Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Contest Is On!

Following-up to my post about Yaldah magazine winning $10,000 by being a "Someday Stories" contest finalist:

The contest just started and you can see all the stories and watch videos of the contestants talking about their dreams. It's a really neat contest, and the finalists are wonderful! Check them out here: and don't forget to vote!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Brushing Ilana's Teeth

That's been a fairly big struggle since she's gotten teeth. We sing songs, play games, act silly. Mostly, though, I do all those things while I put her in a headlock and go to work....Recently, she's started letting me floss her teeth, which, according to some, is more important than brushing anyway, so we'll hope for the dental best.

Me: "Before we read another story, it's time to brush your teeth"
Ilana (almost 2 1/2): "Don' wan' brush teeth! I don' have teeth!!!!!!"

I've found my favorite snack food

Love at first bite. I just tried Trader Joe's Roasted Gorgonzola Oven Crisp Crackers. WOW. They have a base taste of regular, buttery cracker. And then a delicate POW of stinky cheese. Heaven. Absolute heaven. If these had been around when I was pregnant, we would have had to buy them by the case. Reasonably priced, too, at $1.99/box.

btw, O-U dairy certified. And if they can make gorgonzola crackers w. an O-U certification, would it be asking so much to find some good stinky cheese w. a nice hechsher?!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ilana and PB play school

PB: "I'm the morah!" (teacher)
Ilana: "I'm the Torah!"

My parents' big trip

My parents are in Israel now! 2 1/2 weeks on a tour around the country. They have never been there. I am so excited for them. The (little) kids and I keep singing "Ye-RU-Sha-la-yim" ("Jerusalem") over and over. So far, they're not overwhelmed, but they've only been there a few days and see Tel Aviv (bleh, in my opinion), Jaffa and Haifa, where they are for Shabbat.

I hope they love Jerusalem as much as my family does.....There is nothing like the Old City....


Shabbat Shalom!

I remembered to bring something to read!

Several of you emailed me expressing your concern over my not bringing anything to read when I went to the dermatologist. So I remembered the next time! I brought the book I'm in the middle of: "Bleak House" by Dickens, and every single member of the staff commented on what an, umm, interesting choice of reading material I chose to bring to surgery :)

btw, it's not all that bleak (at least yet!).

Way to go Yaldah mag!

Oh my goodness! I just read about Leah Larson and Yaldah magazine winning $10,000 (yes, that's the correct number of 0's!)! And they're in the running to win $100,000. I am just so impressed with this young woman's intelligence, business savvy and all-around neato-ness! Go, Leah!

For those of you reading this who only have boys :), Yaldah is a great magazine *for* Jewish girls and *by* Jewish girls. It's in its fourth year of publication and has kept to its publication schedule since its first issue (a major feat for any new mag, nevermind one run by a young teen). The only ad space 4 Sisters Soaps has ever taken out has been in Yaldah. Batsheva and Chana each were elected to the magazine's editorial board, and had a great year helping write and illustrate articles.

What I like best is that it's like American Girl, but with a spiritual angle, and written from a Jewish standpoint. How often do our girls get to feel mainstream? (well, if you live in Williamsburg, or some other Jewish enclave, maybe it's all the time), but for those of us out in the big, wide world, I think it's great for my girls, and all Jewish girls, to read articles written by other kids who daven, do mitzvot and dress in a tznius manner (my fave section is the one where they highlight modest clothes available at major clothing retailers for reasonable prices). if you don't already visit there!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Willoughby, Wallaby Woo....

Now that Chana is just about 11, there are very few linguistic oopsies that occur. But last night, as we were reading "Sense and Sensibility" together, she said, "I really don't like that guy Wallaby".

And I cracked up and said, "Willoughby".

Then we had a rousing chorus of the kids' song "willaby, wallaby, Woo....An elephant sat on you. And willaby, wallaby, we. An elephant sat on me" :)

Wow--two teeth!

My big girl! PB lost her first two teeth and started kindergarten all in the same week!

Ilana and I are having a riot of a time playing "carpool". We drive our little plastic minivan all around the living room picking up Annabelle and Devorah and choosing which animals from the plastic farm are going to be each person in our family (although, honestly, is it better to be the cow, chicken or goat?!).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Car Talk: the Crunchy Version

I got my driver's license at 17, and my first car at 35. Yep, 35. I was able to do this due to a combination of living in mostly urban environments, taking public transportation, carpooling/car-mooching when possible/necessary, and, when it finally came around (and not a moment too soon), joining a car-sharing service for transportation by the hour (of course, the problem with car sharing is that it leads to "Domino's Syndrome" whereby one drives like a loon b/c it's 59 minutes into one's last reserved hour, and the parking space is still one traffic-light-infested mile away. And it's raining, so one can just imagine the next person waiting for the car getting sopping wet b/c, ehem, "one" didn't get the car back in time.....Theoretically speaking, of course).

So we moved to the 'burbs and bought a minivan. All in one year. It's amazing my sense of self-worth was able to remain whole. But, truly, I love my minivan. It's a 1997 Chevrolet Venture. However, much as I love "Betsy", she's got over 90,000 miles on her now, and we have to rent a minivan every time we go past our state border. This is mostly due to my parents being concerned about us taking an 11 y/o car on long trips, not any huge defect Betsy has (or, is showing that she has). Since I freely admit that I know just about as much about cars as you might expect from someone who didn't bother to own one until middle-age, I defer to my parents' judgment here.

Sure, Betsy's got some minor issues, who of us doesn't? For Betsy, this list includes:

--a driver's side mirror held on with electrical tape b/c to fix it they will have to order an entirely new arm thingy that holds the mirror. Ka-CHING. Even the mechanic told me to use tape!

--a muffler that, while it doesn't sound loud, shakes the car like the bed at a cheap motel.

--head- and tail-lights that are permanently fogged with water

--a driver's side lock/unlock button that doesn't work at all

--a rear passenger's button that rarely unlocks.

and, my favorite b/c it makes me look like a moron at parking garages and drive-through bank machines:

--a driver's side window that is stuck permanently about 1.5 inches down. In the early part of the summer, the window had been getting balky, and one day, it went down and never went back up. Due to a huge stroke of luck on my part, this happened to be right before a huge thunderstorm hit town. Panicked, I drove to the nearest car place I could think of: Valvoline (have I mentioned I don't know much about cars?). They told me that my oil was fine, they couldn't fix my window, and I had to go to the glass shop a few miles away. That sounded odd to me. I was thinking I needed a mechanic, but I positioned the diaper that was on the window sill to try to stop the rain from pouring in on me, and went off to the glass shop. They told me everyone was gone for the day anyway, but, even if they weren't, I needed a mechanic, not a glass shop, since there wasn't anything wrong with the glass except that it wasn't going up and down! So off I went to my mechanic, clear across town, now with an absorbent "piddle pad" across my very wet arm. They were able to pull out the door mechanicals, and, after a while of jabbing, poking and putting wires together, were able to get the window up. Until a few days later when another driver in my family forgot about the situation as well as the piece of electrical tape on the window control that says "NO!", and pressed the down button. It spasmodically went down a bit, but never went up again. I taped up the inside of the window the day after that, when it started raining again, and I began muttering about "not again. Oh no, not on MY shift!" and used my Scotch Tear-By-Hand tape that I carry in the glove compartment to close up the gap.

So we're waiting on the $300 repair b/c, hey, it might be someone else's problem soon!

But other than those few minor things, it's a great car. We love you, Betsy! Don't conk out just b/c I aired our dirty laundry in public!

Comin up soon: What kind of car to get? What size car do we need? Do they make a hybrid that doesn't cost as much as the remaining payments on my mortgage? And do we really need to clean four years of my kids' junk out of this car before trying to sell it?! That's almost as frightening as looking at car prices.

Monday, September 01, 2008

nose update

I'm doing fine. The surgery was on Friday and went as well as could be expected. Unfortunately, the second biopsy they took the previous week also came back as basal cell, so they needed to remove spots from two places on my nose. However, they only needed to do each spot once before the lab report came back "all clear". The dr. spent quite a lot of time figuring out how best to stitch me up so that I would have the least noticeable scars. So I have 25 stitches in my nose, but, in the long term, that should be helpful :)

The worst of the post-op shenanigans are over now (for the first 48 hours I wasn't allowed to look down or turn my head. Now THAT was annoying to deal with. Until Friday, when the stitches come out, I can't bend or lift anything, which compared with not bending, lifting, or turning my head, seems much easier to cope with!). Thankfully, Sam is working at home this week, so I keep asking him to help me lift stuff (hard to make soap when I can't life the mini-iceberg of soap base that I need to chop up!).