Doesn't it feel like Chanukah is starting tomorrow?
My kids tell me there are ten days left until Chanukah and I'm going to to believe them as the first thing they do each morning is check the calendar and count the days left until - you got it - Chanukah.
I think I already mentioned that I did all my holiday shopping online this year. Did I also mention that it was awesome? I did? Several times? I'm gonna say it again. It was awesome. No lines, no grabbing and the ability to toggle between three stores, checking prices, without having to put my shoes on. The downside to all this online shopping? I don't actually have any the gifts yet and so I cannot yet begin the one holiday chore that is even more time consuming than shopping: the wrapping of the presents.
I had had a thought that maybe I'd get the kids to do some painting on large white paper and use that as wrapping paper. I sat the little one down this morning with paint and some sponges but she decided that she'd rather paint the popsicle sticks that were left out the other day.
So we're painting popsicle sticks. Can't really wrap anything in the sticks so not so useful to me, but she's happy. I was just sitting there while she painted so I drew her a picture of a menorah, nothing fancy, just lines. And I couldn't quite believe it, but she stopped painting, picked up her crayon and copied my picture onto her own paper. Really well. And the art teacher inside me cheered.
See? It's good. A bunch of straight lines for the candles and then a bottom section. You can see it, right?
And then because the only thing she loves more than painting is gluing, we glued. She glued her painted popsicle sticks onto her menorah drawing and she was so careful to paste them on or very near the lines she drew. I was shocked and ecstatic at the same time. How did she know how to do this? How did she squeeze the glue like that? Even my six-year-old has trouble with that, but now that I typed that, I think that might have to do more with the fact that he'd do well with some occupational therapy for his hands, but that's neither here nor there. Today's issue is that my little one is a serious crafter.
Here is our first Chanukah project, made almost by a two and a half year old, almost all by herself.
I'm loving the Chanukah season. .
We'd already been to the cleaners, Target, the dollar store, the grocery and AC Moore this morning when I first realized I was hungry. This Whole30 is awesome - sometimes I actually forget to eat, but watching the little girl happily munch her way through a box of Target brand granola bars reminded me that I really did want something to eat. Sadly, my emergency bag of almonds was missing. Well, not missing for real. Just gone. As in eaten, yesterday, in another emergency situation. I really have to be more selective in my emergency situation designations.
Needless to say, by the time I got us and all the bags back into the house and put the little girl down for a nap, I was not only hungry, but cranky and in no mood to make dinner.
I had been planning on making meatballs and spaghetti, even though no one in my house likes spaghetti. But that's what your'e supposed to make with meatballs, right? What else could I do? But the thought of standing there and making the sauce and then mixing the meatballs and forming them into the little balls was way too much for me; it made me want to cry. So then I thought maybe I would make hamburgers. Much easier. But there were no hamburger buns in the freezer and my complainers, I mean my kids, prefer to have hamburger buns with their burgers. Okay, but I did have hotdog buns; I once tried to serve hotdog buns with hamburgers and the children were not pleased. Josh is much more adaptable. He just cut his burger in half to fill his hotdog bun. A pleasure to cook for, that one.
And then I remembered that when we were small, my mom, who really really didn't like to serve unhealthy things like hotdogs, would make hamburgers in the shape of hotdogs and have us make pretend. I believe we called them hotdoggers. And so that's what I did. So easy. Mix the one pound of ground turkey (or whatever you make your hamburgers with) with maybe 2 tablespoons of ketchup, around a quarter cup of bread crumbs or matzah meal and an egg. Divide the mixture into six sections and roll each one into the shape of a hotdog instead of a hamburger. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes on each side, or until they are golden on the outside and done on the inside. I don't have a meat thermometer so I just cut one open - the sacrificial hotdogger always goes to the mommy*. It's fine. I don't mind. Really.
I took less than five minutes and cut up a few sweet potatoes into smallish pieces and roasted them in the oven while the hotdoggers cooked. Defrosted the hotdog buns on the counter and hooray, a half-decent (dare I say, a three-quarters way decent?) dinner. And, and, it was so quick to make that I was able to sit and have a cup of tea and look out the window for a whole five minutes, 'till someone woke up. Heaven.
*Except this time. Because these hotdoggers are definitely not Whole30 approved.
It's been days since I reported how the Whole30 has been going, but I am happy to report that days 9 through 14 have been a success, full of spaghetti squash, steamed vegetables, salmon and egg whites omlettes. Not sure if any weight is falling off because one of the rules of the Whole30 is no weighing in, but we can hope, right? And we're all hoping, right?
I'm also happy to report that I have finished (and started) all my Chanukah shopping last night, in one three-hour marathon session online. Despite the fact that my neck is still killing me, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Maybe that'll help with the Whole30 losing weight thing. Oh, if only shopping caused weight loss, that would be so awesome. Kind of like if P90X worked just by looking at the dvd. Sigh.
This afternoon, Josh and I were discussing whether or not we should stage a secret santa (secret latke?) for the kids by tossing all their names into a hat and having each kid pick a name and give that sibling a gift. And just as we were debating the feasibility of taking each kid on a solo shopping trip so they can choose a secret gift, my oldest walked in and announced that he needed all the craft supplies in the house right away(!) so he can start making his Chanukah gifts.
This makes me happier than finding a forgotten peppermint patty in the back of the pantry. Oh wait, I'm doing the Whole30. Never mind. I meant to say, happier than finding a bag of raw cashews in my bag.
First of all, I love a crafty kid.
And second, I love a kid with initiative.
And third, I love a kid who thinks about making gifts for others.
I had been thinking about that last night, all about how I was going to teach the kids that it's more fun to give a gift than to get a gift. Don't laugh, it really is. The warm feeling that comes from being a good giver lasts way longer than it takes to open, play with and then ignore a toy someone gave you.
So maybe we'll do the secret latke game with the kids, or maybe they'll create gifts for each other. I feel like those that they make are something that their siblings will keep forever. I still have a card that my brother made for me almost twenty years ago. I love looking at his signature (he has been signing his name with his first and last names on cards since he learned to write) and seeing how it's not that different from his signature decades later.
But right now, the kids are all sitting around the house, secretly making whatever it is they are making. There is a two year old, gleefully squeezing a glue bottle in the dining room. She's good with the glue, nothing else needed to make her happy. And there is a four year old next to her, trying to explain to her little sister how to use the glue, saying "Just use a drop, not a glop!" I can only assume that her teacher uses that little poem.
There is a six year old gluing every foamie letter he can find to some colored paper, and there is a seven year old, holed up in his room with one of every art item in the house.
And even though there is no peace on earth right now, there is peace in my house. And for that I am thankful.
Anyway, glue comes off of carpet, right?
Josh was right. About the library, that is.
For years, he never wanted me to get a library card because as a kid, he was haunted by late charges and apparently, he never got over it.
So for years, I did not visit the library.
And then, for one reason or another, I got myself a card and have been checking out and returning books ever since.
A few weeks back, before Hurricane Sandy came to town, I checked out an obscene number of books, including one that is sure to trip you up every time: the dreaded 7-day book. It goes without saying that I did not make it back to the library a week later and then the hurricane happened and then a million other things prevented me from going, until it got to the point where, when I checked the library's website, I learned that I owed $11.50. Not a fortune by any means, but disappointing and somewhat embarrassing when the whole point of the library is to read free books.
Anyway, I went back today, dragging my huge bag of books behind me. And paid the fines. I broke a twenty on those fine. I hate breaking twenties.
And the whole way there, I kept telling myself that there was no way I was checking any books out today. I was going to return our books and leave. And then we made the mistake, the little one and I, of visiting the children's room. Long story short, we are now the proud renters of 14 new books.
I had no willpower in the library.
But happily, I had huge willpower today - and completed day 8 with flying colors.
I had the same breakfast I have everyday.
Lunch was poached salmon and half of a leftover sweet potato.
Dinner was vegetable soup and some turkey.
And I reached my water quota for the day before I even picked the kids up from school.
I think I can almost see that halfway point of day 15 just up ahead!
The weekend went better than I thought it would, Whole30-wise.
I didn't try to get fancy with the Whole30 - I stuck with my nicely lined up water bottles, poached chicken and baked sweet potatoes. And some lettuce and avocado salad with oilve oil and salt as a dressing.
I did have a bite of challah on Friday night, but there was really no getting around that.
We had company for lunch on Shabbos and they brought brownies with them. I love a brownie. Or twenty. But I did not have even one crumb. It also helped that Josh cut up and handed out the all desserts because otherwise it would have been me and that pan of brownies under the dining room table.
Oh, and in case anyone is keeping track, I finally went to the fruit store today so we should be good for a week of roasted butternut squash and extra sweet oranges. Sometimes I make pretend that my orange is really a piece of chocolate. It's okay, you can laugh at me, my family did.
Tonight, I prepped for the next few days by poaching a few pieces of salmon, boiling eggs, cutting vegetables for a soup and defrosting a few chicken cutlets. I really feel like the prepping is the key, otherwise I'd be all over the place. And hungry. Not a good combination.
So here is what I see going on so far: In the past week, I have not had heartburn (a somewhat frequent occurance for me). I have not woken up with a headache even one time (a somewhat more than frequent occurence for me). And I have been able wake up earlier than usual and actually be productive before the kids leave for school (a huge change for me). And, finally, I have been much less hungry. Like in Friday, I forgot to each lunch. Forgot. In my life, I don't think I have ever forgotten to have a meal. And yet, on Friday, I did. At first I was concerned. And then I was happy.
If for no other reason than the whole lunch-forgetting thing, I'd say this has all been worth it so far. I will, however, be accepting invitations for a Dunkin Donuts coffee run in about three weeks. I already have one invite, but a few backup ones can't hurt. Just saying.
I'm sitting here, thinking about what I ate today. And then I am thinking how maybe this is a really silly something to be focusing on because it seems that Israel is at war.
I don't live there, but my heart does.
I'm having flashbacks to the Gulf War in '91 (that would nineteen-91 for those who are very young and confused). I was in 8th grade, and I distinctly remember sitting on the floor in my parents' room, watching, I guess, CNN. There weren't that many channels back then, so I don't really know. I remember that we had a Hebrew grammar test the next day that nobody studied for and everybody flunked.
I also remember the scuds, watching them fly through the night, knowing that my aunt, my uncle, my cousins and several close childhood friends, were in those sealed rooms, wearing gas masks.
And now again, so many years later, those gas masks again.
Sitting in NJ, I cannot begin to comprehend what it is like to live with rockets being fired towards my home. But I do know that there are maybe 15 seconds between when the sirens go off in the towns in Israel and when the population needs to be in their bomb shelters.
Fifteen seconds. That's nothing.
I found myself counting 15 seconds all day long.
I now know that it takes me 75 seconds to buckle all of my kids into the car.
I now know that it takes me 62 seconds to walk from my door to my van with a 2-year-old.
I now know that it take me 40 seconds to open a box of diapers.
I now know that it takes me 33 seconds to find Ninjago on the On Demand channel.
And I now know that it takes me 16 seconds to run to the kitchen, pull a chair up to the wall and take the screaming smoke alarm down.
But 15 seconds? To save four kids? I can't even pretend to imagine.
So I sit here, instead, sad, worried, with a heavy heart - and feeling a little guilty too because we have not yet made the move to Israel - hoping and praying that all of Israel stays safe tonight and through however long this lasts.
And even though it may be ridiculous, I did commit to this diet, so here is what I ate today on the Whole30:
Breakfast: a few almonds, 2 hard boiled eggs.
Lunch: ground turkey, sauteed onions and canned tomato puree, aka faux sloppy joes.
Dinner: I had planned on making a roasted vegetable soup.
I roasted a cut up butternut squash, cut up carrots, quartered onions, quartered plum tomatoes and a head of garlic. The kitchen smelled fantastic, but sadly, no soup for me. I kind of ate most of the vegetables as soon as they came out of the oven. Roasted vegetables will do that to you - you taste one, just to make sure and before you can reach into a cabinet for the soup pot, they're all gone. Oh well. There are more important things than soup right now.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)