Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Return of Something Special Tuesday

It's been a while but I haven't forgotten about you, dear readers of Something Special Tuesday.  It has returned.

Something yummy:  We've been making our yogurt for a while now, so we're going to step it up a notch.  We're going to try to make homemade cream cheese because we go through cream cheese like it's...water.  We'll try it soon (need to get a draining bag first) and I'll let you know of our results!  We're going to try this recipe first.

Something crafty:  My daughter celebrated her 3rd birthday on Sunday and we had a zoo party.  My husband put together awesome favors consisting of a zoo-theme lunch box, animal sunglasses, animal stickers, an animal whistle, and the actual food.  Lunch, which I took care of, consisted of alligator- and frog-shaped sandwiches (cream cheese + cucumber and peanut butter + banana), baggies of veggie sticks, a juice box, fruit skewers (strawberry + pineapple cube + kiwi on a stick) and yogurt dip (with homemade yogurt of course), and the piece de resistance: marshmallows decorated with pink sprinkles + strawberry cupcakes with pink frosting all skewered together. 

The idea for the dessert portion came from this blog post.

It was totally awesome.

Something financial:  As always, I Will Teach You To Be Rich has a great post about the invisible scripts that rule our lives.

Something spiritual:  There are so, so many things that require our attention: work, children, significant others, interesting tv shows, the dishes, our friend's current problem, a new recipe to try.  Usually, in the midst of all this chaos we call life, we forget our center.  Yoga focuses a lot on "finding your center".  So does Judaism, actually.  The Shema prayer helps us to find our center.  It helps us to focus, take a step back, and re-calibrate to what is most important.  Here is a good article to learn more about the Shema.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A post about me

I remember a scene from Runaway Bride where the bride can't decide what kind of fried eggs she likes, and whether she likes a particular kind of eggs because her fiance prefers those eggs, or whether she actually really likes that particular kind.  She couldn't decide because she herself didn't know and never thought about what she, as an individual, really likes and enjoys.

That scene really resonated with me, and recently I started to think about what do I actually like, versus what others like and I just go along with, or what others tell me I should like.  Turns out I actually have some definite likes.

In honor of my upcoming birthday, here's a post about me.

I really like:
raspberries - my favorite berry, followed closely by strawberries
cooking from scratch - I find it intensely therapeutic
wonderful bed sheets - I found a great set of sheets, and who knew, I love bed sheets
a 20-minute chair massage, and I'm good to go
foamy coffee drinks like lattes and mochas
Italy - everything about it, I just love it all
breakfast and all of the food associated with it
cold cereal - I'm addicted
bread - soft, chewy bread and even better if I baked it myself
sitting and chatting with my best friends over a meal - just like in my college days
high heels
road trips
reading a really good book that I literally can't put down - that's a rarity for me these days
playing the piano - maybe it's because I rarely do this now, but I get a feeling of satisfaction when I play
warmth - I can't stand being cold
cheese - except blue cheese and Swiss cheese
watermelon - I lived on this during my first pregnancy
the industry I work in - I am 100% passionate about it
organization - maybe I'm not 100% organized, but I strive for it
magazines - especially home-related (like Real Simple) and cooking magazines
Sergei Rachmaninoff
kitchen gadgets
non-electronic/non-plastic toys

Well, that's all I can think of for now.  This list excludes the obvious like my children, my family, my husband, and Israel.

Because isn't living really all about knowing who you are?  I'm getting there...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blog recommendation: Eat a Duck I Must

I'd like to bring your attention to this very interesting food blog, aptly titled Eat a Duck I Must! (and you know there's a story behind that title!).  It was brought to my attention by an old college friend and it turns out that a mutual college friend of ours has her own food blog and it really is quite beautiful.  This week she is giving away a cookbook, but not just any cookbook!  Indian slow cooker recipesMmmmm.  Amazing.  I would loooove to win one of those (hint hint!!). 

Anyway, best of luck to you, Alice!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to make your life easier: Tip 1 - Baby wipes aren't just for babies

Wow, that's a pretty presumptuous title up there, the "How to make your life easier".  This series of posts was inspired by an email exchange I had today with one of my college best friends, a working mom herself, exhausted, overworked, and overwhelmed.  I absolutely do not have the answers for her, and there are certainly many times when I am exhausted, overworked, and overwhelmed myself, but I strongly believe that we shouldn't ever feel that way.

I'd like to start sharing some tips I've picked along the way that make my life easier, and hopefully will make your life easier as well.

Enter Tip 1 - the baby wipe.

Lest you think that this tip is just for parents of small children, let me tell you straight on that this tip is for everyone.  It's perfectly ok to be a single guy purchasing baby wipes.

Baby wipes can clean anything.

That's it!  Baby wipes can be used to clean floors, kitchen counters, tabletops, bathroom counters, marks off the wall, hands, grime, precious objects, dust - anything you can think of, a baby wipe can most likely clean it.  I'm not talking about a deep clean here; I mean the "every day" clean where you just need things to be clean.

Think about it: they are gentle enough for a baby so you know there's nothing harsh in there, they don't scratch surfaces, you can get unscented, and they can be eco-friendly (the ones I buy from Costco are made from a renewable material).

How will this make your life easier?  You don't have to worry about fancy cleaning products; just a quick wipe and you're done.

Apparently I'm not the only genius with this idea.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shabbat dinner menu 10/8

I had responded to a post about Yom Tov preparations recently on Beyond BT and that got me thinking about my own practice of preparing for Yom Tov and Shabbat in general. I enjoy reading housekeeping-related magazines and blogs, and I always try to incorporate new ideas into my personal practice. I love a well-kept home, but I don't always have the time or energy to make it as nice as I'd like it to be, so I love learning new shortcuts.

Shabbat meal preparation is a recurring activity and unfortunately, I'm not yet one of those ladies who preps and freezes much in advance. I do what I can. But, I am becoming an "expert" in throwing together meals in a short time period. Here's what's been happening recently: I get home from work and have about 1-1.5 hours to do work kitchen work while the nanny is with the kiddos, so I try to do as much as I can. This is what we had for shabbat dinner this week (thankfully there was a lunch at the synagogue!), and I did it all in just over one hour:
cabbage soup
roast chicken - chicken stuffed with onion and cilantro and rubbed with a paste
curry scented (spiced?) Israeli couscous (thank goodness for the Epicurious.com iPhone app!)
roasted garlic asparagus
potato salad