Recent Posts

Video Tutorial: Best Chicken Soup Ever

Video Tutorial: Best Chicken Soup Ever

I’m hoping that this video will be the first of many…Lots of readers have asked for more pictures of food preparation and more recipes. I decided to start making short video tutorials to help everyone get into the kitchen to make great food and delicious memories. […]

Apple of my (p)Eye

Apple of my (p)Eye

Yesterday, I spent the morning with my daughter’s Pre-K class (as well as the Kindergartners in her school). A few weeks ago, they had been read a book (How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman). Afterward, the teacher asked […]

National Daughters’ Day

National Daughters’ Day

 

Today was National Daughters’ Day in the US. I am lucky to have two wonderful girls who challenge me and make me laugh and whose incredible lives I am fortunate to share. Tonight, I happened to pick “Forever Young” as our bedtime story. We had just purchased the book yesterday. Little did I know that it was the perfect little read for us on this very special day.

I gave birth to two of my best friends.
I gave birth to two of my best friends.

I had never really listened to all of the lyrics in this incredible Bob Dylan masterpiece. This book was an illustrated version of the actual song. Brilliant and beautiful words. They are words I hope my daughters will live by throughout their lives. If you haven’t ever tuned in or don’t remember the lyrics, here they are:

Forever Young by Bob Dylan
May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you,
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung.
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young.
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you,
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong.
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young.
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift,
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung.
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young.
May you stay forever young.

 

Never Enough-a da Knafeh

Never Enough-a da Knafeh

Knafeh is one of my all time favorite desserts. A crispy noodle “crust” layered with a sweet cheese filling is drizzled with rose water syrup. SO DELICIOUS!!!!!! I have become a connoisseur of Knafeh. I seek it out all over Israel, but when I’m home […]

Shana Tova! Happy New Year!

Shana Tova! Happy New Year!

Wishing all who celebrate a very happy and sweet New Year. May you all be happy, healthy, renewed, refreshed and joyful. I made this layered dessert for this evening. I wanted to bring in the various symbols of the holiday – honey, apples and pomegranates. […]

Happy Back to School

Happy Back to School

My little schoolgirls ready for their first day

 

By now, most kids have returned to their classrooms. And so it starts! Another year of books, activities, and for a lot of kids – stress. This year, I am trying a more relaxed approach to the time after school. We have selected just a couple of key activities that both my girls love and that they do at the same time, thereby reducing the insanity (for me) during the week. Although we limited activities out of my own selfishness and desire not to be a chauffeur, the real reason is to allow the girls to focus and to have enough downtime to be calm. Last year, I noticed that the weeks where we were on the go 3-4 days, all of us would be completely frazzled and slightly grumpy, especially as winter set in. So, I’m building in more pauses and spaces to our calendar.

It’s important to take some downtime in the day, especially for kids. Stress can manifest in all sorts of physical and emotional behaviors. Here are some great ideas to help your children chill out and stay stress-free.

1) Feed the animals. I know this sounds a bit ridiculous, but if my kids aren’t properly fed, they turn into irritable monsters (that’s putting it mildly). I offer carrots, sliced peppers, crackers, grapes and cheese as snacks right after school. Give them a little energy boost to get them through the next few hours before dinner. Beyond that, have a meal together. Breaking bread is a phenomenal opportunity for parents and kids to connect. It doesn’t have to be dinner every night. Just make time for one weekly meal.

2) Try out yoga. There are so many benefits – stretching, flexibility, balance, relaxation. It does a body good! Yoga is also great for reducing stress because it focuses on breathing and the connection between our bodies and our minds. Kids learn to deal with stress through meditation and awareness. Do yoga together and you’ll all feel more relaxed and better able to tackle your day.

3) Build in some downtime. We all need to take a break. Why not build one into every day? Take some time to read a book, play a game, listen to music, make each other laugh. This is especially helpful if you see that your child cannot focus on the task at hand. A little break will restart the brain and give your kid a fresh perspective.

4) Visualization. This can be lots of fun and something you do during your downtime. Guide your child through some visual imagery. This technique is great for relaxing muscles and the mind.

5) Shake it off. Exercise is extremely important for clearing out stress, promoting learning and refreshing our brains. Get your kids to do some physical movement to get all the nervous and anxious energy out.

6) Call your mother! Mother Nature, that is. She wants you to pay her a visit. Do it. She’s always close by (right outside that door) and will sooth the soul. Plus, playing in nature has been proven to enhance executive functioning skills, health and happiness in children. Nature stimulates thinking and creativity. So, go on – get out there!

What other techniques are you using to help your children manage stress?

The Perfect Summer Treat

The Perfect Summer Treat

Happy Summer!!! Yesterday was Father’s Day as well as the Summer Solstice. I don’t know where you were, but the weather here seemed to smile down just in time for our BBQ. The morning looked ominous and a monsoon hit us in the early evening, […]

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

What You Put on Your Family’s Skin May Be Hazardous To Their Health By: Michelle Nadel It’s a Tale as Old as Time. But I’m not talking about the classic Disney movie about beautiful Belle, although Belle’s beauty may have something to do with it. […]

Is Beauty only Skin Deep?

Is Beauty only Skin Deep?

Let’s talk turkey. OK, I mean beauty.

I don’t know about you, but since I was pregnant with my first kid, I have been very aware of the things I have put in my body. I try to avoid processed foods as much as I can. I buy organic fruits. I cook real food. I also made sure that the products I use on my girls are natural and/or organic – from the soaps to shampoos to sunscreen. How did I miss this for myself?!?

Every single day, I apply lipsticks with lead in them, lotions with mercury, shampoos with endless toxins. If I’m so careful with what I am putting inside my body, why have I been so dismissive of what I put ON my body?!? Our skin is the largest organ in our body and, because it is porous, absorbs everything we put on it. It is easy to see that what we use on our skin ends up inside our bodies, in our bloodstream and our various systems.

Today, I am introducing you to a whole new way of thinking and a new line of beauty products.

Last week, I had a visit from Michelle Nadel from Beauty Counter. We had a lovely morning, got to know each other and she opened my eyes. I had an “Aha!” moment and then I had a “Why didn’t you think of this before?” moment. Ugh, so many toxins, so little time. Apparently, with no regulation on ingredients used in the cosmetics industry, the list of toxins present in our beauty supply is appalling – full of irritants, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, development inhibitors, neurotoxins, preservatives and heavy metals.

First, Michelle told me about a terrific resource called Skin Deep. This is both a website and an app created by the Environmental Working Group. Basically, it’s a database of over 3 million products with a safety rating. So, you can run around your house, zap everything (there’s a bar code scanner in the app) and find out if your products are safe. By the way, there’s also an app for food called Food Scores, which does the same thing but with the stuff we ingest.

Next, Michelle jumped into the company she represents. Beauty Counter is a relatively new company that creates safe and effective products. They have a list of chemicals/toxins that they have banned from their products (and which we should avoid in the products we buy from other companies). It’s called The Never List. You can even print a wallet sized version to carry around with you. In short, if you’re looking for a company that actually is trying to make beauty products better in a truly holistic way, search no more.

Tomorrow, you’ll get to hear from Michelle directly, but I want you to know that I have tried the products (yup, I placed an order…no freebies to buy a blog post here) and I can tell you they are pretty flippin’ awesome! First off, the creams are so nice. I got a day cream that is super light and a slightly thicker night cream. They smell nice (no heavy perfuming, but not stinky unscented like some) and feel really good on the skin. They feel extra great because I know I’m not slathering myself with hormone disruptors!

I then got some lip sheers and gloss, since I don’t want to lick lead into my system…plus, the colors are beautiful! I have such a hard time finding lipsticks that work for me, but I got two shades! Both look great and can be more translucent or deeper, depending on how much you apply. Pair the lip sheer with the gloss and you have a match made in heaven! I applied my lips four hours ago and they still look and feel great.
Lips

I also got an eye pencil because, yup! You guessed it – who wants to put poison into their eyes?!? And I line the inside of my lids…Ugh. I hate to think what I’ve done to my body…

To round it all off, I got shampoo, conditioner and body wash for the girls. Yup, they have a kids line! Your whole family can be safe and beautiful!Bath

But one more thing!!! The products are beautiful, aren’t they? Seriously, I’m such a design snob and hide most of my beauty products because they don’t look pretty sitting out. These are a great addition to your vanity.

Listen, I’m not usually into buying a ton of cosmetics. I have friends who have cabinets full of beauty products. My thing is shoes. I rarely buy beauty products. I feel really good about this purchase and can safely say that I will be ordering more.

Curious? If you’re interested and want more information, feel free to get in touch with Michelle directly, though you can always send questions my way, too. Click here to go to her website.

 

 

Passover Desserts You Won’t Pass Up

Passover Desserts You Won’t Pass Up

Passover is rapidly approaching. This year, we will host 36 of our nearest and dearest for our seder. I love Passover: the beginning of spring, the food, the traditions and the desserts!!! Each year, I am asked for my favorite Passover dessert recipes from readers, […]