Baking ‘hamantaschen’ with your Israeli children.

Ears of a guy we’re meant to love to hate. Jews: still rocking weird drama since 3338.

First time making hamantaschen with my kids. Or as an adult. FYI: as you and the diaspora-born father of your kids keep talking about ‘hamentashen,’ your Israeli-born kids are bound to, at some point, look at you oddly.

“Oh. Right. Oznei Haman… it’s, uh, Yiddish to say ‘hamantaschen.’ Haman + taschen.”

Stares.

I had this thing baking hamantaschen. It wasn’t as bad as I thought… Here’s the recipe we used, nothing fancy. Obviously we traded fruit jam for chocolate.

Homemade Purim costumes. No pricey. No sexy.

This is the first year we had strong Purim costume requests… from two kids.

‘Hello Kitty’ I got pretty quick.

Once I figured out what צב צבי נינג’ה meant, I spent a few days hinting at other ideas because after a quick look at Pinterest I decided this would be too hard.

But I won’t lie: I derived a lot of pleasure from my son requesting to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle… in 2014.

I left Pinterest out of this and I’m pretty proud of what we came up with. Cheap and easy and something Koala actually helped with.

Costume ingredients for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle:

  • Green sweatpants and long sleeve shirt
  • Blue (or turtle hero color of your choice) light craft fabric for mask, arm and leg bands
  • Two round foil pans for back shell and front plate
  • Green and yellow paint
  • Green ribbon for the shell straps
  • Safety pins
  • Green face paint
  • Weaponry of choice, if that’s your thing

I had enough of it at home where the whole thing cost me around 55 shekel (12 bucks?). Not bad!

The shell is the biggest task: the back shell was painted by Koala in green, and the front plate in yellow. I trimmed the ‘walls’ of the pan and folded them in to make it flat. I used a whole puncher to create wholes to tie the green ribbon through four corners to make a ‘backpack’ sort of strap situation, but later realized safety pins work better since the foil pan is flimsy.

It was a huge hit with Koala, who wanted to try it on every day leading up to his class Purim party. It was a huge hit with me, who peeked at the price of a manufactured costume in the store and saw it was over 200 NIS.

As far as Hello Kitty… I was also a little intimidated by that one. How could I make her look like Hello KItty as opposed to a regular costume cat?

But Bebe is nearly three years old, let’s not forget, and has/will proudly tell everyone what she is… constantly. So She wore her favorite ‘nice dress’, I did the classic gold/yellow nose and black whiskers, bought a cat headband for ten shekel, and pinned a big red bow to it.

Two happy non-sexy or exaggerated Purim costumed kids. Two happy parents with cash left in the wallets.

Happy Purim!

(And you bet I posted this to Pinterest.)

I’m not ready. Here’s why. (Hint: it’s not the toilet paper)

  • © Budda | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free ImagesFinishing the kids’ Purim costumes.
  • Keeping the car clean.
  • Prepping mishloach manot in advance.
  • Writing a letter to my kids.
  • (Trying) to keep the sink empty.
  • Refilling toilet paper.

Just a few falsely empowering things I’ve been doing over the last week in case I have to leave everything behind to dash to the hospital. Like if there’s enough toilet paper in each bathroom, and contractions start, everything will be totally ok. No one will need for toilet paper. Giving birth will go 100% fine.

Welcome. This is an honest post.

I’ve spent the last few months in a constant battle with the fears and anxiety I feel related to the fact I have to give birth in the hospital this time. I don’t care to go into how stupid it is, how unfair it is, how ignorant it is. This is the situation. It’s happening.

And I’m not ready.

I keep half-joking but totally-seriously saying to my husband, ‘when I’m gone, know that the kids’ costumes are in that corner’ or ‘when I’m gone, make sure they take the mishloach manot for their ganenot on Friday’ or ‘when I’m gone, the gifts for the kids are in this bag, bring them to the hospital so the baby can ‘give’ it to them.’

Is that weird? A little controlling? A lotta crazy? I’m honestly asking, I’m new at this.

Last time my son was over at the neighbors for about an hour before we brought him into our bedroom to meet his sister. We all slept in our own beds a few hours later. I tossed my laundry in the basket and it didn’t matter it wouldn’t get done for a little while. I was there. I could take care of it whenever. The toilet paper figured itself out, too.

The thought of leaving your family home to give birth to your new family member is so bizarre to me. Is that weird? Talking to most other people, it certainly seems I’m the weird one. I don’t get how, if all things are aligned correctly, feeding off the empowerment bestowed on you within your safest place is a problem. Am I that anti-social? I just don’t get how spending all that time in a public place is the best idea for a newborn. Or mother. I don’t want people I don’t know or trust talking to me or looking at me while I’m getting it done. Is that really so crazy?

I’m not ready for that. I’m not ready to have to act on an establishment’s universal rulebook. I’m not ready to have to politely decline or frustratingly accept.

I’m not ready to clear my head of negativity and it’s holding me back.

The good news is I started dealing with it today. Maybe I can turn this around in time. Putting myself out there is the opposite of my nature. Maybe that’s the key.

Maybe the toilet paper will start refilling itself.

A letter for two.

Koala and Bebe,

You know, I have this memory from when my second brother (your local uncle) was born. I was six months younger than you, Koala. I don’t remember much about my mama being pregnant – I’m sure you will though – but I do remember the mixed feelings at having my grandparents over, my mom far away, the fact that it was a boy and I had wanted a girl…

The story goes like this: your uncle and I decided we would – in true Staten Island parlance – ‘take care of’ this baby when my parents would come home from the hospital. We were dressed in our ninja/warrior gear. I remember us hiding in the den, pacing along the top of the couch, waiting. Finally our grandmother called to us that mom and dad and baby were home, come see! I remember reluctantly jumping off the couch to greet them.

Needless to say, your younger uncle is still around and it’s definitely been worth nearly three decades of holding off on the weaponry.

Koala. When we first got pregnant this time, before we told anyone, you had this thing where you started feeling my belly and became more affectionate in general… After four years of squirming out of hugs or defining cuddles as, here, I sat in your arms for a sec, now let me go! it seemed like you couldn’t get enough.

It was weird and mysterious… like somehow you knew there was something up. Maybe you just wanted to have a baby like a lot of your friends. Maybe it was some feature of your age. Maybe kids really have a sixth sense about these things.

You’ve been an amazing big brother to Bebe – just the right mix of protective and annoying. You’re a teacher and a student to your sister. A comedian and a paramedic. A roommate and a conspirer. So when the new baby comes along, I know you’ll wiggle over and make room. Lovingly. Protectively. Curiously. And… unarmed (this week’s Purim costume-aside).

Bebe. You’ve grown a lot in the nine months I’ve had to consider how much you’re going to seem so grown the moment you become a big sister. In the days after you were born, you shared with me a habit of yours which I’ve assumed predates your birth. As you snuggled up on me that first day, you’d take your tiny fingers and lightly pinch my neck. It’s something you still do – to yourself, to me, to people with whom you feel safe.

We laugh about it a lot… but there’s just something so touching in the way you show your physical affection. You take my hand suddenly. Put your arm around my shoulder. Pat my belly and whisper to the baby.

Morning bed cuddles are your coffee. You’re generous with your kisses. You’ve always been armed with affection. It might get a little bit rough, B, but you’re going to grow into a wonderful big sister. You’ve had it in you since you were born.

It’s been a gift watching two siblings grow together, laugh together, love together. You guys have been, in some ways, a natural, inherent unit.

I’m happy we were able to give you this time together.

I’m happy that now we all get to start something new.

Fun, free day in Israel with kids: Visit the ‘Hebrew park’ in Rishon Letzion

Around six months ago, Rishon Letzion opened two new ‘themed’ parks: ‘Gan B’Ivrit’ and ‘Gan Musica’ – big open spaces with a different sort of take on play equipment for kids.

On Friday I got to settle my curiousity and we visited the Hebrew park. Aside from a few really gorgeous park equipment setups, grassy areas for kicking a ball, and lots of open bbq space, the idea there is to offer a few alphabet-themed attractions.

First, the Aleph Bet water fountain, which was perfect, because it was an exceptionally hot day for beginning of March. Jerusalem-hill-ites that we are, I did not come prepared with bathing suits or change of clothes (or… sunscreen) but the kids managed to get doused (and dry, pretty quickly). It’s refreshing to see these types of water fountains opening up in parks around the country.

Rishon Letzion Gan B'Ivrit

Moving on, we hit a whole range of aleph-bet and language related equipment. The ‘mountain climbing’ through letters was a fun one:

Rishon Letzion Gan B'Ivrit

And the words wall was a little over my little kids’ heads but we did pick out some fun ones to read and recognize letters…

Rishon Letzion Gan B'Ibvrit

There was also a chalkboard wall for practicing letters. And the Wikipedia entry boasts a few more sections we didn’t see.

And the fish pond was sweet, too.

Rishon Letzion Gan B'Ivrit

 

 

When you end up in the girls’ Purim costume aisle in Bet Shemesh

Mom of the year spent a couple hours today exploring the Purim costume scene in Bet Shemesh.

I never really did that before because -

a. my oldest has wanted to be Mordechai HaYehudi for the last two years and bathrobe + makeup beard + paper crown = score!

b. I never had that much time anyway.

Yes, I learned a lot today.

  1. I learned that Israeli Purim costume options are both endless and extremely limited.
  2. I learned that I am never ever going to pay NIS 170 for a manufactured version of the costume my son wants and I’m going to make it from scratch and that’s that, kids (he’s getting it for around NIS 55 AND he gets to keep comfy shirt and sweats after).
  3. I learned that if that freicha in the aisle next to me were to whine the word ‘zombie’ one more time I was going to kick her in the shins. Even her son looked like he would take a bite out of her.

Most of all, I learned that not every Israeli Purim costume for little girls is sexy. In fact, in Bet Shemesh, they can go a totally different route…

1. The Matriarch

Quick, who’s your favorite matriarch? Is it Rachel? I bet it’s Rachel.

Rachel Imeinu Purim costume

Get your elaborate Rachel costume for only NIS 99.99, complete with camel imagery, as appropriate! Torah inside jokes!

2. The Other One

Yeah, I hear ya. Everyone and their mother is gonna be Rachel this year. So how about…

Rivka Purim Costume

Aw, you thought I’d say Leah? Nah, not Leah. Though the makeup could have been fun.

3. The Oddly Specific

Moving away from biblical female Purim costumes based on puffy gowns I’m pretty sure didn’t exist back then… and moving towards puffy gowns that exist for the sake of existing, and then some.

SpongeBob Princess

Hebrew-challenged? Disturbingly weird fifteen-year-old Nickelodeon cartoon challenged? That costume is: SpongeBob. Princess.

I officially can’t.

4. The Classic

And, if none of these options fit your daughter’s wild underage girlish fantasy, you can always go with – but of course – literally, ‘naughty kitten’… in a toddler size.

Naughty kitten Purim costume for girls

And don’t get me started on the sexy Hello Kitty costume line for grown women.