Coping

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Goodnight iTune

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

This is a post of a different kind. It’s not so much about food as it is about blogging. And the blogosphere. And social media. And my iPhone. It’s about all the hours, and minutes, even days, spent refreshing my newsfeeds. All the time wasted where I could be reading, or learning, or crocheting, or, most importantly, spending time with my kids.

Food for thought, if you will.

It’s been eating away at me, slowly but surely, as my husband began pointing out just how much time I spend on my phone. And then one night, as I read my kids “Goodnight Moon,” it really hit me. If you haven’t read this children’s classic, it’s a simple board book to help kids quiet down, and say goodnight to their surroundings as they drift off to sleep.

The book reads,

“In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of–

The cow jumping over the moon

And there were three little bears sitting on chairs

And two little kittens
And a pair of mittens…

Goodnight room
Goodnight moon
Goodnight cow jumping over the moon…

Goodnight bears
Goodnight chairs

Goodnight kittens
Goodnight mittens…

Goodnight stars
Goodnight air
Goodnight noises everywhere.”

Reading the book really got me thinking about the things around me when I go to sleep. I realized that I’m not surrounded by physical objects. I am engulfed by virtual apps. By the newsfeed over my laptop screen, the pics on my iPhone, and the shows on my tv. Looking through the pages of “Goodnight Moon,” the “quiet old lady whispering hush” seemed to look up at me from her rocking chair, with her yarn and knitting needles, mocking me. “When’s the last time you picked up your crochet hook, instead of wasting time on Facebook?,” she seemed to say.

I thought about my kids, and the new world they are growing up in. How the simple things like staring outside at the moon are being replaced by technologies like the MYSky App. How they are losing the sweet innocence of their surroundings, drowned in a virtual world.

It is time to let go. To go back to the real world. Where things happen in real time. Not on a flat screen filled with status updates. It’s time to make real phone calls, instead of texts, and to visit people, instead of their Facebook wall.

And so I will try. Day by day. To spend a little less time on my phone, and a little more time on my rocking chair. With my crochet hook in hand. Like the quiet old lady, whispering hush.

Here’s a (not so) little infographic I created inspired by”Goodnight Moon”:

Here’s the plain text, with some of my commentary in brackets:

In the small purple bedroom
There was a desk
With an iPad [instead of a table with a lamp] And a screenshot [instead of a picture] of –

A little blue icon [facebook].
And a square with a Nikon [instagram logo].

There were pictures & notes
& hashtags & quotes.

And a little red P [pinterest logo] and a flying blue bird [twitter logo],
“Pin It” and “Tweet It” were all that I heard.

Goodnight Facebook.
Goodnight desk nook.

Good night tweeps [people on twitter].
Good night creeps.

Good night Pinterest.
Good night Insta-gram.
Good night WordPress.
Good night web-cam.

Good night twitter.
Good night critter [computer mouse].

Good night Google.
Good night Skype.
Good night You-Tube.
Good night life.

Good night touchscreen.
Good night chair [with an iphone instead of yarn].

Good night newsfeeds, everywhere.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this unusual (for a food blog, anyway) post. Share them in the comments below.

PS. If you’ve never read Goodnight Moon, you can download the app on your iPhone. Just Kidding.

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Musical Beds

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

I noticed I’ve been neglecting the “coping” category for some time now. I guess that’s a good thing. It means I’m handling things. But not today. Today I need your help with a little something I like to call musical beds.

I’m sure you are all familiar with the game of musical chairs. Well in my case, the chairs are beds and the music is the sound of children’s cries in the middle of the night.

Let me explain.

After a long, hard day of taking care of house and home, tending to the needs of my kids, and maybe squeezing in some blogging time {if I’m lucky}, I want nothing more than to crawl into my comfy bed and get a good night’s sleep.

But as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, more often than not, things don’t go exactly as planned.

Take last night for instance. After completing our bedtime routine of bathing, storytime, and some soft music, I was hoping for a quiet night as my cold had gotten increasingly worse throughout the day. But my son would not have it. Try as I might to get him quiet, he just screamed and screamed. So I took him out of his crib and put him in my husband’s bed. I thought I had it all figured out. My husband would tip toe in late from his work meeting, and quietly transfer him to his crib.

Give or take an hour or two, my oldest daughter ran straight into my bed mumbling something about monsters and a bad dream. So I let her stay. Until she started poking and prodding me from all sides.

By this point, I suspected that my cold had turned into a full blown sinus infection and I needed some rest. So I did what any desperate mother would do. I went into her bed. After about 20 minutes of twisting and turning, my husband came home and tried to move my son over to his crib as gently as possible. But being the light sleeper that he is, he woke up and started bawling. You know that full on desperate cry that tugs at a mother’s hearstrings? (and wakes up the whole house, including the tenants?) It was that kind of cry. I couldn’t take him with me into my daughter’s bed because it’s too small for both of us, so I helped her sleepwalk back to her bed and went back into mine, taking my baby with me.

And then the middle one woke up. That’s right. I said the middle one. As my bed was occupied, and more importantly, since my husband could sleep through a four alarm fire, I sent her to his bed.

I don’t know what time it was by then, but I had gone through an entire box of tissues, and I was at my wit’s end. Not only was I terribly congested, I was achingly tired. I rolled myself up on the corner of my bed (so my little prince could have ample room to move around without kicking me), barely sleeping a few short hours.

When my husband left early for work, I climbed into his bed so that I could try and get a little more sleep until the kids woke up. It wasn’t long before they were crawling in next to me to tell me about their terrible night of nightmares and sleep walking!

In all seriousness, I appeal to all the young Mama’s out there. How do you keep your kids in their beds at night? I can’t really let my son (the major culprit in this game of musical beds) cry it out because I have tenants upstairs.

So I’m all ears. Please. Help. A. Tired. Mother. Get. Some. ZZZZZ’s.

And now for the coping part.

I may not have had sleep last night. And I may still be congested with an earache, throat-ache and headache. But I still had to take my oldest to school (her first day in 1st grade, talk about butterflies! [me, not her!]), drop my son off at playgroup (thank G-d for those few quiet hours), and start my round of pickups at 12, then 1 and then 2.

To get through the day, I sat down to a steaming hot cup of chamomile tea with honey and a splash of milk (no, I’m not English, but I like me some milk in my tea!) I throw in a little mandelbread for good measure, and I take a few minutes to breath in the peace and quiet.

It also helps to drink from adorable tea cups. I love this set from Ikea!

How do you like your tea?

1 year ago: candy sushi

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My Diet Journey

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

With the chagim behind us, and a few extra pounds later, it’s time for me to face the music. All that honey-sweetened food was as satisfying as it was delicious, but it wasn’t as friendly to my figure. Not to mention the extra pregnancy weight I’ve been carrying around (did I mention my baby is almost 1?)…And so the time has come for me to take the diet plunge.

I’ve been dieting ever since I can remember. Weight watchers, Somersizing, Atkins, The Blood Type Diet…I’ve tried them all. The good news is that I’ve learnt which diets work for me and my body type and I pretty much have it down to a science.

To jump start my weight loss, I do PHASE 1 of the South Beach Diet. This is no easy feat. For two whole weeks, one cannot eat any bread, oatmeal, pasta, rice, cereal, fruit, certain veggies, and some dairy. This phase of the diet is a sort of cleanse, where you eliminate cravings and stabilize your blood sugar.

After completing PHASE 1, where I typically lose about 10 pounds, I move onto a low glycemic diet (which is more or less Phase 2 of the South Beach diet, but I don’t follow it by the book). Without getting into too much detail, I basically only eat foods that have a low GI value (this is a value assigned to all foods that contain carbs to indicate how fast and how high that food can raise your blood sugar level). On this phase, I typically lose about 2 pounds per week. The last time I did this, I lost 40 lbs. This time, I have my sights set on 50.

If I hit a plateau and I don’t seem to be losing any more weight, I just do Phase 1 of the South Beach diet again to jumpstart my weight loss.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is my diet plan in a nutshell.

So. Being the generous spirit that I am (jk!), I thought I’d make you guys an offer to follow along with me. If you’ve got weight to lose and you’ve been pushing it off, join me on my diet journey! I’ll lay down the rules and provide the meal plans and recipes. All you have to do is follow along! Don’t worry, non-dieters, my blog will continue to feature delicious recipes that you can use too!

I’ve created the following pages to help guide you. There are also handy shortcuts under the BIB Diet Tips (just below the categories).

Getting Started
Phase 1 Rules
Phase 1 Menu
Phase 2 Rules

If you have any additional dieting tips or recipes that you’d like to share, feel free to post a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

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From Bad…to Worse!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Not to alarm my readers, but I had to post a note to mention why I haven’t been posting any recipes. My computer has gone kaput. The machine that I trusted and relied on has buzzed out on me, and I’m not sure when or how I will be able to recover my data. Tons and tons of pictures, recipes, crafts and ideas are being held captive, and I don’t even want to think of what I will do if it all goes lost in a heap of plastic and metal. Please be patient, bare with me, and say a little prayer for my stuff!

…Chanie

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A Wink from Above

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

I recently received an email from a fellow blogger who wanted to share with me a little “wink from Hashem” that she had received. She writes,

“I recently had business cards made up for my blog which I had my kids hand out to any Jews we came across in our travels. We were on a bus in Riverdale and two Jewish women were standing just in front of us and my six year old whispered to me, “give them one.” I looked up and they looked like friendly folks so I said, “I have a Jewish blog and my son thinks I should give you a card!” I pulled out two cards and one of the women said, “Oh I read your blog, I found it via Busy In Brooklyn!”

It’s funny because when I received the email, I was standing on line at the social security office, waiting to go through security. I was there to apply for a social security card for my baby, and although I tried to get out of the house early that morning, it just didn’t happen. By the time I found parking and took my place at the end of a very long line, I started panicking as to how I would make it back in time for my daughters’ school bus. I waited patiently (thanks to my Blackberry) and said a little prayer that I should, somehow, someway, be able to get through security quickly, make it through another long line to apply for the card, and then manage to get home in time. Not only did I whiz through security, when I reached the office upstairs, despondent at the sight of the huge line ahead of me, I was shocked to be pulled from the line by one of the supervisors. She promptly asked me for my paperwork, and walked me over to a booth, allowing me to skip the entire line ahead of me. Why? I didn’t ask questions but I assumed that it was due to the fact that I had my baby with me. She may or may not have mistaken his squealing for kvetching, and I wasn’t about to complain! All in all, I was out of the social security office in just over an hour, with time to spare.

Being in the vicinity of one of my favorite stores, Trader Joes, I was tempted to run in for a few things, if only I could find parking. I knew I was cutting it close, so after driving around for a few minutes with no success, I said, “Hashem, if you could just make a parking spot somehow appear, I will be so grateful for this day”. Lo and behold, a car began to pull out right in front of me (and the store). If you’ve ever been to Trader Joes, you know how long the lines can get, but somehow, miraculously, I had more than enough time to shop, wait on line, pay, fill up the car, and make it home in ample time, without rushing :)

These little instances are more than serendipitous. They are G-d’s way of winking at us, letting us know, that even in the little things, He is there for us. The great and mighty Master of the Universe sends us little fortune cookies at each turn, reminding us that He is forever watching and guiding our every step.

Did my perfect day have a perfect ending? Not exactly. Yes, I made it in time to take my daughter off the bus. But her flushed face told me something was amiss, and my mothers’ intuition was right – she had fever. An hour, and one culture later, confirmed that she had strep. I reminded myself that although things didn’t look good, Hashem was orchestrating his plan all the same, and just as he was winking at me on the social security line, he was holding my hand at the Dr’s office too.

This weekend, I had the unfortunate surprise of walking out of my house to find that my newly leased minivan had been stolen (only in Brooklyn, dear readers, only in Brooklyn). It’s been extremely stressful trying to work through the red tape of the police department and the insurance company, but tonight I am reminded that it was in that very same car, just a few days ago, that I said a little prayer, and Hashem promptly answered. I know he is answering my prayers for my stolen car tonight, as he does each and every day, winking at me from above.

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Swaddle Me! [aden+anais swaddling blankets]

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Some days are cooking days. Other days are craft days. And then, inevitably, comes the coping day. The coping day is the day that comes after a night of no sleep. A night of rocking a crying baby for endless hours. A night of frustrated feedings, and endless diaper changes. And it’s ok. It’s only human. It happens to all of us. Last night was one such night. And today is my coping day. But let me tell you. There is a glimmer of light in all the hopelessness. After what seems like hours of incessant crying, it stops. And do you know why? Because I’ve swaddled my son in a pillow of coziness. A blanket so yummy, I wish I could wrap myself in it!

Muslin wraps are all the rage right now. I was first introduced to them when I visited Australia two years ago, where they are manufactured. I bought a beautiful one for my girls, and I’ve loved it ever since. I wanted more of them, but they were nowhere to be found in the USA. Finally, Aden + Anais brought these miracle muslins over. The wraps are practically tissue-thin and oh-so-soft. They’re breathable, perfect for any weather, and at 44″, they’re just right for swaddling a baby. The blankets are machine washable and dryer safe. They’ve gone through tons of loads and are as good as new. In fact, I think they get softer with time! I like to swaddle my baby in these when he’s wearing just a onesie, so he can feel the softness on his skin. He gets so cozy and warm that he can’t help but fall asleep.  You can also use the wraps as a stroller cover, nursing shield, tummy time blanket, or a burping cloth.

The cons: the wraps are kind of pricey, and the styles are kind of dull imo. However, the pros far outweigh the cons, and although pricey, they are worth every penny!

Buy Now!

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Sangria Sunday

Sunday, February 13th, 2011


In the spirit of Chodesh Adar, I decided to throw a Sunday Fun Day Party here, with a recipe for delicious light and fruity sangria, and some kick-off-your-shoes music! First things first…the sangria!  Sangria is a chilled Spanish drink, typically made using red wine, sugar, juice and seltzer. It is sometimes laced with brandy and/or liquor. It can be made with a range of fruits to soak up all the delicious flavors. I wanted to make something for the ladies out there so I played around with measurements, and this one isn’t too heavy or too sweet, it’s just right!

Now for the music! Where oh where do I start. It’s Adar and I’m sure you’re all familiar with the phrase “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’simcha.” I’m not sure how literal I’ve taken that in the past few years (or since I’ve been a teenager). Adar nowadays has me scurrying about for Shalach Manos for family and friends, gifts for teachers, costumes and shalach manos for the kids. When do I ever take a minute to breath and just, I dont know…dance?! Yeah, that’s right, dance! And I’m the type who barely dances at weddings. Someone has to pull me by the hand and drag me into the middle of the circle for that awkward moment when you dance with the kallah, and you have nothing in the world to say to her (you ALL know what I mean!). I’m the one standing outside the circle, trying to look busy, or out searching for a bottle of wine! So, you know what? Being as I’m such a horrible dancer (I once took “wedding dance classes” and when everyone was following the instructor to the right, I was going to the left), the one place I can let loose is at home, where no one over the age of four can see me (and yes, even my four year old dances better than me!).

Now what can get me, the ultimate bad dancer to kick off my shoes and move to the beat? Some unbelievably good music. And that’s what I got! My amazing sister-in-law, Chanie, just bought me the new EIG8TH DAY CD, CHASING PROPHECY. I’m a huge fan of Eighth Day and their eclectic music. It’s bluesy and chassidic all at the same time. And their poetic lyrics are so full of soul! Chasing Prophecy is by far their best CD yet. I love EVERY SINGLE song. I have been listening to it over and over and over again, and I just love it more and more with each time. And yes! It made me kick off my shoes and dance! Like a little girl, I swirled around, and grabbed my kids by the hands. They looked at me like I fell off the moon. Because for once, just once, I let all my inhibitions go, and I danced like a free bird with not a care in the world. And you know what? it felt SO GOOD! As for my kids, they giggled and giggled and are wishing on their lucky Adar stars that these happy months of candy, costumes and dancing mommies never come to an end. And so too, am I. Happy Dancing!

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