7 Quick Takes Friday Chanukah Edition


— 1 —

On the sidebar of my blog there is a countdown thingy that I put up last year the day after Chanukah ended. You can tell I was really looking forwards this year’s Chanukah! We, as a family, got a very special present, a new foster son joined us a few days before Chanukah. He is less than two weeks older than Craig, and he is really awesome. When I asked him what I can say about hm on my blog, he said, “I’m a Shiri Maimon fan and I root for Hapoel Tel Aviv and I like yams.” So there. With his arrival we are officially “full”, at least for the next two weeks till Bella turns 18.

— 2 —

Just before Chanukah Arik Einstein passed away. For those of you, who don’t know him, he was an Israeli singer and actor, a cultural icon. He has greatly influenced Israeli pop and rock in the last four decades. His funeral was on Wednesday and some of my older boys went to the viewing on Rabin Square.

— 3 —

To add to the excitement of Chanukah, Justin, my budding stunt man, dislocated his shoulder. He wanted to do a handstand on the edge of the bunk bed, and the edge decided otherwise. He is doing fine now, trying to figure out how he could replicate Jean Claude Van Damme’s epic split in the Volvo commercials. I think it’s time to join acrobatic gymnastics classes.

— 4 —

Uncle Nathan was working in the States for a few days, and while there, he managed to fulfill one of Shiri’s dream, and he got her the twin baby dolls from American Girl. She was very very excited to get the dolls, and pretty much so was everyone else. Ever since she got them yesterday, someone has been carrying the itty bitty twins, who look a whole lot like Shiri and Ezra. They also are getting involved in adventures, they already met dinosaurs, and evidently there is a trip planned to the center of the Earth (or under the dining room table).

— 5 —

We had two turkeys yesterday for Thanksgivukah, but there were no leftovers besides some gravy and stuffing that was devoured for breakfast. Now turkey #3 is defrosting, so we can have turkey sandwiches tomorrow.  Maybe that would leave us some leftovers to make turkey pot pie.


— 6 —

I decided not to dye my hair any more, but I also kind of didn’t want to look like a zebra, so Kevin cut all the brown off my hair, and now I have a very weird all white hairdo. My kids think it’s extremely funny, and they say that I should keep my white hair forever. We shall see. At least it matches the blue hat I got from the kids for Chanukah! 😀 

— 7 —

Chag Sameach! Shabbat Shalom! One of our Chanukah Shabbat traditions is to bake gingerbread. Yeah, I get it, it is not Torah compliant. We will bake gingerbread zombies this year, thanks to Jill!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Grilled not-cheese sandwiches


Today’s Family Day dinner:

grilled not-cheese with not-ham sandwiches

and chocolate not-milk. Completely kosher and completely dairy free, courtesy of my son Justin.

dinnerNo worries, the dirt is only a photo filter. 😀 Justin used non-dairy “cheese” slices, margarine and turkey thigh lunch meat for his creation. I had a big glass of chocolate flavoured soy milk to go with it. Not pictured are the tomatoes and green onions that we ate with the sandwiches.

7 Quick Takes – The First in 2013!


7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

  1. I can’t believe how well this year has began as far as reading goes! I started to read Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debateby Justin Lee last year, I was halfway through the book as the new year began and finished that evening. While I’m not a Christian, I can see why Lee is so bothered by gays vs. Christians mentality: the gospel is getting lost in the hate. It is a good read for gays and straight folks as well, especially if they are Christians. You can agree or disagree, but the points Justin Lee makes cannot be ignored without some thinking.I am also halfway through Elie Wiesel’s book about Rashi, one of the greatest Torah and Talmud scholars. At the same time I’m reading C.S. Lewis’ “The Problem of Pain.” “The Simple Way” by St. Teresa of Lisieux and Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” are also waiting to be read. This was made possible by my new glasses. I am really glad I listened to
  2. All this reading was made possible by my new glasses. I am really glad I listened to Kevin when he suggested I get at least two pairs of multifocals and a pair for reading only. That, and Jill reminding me that Kindle has an app for Android devices. And she and Hope Anne always mentioning free things that are available to read. Yep. They created a monster. A monster that can be fed with Amazon Gift Certificates that bring instant gratification in the Kindle shop. Mentioning that, Hope Anne is giving away one of those for her international readers, and a Starbucks and an iTunes one and some other goodies for her US readers. Yes, I know I mentioned that before, but free reading/coffee/music is awesome. All it takes is a FB share or blog shout and a comment (or only a comment!) and you can win this:
    Wow, I can’t believe the tangents in this quick take!
  3. Oxford shirts. I’m not sure I should expand on this quick take, but if I ever had a fan club they’d have Oxford shirts as the fan club shirts. 😀 What else? Of course for that I should start writing. At this point I’m too lazy to do it, but maybe in the future. I have three awesome opening and three awesome closing sentences for three novels. I only need the cca. 300 pages between them. Times three.
  4. I have Peter Pan on DVD now. I mean the production that we just saw over Chanukah. Still a riot! Unfortunately Israel is now Skaat free zone, as he is abroad, so I have to make up by watching the DVD. In the car. See below.
  5. Today I’m going to Eilat! My grandma invited me for a visit, so I’m taking Eli, who needs some homeschooling attention. Kevin is going to take us, stay for Saturday and drive home early Sunday so he can get to work on time. I hope Eilat will have some nice weather for our visit. It would be nice to have a few degrees more and some sunshine.
  6. Justin apparently mastered microwaving turkey bacon to perfection. I’m so proud. He already has college survival skills: can make Ramen and bacon. On a more serious note, I am very happy that the boys are getting better in the kitchen and other household skills. Except ironing. They are pretty good at laundry, too! I find it rather funny when they are talking about different detergents and fabric softeners! The longest time is spent in the fabric softener aisle, because the kids love to smell all the different scents.
  7. Shabbat Shalom! I’ll have my grandma’s cholent with stuffed goose neck tonight! I am also going to have a gazillion types of sandwiches the coming week. Some are pretty traditional. Some are less so, like the nut and raisin sandwich my grandma makes for tea.

Today’s 7 Quick Takes are hosted by Moxie Wife. Thank you.

A light sabre vs. a heavy épée


I think my kids secretly want to become Jedis. At least they want sabres. And an épée.

I think it partly has to do with the fact that Áron Szilágyi won the first gold medal for Hungary in the 2012 Olympics in men’s individual sabre. I think it also has to do with Googling that for 40 years only Hungarians won men’s individual sabre titles in the Olympics. Or maybe it’s just they light the fights in Star Wars. Or maybe it was the old photos of great-grandpa Cohen with full fencing gear. Quite possibly, a combination of all of them above resulted in Justin and Matthew asking me really kindly to enroll them in fencing.

Justin and Matthew were born in Hungary and spent their first 5 years there. They are very proud of their Hungarian heritage. This is the first summer Olympics that they can remember, and they are super excited about it. They did quite a bit of research about the Olympics starting in May, dedicating the last project/theme book of the year to the Summer Games, and Matthew got fencing. While doing his research, he realized that 13 Hungarian fencing olympic participants were Jewish. Add that to great-grandpa Cohen and his brothers being involved in fencing, and there was interest.

Justin has been playing soccer, but he doesn’t really like it. So when his brother asked me to enroll him in fencing, he wanted to join in. Of course Justin loves horse back riding and swimming as well, and he runs with Kevin… can you see the pattern? Signing him up for épée made sense. In case he realizes he likes shooting, too, the switch to modern penthatlon will be easy. Hungary’s former president, Pál Schmitt, the one that had to resign because of plagiarism, won two Olympic golds in épée, and no matter what happened afterwards, that feat was something he should always be remembered for. So Justin is starting with it in September.

In case you didn’t know, épée is a modern form of the duel sword. Out of the three weapons, épée is the most enjoyable to outsiders, I believe. It’s also something that, as I mentioned above, will be allowing Justin, a super sporty kid, to make transition to another sport they like watching.

Matthew, on the other hand, was quite specific in what he wants to do. He wants a sabre, and wants to learn that. Like great-grandpa. After talking to a local club, they immediately took Justin, but when I mentioned that Matthew has mild CP, and while it doesn’t impact his everyday life any more–thanks, botox!–he is not the most flexible kid right now. The lady on the other side of the desk was thinking, looking through papers, made a quick phone call, and then finally said, “It’s okay, master Hungarian Name is more than happy to work with him.” Seriously? A Hungarian master. I asked, and she said, “Yes, he is from Hungary, he has been in Israel about 8 years now.” What are the chances?  Then the lady said, with a smile, “Not everyone has to become an Olympic or Maccabiah champion to find joy in fencing. I’m sure they’ll both like it.”

Then she handed me a shopping list.

To be honest, winning the Olympics does seem to involve a lot of joy!

9 years already?


Wow. Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix was published 9 years ago.

Why do I remember it? Because that was the day my sons Justin and Matthew were born. They are the only two of my children who have been my children since birth. They are the only ones I can really tell what the day and the night when they were born was like. Kevin had that experience with Craig, too, and I love listening to the two of them talk about that morning. I also like to tell them the story of their births and how everyone was speculating about the book on the labour and delivery floor. They always giggle at that. I keep telling them that 5 million people had been waiting for their day of their birth. That always gets me the biggest smiles, especially since they do get the joke.

So today they turn 9. Twice. That’s 18 candles on two cakes. Matthew asked for home made Texas sheet cake. Bella decorated it with chocolate LEGO figures. Justin really wanted an Angry Birds cake, and really didn’t care what it tasted like. We got a special bakery made Hungarian style punch cake for him, with real marzipan birds and pigs. Marzipan pigs are kosher, by the way. 😉

The boys got the best ever gift: a little sail boating, courtesy of Kevin’s colleague!

Happy birthday, boys!

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