Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits 9

DD (calling from the bedroom): Mummmeeeee! Mummmmeeeee!
Me: Go to sleep.
DD: Mummmeeee!
Me: If I hear mummy one more time I'm going to be very cross.
DD: Raaaaacheeeeeel!

Here are two from my nephews when they were about 4 and 7. They are now 18 and 15.

Me (on the phone): What are you dong?
Nathan (aged 4, on the phone): Well I'm watching television but Eli and Mummy are making boomerangs.
Me: Boomerangs?! What are you going to do with them?
Nathan: We're going to eat them. They're food.
Eli (voice in the background): Meringues not boomerangs.

Eli: Nathan do you remember the name of that new car we saw yesterday?
Nathan: Errr, no.
Eli runs off.
Nathan: Mum, do you know what that car was?
His Mum: It was a Porche.
Nathan: Oh yes. Eli! I remembered!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

#ShabbatShalom : Ice-Lolly Genius

Ok I didn't invent this but we had a serendipitous moment this week when DD discovered that she didn't like the (cheap) yogurts she had chosen. I put plastic spoons through the lids and froze them. For 2.54 nis (about 13p) a [lolly]pop, DD is eating yogurts and thinks they are the biggest treat out. For reference the only other ice-lollies that cost 2 1/2 shekels are the sugar, fruit flavouring, colouring, and water kind. These are not much better in the healthy department but I'll choose better yogurts next time - now that I know  how well it works. It's very hard to deny your child an ice-lolly when it's so hot out.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Could Get Used To This

Summer time so obviously here's another post about my feet. (This was last summer's post where I revealed my dirty little secret).

Last September two friends bought me a mani-pedi for my birthday, to be done within the year according to the voucher. It was a brilliant present for me as, although I love a bit of pampering, I would never buy it for myself. Well I would if I were rich but I'm not.

It's taken me almost 11 months to get round to it but I went today. It was fitting closure for the broken toe episode and I loved every minute of it. Jane, the beautician beauty technician beauty treatments lady, was great. What can be better than being pampered with such good company? Thanks Jane.

An added bonus to feeling all Grace Kelly is that when I met a friend for coffee afterwards I felt so elegant that I didn't even consider buying anything sweet to go with my coffee. Of course my friend trumped me by ordering tea with mint but I still felt virtuous.

Thank you Helen and Fiona. I could get used to this.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits 8

Me: Wow, it might rain in Jerusalem tomorrow.
DD: Wow, we better not go to Jerloosalem

Me: Oooh you won a medal at the sports day?
DD: Nah, everyone got one.

On the fast day of Tisha B'Av when we mourn the destruction of the Temple
DD: Why aren't the mummies and daddies eating today?
Me: Because people were being horrible to each other so God destroyed the Temple.
DD: What it means destroyed?
Me: He broke it all up.
DD: Why can't you eat if He broke it up? He shouldn't eat until He says sorry.

In the pencil box:
Can you sharpel my pencil? It needs sharpelling. Here's the sharpeller.
If I cut this paper with the scizens I can fix it with sticky-take.

Me: What do you want for breakfast?
DD: Ice cream
Me: You can't have ice cream for breakfast.
DD (calmly): Don't fight with me about this, I want ice cream

DD: Even if we both get married to boys we'll still love each other the best in the world, you're right?
Me: You're right.
DD: Yes, because in Mama Mia they still love each other.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

#ShabbatShalom : A Good Week

This week we had friends over for lunch after Kindergarten-camp twice, we went to the zoo, and at Moonlight Movies we stayed for the whole film for the first time. One of the girls had a birthday and they brought down a birthday cake to share with everyone. Candles, singing Happy Birthday, warm fuzzy neighbourly feelings all round. It was a personal first for me too. After 25 years in this country I watched my first ever whole film in Hebrew without subtitles - and could follow the plot. OK so How To Train Your Dragon doesn't have such a complicated plot but still.

Shabbat Shalom

Friday, July 12, 2013

#ShabbatShalom : Upcycling Op

This week we got a beautiful wedding invitation and instantly spotted an upcycling opportunity. We're looking forward to the wedding aswell.

What was a highlight of your week? One or two photos with one or two sentences and feel free to join the linky below.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Reasons 2B Cheerful 123

I'm joining Michelle from Mummy From The Heart this week in Reasons 2B Cheerful. When you've read this you can pop over and see some others.

Actually Michelle mentioned me in her Reasons 2B Cheerful post. Yes, I am a reason for the fabulous top blogger Mummy From The Heart to be cheerful. Well not just me, obviously. Those of you who know me personally might chuckle at the thought of me being described as a faith filled blogger but I suppose when you think about it (who thinks about it?), being Jewish is a big part of my identity even though I don't go around praying very much or doing good deeds.

Here are my reasons to be cheerful 123:

1. We had double the number of people at the Moonlight Movie tonight (Koala Kid) and DD and I lasted a full half hour. Last week we were outta there in 20 minutes. I may not have mentioned that as I was so filled with warm fuzzy feelings about the neighbours and the community spirit. And we did watch the end from the bedroom window.

2. A few weeks ago I wrote a post called: Jewish Women Covering Their Hair. I've just discovered a whole blog devoted to this subject: Wrapunzel. I feel like I attempted to re-invent the wheel and failed. These head coverings with gorgeous scarves are works of art. What? They made me cheerful, shoot me.

3. A friend passed on some gorgeous clothes that her daughters have grown out of. The prize item was a luxuriously soft purple bath robe. DD loves it. And we are thrilled with the other outfits aswell. Thank you Sarah, Miri, and Ruthie.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Vegetable Patch Balcony

There are some things to do with traditional Edwardian lifestyles that I'm drawn to. Playing the piano, dressing for dinner and a pottager garden. All genteel pursuits of course - I'm not drawn to being a chimney sweep or washing the sheets by hand. I don't do any of the above but would like to, hence the piano thing here.

You my remember that last year I cut off the sprouting eyes from a few older potatoes and planted them to see what would happen. It was a totally unsuitable pot for potatoes but the foliage that emerged was quite pleasant.

The potato plants last year
Last week I discovered I liked fresh mint with hot water (I'm intending to save a fortune on tea, coffee, and milk). I took a cutting (get me - I mean I picked a bit) of mint from the kindergarten  garden (why do I always think of Al Quaeda leader when I say that?) and put it in water to sprout roots.When I went to plant the mint in the same pot that had incubated my potato plants that have long gone to the great vegetable patch in the sky, I dug into the soil and found a tiny new potato! Excitedly I rummaged around a bit more and found these.

Thrilled was not the word. We had this for supper tonight (among other things). Sorry about the lack of focus. If you're wondering about the scale, this is a dish I have used to put salt on the table or for a few jelly beans at the end of a meal - basically two bites each. It was delicious though.

Potato salad from home grown new potatoes

Now I've my eyes set on a bigger planter for next year's crop. This was my simple Ikea hack which was going to store the leftover tiles from the renovations and be a dinky coffee table on the balcony. However, it's now screaming potatoes!

And I'm thinking of tomatoes too, if I can just find alternative storage areas for these files and clothes for DD to grow in to.

Did I mention that we live opposite DD's kindergarten? DD and I have offered to tend the garden (flowers, vegetables and herbs) over the summer break. It's not stealing to take cuttings from the tomatoes and herbs, right?

I used to say that there were three things I never understood: loving an animal, exercising for pleasure, and gardening. I'm down to two things I don't understand. I've got the gardening bug.

Here is the mint by the way. Only one sprig at the moment but I'm hoping for a mint takeover in that planter before the end of the summer.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

#ShabbatShalom : Moonlight Movies

Our Sabbath (Shabbat) starts at sundown on Friday. As we go into our day of rest I'm going to post the highlights of our week. One or two photos, and/or a few sentences. Please feel free to join me via the linky below, there are no rules except to make it succinct. You don't have to be Jewish, you just have to be coming to the end of another week.

Neighbours in the building behind us organised Moonlight Movies for kids. It'll be every Thursday night of the school holidays. This was the first one but hopefully more children will come next week. They gave out bags of popcorn and everything. And at the end everybody clapped.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

So You're Going To Be An Expat?

This post is dedicated to Kate of Listography fame, from Kate takes 5. She is about to become an expat. An expat with kids. Always eager to help, I asked my wide circle of expat friends, via fb, to give me their top tips for new expats. As an expat myself of 25 years standing (England to Israel), I identified with everything they said. So here are my (and my friends') top tips for expat success.

1. The centre of your world is where you live. When you change where you live it takes time for your brain to re-centre your world to its new location. You feel disorientated, literally out of place. It can take a good couple of years to feel fully centred again.

To illustrate this, a friend of mine was asked by summer visitors if she was happy after being here for almost a year. She replied that it wasn't about being happy - this was the place they had to be. it was right for her family to be here. A year later those same summer visitors came again and asked if she was happy. She thought for a moment and said: It's a good life. The next year, almost three years after she'd arrived, the same summer visitors said they didn't need to ask. They could see in her face that she was happy.

Of course some people are deliriously happy from the moment they arrive but, as my friend Gilly from Brainstorm says, don't underestimate how long it can take to adjust.

2. It might help to approach the new life as one long holiday adventure but if you are planning to stay for any length of time this won't help you to ultimately feel at home. You don't want to spend your whole life as an outsider. My friend Keren David lived in Amsterdam and befriended a group of expats there. One serial expat gave her the following advice. Approach the place as if you will be spending the rest of your life there. She meant to learn the language, make local friends, get involved in the community. You may intend to stay for only a few years but what if it's extended? You could live for 10 or more years on the fringes of society because you'd put your life on hold for the duration of this 'holiday'.

3. Obviously the first thing is to get the family settled and into their new frameworks of schools and jobs. It's easier if you have a job yourself but, as Gilly said, SAHMs have the hardest time because there is no ready made community network that you are a part of. You need to find something to do that gets you out and about, interacting with the locals and making a life for yourself outside of enabling the other family members to live their lives.

4. Take a crate of whatever comfort food you need - Cadbury's chocolate, English tea, Heinz salad cream, Branston Pickle, cheddar cheese, whatever your favourites are.

5. Book your next trip home so that you have a date to keep you going when you feel homesick. And, as soon as you are settled, invite your closest family and friends to visit. Start booking them in according to how much room you have and how much time you want to give them. Low cost flights mean that most people could manage a long weekend at some point. This will make you feel still connected to home without the cost of actually going there. Do both of these things for the children too. You will only be as happy as your unhappiest child so do whatever it takes to make them happy.

6. On the other hand - don't be a sitting duck for other people's cheap holidays. Your nearest and dearest may be welcome but don't start putting up every friend of a friend for a few days throughout the summer - unless you are running a guesthouse and they are paying.

Slightly less intrusive (but only slightly) you also have to be careful of people holidaying locally who call and say, 'we're staying nearby (this means within 100 miles), can we come and visit?' (This could mean for the day.) You could end up making dinner for guests every other night in the high season. And even if you suggest they meet you at a local eatery, they may think you invited them and you are paying. One friend of mine has drinks on her terrace once a week from 8.30 till 10 pm. She puts out a few nibbles and asks guests to bring a bottle. That's the invitation, take it or leave it.

7. Don't dwell on the differences between here and there. It's not there, it's here and it's not pretending to be there. Focus on the good things. Adapt yourself to the more irritating things. Bureaucracy is burdensome wherever you are and moving countries is full of paperwork and getting connections sorted. Aim to accomplish one thing a day. Get to the office early and take a book to read while you wait. If you accomplish two or more things in one day that's fantastic but don't kill yourself trying. Go with the flow.

8. Find an expat friend or two to advise and help you. Ask them for the names of their plumber, electrician, carpenter, doctor, dentist, language teacher, pool person (if you're lucky enough), car mechanic, hairdresser, etc... Invaluable. Expat friends, especially ones from your home country, can fill the gap of childhood friends - they share your cultural references and collective memory. They can make easy company. As Gilly said, you can make a new life but you can't make a new history to share with friends.

9. Language is the key to everything. If you learn their language the locals will respect you for it and accept you into their communities.

10. Consider the concept of first-year friends. When you arrive you must befriend everyone who's willing to be friendly. You don't know them at all but you need friends and whoever is around gets the job. After a year or so you get to know who your real friends are going to be and who you really connect with. It's a process but first-year friends are essential even if you know very quickly that these are not your soul mates or going to be your forever friends.

11. On the other hand, don't have an affair with a local until you understand the culture better. This is more for singles who might get swept off their feet by some loser and not realise who they are contemplating marrying.

12. Every expat deserves cable television. You can also download, for example, expatshield in order to watch the BBC on your computer.

I'm sure there's more. Thanks to all my friends who contributed their wisdom to this post. And thanks in advance to any expat readers who can add to the list in the comments below.

Have wonderful new life Kate. xxx

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer #Listography : 5 Good Intentions For The Summer Holidays

I've missed Listography and would love to do some summer lists. But Kate from Kate Takes 5 is moving next month and just doesn't have the time for it atm. So, she's letting me borrow it until she's settled in her new home. Good luck for the move Kate!

The topic this week is: 5 Good Intentions for the Summer Holidays. I suspect most of us have a vision of how we want it to be. Write your 5 good intentions for the summer holidays, post it, and add your name to the linky below, it's open for a whole week. Please don't forget to link back so your readers can see all the entries if they want to. If you want to do a follow up post in September with feedback it's up to you but I promise I won't check up on you. Mine are below.

5 Good Intentions for the Summer Holidays

I'm ready! I tested them in the bath.
1. Have a plan. Don't let the whole summer slip away watching dvds and counting the hours until DD's bedtime. Plan something for every day - it doesn't have to be a major outing. I have a list of possible activities that would only interest you if you lived in Jerusalem but I'm quite capable of not doing half of it. #procrastinatorsRus

2. Buy a pass to the local pool good for the whole of August. Use the pass every weekday morning before other activities. Well maybe not every weekday morning. And maybe not morning..... No, EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!

3. Our summer holidays are very clearly defined as July and August. DD has kindergarten camp until 2pm during July so, being a teacher myself, I have some free time. I also have an electric piano that I bought 20 years ago with the intention of learning to play. Since then I've got almost all the way through the John Thompson's First Grade Piano book - about three times. And I have my original recorder books from school (aged 11), level 1 and 2 for descant recorder. My Recorder is not the original but bought about 10 years ago with the same purpose as the piano. I intend to spend at least 20 minutes on each instrument every day during July. This morning I set up the piano, dusted it, and located Middle C.  Well it's a start.

4. I'd like to say that I'll make a weekly meal plan but I won't. Or if I do we won't stick to it. Instead I've made a list of healthy DD-friendly meals and my good intention is to choose from it and cook the meals on time so that we don't resort to toasted cheese sandwiches every day out of desperation.

5. Teach DD to read. I know that's a biggy but I believe she's ready and she has all the pre-reading skills pretty much learnt. The goal is for her to read Harry Potter to me on September 1st. Just kidding. No goals, just see how far we get but definitely do some 'reading' every day - even if it's only 10 minutes.