Friday, March 27, 2015

Pre-Pesach Leftovers Recipe

At Pesach time we run down all the food we have in the house. You can keep sealed packets and frozen stuff but I like to use up all the open packets. We start using things up a few weeks before and it's a nice feeling to know that all the storage jars get washed out at least once a year. :~)

What do you think these are?



They are everything I had opened in jars in my food cupboard, fridge and freezer, made into rissoles and a kugel.

2 cups of polenta
1 1/2 cups of red lentils (soaked)
1 cup or orzo (cooked)
1/2 cup of  porridge oats
1 onion chopped
Half a bag of frozen broccoli
1/4 bag frozen spinach
About 100g of butter
Some cooking oil
Salt
pepper
curry powder
2 eggs
2 cups of milk

Saute the onion in the butter, cook the orzo, cook the broccoli, thaw the spinach and drain, mix it all together.

Pour into a well oiled dish and bake for about an hour until done for the kugel. Here is the kugel. Cut it into squares and serve with salad.



Make the leftover mixture into small patties and fry. Also serve with a salad, with or without ketchup.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Back In The Zone Week 2

Two weeks ago Emma (A Matter of Choice) and I challenged each other to shape up for the summer. You can read Emma's progress here. Last week I did her a big favour by losing 6.4lbs in a week and provoking  her to take up the gauntlet. To be fair, Emma has much less to lose than I do so she doesn't have to lose big amounts every week.

After last week's spectacular start I only lost 2 lbs this week (almost 1kg). However that is 8.4 lbs altogether and only 3 1/2 lbs away from where I was back in October when I lost 14lbs (and regained 12 of them). In 3 1/2 more pounds the weight loss ticker on the side will be accurrate again. (Those of you who can do the maths now know how much weight I need to lose).

I've crossed into one lower stone which feels good. The challenge for this week is to reach the half stone in this scale section. Sorry I can't give actual numbers yet, I'm just too embarrassed to admit where I'm at atm.

I'm not following any special diet or doing any extra exercise, just eating less and specifically not eating anything after a light early supper. This has meant lots of early nights as getting comfortable in bed with a good book is the best deterrent to eating. I've also read that the more rested you are the easier it is to lose weight. Not sure if this is a biological thing whereby a rested body uses up the calories more efficiently or a psychological thing whereby exhaustion has you running to the kitchen for a pick-me-up. Who cares as long as it works.

So that's the lowdown for this week. Not so lowdown but definitely lower down than last week. See you back here next Thursday for the next installment. And good luck to Emma for the coming week too. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Homemade Falafel

Homemade Falafel Burgers
Falafel is a national dish in Israel. It was always a traditional Arab food and still is in Egypt and other Arab countries but there it is more likely to be made from fava beans. In Israel they use chickpeas. Yemenite Jewish immigrants started the tradition of stuffing the falafel into a pitta pocket (or wrapping it in a bigger laffa) with salad humus, pickles and chips. 

This portable snack can be picked up on the streets in Israel the way you pick up a hot dog in NYC or a slice of pizza. It is the Israeli equivalent to the UK's fish and chips and you'll find several falafel shops along every high street here.

I have a big jar of dried chickpeas
The traditional Israeli falafel is dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and ground (processed today) and mixed with onion, garlic, parsley, coriander, cumin, salt & pepper, and a bit of flour to assist the binding. The resulting paste is then rolled into balls and fried. No eggs, this is totally vegan. With the pitta and salad it's a whole vegan meal.

The first time I tried making it I made the mistake of cooking the chickpeas before I made the falafel paste. This is totally unnecessary unless you prefer a more mashed-potato type consistancy to your falafel.

In recent years 'designer' falafel has emerged - curry flavour, green (more green herbs), lemon-garlic, sweet and sour, hot and spicey... You can add anything you like. I like to put some tehina paste in mine because my food processor isn't strong enough to really grind the chickpeas so the tehina gives it a bit more moisture.

In the pan
People don't tend to make their own falafel as it's so easy and cheap to buy. However I was tempted by a big bag of powdered falafel mix in the supermarket (just add water) before I opted for the dried chick peas.

I also opted to make bigger, burger sized, falafel rather than the more commonly sized balls. That way I'm more likely to eat them on a plate with my salad than with the unnecessary pitta. And I find I eat less when they are bigger. I could easily eat 7 - 8 small falafel balls whereas I'll only have two falafel burgers that are the size of about three balls. And you can't just pop one extra into your mouth every time you pass the plate.

You can google falafel recipes if you need exact amounts but I prefer to be creative and add whatever I have to hand.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

All That Glisters...

Eleven years ago I went with three friends to Paris for four days. Four friends from primary school spending four days in Paris to celebrate our 40th birthdays.

We had come from all over - Jerusalem, Los Angeles, London, and Brighton. So on the last day we all split up at different times to go our various ways. I was rushing back to the hotel where I had booked a taxi to take me to the airport. I was rushing and collecting conkers along the way (it was September) when an old tramp stopped me.

He asked for money and started waving a ring about, showing me the hallmark and miming about how heavy the gold was. I was seriously in a hurry by this time, I didn't care about the ring - I wasn't sure what he was going to do with it anyway. I certainly wasn't going to buy it from him. I opened my purse. I had a 50 Euro note for the taxi and 3 Euros in coins. I gave him the 3 Euros - it was a sort of 'Thank you Paris' for showing us a good time as well as a small act of charity but mostly it was just the quickest way to shake him off and move on. The tramp dropped the ring into my hand and left. He didn't seem at all bothered about the fact that I'd only given him 3 Euros for it.

I kept the ring. It was a large man's wedding band. Far too big for even my thumb. About three years later I had an insurance assessor come to value my house contents and I threw the ring in with some other jewellery. The insurance man valued it at 3,000 shekels (500 GBP)!

I never told anyone this story as I'd felt a bit guilty about taking a gold ring from a poor tramp. Now that I knew it was worth 3,000 shekels I was even more uneasy about it. Not so uneasy as to cash it in and give the money to charity though.

A few weeks ago a friend told me about a shop in Jerusalem where they buy gold. So this week, after my mega decluttering efforts, I took the ring downtown to sell it. I was already thinking about next month's mortgage being taken care of as I handed over my heavy band of gold to the jeweller.

He was instantly confused. What colour gold is that? He examined it, hallmark and all, and declared it to be brass. And it's worth nothing.

Now I'm wondering what to do with my big brass ring. Here are the options:

1. Make it into a doorknob. (Too small)
2. A napkin holder for elves. (We don't know any elves.)
3. Wear it on a chain around my neck as a reminder of some deep and meaningful significance that this whole episode has taught me. (Not my style)
4. Hang it on the wall and polish it occasionally. (Isn't that what people do with brass?)
5. Take some thin paper and some charcoal and do a brass rubbing. (Or can you only do that in ancient churches?)

Any ideas?

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Week From The Store Cupboard

Everyone here is winding down their store cupboards before Pesach when we eat special foods and nothing from the previous weeks. We are going away and I would like to not spend any more money this March. So for this week we will be living out of the store cupboard, fridge and freezer. No buying any more food until we leave (when I may have to pick up some things for the journey).

I last went shopping on Monday. We have firm (and 3 overripe) tomatoes, cucumbers, and a small cabbage, 4 avocados, about 12 small potatoes and some onions. 6 oranges and 2 apples. One litre of milk (or slightly less actually), 200g of butter, 2 tubs of tomato puree, 9 eggs, about 300g of cheese, 2 x 250g tubs of cottage cheese, an assortment of frozen vegetables, one block of tofu, 4 frozen corn and tofu shnitzels and a full bag of frozen vegetarian sausages, a big box of cornflakes, 7 pittas in the freezer, 4 jars of pasta sauce, 2 tins of tuna, and unlimited dry groceries (oats, pasta, lentils, sugar, etc...).

Here are my cupcakes. There are chocolate-chips inside.
(I know you know what cupcakes look like.)
I just used 2 eggs and 150g of butter (and flour, sugar, etc) to make 30 mini choc-chip cupcakes. DD will take one of these to school with half a pitta and cheese every day for breakfast which they have at 9.40. She then gets a homemade (by the afternoon program lady) meal of meat or fish with a carb and vegetables for lunch.

I have coffee for breakfast and leftovers for lunch, and I am dieting.

Today (Friday) - It's already 4.30 and for supper tonight we will have tomato and lentil soup (made with the onions, overripe tomatos, tom puree, and lentils), roast potatoes, avocado/tom/cuc salad, and 2 corn shnitzels (DD).

Saturday morning - Me: Coffee, DD: cornflakes, cupcake, apple juice, an apple and an orange (whatever she wants from that selection).

Saturday lunch - Cabbage salad, Tomato/cucumber salad, potato latkes and cottage cheese, cooked green soy beans (endamame?).

Saturday evening - Soup, homemade felafel and salad.

Sunday (a school day) supper - pasta and pasta sauce from the freezer, salad, cottage cheese (DD prefers the cottage cheese to the pasta sauce). Fruit for desert (apple and orange).

Monday supper - stirfry vegetables and tofu with ptitim (orzo), salad, cottage cheese. An orange

Tuesday supper -  Tuna salad in pitta, salad, roast ptotatos (I dice the potatoes into small cubes and they take 20 minutes in a hot oven with a bit of oil and salt). An orange.

Wednesday supper - Soup made from all leftover vegetables, vegetarian sausages, roast potatoes, salad. An orange.

Thursday supper - Leftover soup with any open pasta or orzo, salad, 2 corn shnitzels (DD).

Friday brunch - Vegetarian sausages, roast ptotatoes, salad (DD), Soup and omelet with cheese and onion (Me).

For the journey - Tuna salad in pitta. Cupcakes. I will buy some crisps for DD, and a couple of apples - we'll be in London by dinnertime.

Not very adventurous or exciting - I could make vegetarian shepherd's pie with a lentil 'meat' bottom layer, or tuna potato cakes, pancakes and silan, a potato or vegetable kugel, but there's no point because DD likes nothing better than her salad, some 'chips' and some cottage cheese for supper.

Let's see if I can manage this. I'll let you know on Thursday.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Back In The Zone

Last week I read that my blogging friend, Emma, in Cyprus, was planning to get back on the diet train to shape up for the summer. I suggested we both start the next day - 12/3/15 as the numbers had a nice roundness to them and that we both post our progress each Thursday.

I have way more than Emma to lose but I've had some success in the recent past so I was optimistic. Here's the story so far. In September/October last year I lost a stone in four weeks (14lbs, 6 1/2kg). I then tried Herbalife for a change and because I thought it would keep things going at the same pace. This didn't work for me as I could only manage the maintenence plan which meant I maintained my weight loss but didn't lose any more.

By the time I finished Herbalife maintenence at the beginning of January I had slipped well and truly out of the zone. During the first 10 weeks of this year I put back 12 of the 14 lbs I'd lost last autumn. :~(

But 12/3/15 had a certain magic to it so I started again.

Thursday was a great day - I hardly ate. Friday and Saturday we were away on our friends' kibbutz and I ate a big meal on Friday night and a big meal for Saturday lunch but very little else. And I made up for it by hardly eating on Sunday.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were so-so. The bad news was that on all three days I finished off DD's chips for supper and ate a bag of her cheesey wotsits for snacks (on all three days). On the other hand, that was my supper and I didn't eat anything else in the evenings, which is usually my downfall.

I also had an active week working at the Yedidya Bazaar on both Sunday and Monday morning, going on half a hike on Tuesday, and running around doing errands today. I'm not sure what happened to Wednesday - I seem to have lost it in a fog of grading students' papers. If it's not too much information, this was also the best week in the month for me to lose weight.

When I stood on the scales this morning I'd lost 6.4 lbs (almost half a stone, almost 3kg). I'm half way back to where I'd got to in October. This is the biggest incentive for me to have another good week. I intend to compensate for the fact that it's not the first week and I'm not going hiking, etc... by not eating DD's crisps and cutting out bread. We are also going away at the end of next week so I'm trying not to buy any more food before we go and only use up what we have in the house.

Meet you back here for the next installment next Thursday. Good luck to Emma in Cyprus too.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

So Am I Israeli Really?

Yesterday I learned that I am not really an Israeli and I learned that I am half of Israel and I learned that I am Israeli.

It was election day and a bank holiday. For a country that doesn't have Sundays off (we have Fridays off but the children have morning school and everything else closes at 2pm) it was a chance to have a real family day out. It seems the two preferred activities were shopping or hiking/picnicking.

The formidable cave
I wrote last week about how Israelis have an obsession with hiking. I also wrote about how DD hated her class trip which was inevitably a hike.

A group of friends asked us to join them on a hike and picnic. I said I'd have to consult with DD. I was confident that she'd decline and I'd have my out. I love walking in the English countryside where the paths are smooth and the hills are rolling. Here, however, the paths are rocky and the hills are mountains.

Unfortunately DD was all for it. I couldn't deny her the opportunity for a day out with friends and a picnic so I reluctantly agreed to go. I'd also followed the conversation on whatsapp and had seen them come down from a serious mountain climbing expedition to a more  moderate trek. We are a group of five, overweight, middle aged, women - and yet four of them wanted a seriously challenging hike. This is where the immigrant sticks out from the Israelis.

I admit it was pretty at the top (or half way to the top)
Before we went I had to vote. This election was extrememly emotive. People voting for Bibi on the Right felt they had no choice but to put national security first even thought there are gaping social injustices that need fixing and the Left were promising to address these problems.

People on the Left accused the Right of not caring about the poor, infirm, and downtrodden. They also believe that actually, Bibi's security policies are more dangerous than re-entering peace talks with the PA.

There was the issue of the Right aligning themselves with the ultra-orthodox community who contribute nothing to the country but aren't shy about receiving all the benefits going and then demanding more. There was the issue of Bibi himself who doesn't invite people to love him with his arrogance and wanton spending of public money on his own personal comfort.

And there were all the smaller parties some of whom were inspiring but, if they passed the votes threshhold and gained a seat in the government, would have to compromise on all their principles to be included in the ruling coalition so what is the point of voting for them.

I had seen how fiercely my hiking friends 'knew' who you 'should' vote for and who it was 'wrong' to vote for. I decided to keep my ballot a secret. I, along with 20% of voters, were undecided right up to the last minute. I did not need approval or lectures either way. If there was one 100% correct way to go we wouldn't need elections. I made sure DD didn't see which slip I put into the envelope because she can read now and I didn't want her telling them under interrogation by accident.

We packed our lunch and went round to my friend who was driving. She was irritated with me because I had nixed the idea of a joint picnic. She had asked if we should organise a joint picnic and I answered that I'd prefer not to. I don't enjoy eating outside, sitting on the floor so all we need is a sandwich, an apple, and a bottle of water (and a packet of crisps for DD). Two others said, 'ok,' and that was the end of the discussion. I didn't realize I'd cancelled a big part of the overall experience. And then I got told off for not making more of an effort to enjoy hiking. (Those of you who hate brussel sprouts or heavy metal music - just make more of an effort, eh?).

Deceptively gentle
We, five families, met up at Nes Harim just outside Jerusalem. We set off along a rock strewn path. I'm sure the scenery was lovely but I was too busy concentrating on avoiding the rocks and watching my step to appreciate it. This is what you typically hear on an Israeli hiking trail: "Come on sweetie (to a toddler who can barely walk), climb the mountain with Grandma and Grandpa, isn't this fun?"

Then we climbed up a steep(ish) incline to some caves. During the whole ascent all I could think about was that we would have to come down again. I'm fine climbing up. You can't fall up. I am scared climbing down. The children disappeared inside the caves. I was nervous about getting back down the mountain. I was nervous about my daughter being inside a cave (it was only an overhanging rock really but it was dark and I couldn't see her). I admit there was a pretty view.

We stopped to rest, eat, chat, play. Then I saw there was another steep(ish) ascent. I was fine with this but the route was circular and who knew what climbing down the other side looked like. I decided to go back. The others offered to take DD on with them but she opted to come back with me. All the way down she was trying to help me with a steady flow of supportive commentary:

I'll help you Mummy.
You don't have to be scared of rocks, they can't hurt you.
I'll carry the bag.
Just stop thinking about the rocks, think about a nice cup of coffee instead.
I love you Mummy, you're the best.
We're nearly down now so just get those rocks out of your head!
Phew, we're nearly home, aren't you happy about that?

When we got back to the meeting point we found an ice-cream van (one happy daughter). Then we spent two hours eating our picnic, playing word games and on the playground equipment. It was nice. We're good company. And the relief of not worrying about the climb down made me all giggly and dizzy with happiness.
All I could think about was climbing down again

The others eventually arrived. First came the fittest mothers with all the children. About 20 minutes later the other two mothers huffed and puffed to the end. Red faced and sweaty they exclaimed, "it was so much fun, you were so silly to go back. The descent was much more gentle than the ascent."

The hike was a confirming experience for me. It confirmed that I don't enjoy hiking in Israel and I won't be doing it again.

And what of the elctions? It turns out that more people are more scared of being killed by terrorists than they are of dying of starvation so Bibi won.

Emotions are still running high. Facebook and emails are flying about how depressed and incredulous the Left are that people don't want change. While the Right answer them that they do want change but they first need to be alive to enjoy social equality. And the Left didn't help themselves by basing their whole campaign on the slogan: Anything but Bibi.

I understand both sides. People have different realities. It's a small country but some people are living under immediate physical threat near the borders whereas others are concentrating on social inequalities. Some are looking at the bigger picture of eventual peace in the region while others need to know that they will be protected tomorrow.

My (secret) vote reflects roughly half of Israel. I hate rock-climbing hikes. Je suis Israeli.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits #29 - The Family Planning Edition

1
DD: Shall I tell you who I'm going to marry?
Me: Who?
DD: Teddy.
Me: Oh good. Can I come and live with you if you marry Teddy.
DD: No we're going to live here with you. Teddy's already in my bed with me.
Me: Well in that case you should definitely marry him.





2
DD: If I have a boy baby I'm going to pass him on to someone else.
Me: Good plan.
DD: Yes, because what do we want more people in this family for?
Me: So what happens if you have a girl baby? Can we keep a girl baby?
DD: No! I don't want anyone else in this family. I'm fine with it like this.







3
DD: Who's older, my Grandma or my Grandpa?
Me: Grandpa's older.
DD: Really, he's older than Grandma? Oh.
Me: Did you think Grandma was older?
DD: Yes because she tells him what to do all the time and gives him his food.

4
DD: Please will you buy me chewing gum. You never let me have chewing gum. When will I be allowed to have chewing gum?
Me: When you're 21.
DD: And then I can buy my own when I'm 21?
Me: Yes.
DD: OK. I can't wait till I'm 21.


Monday, March 16, 2015

The Yedidya Bazaar - Day 2

The Yedidya Bazaar finally arrived. Yesterday and today from 3pm till 9pm. On Saturday evening a group of volunteers went in to sort out masses of donated clothes, shoes, toys, books, dvds, and household items. This is what they saw.

A whole room full of bags of donated 'stuff'

I went in to help with the morning shift and most of it had been done.



People came. There was a lovely atmosphere. People sat on the floor to read the books.


At the end of the day they had taken over 6,000 shekels. That means over 3,000 items went to new homes.

There were coats in excellent condition, hardly worn shoes, tops and skirts with the labels still attached. There were tables piled high with baby things and not just clothes - booster seats, high chairs, cot sheets. There were clothes for teenager boys, clothes for teenage girls, women's clothes, men's clothes. There was even a table of school uniforms from some of the local schools.

There was bedding, there were table cloths, tea towels, blankets, cloth table napkins. There were household appliances, dishes, costume jewellery. There were novels and non-fiction books, children's books, dvds and even vidoes (bless). There were cuddly toys and dolls, boxed games and puzzles, and toys toys toys.

I went back this morning to sort out and tidy up for day two - the final day. All the boxes of stuff that we'd put under the tables, because there was no room to put everything out the day before, were unpacked and more clothes had been left overnight. The toys were pretty much emptied out the first day and there were not many household items left.

I kept seeing DD's clothes that I had donated. First reaction: awww that was ours. Second reaction: hey! Why didn't anyone want our stuff? Then I remembered that it was impossible to see everything on the first day as there was just so much. After over 3,000 items had been sold last night we could spread it all out a bit more today.

Babywear on day 2 - loads left and refolded nicely by me

Women's tops and trousers on day 2 - beautifully sorted by beautiful Annabel
Still plenty of dresses, skirts, shirts and jackets hanging up and shoes underneath
Children's clothes at the sides sorted by gender

There're still over 3 hours to go folks. It closes at 9pm. Everything for 2 shekels!

I bought two pairs of nearly new tennis-shoe style sneakers for DD and a pair of wellington boots for her for next year. A dvd of Antz (for DD) and two Maeve Bincheys (me) from the book dept. For me I found three t-shirts never worn, a black skirt with the label still attached, and a new pair of mock-leather gloves. Grand total 22 shekels (3 pounds 66).

I'll update you on the final tally in the comments tomorrow. Everyone should have a Yedidya Bazaar in their lives.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Class Trip And Why We Lied

Yesterday DD had her class tiyul shnati (year trip). They have other smaller outings during the year but the tiyul shnati is the biggy. It's a day trip for the younger grades and older grades often do an overnight trip.

You have to understand that hiking is a national obsession passtime in Israel. Whereas we went to museums in London, stately homes, canal or river trips, zoos or safari parks for our end of year trip, here they go hiking in the countryside Mediterranean scrub.

You see I've crossed out the word countryside. An English friend of mine pointed this out once when she wrote how her Israeli husband would want to drive out into the countryside every weekend. So off they went with him exclaiming about the beauty of it all while she tried desperately to find something that looked remotely like countryside in all the brown dusty and rocky landscape.

So DD was taken to a valley just outside Jerusalem to spend the day hiking, climbing and appreciating the spring flowers. It was the hottest day of the year so far - I think it reached 27 degrees C by midday. Reader she hated it.

Today she brought home a page with the title: My Experience on my Class Trip. She has to write about the outing and hand it in on Thursday.

I posted this on a parenting facebook group:

My daughter had her 1st grade class trip yesterday and she has to write about it for homework. So far this is what she's said about it: "I hated it. It was too hot and all we did was walk and walk and walk and walk. Oh yes we saw some pretty flowers. No I don't remember what they are called. Then we did more walking and it was still too hot and my legs hurt. Then x was screaming in my ear on the bus all the way home so I got a headache." What do you think, will we get an A grade for that? Any suggestions?

Under the guise of not stifling her creativity, not teaching her to lie, and other noble concepts, some of the other parents urged me to let her write this. I suspect, as anglos (as us English speaking expats are called), some of them were wanting to vent their own frustrations about these sauna-hikes. 

I read her words out to DD as I'd written them on fb, to see if she did indeed want to write the absolute truth and she burst out laughing. "Mummy you can't write that! You have to say, 'it was lots of fun... I loved seeing the pretty flowers...' and all things like that."

Only half a year in school and she already knows that you have to write what they want to hear. So we did. But she keeps asking me to read the true version to her as she thinks it's hilarious that we could have sent that account into school. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

All This From One Room! A Bit Of Decluttering Magic

I've been waiting and waiting to do a massive Marie Kondo clearout. I was waiting for The Yedidya Bazaar people to open the storage room so that I could start taking things over there. The time is here folks!

YOU CAN DONATE YOUR UNWANTED, GOOD CONDITION ITEMS TO THE YEDIDYA BAZAAR FROM TOMORROW MORNING. (Take them down the slope at the left of the building during office hours.)

I am not a hoarder so I didn't expect to amass that much to pass on. However, I have been putting things aside all year and already had a top cupboard of one wardrobe full of things to go. Reader I was shocked. Apart from three carrier bags of books from my bedroom that I cleared out a couple of weeks ago, all this is from DD's bedroom (where the top of wardrobe store cupboard was also situated).

This is my spare bed tonight (it's a small double bed).

Not everything is for the bazaar.
The big blue bag bottom left is rubbish to throw out.
There are two carrier bags full of old socks and knickers from age 2 1/2 till 5, also to throw out. You know how you keep stuffing a new packet of underwear into the drawer and never taking out the old ones? That.
Another bag of old clothes that are not in good enough condition for the bazaar.
There are three bags of things to pass on directly to friends with younger children.
There are a couple of bags to be returned to the person who gave them to us on long term loan for as long as they were useful.
One bag of arts and crafts type things to go to a friend who is a kindergarten teacher.
For the bazaar there are:
the three bags of books from my bedroom.
Books that DD has grown out of.
Clothes that DD has grown out of.
Toys that DD has grown out of.

The same from a slightly different angle.
I'm still amazed that all this came out of one room,
a room that I considered to be quite organized and tidy.
I really am not a hoarder but I think age 6 is a milestone in many ways. Toys that we kept just in case she wanted to play with them can be cleared out. DD is old enough to decide what she no longer wants and mature enough to let go of it. We've already got a stock of new box games from Chanuka and her birthday which she enjoys more than the Fisher Price farm and various baby dolls. We both know that she has never been a doll person and will probably never be one so the dolls can go. Jigsaw puzzles with less than 100 pieces are really silly for us to keep, whereas last year they were still useful.


We have thrown out the dolls' buggy and high-chair - yeah! Two less items littering the floor. They were second hand and served us well but, unfortunately no longer in good enough condition to go to the bazaar.

I decluttered DD's room only 18 months ago enough to realize that the extra furniture for storage I wanted to buy was no longer necessary. This time round I find we have too much storage! Yes you heard correctly, empty spaces with nothing in them! Unfortunately you cannot sell or give away the cupboard over the wardrobe or one enormous drawer under the bed as they are built-in parts of furniture that you need to keep.

Tomorrow I start on the kitchen.... :~)


Thursday, March 5, 2015

The 25 Hour Watch

Despite not dressing up at all on Tuesday, DD did have fun at school where the whole day was one big carnival. When I picked her up at 4 we took the bus into town to buy her a belated birthday present - a new watch. Her first.


Here's the back story, We have a small group of older mother friends with only children. There are five of us and we met at various stages of pregnancy. One of the things we do is celebrate birthdays together. As three of the five children all have birthdays the same week (though three years apart), we try to spread the parties out a bit. What with one thing and another, DD's party was yesterday on her 6 1/4 birthday. The tradition is that each of the others contributes 50 shekels for a really nice big present. In the past we've had Playmobil, Lego, and a scooter.


My favourite old fashioned watch shop in town had children's watches for 59 shekels or a Cassio children's watch for 185. I was aiming for the 59 shekels because it might get lost and need replacing. So as we walked we tried to think of something to buy with the other 140 shekels.


Unfortunately the shop was closed. It's such an old fashioned shop (which is why I love it) that it follows the old tradition of early closing on Tuesdays. So at 5pm on Tuesday evening we went around the corner and bought another, light blue with different coloured numbers, watch for 100 shekels.


Then we got pizza for supper and went to the theatre to see Peter Pan the Musical. It was lovely. We clapped so hard to bring Tinkerbelle back to life she's good for another 100 years at least. Tuesday was a good day.
It may be an Israeli thing to make cakes in dishes but everyone does


Wednesday started off good too. We made a cake in my new oven instead of buying one. I sort of made up the recipe from ingredients I had in the house and was quite surprised when a cake came out. We had our party. I had gift wrapped DD's watch even though she'd been wearing it the evening before, so we could present her with it at the party. The highlight of the afternoon was when my friend R took a second slice of my cake. :~)


Then everyone went home. DD looked at her watch and said, "It's 12 to 6." I told her that meant it was 6 o'clock. After I'd cleared away a bit she came and asked me to take her watch off her wrist and asked if she could play on her tablet. I was sitting with my laptop on my lap and she took the watch with her.

I would have left it plain but it was a birthday cake so we had to ice it.
The red candle is for next year, another Israeli tradition

A bit later: Where's my watch?


Reader we have looked everywhere. We looked in the boxes of all the games that had been out. We looked in the sofa and in my bed (where she had taken her tablet). I even looked through the rubbish bags before taking them out.



So that's what you call a 25 hour watch. I'm hoping it will turn up. Where could it have gone, this is not such a big apartment and there were only the two of us in it?




If it doesn't turn up I have another 50 shekels from one of the other friends (the fourth friend couldn't come to the party) so I'm thinking of the 59 shekel watches in the olde watche shoppe in town.


Or maybe 6 1/4 is just too young to have a watch and we should wait until she's 7?


UPDATE: At 1.30pm on Thursday she found it on one of the dining-room chairs, which is exactly where she had left it. :)


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Country In Fancy Dress - Except One

Even adults join in the fun
Today is the day when the whole country dresses up in costume. It's the last day of school before the Purim holiday. Of course the real days of Purim are on Thursday and Friday when there will be more dressing up but today all the schools have half day and it's one big costume party. Imagine if you did Halloween at school the same as the last day of the Christmas term - that.

Those who have been reading my blog for the past four years will know that I have had varying success in getting DD to dress up. Usually I lost but the nursery teacher managed to persuade her and we got a few photos.

This was our costume fight last year.  (2014)
This was the year before when I ended up in tears. (2013)
Here is 2012 - This was the one year we managed a happy dressing up experience.
And in 2011, when I also ended up in tears. 



This year the school went all out with a dressing up theme for each day for almost a week. Last Thursday each year group had a colour. I managed to get DD to wear her red t-shirt and red sweatshirt (I even slipped in red socks under her blue jeans). On Friday she flatly refused to be an animal. On Sunday she had no interest in being a boy. And luckily her class had a theatre outing yesterday so they were asked not to come in pyjamas like the rest of the school (although they could bring them in a bag to wear afterwards which we didn't of course).

Even the teachers dressed up. By coincidence the principal is called Etti (Esther) so the female staff reenacted the beauty pageant whereby the king chooses Esther to be his bride. 
The student assistants

Today, however, is the big parade. There are two schools and five kindergartens in our street and round the corner. (There is also a teacher-training college round the corner - honestly it's like living on a campus sometimes.) The street today was awash with costumes and disguises. Even the teachers and some parents joined in.

DD is at the back, the only one not in costume

DD wore a t-shirt, jeans, and a plain hoody. I think she may have been a bit shocked when she saw that everyone was wearing a costume except her as she didn't want to stay. The teacher suggested I bring her costume in a bag.

I came back 10 minutes later with the strawberry costume in a bag.

DD: "NO, I DON'T WANT IT HERE! TAKE IT HOME!"

I left it in case she changes her mind before the big parade but I'm not hopeful. *sighs*


Perfectly normal scene in the streets today

Cool 6th Grade girls