Monday, April 25, 2011

Snippets of Seder

Yael helped me to make the charoset. No one else wanted to help...
They did help to spoon it onto the Seder Plate, though.
And put out the matzah...

I seriously could have written a blog post just of the out-takes from this family photo...but maybe next time.
The annual wearing-of-the-plagues.

And playing with the froggies...
Ima's little matzah ball - isn't he delicious?

Sunday, April 24, 2011


It's no longer safe to leave the kid on his own...
Because this happens:
Look out, world! Solly is on the move...

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Four Children

It was recently pointed out to me that I have FOUR children.

And then I thought about it and did a big ol' head smack. Right! I have FOUR children. Just like in the Seder.

The wise.
The wicked.
The simple.
And the one who doesn't know how to ask.

So...all week, I've been musing about whether or not my four children fit into the model of the Big Four. Do I have one of each?

David could be the Wise child. After all, he is the oldest. He is really bright and seems to know a lot. He remembers what we have taught from year to year and he's excited to show off his knowledge. He is also wise in the sense that he is excited to teach it all to his siblings.

Solly is obviously the one who doesn't know how to ask. Too young to do much more than drool or nap through the Seder, he will certainly gain the capacity over the years, God willing.

That leaves the Wicked and the Simple children. And I must admit that neither of my remaining little people fall into these categories...all the time. I can certainly consider various times that both of them might be considered the "wicked" one - the times when they refuse to participate, when they throw back to me comments that are meant to hurt, knowing how important this all is to me. Statements like, "I don't want to learn how to say the four questions," or "Do we HAVE to go to Seder?" are clearly designed to get my goat (Passover pun alert) but I also know that they are young and will probably turn into the Wise children as time goes on...and sometimes they are both the Simple children. They don't quite know exactly what this is all about, because they are young and it seems so complicated. So for them we must make the Seder fun and engaging, so that their memories of the Seder are warm and welcoming, so that in time they will WANT to learn more, to grow more, to be more and do more.

So maybe I've got it all wrong. It doesn't seem quite right to categorize my children in such a definitive way. After all, even though I said that David could be the Wise child, he also has the capacity for refusing to participate, for challenging and questioning the whole foundation and purpose of the Seder. And it seems unfair to categorize Solly before he's even half a year old, for goodness' sake!

I think what the Seder is getting at with this idea of Four Children is the same lesson that I try to remind myself of every day as I interact with my children: each of them are unique in their own way. I have to meet them where they are, at the place and time that they are. Some days, it might be in a wise place. Some days, it might be a simple place. Some days, it might even be a wicked place. And some days, they might not even know what to say or how to ask.

And then I just hold them tightly and tell them I love them.

Chag sameach...a zissen Pesach. 
May this holiday bring blessings and joy to you and all your loved ones.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Snippets of Spring...Please?

As we make the final push into Pesach...a few spring-hopeful pictures.

Solly is now 4 months old:
Solly and David sometimes see eye to eye...
We have had just a few days of warm weather, and each time we leap at the opportunity to go outside...
We need more spring, now!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Grover Does Passover {DVD Review}

The Shalom Sesame videos have been getting a lot of play in my house. This month, we're watching the Passover video, with what might be my favorite new musical parody:

Now, frankly, my kids don't get why this one is funny at all. They would prefer to watch Grover and that little pink furry character run around looking for the Maror. They like to hear the Count count in Hebrew, and watch the monsters run around teaching the numbers up to four.

Shalom Sesame, 2010, No. 7: It's Passover, Grover!But I am a big fan of seeing Jake Gyllenhaal hide the afikoman and the teaching about Mimuna, a Moroccan celebration at the end of Pesach. They weren't as enamored of these sections as I was. But it's okay, it kept us all entertained!

And my favorite part? The Seder table was presided over by three women. Even though we didn't actually watch them conduct the Seder itself, I still liked the idea that a Seder can have many different appearances and still be a Seder.

You can get your own copy of Shalom Sesame: It's Passover, Grover here or at Amazon.

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this DVD for the purposes of review.
P.S. Mara is giving one away over at Kosher On a Budget!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Getting Ready for Pesach

While getting ready for Pesach in the real world, I started reading back over my old Pesach posts from previous years. (There were a lot!)

Some highlights:
Cookbooks for Pesach
Our Favorite Music for Pesach
My favorite Pesach recipe
Pesach tips and tricks
Matzah Brei variations
Pesach books for kids
Making huevos haminados with my oldest
My award-winning Pesach Seder poetry
How to get your kids to love Pesach

There might be some other Pesach posts ruminating in the next few days...stay tuned!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Tale of Two Seders {Book Review}

"Families are like charoset. Each one is tasty in its own way."

A Tale of Two Seders (Passover)Mindy Avra Portnoy (famous for her book "Ima on the Bima," by the way, the inspiration for my blog's title) wrote this sweet story, A Tale of Two Seders, about a little girl who is the child of a divorce. The unnamed little girl tells the story of her six seders since her parents' divorce, each one different and each one with a different variety of charoset... which, I agree, is a good indicator of the quality of a seder!

Divorce is not good or easy but this book seems to be a gentle way to help a child of divorce see that he or she is not alone in having a family that is divided.

This is certainly a book for a very specific audience, but I think it's an important one, and kudos to Kar-Ben Publishing for adding it to their catalog. So many wonderful books about the Passover seder show family structures that don't apply to every child and every home. This book opens the door to different family narratives.

Afikomen Mambo (Passover)
Are you looking for a few good Passover books? Kar-Ben has a great selection in their catalog, including Afikomen Mambo, a book form of one of our favorite Passover songs.

What's your favorite Passover book for children? I shared my favorite Passover books for kids a few years back.

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book (which I'm going to keep on my rabbi-shelves) last year and I got distracted and didn't review it. I held onto it until now and here I am! So many thanks to Kar-Ben for the review copy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Missing, Part 2

Remember how I said that I have my own little magpie?

So...I dropped off some library books and then was informed by the library that those same books were overdue.


I searched Yael's bed, where she likes to squirrel away all the interesting things she finds around the house.
I searched under the dresser, where we have found library books before.
I looked on the bookshelves upstairs and downstairs.

No books.

I was SURE I had returned them.

So I went back to the library, armed with the barcode numbers of the missing books.

And there they were, on the shelf.

What a nice feeling to know that, for today at least, I'm not crazy.

Regular blogging to recommence shortly, I sincerely hope. I'll bet you've missed me!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kosher Cooking Carnival #65: Pesach is coming!

 Welcome! It's funny, I just noticed that it's been exactly a year since I last (and first) hosted Kosher Cooking Carnival, on Rosh Chodesh Nisan last year. My how time flies...

The Kosher Cooking Carnival KCC is a monthly blog carnival, a “round-up” of blog posts about all aspects of kosher food and cooking.  It includes Jewish Law, customs, kosher restaurants, cookbooks and kosher recipes, too.  Every month it’s on another blog.  The KCC is the brainchild of Batya at me-ander.  If you’d like to host an edition, please contact Batya.

Can you believe it's Rosh Chodesh Nisan already? I know we had an extra Adar to get us ready for this, but it always seems to sneak up on me.

anything kosher!
Batya has this Pet Peeve, Sorry It's A Rant (about skim milk and other processed dairy) and she was Breaking The Fast on The Run

diet food
Lea Stein @ Kosher Diet Plans Blog wrote Preparation is the new black (I must admit, there were a ton of "spam" posts and I debated whether or not this is a "real" blog post since it does seem to be selling the idea of Kosher Diet Plans. But it seemed to have some other interesting articles, so I stuck it in. What do you think?)

restaurant or cookbook reviews
Batya reviews the new cookbook: Quick and Kosher, My Take on The New Cookbook.
Ben-Yehudah shares a funny list of answers to How Spicy Do You Like It?
Mirjam Weiss shared a whole bunch of yummy looking meals in Suspended Reality posted at Miriyummy.

every day meals
Leora Wenger is rediscovering the lost art of fermentation with Homemade Sauerkraut, and suggests doing it with beets for Pesach. I think I have to get past the whole cabbage thing first...
Batya makes Quick and Easy Vegetable Soup and Pizza Dough, Even if You Don't Know How to "Spin It" and You Don't Have a Rolling Pin. She is also creative with Sandwich Spreads.

shabbat and holiday food
Batya has a guest post to share  The Healthiest Hamantaschen - they sound pretty good to me!
The Challah Blogger made a Hamantaschen Challah which I'm totally trying next year.
Mirjam Weiss offers a delicious sounding dessert: Cherry Pai ? As I Sit By The River
Mrs. S. has a Purim wrap-up at Everyone ate hamentashen… 
Batya talks about planning from both ends...
And Hadassah is Not Asking Questions about food any more.

The Frugal Ima is contemplating how to handle Pesach with The Value of Doing Without.
Mara at Kosher on a Budget shared this great guest post: How I Learned to Love Pesach by Eating Like an Israeli and also had her weekly recipe round-up about Passover Side Dishes.
The (former) Shiksa is making Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes for Pesach this year.

In case you're freaking out about what to do with leftovers, try this post from Chana on Granola Bars. Or, try these amazing looking Chocolate Cherry Challah Muffins from Savvima - wow. (Plus, I love the tip to keep leftover snippets of challah in the freezer for use like this.)

Here's my friend, Tina Wasserman, sharing how to make a Pesach Linzer Torte:

And that's all, folks! Submit your blog article to the next edition of kosher cooking carnival-kcc using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.