Category Archives: Pesach

coconut macaroons

Easy as 1-2-3 Macaroons

This is a super easy and really yummy recipe for coconut macaroons that we’re all enjoying this year. It’s moist and I think it tastes pretty close to the store-bought macaroons that I grew up with in the US (think Maneshewitz brand).   It has just four ingredients and doesn’t require beating any egg whites.

Easy As 1-2-3 Macaroons

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 c. coconut
  • 1 pkg vanilla sugar (can leave this out if you don’t have it)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Form into balls and bake on an ungreased pan at 350 degrees until the tops are just hardly browned.  Take out of oven and let cool to solidify.

coconut macaroons

For our family I quadruple this recipe to make one batch.  It’s a good thing I bought a 50 lb bag of shredded coconut before Pesach because these are so good, so easy and thanks to being gluten free, something all the kids can enjoy – we’ve made a bunch!

Enjoy!

Avivah

Dandelion of faith

Staying centered in the midst of my pre-Pesach baking fiasco

My goal for the late afternoon today was to get a significant chunk of the Pesach cooking and baking done.  But sometimes, you can do your best and things just don’t seem to cooperate!

I started with a new marble cake recipe.  I cooked up a chocolate syrup to use for the marbling, made the entire cake and put it in the oven.  I thought it looked like a small recipe.  Maybe it would rise once it was baking? I wondered.  Well, on to the brownies.

As I made the brownies, I noticed the package of potato starch was still closed. I looked around, knowing I had just used it for the marble cake. Oh, no, it seems I must have forgotten that. That’s why the recipe looked so small.  I pulled the pan out of the oven (fortunately I hadn’t yet started to bake it), mixed in the potato starch and then my marble cake became a pale chocolate cake.  But it will still taste good, right?

I finished mixing the brownies and after pouring it into the baking pan, asked ds17 to taste it just to make sure it was okay and jokingly said, “Just to make sure I didn’t forget the sugar or something!”  He tasted it and said, “It needs more sugar”.  No, that’s not what he was supposed to say!

I looked at the recipe, and then saw that when I copied it, I didn’t write in the sugar!  Instead of writing 1 3/4 c. cup sugar, 3/4 c. potato starch, I wrote – 1 3/4 c. potato starch.  Yes, I followed the recipe perfectly but the recipe was imperfectly written so it didn’t matter!

I was able to add the missing sugar but had already added more than double the amount of potato starch.  That didn’t bode well for a good consistency, but hopefully it would still taste good.

Next I put a large pan of coconut macaroons in the oven – it was a new recipe that I slightly adapted, much easier than ones that I’ve made in the past and they have a really nice taste and moistness.  I’ll try to post it for you before Pesach begins.

Then the power blew.  Months ago when time this happened it was because there was a malfunction with the stove thermostat.  But we had the malfunctioning part replaced so why was it happening now?  Then the power went back on and the stove did, too, so I was reassured that there was nothing to worry about.

I took out the perfectly browned macaroons and put in a large pan of Pesach granola. Right after that we started bedikas chametz (search for leavened bread), which is done the night before Pesach.  Ds6, ds8 and ds10 had a great time hiding the well-wrapped pieces of chametz with the supervision of an older sibling – this time ds22.

Dh is great at making mitzvos enjoyable for the kids and he really gets them into it.  They were laughing and giving him clues (“warmer, warmer, no colder – very cold”) when he got close to where they hid the pieces for him to find.  I went to stir the granola so it wouldn’t burn but it didn’t seem to be cooking very quickly.  After another couple of times when I checked it, I started to think it wasn’t cooking at all.  And then I noticed that the oven was just warm and the delicious smells that had been emanating from my oven were no longer present.

Well.  My oven wasn’t working and I still had the bulk of my cooking to do!  Ds17 said, ‘Isn’t this a big problem for you right now?  Why aren’t you worried?”  I told him not to think that my lack of emotional reaction was because I wasn’t going to do something about it.  I would, when we finished bedikas chametz, but we could take care of it without getting uptight about it.

Even if you put effort into personal development, it’s hard to be aware of how you’ve grown since real change takes place slowly and over a long period of time.  When ds made this comment, my lack of anxiety about the broken stove in the middle of my baking marathon juxtaposed with the comparison to how I would have reacted to this years ago.  That flash of clarity as to how far I’ve come was really a gift to me.

We finished bedikas chametz and dh called the electrician who had come in the past.  It’s so nice when you have someone competent and reliable and responsible who you already have a relationship with and trust, who can help you out in a situation like this!

I was anticipating the oven being speedily repaired – maybe he would even come within an hour or so!

Um, not quite. Actually, he notified us that he isn’t working anymore before Pesach.  No, not for anyone.  No, not even for us.  :)  And he’s not working until after Pesach.  Dh asked him if he knew electricians who would be working.  No, he didn’t.  That definitely changes my plans for Pesach baking!

It was right after this I received my delivery of 20 dozen eggs.   Usually I use half of that for a week but because of my plans to do a lot of Pesach baking, I didn’t want to run short.  But by the time they arrived, I already had to adjust my plans for what I would be making.  Good thing my family likes eggs!

I was so grateful to have made what I did before my oven broke:

  • The marble-cake- turned- chocolate cake turned out great.
  • Rather than being dry and overly dense due to my mistake with the potato starch, the brownies were gooey – probably because the heating element blew before they were completely finished baking.  I think once they cool off and set they’ll be perfect but if they’re still loose, we’ll freeze them and serve them as a frozen dessert.
  • The macaroons baked completely and well.
  • The granola was easily completed by toasting it in a frying pan.

Since I’m now ovenless, I’m going to be doing the rest of my Pesach cooking on my stovetop this year.  This week I invested in several new pots which I bought for a marvelously discounted price, to supplement the two Pesach pots that I had.  I already felt very abundant about this addition to my Pesach kitchen, but how amazingly timely and helpful it is that with the help of these pots I’ll now be able to more easily compensate for the lack of an oven!

thats-ok

Often life doesn’t go according to my plan (and I bet often it doesn’t go according to yours, either!), but when I adjust myself to life instead of fighting it or fuming about why things don’t go my way, life is so much more enjoyable.

Happy Pesach to you all!

Avivah

 

 

This is not the mother you want to be!

Pesach is coming – are you taking care of yourself?

As soon as Purim ended, there was a palpable sense in the air that Pesach was on its way.  Going into a major supermarket just a few days later, one could already sense the atmosphere shift and as Pesach gets closer, you can feel the tension and stress and anxiety building.

A couple of weeks ago I co-led a workshop on how to go into Pesach without stressing yourself out.  The point about planning ahead won’t be of much value now, a few days before Pesach. But the other ideas are still applicable.

1) Perspective – what does Pesach mean to you? What kind of atmosphere do you want to have in your house? A person can get so busy doing the preparatory work that they don’t even think about why they’re doing it all!

My goal is to go into Pesach calmly and pleasantly. I want my family members to have positive associations for this time of year.  I want to be awake and fully able to enjoy the seder along with every other person in my family. I want to remember the spiritual messages of this time of year and feel inspired and connected to myself and to G-d.

2) Know what is chometz – Differentiate between spring cleaning and Pesach cleaning. Dirt is not chometz.  I’ll repeat that. Dirt is not chometz.  Here in Israel it’s beautiful to see families everywhere getting ready for Pesach but seeing others doing things you don’t do can easily lead you to feel inadequate if you’re not doing the same things on the same schedule.  Remember your goals and choose what to do accordingly.

3) Sleep – don’t think that you’re getting ahead by sleeping less to get more cleaning done.  No, no, no.  At the most potentially stressful times it’s more important than ever to get enough sleep. Everything in life looks better and more manageable with adequate sleep.  When I start to feel negative, it’s almost always related to being overtired and I need to get myself into bed, pronto!

I’m trying to drum this into my older kids in their late teens and early twenties, who are all very busy right now with work and school.  I remind them that when they’re rested they can get much more done the next day.  Do they take my advice?  Well, they tell me theoretically they agree with it! :)  And they also tell me they appreciate my encouragement to take it easy, do less and sleep more.

It’s so much easier to be a nice person to live with when you’re rested.  My priority for this week is to get to sleep at a regular time every day, take a nap daily, and to eat well.  I schedule it into my planner at the beginning of each day and make these things a priority before anything else. Really.

4) Nutrition – if you’re keeping yourself going on caffeine and grabbing whatever quick carbs you can to get through the day, your blood sugar is going to be all over the place and you’re not going to feel emotionally stable.  You’re going to crash. Make time to physically refuel with good quality foods.  I know, you don’t have time for this, right?  You deserve to make time for this because you are worthy of being taken care of lovingly.  And it doesn’t have to take a long time.  An egg with butter and vegetables  will keep your keep you full and your blood sugar stable.

For kids, too, make sure they’re getting protein at every meal and at snack time.  So much misbehavior is because kids get too hungry and out of sorts.  Don’t fall prey to the Pesach snacks that are everywhere – this will almost guarantee that your kids will be more reactive and less responsive to your requests.  Sandwiches with sweet spreads, cookies and chips won’t give your child’s brain the building blocks they need to stay calm and positive.

Keep it simple – hard boiled eggs, some carrot sticks and hummus makes an easy lunch.  Peanut butter on celery sticks, cheese or nuts make easy snacks.  I keep lots of vegetables and some fruits on hand for the kids to snack on as well.

5) Music – music is your ally in creating a cheerful and upbeat atmosphere!  There is so much great Pesach music that will enhance your home environment while getting your kids prepared for the seder by knowing the songs that are sung that night.

6) Connect – Take time to connect with your kids before they misbehave. Being proactive on this front will make a big difference.  Again, I know it seems like there’s not enough time but believe me, your children will make themselves heard and you will need to take time to deal with whatever behavior and conflicts come up.  Investing the time upfront to preempt the issues is a very wise use of your time.

Most of all – be kind to yourself.  Don’t set high standards that will lead you to feel inadequate.  Keep it simple.  If your house doesn’t sparkle, your home can still be ready for Pesach.  If your menus are simple, your family can still enjoy.  When you treat yourself kindly, it transfers to how you treat everyone around you.

This is not the mother you want to be!

This is not the mother you want to be!

Taking care of yourself is the absolute highest priority at this time. Give yourself the emotional and physical support that you need to feel good. A happy mother is a gift to the entire family!

Avivah

Menu plan for final days of Pesach

Despite my optimistic hope of several days ago that the vegetables I bought would be sufficient for the week of Passover, they weren’t!  I do have some things left, like onions and potatoes, but most of the salad vegetables except for avocado were finished.  Yesterday I went to the vegetable store for yet another order – I’ve spent 50% of my monthly food budget on vegetables in less than two weeks!

Here’s what I bought:

  • 3.7 kg zucchini
  • 2.7 kg cabbage
  • 2.5 kg fennel
  • 2 kg red cabbage
  • 8 kg cucumbers
  • 4 kg kohlrabi
  • 8 kg red and orange peppers
  • 5 kg Granny Smith apples
  • 30 kg carrots
  • 24 kg tomatoes

So now I hope that we’ll have enough to get through the rest of Pesach!

Now I’ll share what we’re making, and it will immediately be obvious why we go through so many vegetables.  I’m breaking the list below into main and side dishes, which will all be supplemented with a variety of salads (we usually have a selection of 5 – 7 for each meal).  Here’s what we’ll be having for the next couple of days:

Thursday night dinner:

  • chicken soup
  • meat stew with carrots, kohlrabi and zucchini (we also made this for seder night)
  • mashed potatoes and gravy
  • selection of salads
Friday lunch:
  • roast chicken
  • cauliflower kugel
  • variety of salads
Friday night: 
  • chicken soup
  • roast turkey
  • roast vegetables
  • roast potatoes
  • variety of salads
Shabbos/Saturday lunch: 
  • chicken and cabbage stew
  • vegetable matza kugel
  • variety of salads
Here are the salads that we’ve made so far:
  • pickled radish salad
  • Moroccan carrot salad
  • beet salad
  • tomato mint salad
  • carrot and pineapple salad
  • cucumber salad

I don’t have enough containers to make in advance all the salads we’ll be having, and some salads are better made fresh, anyway! We’re planning to prepare different salads when we need to.  These will include some of the following:

  • Persian tomato cucumber salad and/or Israeli salad
  • guacamole (great to spread on matza!)
  • pepper olive salad
  • cauliflower salad
  • fennel orange avocado salad
  • tomato avocado salad
  • fresh salad
  • coleslaw

You may have noticed that we don’t have desserts listed.  Usually I make a lot of kugels, baked goods, and homemade ice cream for Pesach.  This year we discussed it and decided that although it’s nice, it doesn’t enhance our holiday enough to do consume that much sugar. :)  We bought some fresh fruit and dried dates; my husband gives the dates as treats to the kids when they answer holiday related questions, and we serve the fruits for dessert on the lunch meals (at night it’s so late that it’s excessive).   It’s worked out nicely so far!

Avivah

Pesach family outing to Park Hagalil

Today is the first day of chol hamoed Pesach in Israel, the intermediary days of Passover that have the status of a semi-holiday.  (In the US, the first day of chol hamoed will be Monday – we get five days instead of four!)  All of the schools here have vacation, and in Israel it’s a time of family trips and activities across the nation.

We went to a local park with most of our family members as well as our lovely guest who came from Jerusalem to spend the weekend with us.  Dh needed to work and ds18 was supposed to meet us there later (though since it’s such a large park and he didn’t know which section we were in, he couldn’t find us when he got there).  The park we went to is called Park Hagalil; it’s a huge park that includes a very nice playground, an ampitheater, a waterfall, and lots of other stuff.  There’s no admission fee and it’s just a ten minute walk from my house.

It’s a really nice play to go, whether you’re a kid or an adult – the first time I went to the waterfall, I had fantasies of taking a regular early morning walk and then sitting there for some quiet time before I started my day each morning.  But I’m not an early riser so it’s remained wishful thinking.   I find the waterfall area very restful and calming, and thought we’d start off at there and then go to different areas since the kids would get bored after a while, but I was wrong – we spent almost four hours there and no one wanted to leave.

Most of our family next to the waterfall pool

There’s a small path to the right of the main pond behind some rushes that the kids spent loads of time at – there were frogs, tadpoles, and little fish there that kept them interested for ages.  I didn’t actually go over to look at it, since I was happy to plop myself on the grass in a shady spot and watch everyone while chatting with our guest and the older kids.

(l-r) Ds9, ds6, ds4, ds2 cooling their legs opposite the waterfall

Ds13 quickly got soaked under the waterfall, then he and the other middles  enjoyed hiking up the hills surrounding the waterfall.

Ds13 and dd11

Ds13 had brought his baseball equipment with the intent to play with ds18.  But the area we were in was hilly and ds18 wasn’t there, so he played catch with all of his younger brothers instead.

Ds13 playing catch with the littles

 

Ds2.5 very excited about throwing a baseball

Ds4 retrieving the baseball that rolled down the hill into the pool

At one point, a huge flock of large birds flew over us.  It was an unusual sight because they weren’t birds we had seen before.  Our guest is an amateur birdwatcher, and had her binoculars and bird guide book there, so she was able to look them up and tell us what we’d seen.   They were some kind of stork migrating to their summer homes; learning about them from the guidebook made it more interesting for everyone.

Flock of migrating storks flying overhead

It was a lovely day out!

Avivah

Vegetable shopping for Pesach

Today I did my vegetable shopping for Pesach.  The store was very crowded and I was exhausted when I came home.  But I’ll never fail to be anything but enthusiastic about this store’s delivery service- the more I buy, the happier it makes me to know that someone else is bringing it into my house instead of me.

I took the picture below so you can see the amount of vegetables a family our size buys for Pesach, and why I’m happy not to have to bring it up a flight of stairs.  :)  (You’ll probably need to double click it to see it up close to realize how much is there since the boxes contain so much of it – my kids saw the picture and all said, ‘that doesn’t look like so much!)  To be clear: this is not what bulk shopping looks like for us – that would be way, way more!

Here’s what I got, from the top left, clockwise to the right.  My receipt is in kg, so if you mentally want to convert the numbers I list, a kilogram is 2.2 pounds.

  • first box, top left – three 10 kg bags of carrots (last week we blew through one of these in 2.5 days)
  • box to the right of carrots (fruit box)- 16 kg oranges
  • two kg strawberries
  • 3 kg melon
  • 1 kg apples
  • (next box to the right – green leafy vegetables) – 4 huge heads of romaine lettuce
  • 3 bunches of fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • (to the right slightly down) – 2 large sacks of potatoes (can’t remember how many kg is in each one – I think 18 or 20) – I actually have three sacks but started putting things away before I took the picture and didn’t want to drag it back out
  • (to left of potatoes) 10 kg cucumbers
  • 4.5 kg beets
  • 250 grams fresh garlic
  • 200 grams horseradish root
  • (next box to left) -5.5 kg  kohlrabi
  • 2.5 kg fennel
  • 7 kg cauliflower
  • 3.5 kg green cabbage
  • 2.5 kg red cabbage
  • (bags to the left) 8 kg onions
  • 12 kg red and orange peppers (also another bag in a different box)
  • 15 kg tomatoes
  • 1.5 kg radishes
  • (center right) 12 kg avocados
If you’re wondering about prices, everything was between 2 – 4 shekels a kilo, except for the avocado (5.99), apple (6.99), strawberries (9.99)  and horseradish (31.99 kg).  I get what is seasonal and most affordable; that’s why I can’t prepare my menu until I go shopping and see what I ended up buying!

I also have a box of turnips and some zucchini left from last week’s shopping (which are only left because no one snacks on them, unlike almost everything else).  Since we watched Hungry for Change last week, dd17 and ds13 are eating only/mostly raw (dd17 0nly, ds13 mostly) and you should see how we’re burning through the vegetables!  Also when the weather gets warm, we eat more fresh salads with our meals instead of cooked vegetables that are part of a soup or dish.  It’s a good thing, but it’s not cheap to drastically up your vegetable intake for a family our size.  On Friday afternoon I spent almost 300 shekels on vegetables – it was four boxes full – and on Sunday afternoon almost everything was gone.  Usually that amount can last for a week.  The amount in the picture would usually be enough for two weeks, but for Pesach we use a lot more fresh produce.  As it is, I’ll have to be a bit restrictive of the kids because they love fresh produce and would be happy to snack their way through most of what I got (even raw kohlrabi – they really like it!)

I didn’t get as much fruit as I would have liked, but I was spending so much for Pesach that I felt I needed to be more careful in this area.  I’ve spent half of our monthly allotted food budget so far just for this coming week, plus there are a number of expenses due to not having any Pesach supplies (dishes, pots, silverware, etc) here.  To be fair, I also got more grape juice, extra virgin olive oil and palm oil than I need for the week or even the month, since they’re on sale now.  This is something I always try to do, be sure I have money available to buy staple items when they are on sale.  (You can see in the background of the above picture a couple of boxes with some of those other miscellaneous things – a sink insert and electric hot water pot are on top, some disposable dishes and non perishable food items are underneath.)

For the first time ever, we kashered three pots that we use during the year as well as our silverware, and though it was a lot of work to get the bottoms of the pots spotless, it was nice that I didn’t have to buy these things!  We also kashered a stainless steel salad bowl and a couple of serving utensils.  An additional benefit of kashering these things is that it minimizes the storage space I’ll need for Pesach items for the rest of the year – I’ll just go back to using them during the year.

Now I need to go back out and do some more shopping for the things I couldn’t get this morning –  I ran out of energy after the three stores I went to (the vegetables were just one stop).  So I’m going to rest for a short bit and then go spend more money.  :)

Avivah

Spiritual preparations for Passover

There are a few things that I was hoping to find time to post about regarding Pesach (Passover) preparations: my thoughts on how much to involve children in cleaning and how much is too much to expect (I’ve wanted to write about this for the past two years and never found the time!), a detailed shopping list with a cost breakdown of food purchases, a menu plan for Pesach, and some menus.  Since tomorrow night is Pesach, there’s no way I’m going to be able to write about most of that!

At the same time, I’d also really like to share about some spiritual preparations that I’ll be making for Pesach.  Pesach is an incredibly powerful time spiritually, with its own unique energy to tap into, and to be able to tap into it, you need to be aware of it and planning for it!  And it’s also the holiday that has so much physical preparation surrounding it that it’s easy to totally lose sight of what the point of all those preparations are.  So I’m going to share just a few things that we’ll be doing.

Preparing for the seder in advance – of course we need to prepare the food and set the table.  But what about being emotionally and spiritually prepared to appreciate and absorb some of the messages of the evening?

  • In our home, everyone takes a long nap on Friday afternoon so that they’re well-rested for the seder.
  • My husband sat down with the older kids one evening earlier this week to talk with them about some of his goals for the seder, and to hear their thoughts.
  • My husband assigned each of the kids parts of the seder to prepare for, to come with thoughts on the portion they were given.
  • Dd17 took time yesterday to help the little kids prepare stick puppets for the seder that they can use to actively participate.

A few years ago, I learned that there’s an amazing spiritual power for growth when eating the matza at the seder, and shared that with my family then.  I thought in advance about the one thing that I most wanted for myself in terms of spiritual change in the coming year, and focused on that as I was chewing the matza, and the older children and my husband also did this.  It’s like a spiritual pipeline that gets opened up straight to Heaven at that time, for that purpose.  Tonight I’ll be speaking with them about this at dinner, in addition to something new that I learned about this year and hope to integrate (to be shared below).  This turns the physical act of eating into something much more elevated and personally meaningful.

This evening is the search for chametz (leavened foods), and like everything, the physical search has much more depth behind it than a nice little ceremony.   Chametz represents the ego, the undesired, the lower self as it expresses itself in our lives.  We hide ten pieces of chametz for the search, and we can take time to think about the ten aspects of ‘chametz’ in our personal lives that we’d like to search out and destroy.  There is a custom to burn these pieces of paper together with the actual chametz earlier in the morning of the day the seder takes place.

This is something that takes some thought to prepare for, you can’t just spontaneously do it at the last moment.  At dinner I’ll be sharing this idea with my family members so that they’ll have time to prepare some of their own ‘chametz’/negative habits/unhappy thoughts or experiences that they’d like to consciously let go of for the coming year.  I hope to sit down with the littles as well and share this concept on a simplified level with them, so that they can each prepare something to burn as well (eg saying ‘poopy’, hitting someone, etc).

I’m also going to be giving a shiur/ Torah lecture for women this Shabbos and the next.  (I was only thinking of giving a shiur on one of these two Shabbosim, but the person I asked about hosting was away for the first Shabbos.  I told her maybe we could do it the second week, but by the time she got back to me and said she could do it, I had already made arrangements to have it held somewhere else on the first Shabbos, so I said I’d give a different lecture next Shabbos.)

This week I’ll be speaking about The Spiritually Transformative Power of Chametz in Your Life, and ways to concretely take away messages of growth for the coming year.   If you’re in the area (as far as I know, there are very few people in my area who read my blog, but still…), the shiur will be held on April 7, 4 pm at Beit Mali, Rechov Chavatzelet 24 in the Dromit neighborhood.

Now I’m off to go shopping for vegetables and the other assorted things that we still need for Pesach!

Avivah

Pesach cleaning schedule 2012

I know, it’s less than a week until Pesach (Passover) and I haven’t posted anything about my preparations!

For some reason, people seem to assume that I’ve already finished or am close to it.  Nothing could be further from the truth!!

This year I decided to do things a bit differently than in the past.  We’re now in a smaller living space than in the past, and thanks to having moved overseas  seven months ago, have a lot less stuff than we used to.  I always try to keep Pesach preparations reasonable so that the spirit of the holiday doesn’t get lost in the unending drudgery of cleaning, and this year that means that we are doing our cleaning significantly later than we have in the past.

Here’s this year’s schedule – a schedule for last minute-ers! :):

– week of March 25 – I asked the kids to clean their rooms sometime between Mar. 25 – 30, ideally at the beginning of the week (though everyone didn’t choose to follow this suggestion :)) so that they would be able to enjoy being able to spend the rest of the week relaxing.

Last week I also somewhat cleaned the enclosed laundry porch and main bathroom.

– Sunday April 1 –

  • clean master bedroom/bedroom/office
  • finish cleaning laundry porch (this is my ‘pantry’ so it’s more about organization than cleaning)

– Monday April 2 – go to Jerusalem for the day; I hope to get some clothing shopping done after technical business is finished since I have no maternity clothing and at 5.5 months I think it would be a good thing to have. :)

– Tuesday April 3 –

  • will stop using kitchen sink in the evening

– Wednesday April 4 – the main cleaning day for the kitchen and salon (living room/dining room combo).  I’m planning to assign all of the older kids one big job each.  This will include:

  • clean living room/dining room, couches
  • cover dining room table, wipe down chairs
  • clean stove and oven, kasher
  • clean refrigerator
  • wipe down cabinets, line those we’ll use for Pesach

In the evening when the littles are asleep, we’ll kasher the countertops.  Usually at this point, we would unpack the Pesach dishes, but I left them behind with the intent to have them sent on someone’s lift.  They have yet to leave the US, so I’ll be buying disposable dishes and a few basic pots/cooking implements.

Thursday April 5 –

  • change sheets in all bedrooms
  • do all laundry
  • shop for Pesach food
  • start cooking for Pesach (being in Israel means that we will only have one seder instead of two, so while I usually like to have several days before Pesach to cook in advance and freeze food, and everything has to be ready accordingly, this year it would be overkill)

Friday April 6 – erev Pesach –

  • make sure everything is ready for the seder
  • have everyone take a long nap midday so they’ll be able to enjoy the seder that night

And that’s it!

Avivah

An inspirational Pesach message

This morning I received a link to a Pesach message that I found encouraging and inspiring (thanks, Michelle!).

This is a six and a half minute video of the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Dr. Warren Goldstein, speaking on the topic ‘Vehi sheamda – and the covenant stood for us’.  This is a phrase from the Passover hagada, in which is mentioned that in every generation, there have been those who have sought to destroy the Jewish people.  And yet the Jewish people are still here, against overwhelming odds.

With the Jewish people currently being threatened with nuclear extinction by the ruler of Iran, it’s a timely reminder.

I hope you enjoy it!
 

Avivah

A wonderful Pesach!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Pesach!  Ours was so, so nice.  I think it gets nicer every year.

Firstly, it was so special to have ds17 and dd16 home with us again.  I already commented about that but it adds so much when everyone is home at the same time.  The sedarim were great – I was feeling sad that next year we’ll only have one seder (since that’s what is done is Israel).  I’m at the point now when many things we are doing is the last time we’re doing it in America, and that’s a mixed feeling – though we’re all looking forward to our move, our present lives are very pleasant and it’s not easy making such a big change and knowing that this stage of our lives is coming to a close. 

On chol hamoed, we took the kids to a state park that had a baseball field and a huge playground.  We ended up spending almost all the time at the baseball field – we had enough people for a family baseball game, which was really fun!  I didn’t play until the end, and when I got up, I was jokingly warning ds17, who was pitching to me, about the home run I was going to hit.  He was joking back to me about his confidence in my hitting ability (since I was swinging and not connecting with the ball), when I caught him offguard by hitting it hard directly at him – it was a good thing he has fast enough reflexes that he deflected it from directly hitting him!   And I did later hit a home run, though that might partially be since no one was fielding at the time!  😛

Then on Friday, my sister came for a good part of the day with her two children.  As soon as I made dd16’s ticket to come home, I called my sister and told her that dd and ds were going to be here for Pesach, and it would be her last chance to see all of us before we moved to Israel.  I asked her if there was any way she could come visit.  Her schedule is SO busy – I don’t know how she does all she does.  Busyness is why we’ve only seen each other twice in the last four years – now 3 times, with this visit – though we both would love it if it were more frequent.  My sister is so great!  She really made it happen, and I’m so appreciative to her for putting in the time and money to make the trip; I know it wasn’t easy.  Our kids love seeing their cousins, and their cousins love seeing them.  It was close to my nephew’s birthday, so dd16 made him a cake and we sang him the three stanzas of Happy Birthday, as we always do. My sister said it was the first time she ever heard the full rendition!   It was really hard to say goodbye.  It’s that mixed feeling that I told you about.

Throughout all of Pesach we had a nice mix of guests and family, and it was so relaxing to have a week without all the non-stop planning and paperwork and appointments that I’ve been busy with.  Funny, usually Pesach feels like never ending meal preparation and clean up, but compared to what I’ve been doing lately, it was a major vacation.

Tonight we turned the kitchen back over, and as we did that, I started feeling the ‘time to get back to real life’ feeling.  It didn’t take long for my ‘to do’ list for tomorrow to fill a page.  It makes me appreciate even more how nice it’s been not having a pressing list of things to do for this past week!

Avivah