teddy Bear and I got matching bags from my dear friend Jill, I wanted him to wear his. Except he was nowhere to be found. We were sure Yehudit had something to do with it, because her teddy bear was sitting on my bookshelf where my Teddy Bear lives. There were a lot of us, searching for the teddy, but he just disappeared. I was going through trashcans, because Judy is fascinated by the rotating top ones. I was trying to remember when we last saw the bear, and when the last garbage day was. He was simply gone.

Then, giving up ever finding him, went to change Judy's bed sheets. As I was lifting her matress to put in fitted sheets (how on earth can those be neatly folded?) I was greeted with a slightly flattened bear. He is back to his normal 3D self. I, however, have no idea how Judy got him there!

— 7 —

Wolowitz with Spock. Sheldon must be jealous.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

 

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