Monday, November 24

Menu Planning Monday - Thanksgiving Week

We are going to vegetarian friends for Thanksgiving Day which means a very non-traditional meal.  Shabbat will
have all the traditional foods instead.  Given that we will have two days in a row of heavy meals, the rest of the week is extra light. I am on break for the holiday which means the whole family can eat together.

Monday - Out
Tuesday - BFD - scrambled eggs and pancakes
Wednesday -  Wild Rice Salad and biscuits.  This is pushing Froggy's comfort zone but expanding horizons is important.
Thanksgiving - We are bringing lasagna
Shabbat - Challah, Gefilte Fish, Matza ball soup, Roast Turkey, Stuffing, Green Beans, Cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, Apple pie

Saturday, June 21

Menu Planning Monday - lots of kids

We have two little people visiting for the summer.  That means lots of extra mouths to feed and extra preferences to take into account.  Here is hoping I get close

Sunday - Pizza and Salad
Monday - Grilled Hotdogs/Veggie Burgers, Potato Salad, and Veggie sticks
Tuesday - Fish sticks, niblet corn and coleslaw
Wednesday-Stuffed peppers and fruit
Thursday - Leftover buffet
Shabbat Dinner -
  • Challah
  • Gefilte Fish Loaf
  • Matza ball soup
  • Apricot chicken (double the normal amout)
  • Strawberry spinach salad with parve feta
  • Honey roasted potatoes
  • green beans
  • Chocolate Raspberry bars
  • strawberry bread
Shabbat Luncheon - out

seudah shlishit

Monday, June 9

Menu Planning Monday - Summer Travels

With Shavuos, we welcome our summer schedule. We are officially done with school for the year and we head out for our first of several summer trips.  I am doing some major freezer cooking this week so that Abba will have healthy food to eat while Froggy and I are away.

Monday - Chicken Pot Pie (freeze)
Tuesday - Tacos (freeze)
Wednesday - Summer Salad Supper
Thursday - Head out of town

Sunday, June 1

Menu Planning Monday - Shavuot

Sunday - leftovers
Monday -pizza and salad
Tuesday - Shavuot
Wednesday Kiddush - out and I dont even need to bring anything!!! woohoo

Wednesday Dinner - An dairy antipasto spread
  • Challah
  • Quinoa salad
  • Asian Slaw
  • veggie plate (carrots, celery red pepper, peapods)
  • hummus
  • a cheese plate (purchased)
  • lox rolls
  • tuna salad
  • dessert kebobs
Shabbat -
  •  challah
  • tomato spinach soup
  • gefilte fish loaf (in freezer)
  •  apricot chicken
  • honey roasted potatoes
  • broccoli
  • leftover salads (??)
  • peach crisp with Peach icecream

Tuesday, May 27

Summer Bike Rides

Our big objective for the summer is to get Froggy proficient in really riding her bike.

 Our first adventure was almost our last.  It was a one mile ride up to the library.  Froggy was insistent she could not make it up the hill.  She turned around and headed home.  At the bottom of the hill, she asked how far we were.  I told her we were about 2/3s.  She got determined, turned her bike around and conquered that hill. 
Today, at her request, we tried a much harder 2 mile ride up to the ice cream store.  She had to walk about half a block up the last bit of one hill and pause to rest on two other hills but she did it.  And more importantly she did it of her own desire and without any whining or complaining at all.  My heart just about burst with pride.

Thursday, May 22

a budding photographer

We met a friend for what I thought was a casual playdate at the park.  It turned into a fantastic nature hike.  Froggy decided early in the walk that she wanted to take pictures with my phone
 We saw a blue heron not that you can tell from this picture.
 And aren't the white flowers pretty.  Anyone know what it is?
 And this is the fern her friend wants for her yard
 pretty yellow flower
 Mama and baby ducks
 And the absolutely neatest tree stump ever.  Current theory is that there was a knot in the tree at this point.
And a blue jay for M's bird book.

Wednesday, May 21

My father

My father and I have never had a good relationship for a variety of reasons.  Start with the fact that he really wanted a son and I was the third of four girls.  I was also a fat kid with less social graces than his collegues who have preferred.  I think he tried in the beginning but gave up eventually when he found nothing worth his time in me.

By thirteen, I knew he didn't like me as much as my siblings.  At fifteen, I was told flat out I was asking to visit too often and so I never asked again without need. Sixteen was the last year I received any acknowledgement of my birthday and that was several months late and only after I cried to one of my sisters about the lack of acknowledgement.  Before I was married at 22, I had stopped being invited to the family winter celebration including my sister's birthday celebration.

When Abba and I decided that we were going to make a life together, he asked to meet my father and I acquiesced  to his wishes.  We had dinner as a family with my sister and my niece.  I had a wonderful time with my niece and hold that evening as a glorious moment in time even though my father barely spoke to either me or Abba.

When Froggy was born, I sent him an announcement and received no response at all.  My sisters claim it was because he did not get it.  However they told him of her birth and still he did not say or do anything.

When my mom passed, he sent flowers to her house addressed to only three of his four daughters.  If that does not say you have been disowned, what does?  My sisters claim his wife sent and he does not even know.   I say if they really even believed that they could have told him and he could have corrected the situation.

My sisters still claim it is my fault that the relationship between me and my father is "strained".  For several years, my sisters, the oldest in particular, prodded me to reach out to him and try to mend fences.  Despite all my enlargements and reiterations of the history, she insisted. "He would be so happy." she says.  "It is not right to keep him from his grandchild" "Froggy deserves to know her Grandpa"  "He has changed.  Look how great he is with B."

So finally I gave in and tried.  Why?  Did I really believe her that it would be different? Not in the slightest.  I have accepted long ago that he wants nothing to do with me.  I have no idea why I in particular am not worthy of even being acknowledge as kin. But I accept that it is true.  I agreed because I want my sisters to acknowledge that too.  I still hope that some day my sisters will see I am not to blame for the "strained" relationship they see.

So last year I reached out to him.  And I received this reply
 It is a pleasant surprise to hear from you. I would be interested in seeing you and [Froggy].  I rethink our last visit occasionally and it never does make any sense to me. Iwould like to keep in touch and if I get up to your area or you come to Fl. perhaps we can see each other.

To me that is a blow off kind of response but my sister was oh so so happy.  I sent back another response saying that would be nice and giving him the link to this blog.

Fast forward in time to this year.  There has been no response from him to my last email.  He is coming up for a visit.  He made no attempt to contact me at all.  He knows we are going to be in the same space at the same time and has still not had any contact at all.  We were supposed to be going out to dinner with everyone on Saturday as well as Sunday and then suddenly that was "too complicated to arrange" and we were uninvited.

I am writing this here now so that hopefully at the end of this weekend when I have been perfect and bitten my tongue against all the hurt and sadness so that I can share in this special moment of my niece's life maybe then my sisters will acknowledge the truth. 

On Sunday at the big celebratory, his wife, when asked quietly if everything was good for her she commented loudly that she was as from from me as possible so it was as good as could be. 

On Monday, we were uninvited from spending time with the family because it was his last day. 

Monday, May 5

Goodbye Dinosaurs

The Smithsonian Natural History Muesum closed its Dinosaur exhibit at the end of April.  Knowing it was coming, we went to say goodbye. 
We went with another family that was way more prepared than.  The mom made a neat scavenger hunt for the girls.  They completed it in record time. But then spent forever showing us all the things they found.
We also got to visit a Touch-Me Station and talk with the docent about the fossils.

This was Froggy's Favorite of the entire day
Whereas my favorite was watching the paleontologists at work
There was a disagreement of facts between the girls, so Froggy used the sign to win.
Once we finished with the dinosaurs, we went to the insect exhibit and saw all the creepy crawlers
including this black widow spider.

Thursday, April 24


This year we went on a bluebell hike with friends who joined us on our first ever bluebell hike.  That was probably four years ago maybe more.  Two of her kids did not even exist on the initial hike. It was a very very bittersweet hike.  I was too engrossed in the hike and the company to take many pictures.  
 The bluebells were spectacular this year because we went early enough.  I need to remember that this needs to be right after Cherry Blossoms.
 I want to know what this flower is and my google skill is failing me.  It is a wildflower and as the picture shows it is very low to the ground.  There are fields of them and they come up all around the bluebells after peak.
And this is my treasure of the day.  The two girls were inseparable the entire hike. 

Sunday, April 6

Good Deeds Day

Our Girl Scout Troop participated in the Jewish Federations Good Deeds Day.  
We made paper flowers for a local nursing home to brighten their seder table. 
 We also made fortune tellers to take to the local Pediatric wing.  All the "fortunes" were good wishes and bright thoughts for the children. 
Making these catchers was far more difficult than we imagined.  My coleader and I remembered them fondly from our youth.  I am not sure our girls are going to have fond memories of them.  Precision is not their high point. 
 But they were very proud of their completed designs.

Thursday, April 3

Glue Batik

Froggy has needed a new big girl apron for some time now.  Part of her costume for Purim was a plain white bakers apron.

After Purim, we decided to liven it up a bit before introducing it to regular wear. Enter our first ever attempt at Glue Batik.  We found a tutorial here.  It looked easy enough and we had all the supplies.  The hardest part was finding the acrylic paint amidst all the washable paints.

First we drew our designs on the apron.  Froggy knew she wanted a fairy theme but picking the fairy and getting the right design in the right size was a very challenging but fun project for her.  I traced each of the designs onto the apron for her using my light box.
  Once the designs were in place she added the glue.  I reminded her to start at the top and work towards then left.  She did it all herself.  We let the glue dry overnight and then set to painting. She did all the details first, let those dry completely then added the background.  I wish I had taken a picture of that part but life happens.

We let it dry overnight again.  Then came the magic of batik.  Here you can see the detail on one of the butterflies.  Some did not come out as well because the glue or the paint was too thick.  We missed the instruction about watering down the paint.  We will remember that the next time.
And here is the finished piece.  The fairy in the center really turned out nicer than the picture shows.  Froggy was very pleased with the results.

Monday, March 31

Menu Planning Monday - 29 Adar 11

Sunday -  Enchilda Bake
Monday - leftovers
Tuesday -Orange Chicken rice and green beans
Wednesday - Tofu Curry, rice broccoli
Thursday - Split Pea Soup with Thyme Dumplings
Shabbat -Challah, Mandu, Miso Soup, Sweet Salmon, Terkayi Tofu, rice and green beans tiramisu, pumpkin bread

Monday, March 24

Menu Planning Monday - 22 Adar II

Sunday - Salad, Pasta, Marinara Sauce, Garlic Bread
Monday -Fish Ala Jenn
Tuesday - Pizza and Salad
Wednesday -Enchilada Bake and chips
Thursday - Orange Chicken Rice and broccoli
Shabbat - Challah, Gefilte Fish Loaf, Tomato Spinach Soup, Herb Roasted Chicken, Green Beans, Butternut Squash, butterfly cupcakes, Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal and cholent(recipe below)

 Julie's Cholent

 1 lb meat
 3 potatoes
 1/3 bag of barley
 1/3 - 1/2 cup ketchup
1/8 cup hot sauce
 1/4 - 1/3 cup honey
1/4-1/3 cup beef soup powder
 1/8 cup garlic powder
sprinkle season salt

 Cover with water 1-2 in. Slow cook.

Thursday, March 20


This bottle was full at the start of the day.  And no I am not a giant lush. I am making my own extracts. 
This is the first batch.  We are trying vanilla, orange and lemon.  If they are sucessful, we will do more vanilla and mint.  Right now they are curing.  We have to wait until after Pesach to test them.

Monday, March 17

Menu Planning Monday - 17 Adar

With Abba is out of town Monday and Tuesday and all the baking of the past couple of weeks, I have decreed this week a "stay out of the kitchen" time

Monday -  Mac and Cheese and peas all from the freezer
Tuesday - BFD - Eggs and Pancakes
Wednesday - Fish ala Jenn, Rice and Broccoli
Thursday - Chana Dal and Naan
Shabbat - Challah, Gefilte Fish Loaf, Matza Ball Soup, Apricot Chicken,mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans,chocolate caramel tart, banana blueberry bread

Sunday, March 16


 Even Purim morning I was still putting the finishing touches on my part of the costumes for Froggy's Purim shpeil.  I made "Chip" and "Cogsworth".

Our shul always picks a theme for the year.  This year it is the 60s in honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding in 1964.  I went as Jane Goodall and Abba went as the Disney version of Pooh first pictured in 1962. That really was just an excuse because he always goes as Pooh Bear.  Froggy wanted to be Queen Esther regardless of the theme. Luckily Gramma keeps supplying Froggy with new dressup clothes so there is always queen clothes available.

We made a ton of Mishlach Manot baskets.  The list of recipients is mostly done although I expect it will continue to grow right up until Purim.  The final total was 23. 

We included 3 different foods  (although it ended up being only the requisite 2 brachot) Spiced almonds, clementines and 3 different kinds of Hamentaschen, funny ones, chocolate ones (either these or the ones we made last year)  and baklavah ones

I really stink at remembering to take pictures.  I wanted to show all the lovely mishlach manot packedup and ready to go.  I hate spending money on wrapping that is going to be thrown away so we try to use recyclables.  This year we did this.  They turned out much better than I feared. 

Monday, March 10

Menu Planning Monday - Purim style

Sunday - Orange chicken rice and broccoli
Monday - Pasta, salad and garlic bread
Tuesday -  Chana dal, naan sub and broccoli
Wednesday -  Pizza and Salad
Thursday - Leftovers

Shabbat – Asian Theme -Challah,mandu,Miso Soup,Salmon,Rice,cabbage salad with peanut dressing,Broccoli,Birthday cake

Purim Seudah - Challah, hummus, crudite, Shredded brussel Sprout salad, lentil salad, Meat burekas, potato burekas and of course all the various hamentashen.

Friday, March 7

Recipe Review - Beet Pasta

So I finally got to try my new toy this week while making this recipe
I made beet "pasta" with golden and regular beets.  Once I figured out how to load the machine properly, it was super easy and fun.  The interesting shape enticed Froggy to try it and made it more fun for everyone. 
The lemon "cream" sauce was delicious.  Although as I suspected it made way way more than anyone could ever use.  I considered cutting the recipe in half and I absolutely should have.  I will next time.  In the first pass, I left out the lemon juice by mistake and the sauce tasted so flat.  The lemon juice gives it a brightness and richness of flavor that brings the whole dish together.
And here is the finished product.  Amazing presentation factor.  Unlike many times I have made a totally unfamiliar recipe, this one did not take significantly longer than the estimated time.  And other than the sauce there were no leftovers. 

Tuesday, March 4

Ice Skating

Abba and Froggy discovered a new fun activity to do together, ice skating.

She did eventually get brave enough to try a trip around the rink without holding onto Abba

Monday, March 3

Menu Planning Monday - 2 Adar II

Sunday - Dinner out with Friends
Monday - Split Pea Soup with Thyme Dumpling
Tuesday - Pasta, Homemade Sauce, Salad and Garlic Bread
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday -Beet “Pasta” with Lemon-Creme Sauce and Broiled Salmon
  • Challah
  • Same Salads and dips
  • Enchilada Bake
  • Banana Bread

Sunday, March 2

Nature Hike

Today while we are bracing for another six inches of snow, it is fun to look back and remember last weekend when our Girl Scout troop went on an amazing hike
Our leader found this great nature center which is only 5 minutes from our shul where we meet.  They have amazing trails with lots of child-friendly signs and touchables.  The staff is very supportive of scouting and willing to run programs on Sundays for our troop. 
We found several old old trees which had been felled by storms.  
And we scoped out this spot for our Bridging Ceremony
 After the hike, we stopped in to the Visitor Center where one of the staff bought out a friend to meet the girls. 
 He was shy but once the girls simmered down he was brave enough to enjoy a snack of bu

They have a dinosaur playground that we explored after the Visitor Center.  This helps me remember that Spring is coming.  Look at all that sunshine and the girls with no coats. It was a glorioug glorious day.