Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Joys of Freecycling

On Sunday I posted on Craig's List two items for free: a DVD player that, though only a year old, skips sometimes, and a vacuum cleaner that doesn't much like to do rugs, but works okay on hardwood. I listed their faults as above.

Almost immediately, "Bob" writes that he'd love the DVD player. Please call or email him with the address. I email him back right away telling him it's on the porch. It stays on the porch all day. At night it starts to rain. Still on the porch (now in a bag). I call Bob. Oh yeah, he didn't bother to go back online after telling me to email him....He starts asking me about the size of the player and if it has a DVD burner on it. Turns out he's not too interested if it doesn't have a DVD burner.

Fine. On to the next person. "Wind" has emailed me about both the vacuum and the DVD, but, by the next morning, still hasn't responded whether he'll take them or not. I email the next person who responded. Later, Windy writes back and says that he's at work until 11, and could I please save them until the next morning. Morning, of course, comes and goes and he's still not here.

Then he writes an email saying "if i will not find them there by that time i will get hurt in my mind so please save them up to that time". I tell him that, while I will not save it especially for him, only he and one other person knows the address where the DVD player is. He lives in the same city as me, and if was so important to him, perhaps he could find some time between Sunday and Tuesday to pop over and pick the thing up. No response.

Late Tuesday morning, the DVD player is gone. I email Wind and tell him. He shows up at 5:30 Tuesday afternoon and asks where the DVD player is. He gets very mopey when I tell him it's gone and that I emailed him this morning to tell him.

Then he looks at the vacuum and asks if I have a bag for it! I've had it. I shut the door as I tell him I don't. And, after the door is closed, I say "and I don't gift wrap either."

Sometimes, I have such nice experiences giving stuff away. It's kind of weird and obnoxious that only once has anyone bothered to email and say "thank you" after picking something up, but, other than that, it's nice to give things away to people I know want them. But this one was really a doozy!

I Can't Believe It's Not Oatmeal....

Tastes great. Even *looks* like oatmeal!

1/4 cup SCD yogurt
1/4 cup unsweetened appleasauce
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbl honey
1/4 tsp baking soda
butter for frying

1. Heat up about 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a small frying pan.

2. Combine all ingredients and add to pan, mixing them up as you would scrambled eggs.

3. Transfer to a bowl and add cinnamon to taste.


Yesterday's food:

lunch: "crunchy eggs": eggs fried in olive oil. Yum! Chana had (oy!) four (I can't stress about it....)
--frozen grapes

dinner: lentil soup w. onions, carrots and celery
--sauteed mushrooms of three kinds
--green salad

Monday, December 24, 2007

Monday's dinner

Sam's away on business this week, so we got to eat nice and early (no traffic for BH coming home from school!).

Onion soup: mess o' onions, some cabernet sauvignon, butter, water, s&p
--"yummy, yummy peas": frozen peas microwaved and doused w. olive oil, chopped dried onion bits, s&p
--green salad w. dressing
--fresh strawberries

Lunch: cheese plate w. cheddar cheese, black olives and sliced fennel.
--apple muffins made w. coconut flour (I didn't love them. Think I'll stick to the usual banana muffin recipe)

Breakfast: the traditional strawberry-banana smoothie and an apple w. peanut butter for Chana, bowl of cold cereal for the rest of us.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Shabbat Meals

Fun dinner! It was Leah's 15th B-day, and our friend Michel came to spend Shabbat with us. Richard stayed in Malden for Shabbat and joined us for dinner as well.

Matza (no more challah b/c of the SC diet. Not that Chana is allowed to eat matza, but it's less psychologically painful that challah).

onion mushroom soup

fried baby artichokes (cut in half and sauteed in a cast-iron pan in olive oil w. salt and pepper)
gefilte fish (not scd) on salad greens

refried red beans w. salsa (not scd), yogurt (homemade scd), tomatoes, and hot sauce
long red sweet peppers stuffed w. farmer cheese, cheddar and monterey jack cheeses
baked butternut squash w. olive oil, salt and pepper

coconut flour carrot cake w. frosting
baked apples (no raisins in honor of Richard and Leah who don't like them)

Lunch: lentil soup w. carrots, onions, celery in the crock pot
--for Chana: peanut butter mixed w. honey

Breakfast: for Chana: apple w. peanut butter

Kiddush at shul: fruit and some Diet Coke

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cousin Eli's Video

We were in NY this weekend, and here's what the crazy cousins (Eli, Batsheva and Chana) did with Batsheva's new iMac and its video-taking feature:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Diet Log

We're going away for Shabbat to NY. We'll stay with my wonderful cousin and her family in Lawrence. We LOVE staying with them. On Sunday, if the predicted storm isn't too bad, we'll head to NJ for Sam's company's office party.

Anyway, as Jen and I were discussing menus for this weekend, she said, "well, just tell me what you would make". And I hit a total blank wall! So it seemed to me that it would be good to keep track for a while of what we eat around here.

Breakfast today: banana smoothie
---apple with peanut butter

Lunch (on the road between piano lessons and an appointment): smoked cheddar cheese
--sliced apples

Dinner: Cheese enchilada stuffed with white beans, lettuce and tomato

I forget the snacks, but that's at least a start....


Just got back from a meeting at our shul about the proposed mikvah. The architect showed the drawings and the samples of the paints, granite, etc. Wow. It's going to be soooo nice.

And the dish mikvah will make a welcome change from going to Revere Beach! (Did I ever blog about the...odd....experience of toiveling our new ice cream maker bowl at Revere Beach? It was weird to be doing something so foreign to the previous times I'd spent on that beach as a child/teen, yet at the same time, surrounded by a number of covered Muslim women, I felt like I wasn't unusual in the least!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I've come to the conclusion that a person can take just about any grated vegetable, fry it in oil, salt it, and have happy tummies on the other side of the fry pan....

The other day I made latkes out six small grated zucchinis, two large grated onions and two eggs. When friends stopped by unexpectedly, I grated half a butternut squash (!) in the remaining mix and added a few tbls. of coconut flour.

Last night, I grated the only veggies I had around that weren't cucumbers or tomatoes, and we had onion and carrot latkes. I forgot to add the eggs, but did add some coconut flour. They were very delicate, but sweet and yummy.

Happy Chanukah!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

new website!

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted....Batsheva's bat mitzvah kept me awfully busy, let's just say.

Our new soap website is finally up!! Whee! Not all of the links are live yet, but we're almost all of the way there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"That's it! No more....

riding your unicycle in the house!"

(part of the continuing series of "Things I Never Thought I'd Say to My Kids")

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bye Bye, Barbie!

I'm selling off my youth! Let's see what happens

Monday, September 17, 2007

update on Sam's foot

He's vindicated! The Physician's Assistant at the local Emergency Room is a shmo! It was worth my picking up the copy of his x-ray on Wednesday about 20 minutes before Yom Tov started!

Anyway, the upshot is that he saw an orthopedist today and he *did* fracture his foot. Thankfully, yesterday he started to finally feel better and like he could put a little weight on it. He's now allowed to walk with his foot down with his crutches for support, and wean off them as he feels he can.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Some days are reeeeally weird....

I should be cooking. Cleaning. Making soaps.

Nah. I think I'll blog instead :)

Here is what my day was like (probably with a few significant moments of lunacy left out b/c I can't remember them all!):

6:15: wake up. Batsheva has gotten out of bed, climbed down the stairs of her loft bed, shut off her alarm, climbed back UP the stairs and has fallen back asleep. Try to get Batsheva up. Not much luck....Get a proper shirt on myself. No time to get out of pajama pants. Ilana wakes up. Nurse her and get her fully dressed (at least one of us should be, right?). No time to take her to the potty.

6:30: drive Sam to shul (he usually takes Batsheva to the van, but, b/c of slichot services, shul starts too early). Hope for the best w. Ilana in her car seat without "making" before we left.

6:36: home. Find one particular darling daughter who is not dressed yet. Start making dire predictions of missing the van to school. Throw English muffin in microwave for her.

6:40: take patient Ilana to the potty. She looks relieved to be able to relieve herself :). Ilana in her morning pottying takes rather a while (quite "productive", though, so I'm not complaining). Ilana insists on taking off her pants, underwear, socks and shoes (which she always insists on, and is quite a drag when we're out of the house!).

6:52: Finally get a proper skirt on myself. Even manage to brush my hair! Make even more dire predictions to procrastinating child who is putting copious amounts of butter on half-defrosted English muffin. Kiss PB good morning and tell her we dont' have time to read "Ramona" at this moment.

6:57: Manage to get out the door with PB, Ilana and BH. Screech into shul parking lot at 7:01. Amusingly, we are behind another shul family's car as we come around the corner, and, as I am leaving, the last family shows up (thereby making this early morning a total success: "We weren't the last family at the van! We rock!")

7:ish: eat breakfast, check email, make long list of groceries needed for Yom Tov. Help Sam make coffee by spilling water all over the counter. Feed all the kids. Try to read the headlines of the NY Times. Reflect on 9/11. Make my bed. Get PB dressed properly ("No, you may not wear your too-small bathing suit in an effort to look like 'Kim Possible'"). Take Ilana to make again. Put spaghetti squash in microwave to use as base for pesto. Unclog downstairs toilet that clogs is you look funny at it. blah blah blah. Suddenly it's:

9:00 Davening with the kids.

9:40 Leave Chana at home doing her Chumash workbook while PB, Ilana and I drive back to shul again, this time to spruce up the guest room there that will have a family in it for Rosh Hashanah. We had started yesterday with putting a set of sheets we'd washed back on one of the beds, but since two more beds were used this past Shabbat, we washed those sheets last night and put them back on today.

10:10: zoom home, grab karate uniforms and Chana and head to class. Spar with the guy Sam was sparring with when Sam sprained his foot (one month ago and he still can't put weight on it, poor guy). Try not to pop him one (it wasn't his fault, Sam just landed "funny" from a kick). After class, PB goes home with my sister for a 45-minute playdate (their idea, not mine).

12:00-12:30: Nurse Ilana and she falls asleep. Help Chana get lunch and suggest she call Miss Julie and beg for forgiveness for being unable to locate the book her current piano piece is in. Luckily, Julie has another copy of the piece at her studio. Shove some lunch in. Check email. Get "proof copy" from invitation company for Batsheva's bat mitzvah in email. Try to look up about ordering tickets to the play of the "39 Steps" for Sam's birthday (umm, did I forget to say "beg MIL to babysit? Have to beg reeeally hard?" oy....). Call YMCA to sign PB up for class that starts this afternoon. Class is being cancelled for lack of attendance. Try to sign her up for three other classes, only to find the same thing. Finally get her into a swimming class Weds. afternoons. Pay for class with credit card. Geeently get Ilana out of her crib and put her in the car. It is pouring by now. Run to pick up PB.

12:40: PB not ready yet. I try to get her to understand how this day is one of precision timing. She could care less. Finally get her in the car. Drive to Brookline. Storrow Drive is overflowing, driving is super slow, and I have a police officer in back of me for about 10 minutes, causing me to *not* run every yellow light that, had I run, would have allowed us to be on time (or maybe five minutes late) for Chana's piano lesson (we were ten minutes late)

1:30 Find parking space less than one block from The Butcherie! Look in purse for quarter for the meter. Look REALLY hard in purse for quarter. Realize that not finding quarter is nothing compared to not finding wallet. DOH! I left my wallet on the table after paying for PB's class at the Y (wow, this had never happened to me before).

1:40: drive back to Julie's and let PB hang out on the rain in her boots and cow umbrella while we wait for Chana's lesson to end. Ilana, bless her, has remained asleep.

2:20: leave Brookline, drive home, and tell Chana she's got 10 minutes to grab a snack and get changed for her first gymnastics team practice (eeek! 2.5 hours twice a week!).

3:15: leave for gymnastics. Stay for the first half hour and watch the tweens be impressively limber.

4:00 Drive to BJ's. Let PB sit in Chana's seat, next to Ilana. Arrive at BJ's to discover PB has written on Ilana's face with pink marker. Just like in "Arthur's Chicken Pox", someone asks if she has chicken pox.

Ilana and PB are delighted that there is a cart available with one of those little red cars in front. But it's really pouring now and the thing is sopping, dripping, disgustingly wet. Luckily, I had a spare "piddle pad" in the car and that made at least the seat not so bad.

4:45: arrive home, unpack the perishables, and finally read "Ramona" to PB. Try to put some soaps in to set. Ilana follows me into the school room and dumps a small tube of soap scent on herself and the floor. The scent, meant to be used as a drop or two, is overwhelming. Clean her off the best I can. Make a zucchini casserole for dinner with shredded zucchini, farmer cheese, tomatoes and a few basil leaves. Begin making four liters of the special yogurt allowed on the SC diet. Ilana wants my attention. Badly. To get it, she bites my thigh (through a heavy denim skirt). *I* howl. She has broken the skin and left a nasty hickey-looking thing :(

5:00: Batsheva arrives home. Tell her she'll need to babysit while I go get Chana. Suggest she eat something so that she'll be on time to karate. Try to gently cajole and encourage when she says she doesn't want to go to karate ("how about you'll go tonight and you won't go Thursday?!" She saw through that one....). Tell her to please eat something and get in her uniform. Leave.

5:45: Pick up Chana. Arrive home to Batsheva howling "Mommmeeee! She needs to MAKE!". Ilana is standing in the hallway tugging at her pants and yelling too. Sam is at the top of the stairs, trying to get down in a timely manner on his crutches (not possible, btw). A loud CRASH is heard from the room he works in . I get Ilana into the bathroom, but it's a bad "miss" (actually, it wasn't really a miss. She was clear she needed to go. Sam and Batsheva just couldn't get her to the bathroom promtply).

While I'm trying to clear her up, Sam yells, "oh NO! El, come up here! Penina knocked my new work computer off and I think it's gone". I yell back that I'll be up as soon as I can (really, aside from emtional support as we clutch each other in anticipated-anguish of the hit our savings account will take from having to replace this thing, what can I do? And if I leave Ilana, I'm guaranteed a whole lot more work when I get downstairs). Sam throws down the flushable wipes. I use maybe one of those every month. Now, I use 6 just to get things back to normal.

Go up to Sam and find out that it might be okay. Still waiting on that, but it looks like it might~

6:06: walk in the door with Chana. Leave 5 minutes later to drive Batsheva to karate. Take PB and Ilana with me b/c it seems a whole lot safer than leaving them at home.

6:30 Finally make Chana the banana smoothie she asked for on the way home from gymnastics.

6:45 eat dinner. Leah comes over.

7:30: put PB to bed.

8: put Ilana to bed. NOW the real work can begin....

midnight: the yogurt finally gets cool enough to put in the yogurt makers. Usually I put the pot in the sink and dump ice cubes in, which cools it in 1-2 hours. Since the sink is full of dishes that have piled up since this morning, I just cover the pot with a towel, stir frequently, and leave it on the stove. This will present a problem tomorrow night when the yogurt is ready at midnight and I am sound asleep. Blurg.

Take apple soaps out of mold. Discover that mixing cup was not cleaned well enough when I made the red soap. The tiny bit of blue left in there from the "it's a boy" soaps I made earlier tonight has now turned out an entire batch of purple apples. I try to convince myself these look lovely. I fail.

12:48: bed. I quit!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Anniversary! Wow--15 years! Really feels like nothing (which is how I always knew Sam was "the one").

We've "celebrated" (mostly by saying "Happy Anniversary" to each other and boring the children with stories from way back when we rode brontosauruses in to the ceremony) numerous times already this year. First there was the week that the parsha was Shoftim. Then the 8 of Elul. Then the day before Labor Day. By the time the 6th of September rolled around, it seemed like gilding the lily!

But that was before my mother called yesterdcay and asked it we'd like them to come and babysit tonight ("hell, yes, mom!") and before she sweetened the deal *this* morning by offering to cook dinner for the kids and bring it with her (double "hell, yes"!). By the time she arrived, she was so pooped from so much cooking that we took pity on them and took Ilana with us for a rocking dinner in brookline (she was actually a lot of fun).

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Need a laugh?!
It's like the non-Jewish version of, well, CLKL and Umberima!

PB at rock climbing camp

PB went to rock-climbing camp last week. 3 hours a day they climbed (indoor, rock-wall stuff). She had a blast. She attended a homeschoolers' class last spring (along with Chana), and we'll be starting again in October.

Ilana loooves to be at the rock gym too, and PB and I found a hold that she liked to hang on. She could do about 20 seconds with no support, and even knew to put her feet on the wall and try to climb up! (I was a very bad "danger mom" for even taking this picture, but I couldn't resist....)

Batsheva goes back to school

Ilana and Grandma are cute

I am SO crunchy!

I know you all probably thought that my "name" just refers to my level of left-wing-ed-ness. And, of course, it does. But the super secret meaning of "crunchy" mostly refers to the sound all of my floors make b/c Ilana sows Joe's O's cereal everywhere and the rest of us are forever stepping on them.

Whew. I'm glad I came clean about that. I wouldn't want to have any misunderstandings :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Mazal tov to my old "Penn friends", Miriam and Andy, on the birth of twin baby boys last night! PB, Ilana and I went over and hung out with them on Sunday, so it was quite the honor to see her "almost ready".

And now I have an old friend with the same number of kids as me! (That was how she told me she was pregnant. Said she was "catching up". Took me a minute to get the drift).

Rosh Hashanah Soaps

Man, I am having a blast with these!
Tonight, I showed Chana and Leah how to do the icing in top of the "honey cake". It's so fun (and now they know how to do icing on a real cake, too!).

We are getting a LOT of orders. Which is really neat and also kind of scary. People are forwarding my email, and that is so great. And it's great to get orders from people we have no connection to. And I just need to stop hyperventilating about it.


That's Ilana's favorite word these days. As in:

(me, from front seat of car), "Ilana, honey, stay awake. We're almost home! Are you awake?"

(little voice): "No!"

OR....Ilana reaches for the plum on the counter. "Oh, do you want a plum?"
Ilana reaches, takes, puts plum in mouth. "No"

She's a riot this kid, I tell you!


Gosh dang it, I will.....

Let's see if the power of positive thinking works.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I hope the ending of this is as good as the first part....

Our garbage disposal has been really acting up lately. Seems that the stem-to-stern kitchen redo didn't include the contractor actually gettting a new disposal, just reinstalling the old piece of junk.

So I got a recommendation for a plumber today and he was polite, well-spoken, called me back when he said he would, and, on his own, said, "I think I could fit that in this afternoon. How would that be?" HOW WOULD THAT BE?! Umm, that would be beyond my wildest homeowner dreams.


Oooh! Can't wait for tomorrow night's read-a-thon! When the last book came out, we went outside after havdallah, at on the lawn, ate ice cream and read and read. How fun to do that again (with SCD frozen yogurt....And plus one more child....)

Thursday, July 12, 2007



CLKL and Uberima: how on earth do you find time to do this regularly?! I need tips!!!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Food to pack to go away for three glorious days and two fabulous nights

Here's my list for our trip to Cousin Henry's bar mitzvah in NJ:

SCD things that everyone can eat:
--eggplant parm
--panfriend artichokes
--hard boiled eggs
--israeli salad
--tomato and cheese salad (dice tomato and cheddar cheese. Top with dried basil, olive oil and sal and pepper)
--cheddar cheese "crackers" (see one of my earliest posts, if so desired)
--mini mushroom quiches made in muffin tins (this is supposed to make it "lunch like" and possible to eat in the car. Yeah, right....
--grape juice
--fruit, carrots, salad
--apple crisp (apples, butter, noey, ginger and cinnamon)

SCD things with nuts (i.e. not for PB, Ilana or me [b/c I'm nursing a child who could also have a nut allergy]):
--peanut butter muffins
--Lara bars
--mandel bread made with almond flour and honey
--plain peanut butter, esp. for on apples or straight-up, mixed with honey

Non-SCD things (i.e. not for Chana):
--breakfast bars from Trader Joe's

Umm, can I just say, " WE'RE GONNA STARVE!!!!!!!"

Off to continue cooking.....

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday (during which I lose our pets....)

As I was feeding Fred and George, our parakeets, I had the decidely less-than-brilliant idea to take their cage outside to dump the shmutz at the bottom of the cage. There is a slideout tray I clean several times a week, but the tray below that doesn't get done much, and it really needed it.

I went out on the porch, took the top cage part off and put it down on the porch, thus, I thought, keeping Fred and George in the cage. They were so happy out in the beautiful weather--chirping up a storm....

PB came out and asked if we could let them out for a little bit. I was leaning over the edge of the porch cleaning the cage bottom as I explained that they weren't cut out for "outside" life, and we must leave them in the cage. Then she asked why the door to the cage was open....

I turned around, saw that she was right, and tried to shut the door. I was so close I didn't even need to move my feet to reach the cage, but just as I leaned over, Fred and George literally flew the coop.

"Come back!" I yelled. "All is forgiven". "Come back, Amelia Bedelia". "Nooooo! Fred! George! Please come back!!!!!!!" Nothing worked.

They did look beautiful, flying down Vista St, heading for Boston. Or maybe someplace warmer.

We left the newly-cleaned cage outside with the door open (the door which doesn't stay shut well when off the base of the cage. Wish I had remembered that this morning), and extra food, water and treats nearby, just in case they're still local and want to come home. Sniff....When the kids went biking around the pond later, we looked for them in vain.

I just walked past the cage covering and thought, "I should put them to bed. It's really late", before I remembered. I can't believe I'm having a grief reaction over birds (well, it's a *little* reaction, but still....).

Our plan now is to give Fred and George a few days to come home, and then get new parakeets next week, since we're going to Sam's nephew's bar mitzvah in NJ this weekend, and won't be able to lavish the attention a new pet will need.

Fred and George: thanks for being such great pets. I very much enjoyed hearing your beautiful chirping, and I loved the nice way you went to sleep each night (throw cloth over cage. walk away. no "I need to do Shema". no "I need a drink of water".....). Bon voyage. I wish you good birdie lives. And, should you so choose, remember that there will always be a home for you on Vista St.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A.C. Moore (or maybe not)

What an odd evening! It started when I took Chana, PB and Ilana to the craft-supply store after we dropped Batsheva and Leah off at karate. There were a few things on sale I wanted to buy, especially t-shirts and transfer paper so that I could make us "4 Sisters Soaps" t-shirts. I found most of the things I was looking for, but none of the t-shirt supplies seemed to be on sale. Before checking out, I asked to see the sale circular, and was told that there wasn't one this week. I pulled my 40% off coupon out of my pocket and read the date on it. Valid! Then I noticed it was for A.C. Moore and we were in Michael's (still transferable, btw). This explains my grumbling about how I can "never find what's in the circular when I'm in this store". I guess I make this mistake rather a lot.

So we left Michael's with our purchases (sans t-shirt stuff) and I noticed it was 30 minutes past PB's bedtime, and 30 minutes before we needed to pick up the other girls at karate. Hmm....What to do....30 minutes wasn't enough time for me to get home, put PB to bed and get to karate on time for pickup (plus Chana hates being babysitter at night), so I suggested we go to A.C. Moore. The kids were happy to comply ("ooh, let's buy more goodies!").

I drove into a shopping strip mall and looked to where the store was. At least, where *I thought* the store was. The store that's really there is A.J. Wright (mild dyslexia regarding stores with two initials in them. Probably not a reimbursable condition from Blue Cross....)

I thought a minute and decided it must be in the THIRD mall that's within two miles of my house (have I mentioned I love my location? We live across the street from a beautiful 25-acre pond with tons of birds and wildlife, yet only two miles from every store you could want [as long as you can remember which one is where!).

We did, finally, find A.C. Moore and get t-shirt stuff. But I'm much too tired to try to actually do anything with what we purchased!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Redoing soaps. Again. And again....

We have an order for 50 gymnastics soaps for an end-of-year banquet. This is a double-pour soap. First we make a white, lightly-opaque layer, then finish the back of the soap with pink (the soap is of a gymnast on a balance beam).

On some molds (mostly the silicone ones), doing a double- or triple-pour is easy. The layers stick together beautifully and look great. This mold only comes in plastic, which I don't like to work with b/c it's very temperamental. So it's hard to get the layers to totally stick together, despite using soap-making tricks like spritzing each layer with alcohol before pouring the next one. With this mold, I have to pay attention and try to get the second pour when the first layer is not so hard they don't meld at all, but not so soft that the heat from the second layer causes a rupture in the first (that just happened to a set I made this morning, and it was an amusing soap--looked like the girl on the beam had fallen and gotten a HUGE boo-boo on her tush).

So, with this order, I have spent a fair bit of time ripping layers apart and remelting. My favorite redo happened b/c I found a feather from our two parakeets in an otherwise-perfect soap.

Which reminds me that I need to go pour the second layer....

One Year on the SC Diet

Look at that cutie! SO strong.

Able to resist birthday cake and cold cereal with milk.

Able to overcome urges for cookies and pasta.

Able to find the good in this difficult diet.

Able to make grain-free, sugar-free, mandel bread (with Uncle Frank's help) that tastes so good that *everyone* wants to eat it.

Able to make it through blood draws, medical procedures, general anesthesia, and hospitalization.

Able to make it through prednisone's totally nasty side-effects.

Able to keep up with karate through it all and be on track to be a black belt before her bat mitzvah.

Able to keep up with gymnastics prep team practice so that she's on track to join the official team in the Fall.

Able to be a great daughter, sister and friend.

Way to go, Chana. Enjoy your pierced ears! (And, no, you are not getting a laptop for staying on the diet for two years....)

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Last Wednesday, I got an email from Motherwear (the best company for nursing mom clothes) proclaiming their once-a-year tent sale on Friday and Saturday in Northampton, two hours from here. EEEK!

Rhona encouraged me to go (actually, it was more like shame--she told me SHE'D surely have gone if she "only" lived two hours away). I was undecided. Finally, after my sister offered to watch PB in the early morning until my mom could pick her up, I decided to DO IT!

In an act of supremely-un-"me"-like "togetherness", I got everyone up and out of our house and Chana, Ilana and I were on the road at 7 am! This entailed sending all the kids to bed mostly dressed (leggings on, skirt out on bed), packing lunch the night before, printing directions, etc, etc....

I am so glad I went. I had been bemoaning the really horrendous state of my wardrobe. Like how many of my nursing clothes were from when Batsheva and Chana were born (you can just imagine). While I don't need to look so fabulous during my day, I don't need to look like I need spare change either.

So the sale was just wonderful. They advertised that nothing was over $15, but I only bought a few things that were even $10. I got something like 4 short-sleeve shirts, 7 long-sleeve, 3 dressy and one sweater! Chana and I played "personal shopper" for Rhona, and I bought a lot of new-in-package basic long-sleeve t-shirts to give as baby gifts, too.

I even managed to take the kids to the library as well as light Shabbat candles on time! The only major OOOPSIE I had was forgetting to leave PB's car seat for my mom. I didn't even realize until we were 30 minutes away. DOH! Bless my mom, when SHE realized what had happened, she went to Target and, for less than $20, bought another booster seat. Whew! Way to go, Rho!

Some days, it really does all (mostly) come together :).,

Mazal tov!

To Janet and Mark on the birth of a baby boy on Sunday, 6/3.

Do you think people who tell you of their baby's birth have ANY idea of how happy they make a person? Does Janet know that now, 5 days later, I still get a big smile on my face thinking about their newly-expanded family?

Such a bracha....

Going for 100!

Wow! Busy month for the soap company! Between birthdays, babies and end-of-year gatherings, we have orders for over 100 soaps!

Can't write any more now. Gotta go make soap....

Batsheva's Play

"What shall we buy, what present shall we bring?" was her big line that we all keep walking around singing. The play was very cute and nicely done (aside from the oddness of watching three grades of girls perform a play that was exclusively about men [Kings David and Shaul]). The townspeople (of which Batsheva was one) got to wear skirts and copious amounts of green eye shadow.

A good time was had by all!

The Groovy Mobile :)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Things I Never Thought I'd Say as a Parent....

"Because I'm the parent" seems a perfectly reasonable thing to say. Benevolent dictatorship and all. However, some of the things that pop out of my mouth truly do surprise me:

"No, you are NOT going to mummify your sister" (to Chana)

"Markers go on the paper, not in your mouth" (to Ilana, after a market went SPLOOSH all over her teeth. She was distraught and wanted to nurse. EWWWW!)

"STOP READING!!!!!!!" (to Batsheva)

"You may not use permanent marker to write on yourself" (to PB)

"You may not use permanent marker to write on another person, especially not a mustache" (ibid)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh What a Night (part 2)

Backround info:

our car is in the shop today, so I'm driving my mom's car. Tomorrow (HOORAY!) my parents return from their 7 month self-imposed exile in Florida. At which point they expect to find their car in their driveway so they can do necessary things like go grocery shopping.

The night:

Tonight was supposed to be my big night out with my old friends (not that we're "old"), Heidi and Jodi. We went to elementary school together, and, despite being pretty different people, we have made it through thick and thin and still actually like to hang out with each other. Like it a lot, in fact!

Jodi went to college at UMass Amherst, then moved to Texas, and then lived for a number of years in Singapore (!). She moved back to MA about 1 1/2 years ago with her husband and two children, and now lives about an hour away from Heidi and me. Heidi and I see each other all the time. She and her son came over for dinner last night, in fact.

Last month, after working for what felt like weeks to coordinate schedules to find time for "Ladies Night", we had a great time together and got Heidi ready to testify (in 60 seconds or less) before a State Senate subcommittee on education.

This month, I felt way too swamped with preparations for the holiday of Shavuot and our friends who are coming to stay with us for 5 nights. So I bowed out of dinner but said I would meet up with them at Starbucks. After giving everyone dinner and putting PB to bed, I made it to BJ's with 20 minutes to shop before our meeting time. I even survived the horrendous checkout line without needing store personnel-assistance in self checkout (now THERE'S an accomplishment!).

I got to my mother's car in the lot (ours being in the shop) and the darn thing wouldn't start!

Well, off to put Ilana to bed. Tune in later for the ending....

Sunday, May 20, 2007

One small step for giant step for....well, Ilana.

On Shabbat, Ilana took one teensy tinsy very wobbly little step. Chana and I, of course, flipped out and she fell down BOOM while smiling. Our wonderful friend Janet who was here for Shabbat with her husband, Mark, is our witness that the historic event really did take place :)

B'sha'ah tova to Janet (CLKL--remember her?), who is due with her first in about 3 weeks! SO neat!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What's new with Ilana?

Why, funny you should ask! Starting Saturday night, she began to stand up on her own without holding on to anything. Soooo cute to see. By the end of her practice time, she was even able to clap for herself for being so clever!

She can walk holding on with one hand.

She can (still) climb like a monkey.

She can do a terrific "Shema": covers eyes and says "ahhhhhh".

She can now say "Eva" for "Batsheva" (her first word was "Ana" for Chana).

Current signs: more, all done, "gotta make", nurse. We also use eat, drink, and "thank you" with her, but she hasn't done those yet.

"Happy Bratska Fartska Tushka Day"

A card that the "oldest of my girls" made for a certain 4.5 year-old who says that comment raw-ther a lot (actually, what she really yells is "you stupid bratska fartska tushka"). OY.....

Someone please remind me that she will (G-d willing, soon) get out of this phase!

Monday, May 14, 2007

SCD food as artistic statement

on left: homemade yogurt with a layer of baked apples in the middle and fresh blackberries on top.

next: black bean salad with shredded lettuce and tomatoes on a tortilla made entirely of cheddar cheese

next: the same ingredients, but the cheese is made into a folded tortilla (hint: melt cheese in a nonstick pan. wait for it to cool [put in fridge to speed the process if child is very hungry]. Blot oil off. Fold. Enjoy the fact that, gosh dang it, you finally made something that looks NORMAL.

Next:If child refuses to eat yogurt that took 30-something hours to make, put in fancy shmancy glass and artistically top with honey. Hope for the best....

Last picture: "SCD Mac and Cheese", made with spaghetti squash in place of noodles. Tastes pretty darn good, except nothing like what my kids really crave, which comes in a package and has flourescent orange powdered cheese.

Oh what a night....

It all started way back when, on Mother's Day (i.e. yesterday). Now you have to know that, although our house is really bonkers during most days, once we get the kids wrestled into bed at night, it's pretty calm around here. I've worked darn hard this year to get PB's bedtime to 7 pm. Still working on getting Batsheva and Chana into bed around 9. But I digress. Back to the wonderful day where mothers are feted and their children behave like little angels....

Sam was working on work stuff. I was working on soap company stuff. I needed help. By the time he could help me and we worked out what the heck was the problem with our printer, it was 1 am (hi Fern! Which explains why I was writing to you in Israel then. How could I pass up the opportunity to speak in almost real-time?).

And Batsheva was roaming the upstairs very upset about not being able to sleep well, and would we PLEASE come upstairs (needed her across-the-hall teddy bears, I guess).

So we finished and got into bed. Only to find that Goldilocks, er, PB was already there. And would not leave for love, money or threat of all potential for a goodie the next day being taken away. So Sam and I went into the guest room. But that bed was toooo little, being only a single, and had a lack of pillows. So we made our way back into our room and tried to move PB into her sleeping bag on our floor. Which worked for a little while, until she half woke up and discovered our nefarious scheme....

Then Ilana woke up. It was now 4 am. Nursed her, which took a surprisingly long time (maybe it was close enough to daytime for "first breakfast") and put her back in her crib at the foot of our bed (no room for her to stay since PB was already there). She wasn't having any of it. Have you ever gotten to the point of exhaustion where you find it totally possible to fall asleep with a screaming child less than three feet from you (I bet most of you have, actually....)? She finally stopped screaming and took a different tact. She stood up in her crib, looked over the edge endearingly and said, "All Done" ("Ah Dah"). So we smushed her into our bed and got the final 1.5 hours of sleep until it was time to get Batsheva up for school.

On the bright side: Chana slept the whole night. And the birds.

p.s. from the next day: in a totallyn pathetic display of exhaustion, I fell asleep on the floor of the YMCA during PB's gymnastics lesson (Ilana was having a snooze in her carseat, and Chana was only too happy to take a break from doing her math with me). Sure felt better after, though!


Saturday night, after working towards it for a few days (getting into a squat, but not being able to stand up), Ilana began to stand! She was so thrilled with her new skill that she did it continually for an hour, even progressing to being able to stand and clap for herself without falling over (at least at that moment).

Batsheva, Chana, Leah and I were there to cheer the big accomplishment on.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ilana's busy, busy day

Today, let's see, she spent quite a while pulling out the "baby protective" covers on an electrical socket (and, EEK, trying to put them back in). Maybe I should give her some prescription medicine containers to practice on next....

She helped me unload the dishwasher by standing in it (I'm beginning to see why I can't get a handle on the mess in my house!). Is that a picture of a kid saying "I'm busted" or what?!

Climbed up the stairs a bazillion times.

Helpfully unloaded all the plastic forks onto the floor and then chewed on them (box of plastic utensils is now away inside a cabinet)

Was discovered trying to eat a screw that had come loose from the baby gate at the entrance of our schoolroom (I was only about a foot away from her when it happened, but she was facing away from me). The gate is now fixed :)

Tried to sit on Chana's skateboard scooter and fell off, getting her first-ever facial boo-boos.

Yelled "HIIII" at the appropriate moment at karate so that the teacher stopped what he was doing and asked "did she just 'ki ahp'?!"

Climbed into this small plastic chair that holds kids' books in our bathroom. Did I mention that she did it without taking the books out? That was one precariously-perching toddler!

Spent almost the whole day diaper-free at home (two misses at home [one she crawled into the bathroom and banged on the potty, but I didn't make it in time to help her actually get *on* the potty. I don't think that one really counts as a miss!], one when she was diapered at karate)

She also ate several spoonfuls of homemade organic apple sauce (see SC Diet posts below), opening her mouth reaaaally wide and then smearing it in her hair.

I'm exhausted!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Wow. I am so amazed at the incredible "lactivists" (breastfeeding activists) on Mothering magazine's website (

Recently, a mom posted there about how she and her sister are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Houston while her sister's son is recovering from brain surgery. AND THEY WERE HARRASSED ABOUT NURSING IN THE COMMON ROOM! How insane is that?! The poor kid is 17 months old and healing from brain surgery and people are kvetching that they're "uncomfortable" with that baby nursing in "public"?! Have these idiots heard of turning away? Reading a newspaper? Not being so interested in other people's business? Leaving the room? Do they have a CLUE that this is what breasts are for?!

RMH has gotten an earful from pro-nursing folks (we live in a bizarre world that there can possibly be people who are anti-....), and today there was an article in the New York Times:

Monday, April 16, 2007

Diaper-free Baby

Yay! We took the plunge a week ago. We have used Elimination Communiation with Ilana since her birth--listening to her cues (like getting squirmy or more verbal) and our intuition, and taking her to the potty or toilet to make. She has been in cloth diapers full-time, but as a backup to EC. She's been about 50% for dry diapers.

Well, it's a week now for us where she is diaper-free at home and in a backup cloth diaper when we're out, and I am so proud of her and us for doing this. She's doing great! And I am getting the hang of NOT putting diapers on automatically! It's nice that we really think about when we want her in diapers (like during dinner last night, when she hadn't peed in forever, it was late, and I was reeeeally hungry).

On Friday, I took her many times to make with nada coming out. Then she crawled to the potty on her own and did make! This happened twice and was very heartening.

I'd say we have about three misses a day, but with a fair bit of "communication" going on. Yesterday, for example, she was playing with her toys and stopped and looked at me with a very concerned look on her face. "Oh, do you have to make?" I asked, as I picked her up and carried a very pishy baby to the bathroom. Well, at least it doesn't happen too often!

She also sometimes uses sign language to say that she has to make. It's very cute to see. The sign is the letter "T" for toilet shaken back and forth, but she holds her hand in a very specific, curved way and shakes it. I love the inner genius in our very young kids :)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

One Year Old....

Wow. This past weekend was Ilana's Hebrew birthday. So, while the right number of suns have not yet passed since her birth, the correct number of moons have! She was born on Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat right before Passover, and it's funny how I have such a strong connection to that time this year, and almost none to the date of April 7....

I love how this year the timing is very similar to last year (except I think that the first night of Pesach last year was a Tuesday, not a Monday like this year). No matter how late we stay up dealing with the kitchen, it feels like such a piece of cake (SCD Pesach cake?!) b/c we don't have a newborn, I haven't been ordered by the midwife to stay upstairs except for appearing at the sedars, and Chana is not sick!

So Miss Ilana celebrated by climbing the entire staircase with me in back of her, climbing three stairs (without me in back of her) and falling down (I was in the other room and a friend here for Shabbat lunch forgot to keep an eye on her 100% of the time) and getting her first facial bruise (aww, good for her!). She also ate homemade apple sauce and some rice cake crumbs. She can pull herself to standing and has six teeth now.

We all wore party hats for Shabbat dinner and Shabbat lunch. Batsheva, Chana and PB gave brachas to her on Friday night. It was so sweet to hear the blessings they said. PB said, "I hope you always have good sleep", while B and C wished her "another 120 years" with all good things in them.

Richard and Leah came for lunch and we all talked about last year, and how they heard about her birth. Batsheva and Chana went to shul to tell Leah, and B. tried to fool her that the baby had been a boy. Leah just insisted that it was a girl, though :). Richard remembered going over to Sam as soon as he came into shul and asking what happened. Sam said that he ignored everyone and concentrated on davening. Then, when it was time for announcements, he sidled up to Andy and asked him to announce a mazal tov to our family!

After Shabbat (last year), my brother and Sis-in-law, Jay and Kim, came over. Then, around 11 pm, Sam's mom, Chellie, and his stepfather, Joey, came over. I was so tired, but there's nothing like seeing a grandma coo over a new grandbaby.

The next morning, Kim came back with Joshua and Rebecca. Josh put Ilana on his hand and held her. (Which brings me a flashback of Jay holding Josh like that, except that Josh [who is now something like 6'3"] was in his little lamb coat with the ears and tail!). Later, Heidi came, and Nancy, Efraim and Chana Nasia. Chana Masha was just lying in bed next to me, kind of zoned out. Efraim ( made a wonderful vegetable lasanga. Nancy and Heidi, who had just met, even bonded by going to Costco together.

I definitely have been thinking about how our friends and family saved us with their wonderful cooking. Rissy, Suzi, Tova R, my aunt Paula (AP)....So many kind people sent over kugel or matza lasagna or soup. AP even kindly accepted my family descending on her erev Pesach so that my kids could see her grandkids. Then, of course, they got hungry, which is really a bother erev pesach! But she dealt with everything with such grace.

And then Jen and Shmuley took the girls to the Big Apple Circus during Chol HaMoed....And Chana Milman and Menucha took them to the zoo. What amazing friends and relatives we have.

It's been quite a year. Couldn't have made it through without such great love and support.

Monday, February 26, 2007

What do I feed this kid?!

It seemed daunting way back when, but now it feels pretty darn normal to deal with the SC diet full-time. Here's today's menu:

Breakast: Peanut butter smoothie, made with PB, frozen banana, honey, apple cider and homemade yogurt (more about that later!)
Baked apples sauteed in butter and honey

Snack: poached egg

Lunch: breakfast redux (her choice)

Snack: umm, I can't remember, but I'm sure there was one

Dinner: artichoke with melted butter
organic broccoli
Taco Fillings (corn or flour tortillas are not allowed on the diet, so we came up with the idea of eating just the fillings. This is THE dinner that most feels like old times for all of us).

So we ate refried beans (red beans and black are okay on the diet, as long as they've been soaked overnight and then cooked for at least two hours. True confession: I know that I'd been a vegetarian for, well, forever, before this, but I had never cooked beans from scratch before--only used canned). Ate the beans with lettuce and shredded cheese. I've also become creative and begun to make "cheese tortillas" by melting cheese in a nonstip pan and then letting it get cool enough to lift out in one piece and roll. THAT, my friend, is a triumph of creativity over restriction :)

Dessert: homemade apple fruit roll and dehydrated orange slices.

I also made apple sauce, since Chana has trouble swallowing pills, but can do it with the pills mixed in apple sauce.

Food appliances I've used today:
Foley Food mill (for the apple sauce)
blender (twice. Once for the peanut butter smoothie and once for a soy butter one that Penina could eat).
immersion blender (for the refried beans)
yogurt maker (for the yogurt :))
dehydrator (for the fruit roll [made by dehydrating apple sauce. Came out great! Only problem is that it's like 9 hours since I started making the apple sauce] and the oranges)

I'm beginning to see why I'm so tired at night. And why I need help keeping my house from spiraling into utter chaos. And....

And Yet Another Follow-Up....

The upshot of all the "is it a flare or isn't it" is that it was/is, but is not a crazy, out-of-control one. I am reminded of being in nursing school and being told repeatedly to "trust the mom". That is definitely born out in this case, since the clinical evidence of Chana's labs being off is only now coming out, several weeks after I called and said, "I think she's having a flare".

I spoke with Chana's doctor 1.5 weeks ago when he called to tell me that one of her inflammation markers was very high (17.7 for C-reactive protein, when normal is less than 1). So now, instead of being on one pill a day, she's on 6 (well, 7 if we count the iron).

Labs get drawn again tomorrow, so, hopefully, we'll find out good news at her next appt. on Thursday. She seems totally back to normal, and I'm hoping we can ditch the extra meds ASAP.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Yeah...What She Said

PB comes into the kitchen, crying about her big sisters' treament of her:
"They're outcluding me!"

A follow-up

Weird what happens when one comes back and revisits old posts. I didn't even recall putting the "flare" post on here.

So here's what happened: Chana had labs drawn and....they were fine (whew) and the dr. said "go to Florida!". Cutting out the nuts and seeds did seem to be a big help, as her stomach eventually stopped hurting so much (oh yeah, she also went back on super-duper antacid, so now, should she so desire, I suppose she really could "eat the whole thing" like those old commercials used to say). Her iron count was still low, but the two main markers of inflammation were okay.

Had more blod drawn last week, and the iron count was eek-scary lower (add in iron pill [which, since it's very difficult to digest, is technically a no-no on the diet, which is why we didn't start it earlier]), and one of the inflammatory markers is creeping up. STOP!!!! Do not increase! Do not give my child a flare. Do not show even an inkling of my child having a flare.

Did I mention that the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) sent both Chana and me separate fundraising letters today?! I'm totally disgusted. Chana's letter was already in the recycle pile when I fished it out. I want to know from them how they got her name. Does Mass General sell the names of the newly-diagnosed?! It's bad enough that when Chana was in the hospital, the Clinical Nurse Specialist (which is technically what I am, so I really wanted to like this woman) handed me this huge pile of info from CCFA including what felt like numerous membership appeals and donation opportunities. I didn't join. (Which leads to the question of why *I* am getting these letters as well, but I don't feel anywhere near as outraged about my getting them as I do my 9 year-old). And, yes, there is probably a bit of denial mixed in to these feelings....

I hate Crohn's disease :(

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Unfortunately, it appears that Chana is having a "flare" of Crohn's. Her stomach hurts in the same way and place as it did when she was first ill, she's very tired, and, in general, just feels lousy. We thought it started this morning, but, looking back, I see that she hasn't been 100% since Tuesday.

When she saw her dr. a few weeks back he thought that she might need to go back on iron supplements, but gave us one month to try to deal with it nutritionally. So I've been encouraging Chana to eat tons of nuts and seeds. Those can be very hard to digest, and aren't even used on her diet until a person has been symptom-free for six months. I think I "pushed" the seeds waaaay too much over the past week or two, and I am now wondering if this is seed-related, or just the nature of this beastly disease.....

I spoke w. her doctor today and he said to make sure to keep her 100% on the diet, but take out nuts and seeds (of course) and beans. Unless she has a dramatic turnaround, we will go in tomorrow for blood work to see if her inflammation markers are up. She's also seeing the acupuncturist tomorrow.

Please send some good thoughts her way. Aside from feeling lousy and being scared about what's going on, Chana is also worried that our trip next week to Florida will get messed up.....I'm hoping that we've caught this early enough to nip it right in the bud.

Wish I was writing about something more fun.....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

40 pounds....

That's how much soap base got delivered to my house the other day. The poor UPS guy. For a moment I couldn't remember what I had ordered that would be in such a large box. Then I said, "Oh, that must be the 40 pounds of soap base!". He gave a little grunt of confirmation and asked if I wanted him to put it on the floor :)

In the past, the largest amount I've ever ordered for our company ( is 25 pounds, and never as a huge block, always in 1-, 2- or 5- pound bricks. But this was SUCH a good sale that I couldn't resist.

Glycerin soap isn't hard to cut. But the thing about 40 pounds is that it's rather more like chopping up a small glacier than gently cubing soap bricks into 1-ounce bits.

I shall return tomorrow to cut again! And again....And again....

Friday, January 05, 2007

The kitchen (before)

We've known since the first time we stepped foot in our house that the kitchen needed to be redone. Despite being quite large, it had almost no counter space or cabinets, and the ones that were there were chipped, cracked, and didn't line up or close well. Did I mention the kitchen was pretty ugly as well?

But we didn't get motivated to actually do it until Chana started on the SC diet (add two yogurt makers, a food dehydrator and pounds upon pounds of raw ingredients) and we added meat into our previously-vegetarian lives (add second set of dishes, pots, utensils, etc to kosher kitchen). That plus my father deciding that finding us a contractor was one of his part-time jobs for the summer (I think it turned more into a full-time job, but he was still a good sport about it, even when it got to the absurdity of him letting himself in to our house and meeting with contractors when I wasn't even home!)