What if someone blows up our door?

The odds that I would end up with a child who has anxiety were pretty high, but I have to admit that this is probably of my own making. My youngest daughter is anxious about the weather and burglars, to be more precise CIA Operatives. Honestly, most children might be a little scared during a thunder storm, but my daughter starts packing her bag, while crying and screaming hysterically that we need to take cover and go to the basement, because the world is ending. Of course the fact that I let her watch The Day After Tomorrow over and over and over again probably only fuels her anxiety, but who am I to deny my kid the one movie she likes to watch.

The CIA Operative thing… I mean seriously, I’ve told her a dozen times that no one is going to use explosives to break into our house, or kick in the door with guns blazing. Okay, so what if she watches The Bourne Identity and she’s only six… I’m a parent I never said I knew how to parent. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual and neither does childhood, so we’re on this journey together! Baby steps.

What are your kids scared of?

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Do you want to Hula Hoop?

It sounded harmless… I mean how difficult could it be to hula hoop with my seven year old! It’s a beautiful 85 degrees, we’re on the deck and she hands me a blue hula hoop and…

Let’s just say that the first few attempts were tragic, resembling a child having an uncontrollable tantrum and to make matters worse now I’m in actual physical pain. It seems I pulled muscles I didn’t know existed and my abs feel like a punching bag.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, apparently hula hooping is now some form of exercise and they even have workout DVDs. Now my daughter wants to hula hoop every day with me. Oh joy!

When did hula hooping become a form of torture for adults?

Juicing

I’ve decided to go on a juicing diet, not for weight loss, ok for weight loss, but to clean my system and begin a healthier lifestyle too. (Yes, I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead!) I drove to Williams-Sonoma this morning with my son and bought a new Breville Juicer, stopped at Trader Joe’s and bought a shopping cart full of green vegetables and fruits and now I’m home drinking my first juice. I’m a little nervous to be completely honest, since I have never fasted for any other reason than Yom Kippur (that’s a Jewish holiday where you fast for atonement and repentance) and I’m not sure if I can go the distance. I have great will power, but I’m still going to have to prepare meals for my kids every day and the thought of smelling and not tasting seems like torture.

Luckily, I came across some great variations of this Mean Green Juice recipe and they seem like they might taste really good… maybe… not as good as Filet Mignon and grilled foie gras, but that is exactly why I am “Juicing” and not indulging on foods that have thrown my health off track.

Has anyone tried the juicing diet? Was it successful? Do you have any advice or recipes to share?

DIY Curtains

As I previously stated, I’m not crafty and I think that spills over into DIY fabric projects, but as I seem to be addicted to failure in my crafting projects I figure why not try AGAIN! So my daughters picked out this fabulous new bedding for the ultra-sleek modern room and they wanted me to take the flat sheets (since they hate having flat sheets on their beds) and turn them into curtains. I immediately responded with “No problem! Anything for you two!” Now I find myself with fabric, no sewing machine, no idea how to sew and two little girls who are expecting curtains.

Not sure if I should simply fold over the top, sew it together and slide the curtain rod through or would it be easier to make grommet curtain panels. I know there are a lot of amazing crafty DIYers out there, so if anyone has a really easy tutorial to share or any simple ideas of how to turn this very sweet fabric into curtain panels… I would be eternally grateful!

Sometimes there are no answers…

The sadistic murders in France in this week, once again, have the Jewish world aghast. For me, it hit close to home. One of the victims, 3 year old Gavriel Sandler, was named after Gaby Holtzberg, the Chabad Rabbi from Mumbai, who was murdered by an Islamic terrorist at his Chabad center in India. A chilling and painful turn of fate.

We are all asking the same question: “What can we do to help?” Chava Sandler, the mother of two victims and the wife of a third, wrote a heartfelt letter to those who asked what they could do to comfort her. She asked Chabad Rabbis to help share her plea with their communities. Here are her words:

A Heartfelt Plea from Mrs. Chava (Eva) Sandler of Toulouse:

“My heart is broken. I am unable to speak. There are no ways for me to be able to express the great and all-consuming pain resulting from the murder of my dear husband Rabbi Jonathan and our sons, Aryeh and Gavriel, and of Miriam Monsonego, daughter of the dedicated principal of Ozar Hatorah and his wife, Rabbi Yaakov and Mrs. Monsonego.

May no one ever have to endure such pain and suffering.

Because so many of you, my cherished brothers and sisters in France and around the world, are asking what you can do on my behalf, on behalf of my daughter Liora and on behalf of the souls of my dear husband and children, I feel that, difficult though it may be, it is incumbent upon me to answer your entreaties.

My husband’s life was dedicated to teaching Torah. We moved back to the country of his birth to help young people learn about the beauty of Torah. He was truly a good man, loving, giving, and selfless. He was sensitive to all of G‑d’s creatures, always searching for ways to reveal the goodness in others.

He and I raised Aryeh and Gavriel to live the ways of Torah. Who would have known how short would be their time on this Earth, how short would be the time I would be with them as their mother?

I don’t know how I and my husband’s parents and sister will find the consolation and strength to carry on, but I know that the ways of G‑d are good, and He will reveal the path and give us the strength to continue. I know that their holy souls will remain with us forever, and I know that very soon the time will come when we will be together again with the coming of Moshiach.

I wholeheartedly believe in the words of the verse: “The L-ord has given, and the L-ord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the L-ord.” I thank the Almighty for the privilege, short though it was, of raising my children together with my husband. Now the Almighty wants them back with Him.

To all those who wish to bring consolation to our family and contentment to the souls of the departed: Let’s continue their lives on this Earth.

Parents, please kiss your children. Tell them how much you love them, and how dear it is to your heart that they be living examples of our Torah, imbued with the fear of Heaven and with love of their fellow man.

Please increase your study of Torah, whether on your own or with your family and friends. Help others who may find study difficult to achieve alone.

Please bring more light into the world by kindling the Sabbath candles this and every Friday night. (Please do so a bit earlier than the published times as a way to add holiness to our world.)

The holiday of Passover is approaching. Please invite another person into your homes so that all have a place at a Seder to celebrate the holiday of our freedom.

Along with our tearful remembrance of our trials in Egypt so many years ago, we still tell over how “in each and every generation, they have stood against us to destroy us.” We all will announce in a loud and clear voice: “G‑d saves us from their hands.”

The spirit of the Jewish people can never be extinguished; its connection with Torah and its commandments can never be destroyed.

May it be G‑d’s will that from this moment on, we will all only know happiness.

I send my heartfelt condolences to the Monsonego family for the loss of their daughter Miriam, and I pray for the speedy recovery of Aharon ben Leah, who was injured in the attack.

Thank you for your support and love.”

Battle Royale vs. Hunger Games

Battle Royale, as many of you must know, is a Japanese novel that was adapted into a blockbuster movie in 2000. Eight years before the American book The Hunger Games. I find it hard to believe that that the author of The Hunger Games would write a book that has an eerily similar plot and characters: school kids are chosen by lottery, they’re given a variety of weapons and survival packs and taken to a remote, restricted area to take part in a televised death match. I don’t know about you, but at the liberal arts school I attended (where I studied English Literature) that’s called… RIPPING OFF SOMEONE ELSE’S IDEA!

I’m sure that the movie, The Hunger Games, will be just as successful as the books, but I can’t help but wonder did author Suzanne Collins knock off Battle Royale to write The Hunger Games?

Where can I find this paint color?

I’ve narrowed it down to two paint colors for my daughter’s room (Light Grey and Cloud Blue), but the only way I can get the paint is to either order a sample or a gallon of  it, because the two colors are from Restoration Hardware’s Baby & Child Line and apparently, they are in the business of exclusivity and do not offer little paint cards to their customers and the only way you can get the color is to order through their website!

I’ve tried printing out the color and bringing in the catalog picture of the color, but the paint store I use (which will remain unnamed) cannot match it perfectly from either of those examples. AHHHHH! The one time I decide to paint a room and I can’t find a way to match the color… this DIY-stuff is not going well for me.

Does you know how I can match both of these colors without forking over $40 per gallon to order it directly from Restoration Hardware?

Do you feel connected?

So, I decided to disconnect from social media and the internet over the past weekend, in order to spend quality time with my kids, eat really good food, sleep in, drink wine, laugh (a lot) and just be present in every moment. I loved every second of my weekend and I realized that, even though I love being able to blog, I don’t necessarily love all the other ways I connect through social media. I feel even more disconnected from my friends and family, because people feel that posting on Facebook or sending a text message is an acceptable way to communicate, but what happened to picking up the phone or stopping by a friend’s house for a visit?

Part of me misses the way things use to be before the internet was created. I miss driving over to a friend’s house, sitting on front porches and drinking wine. I miss picking up the phone and calling a friend I haven’t spoke to in a few months and I know that nothing stops me from doing that now, except I know everything that is happening in their lives (i.e. my friends and family), because they post their thoughts and daily events all over the place! Everything is connected… where you are, where you shop, what you eat, where you’re going, what your listening to, what your watching… I feel like social media is reaching a tipping point.

Do you feel more connected now because of social media? Do you miss anything about how you use to connect with people?

Too Early to Serve Rosé?

I’m particularly fond of Rosé wine, because I usually only drink it during the hot summer months. It reminds me of growing up in France, summers in Provence, dinner parties with friends, the smell of lavender and drinking… a lot! So, it would only seem reasonable that since we experiencing 85 degree weather this past week and expecting the same next week, that I should start drinking Rosé…

However, I feel that there are a lot of rules about when to drink, what to drink, how to drink, etc… too many rules for me and simple clarification would make my life easier. Since the spring/summer seems to have arrived early this year would you start serving Rosé wine?