Monday, December 31, 2007

My Little Beauty...

Yael is 10 months old...this is her 10 month "photo shoot". The light didn't exactly work out the way I imagined but the pictures came out, I think, great. I couldn't get any great ones with the "10 month" sign but I think that's okay:-)

She is just one of the keys to my heart...but today she is the key to my Best Shot Monday! What's yours?

Happy New Year to all

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year-End, Blogs, and Five Places I've Been This Week

What a year it's been for me!

I began 2007 pregnant and started blogging not long after my 3rd baby was born in February, while I was on maternity leave. Since then, I've written 200 posts* and have been having a ball in blog-land. I blogged about Passover, my favorite Jewish children's books, but things didn't take off until I joined a 30-day blogging challenge in August. Definitely kick-started me, and I'm now hooked on comments and contests. I took a bottled water challenge, and I started writing haikus, which led me to join in the Haiku Friday fun with weekly haikus of the Torah portion. My oldest child started kindergarten, and I was there to blog about it. I joined in the Wrapped Emotions party and I was even chosen to be a guest blogger. I participated in some group writing projects and I've gotten some awards. I went to the mikveh, and, you guessed it, I blogged about it. I hosted a Chanukah Countdown Party and, possibly my coolest blogging achievement, I was invited to be a Biennial Blogger for the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial Convention. (Plus, I've actually done things outside of my blogging life!)

Plus I've made lots of new friends and found a whole new community out here in blogworld.

What's on tap for 2008 here at Ima on and off the Bima?

You can look forward to a Tu B'Shevat Tree Celebration Week (maybe I'll come up with a better name) in January. How do you find someone to give you a giveaway??? I need one. Anyone out there in the Internet want to give me something to give away to my loyal readers? For Tu B'Shevat, it might be best to have a "green" themed giveaway. Or a tree.

Other than that, stay tuned. Who knows what I'll have up my sleeve here! I'm traveling to Israel in February so hopefully I'll be able to blog that trip as well.

In honor of this little wrap-up, I thought I'd share some linky-love to some of my current favorite blog-reads. One of the first posts I ever wrote was about blog-reading so it makes sense to list a few more! These are not all the blogs I read (love my Google Reader) but they're some of the ones I check for new posts first! Go visit my friends.

Around the Island -- Robin (in Israel) can always be counted on for great writing and interesting stories.

Beyond the Map -- Bella is thoughtful and thought-provoking. I love reading her posts.

Cheerio Road
-- Karen is the author of Momma Zen and her blog really shows how she puts her writing into real life practice. Good for her for showing that she's not all talk but really lives her message. (read her book, it's great)

Frume Sarah
-- is a new "real" friend that I met at the Biennial, and I'm so excited to have found, as Anne Shirley would say, a kindred spirit. She writes a great blog (and poor baby, her whole family ended up with lice this week. Visit her and give sympathy!)

Scribbit -- Michelle at Scribbit is a mom living in Alaska of all places, and she shares things like winter camping (why???) and hosts a writing contest each month too.

UPDATED: My brother insists that I link to his blog here too. He is having an Israel adventure and posting all sorts of fun things. Go visit him and comment. I'm trying to teach him how addicting much fun comments are!

for some other blogs I read (like this one, this one, or this one), go here.

*Crazy isn't it -- this little wrap-up post is #200!!!

Happy New Year to all y'all out there....may this year bring blessings and peace. Keep on visiting!


Five Places I've Been This Week...

Holiday Muzak Kills Brain Cells

Eco-Friendly Promo Products

Coffee Cozy Tutorial

Benazir Bhutto assassinated!

Breaking the Code of Ritual Observance

from my Where have you been?

Friday, December 28, 2007

The saga of Exodus begins...

And so we begin
Exodus starts with the names
That's what Shemot* means!

A new king arose
in Egypt where the Jews lived
This guy forgot Joe.

"There are too many!"
Pharaoh thought they might rise up
or join enemies.

So they made them slaves,
they had to work really hard
constructing cities.

Life was bad for Jews,
being slaves was really hard.
But they still "increased."

A new decree came:
When babies are born to Jews
keep girls, kill the boys.

Shifra and Puah,**
the midwives who were so brave,
did not do as told.

One lady gave birth
to a boy she kept hidden
for all of 3 months.

Then she waterproofed
a basket and put him in...
Placed it in the Nile.

His sister watched o'er
as Pharaoh's daughter came out
and rescued the babe.

To keep the baby
the sister offered a nurse -
the baby's own mom!

When he was ready
Mom brought him back to Princess
who named him Moses.

Mo grew up a prince
One day he saw a bad thing
a Hebrew beaten.

Mo looked all around,
saw no one was watching him,
and killed the beater.

Pharaoh heard of it
and was ready to kill Mo
So he fled from town!

He went to Midyan
and met seven girls, daughters
of Jethro the priest.

He defended them
from bad shepherds at the well
They took him to Dad.

He liked this guy, Mo,
gave him Zipporah as wife
made him son-in-law.

One day Mo was out
he saw a bush burning bright
but not burning up!

God called: "Moses! Yo!"
Moses took heed: "Hineni!"***
"You'll free my people."

"Who am I?" said Mo.
God said, "I'll be with you there."
"What's your name?" said Mo.

"I'm the God of their fathers,
Abraham, Isaac and Jake -
I am what I am."

God gave him some signs
that what was said was all true -
a rod, scales and blood.

Mo protested more,
"I am slow of speech and tongue!"
Help comes from Aaron.

They went to Pharaoh
"let my people go, God says!"
But Pharaoh said no.

Things got worse just then
Pharaoh took the straw for bricks
It made the job rough.

The Hebrews got mad
they blamed Mo for their trouble.
But God said, "Don't fret..."

Stay tuned for more of the saga next week!

See more Haiku Friday here.
Shabbat Shalom!

*Shemot is both the name of this week's Torah portion as well as the Hebrew name for the book of Exodus. For more thoughts on what's in a name, check out the Torah commentary for this week from the URJ.
**My favorite biblical name
***Hineni means "here I am."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Birthday Fun and Games

So Frume Sarah tagged me a while back for a meme of 7 things about me...but since it's my birthday tomorrow, I thought I'd respond with a little Thursday here goes...with, of course, a birthday theme.

1. I really remember the birthday party (I think it was age 4) at home when we ate hot dogs and cake.

2. I have only been in school once on my birthday, during my year in Israel, and I was able to read Torah on my birthday. Just once. I've never brought a birthday treat to school on my birthday!

3. Even my Bat Mitzvah was not celebrated anywhere near my birthday because why have a party in Wisconsin in December if you don't have to? April was the way to go.

4. I have 3 kids but I was only pregnant on my birthday with one of them - the 3rd.

5. I actually have a friend whose birthday is the same day. And she has a twin. So that's three people that I know that share my birthday!

6. When I was young, I had birthday parties at the roller rink, the ice-skating rink, Hardee's, and Grounde Rounde. Then we switched for a while to New Year's Eve slumber parties (the middle school years) until one girl threw up at 3am and wanted to go home. Then the slumber parties took a hiatus.

7. The year I turned 8 I had a princess cake. The cake part looked like a big skirt and there was a barbie-ish doll stuck in the top but she had no legs. The reason I remember this so clearly is that it's also the year that my brother was born and he was only about 15 days old at that party. I remember him crying a lot.

8. One year I demanded a purple cake. My mom obliged but I remember that it was more lilac than purple.

9. The birthday before I got married, my then-fiancee bought me a Palm Pilot. It has changed my life! Digital organization rocks my world.

10. I have attended a wedding and a Bar Mitzvah on my birthday.

11. On my 18th birthday I went to Village Hall and registered to vote. I think they thought I was a big geek but it was a big deal to me!

12. On my 21st birthday, I did the requisite bar-hopping in Madison, Wisconsin. A friend insisted I lay down on a pool table so she could take a silly photograph of me doing something silly on my 21st birthday.

13. I have joked that I received a "directional upgrade" for my 30th birthday. I wonder what kind of upgrade I'll get for 31?

See more Thursday Thirteen here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

KWAC - Kid with a Camera - BSM

6-year-old David: "Mom, can I use your camera?"

Me: "um...." (wanting to say no but also thinking....why not????) "okay, if you're careful."

250 pictures later....

Here is a sampler of some of his shots. I ignored all the ones of the Lion King on the television but there were a lot of those! The last one, I admit, was taken by me, using his style of holding the camera at arm's length. Fun stuff, eh?

This falls into the category of trying to say yes to things that, at instant reaction would be a no. Why not? He was careful with the camera, it doesn't cost anything, and it made him incredibly happy. I even gave him an assignment to take pictures of things that started with each letter of the alphabet, hence the photo of "ice."

Best Shot Monday has moved...see it here!
(I'll get the new badge up soon)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ooh, pick me!...and 5 Places I've Been

I can't figure out why I'm so intrigued by the contest/giveaway aspect of the bloggy world. Is it all about getting something for nothing? I'm not sure. But either way, as I said before, I'm on a winning streak...which seems to continue...

I won a t-shirt from Tees for Change at Crunchy Domestic Goddess's recent Green Girly Gift Guide Giveaway! I'm so excited for my Seek Balance t-shirt.

And I even won a giveaway while I was at the Biennial Convention! Who knew...

So here I go again...

Musings of a Housewife is giving away a really cool Lands End diaper bag.

ACED magazine is giving away Season 7 of the Gilmore Girls.

Mod*Mom is giving away a year's supply of Dropp's Laundry Detergent...a pretty cool looking new product.

And I usually don't enter these kinds of contests (I like to think I have a chance of winning...) but I'm entered for a cruise at the DIY network...because the contest ends on my birthday. So maybe...

plus a few others....have you ever seen Prizey?


Five Places I've Been This Week (wow, it's been busy!)

It's Only Stuff

Five Things People Say About Christmas That Drive Me Nuts

FreeRice (a new obsession, let me tell you)

December Group Writing Project Finale at MamaBlogga

Amazing Art Journals from Ali Edwards

from my
Where have you been?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

'Tis the Season for....Shabbat?

So it's not as bad as this...

but this is what I saw at Whole Foods on Friday when I went to pick up a challah:

What is up with that?

As NancyKay Shapiro put it so perfectly in her post on the Chanukah Ham (or is that Cham?), "it's just the Department of Monumental Cluelessness, Well-Meaning Division."

Yeah, that's it.

Friday, December 21, 2007 favorite day

Once a week, I receive a gift. The gift of Shabbat, the Sabbath.

Shabbat has such great potential. Sometimes, it's truly a day of rest, a day of prayer, a day of joyful study. Sometimes, we get caught up in the "must-do" activities and Shabbat gets swallowed up.

When the latter happens, I feel cheated. I feel that life becomes a never-ending cycle of rushing and running.

But when the former happens, when I get a chance to breathe, to rest, to celebrate Shabbat as I hope to each week, I feel refreshed and renewed.

It's not easy to stop the world and celebrate & revel in Shabbat. Many "traditional" or Orthodox Jews would in fact call my Shabbat a desecration even at its best. But for me, Shabbat is what you make of it.

Sometimes it's the simple things: lighting the candles, blessing my children, eating challah, sharing dinner with my family, smelling the spices at Havdalah. Sometimes it's spontaneous visits from friends or playdates that last all day. Sometimes it's a nice afternoon nap. Sometimes it's just turning off the phone or avoiding the computer all day. (Have you noticed that I don't post on Shabbat?)

Sometimes it's more complicated. Sometimes I officiate at Bar or Bat Mitzvah services. Sometimes (rarely these days, but hopefully more soon) we celebrate with other families, creating an atmosphere of true celebration with a meal and sharing of our lives. Sometimes we do something fun that we've planned in advance -- a trip to the zoo, the museum, or even a walk through the park or (in the winter), the mall.

As my children get older, I do hope that our Shabbat will include regular attendance at worship services, both in the evening and morning. I know that in our world, this may not be possible each week. But to make space, to carve out that period each week for rest and rejuvenation, is so important to me...and to all of us. I will strive to make it so.

Shabbat is, as Abraham Joshua Heschel taught, "a cathedral in time." It is truly my favorite day of every week, even when I don't celebrate exactly as I want to...because each week, Shabbat holds the potential for perfection. Each week, another opportunity to do it again.

What a blessing it is.

Written as part of Scribbit's December Write-Away Contest "My Favorite Day".

Genesis Draws to a Close...Haiku Friday!

Genesis ends now
This week's parsha is the last,
the story, wrapped up.

Jake is gonna die.
He calls Joseph to his bed,
makes him swear a vow:

"Don't bury me here
take me home to lay me down
to rest with my dad."

Joe brings his sons forth
to get blessed by their zeyde*
a whole list of good.

Then the sons are blessed
(Jake's other eleven bros)
Each one hears from Dad.

He reiterates
his yen to rest in Israel's
Cave of Machpelah

Then he dies. Joe cries.
Joe orders his embalming
It takes 40 days.

They took Jake up north
To bury him as he wished
the whole family went.

The brothers got scared
that Joe would retaliate
now that Dad was dead.

Joe told them "Don't fear!"
He committed to protect
all the family clan.

Time flew - Joe got old.
He made his fam swear a vow:
"Take my bones with you."

And thus ends the book
The family saga complete
What's next for the Jews?

(Stay tuned for Exodus...)

*Yiddish word for Grandfather (pronounced zay-dee)

See more Haiku Friday here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Keys to My Heart

You can never have too many housekeys. That's my belief.

Keeping track of your keys can be tricky.

I have a few keys to keeping your keys on hand.

A key chain like this:

I have one from Tiffany&Co, but they don't have it on their website any longer. It was a great gift from my husband.

I have one car's keys on one end and the other car's on the other end. And a housekey on each ring!

One of my keys looks like this:
(I actually have a Pooh one but I can't find an image)

and my husband has one like this:

I never have any trouble figuring out which one is the housekey. If I start the car to warm it up and I have to run back into the house, I can just separate the keychains and I always have a houseky.

There's no place like home.

Especially when you want to unlock the door!

See more works for me Wednesday here at Rocks in my Dryer...

See all my other Works for me Wednesday posts here...some are darn good, if I must say so myself! Like this one. Or this one. I like this one too. Here's another hit...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chanukah shot Monday

Here's my best shot from Chanukah. Since I'm in the picture, I'm quite sure that my dad took the shot, so I guess it's not technically my shot. And it's pretty blurry. But I love the way he's looking at me.

So just for good measure, a few more:

a Chanukah gift...

A sign you waited too long to take down the fall decor...

I can't believe how late I am in posting this one today!
See more Best Shot Monday here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

five places i've been this week

feeling so worn out from the's where i've been this week...

Firefox web browser
...anyone else having trouble with IE this week?

Limmud Chevruta Publications

ZIV tzedakah fund is closing!? This is a shocker to the Jewish world.

Woman Strips at Kotel in the Men's Section - this one is just crazy.

GreenDimes - stop junk mail, what a great gift!

from my
Where have you been?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

is there a best time of year?

boots, hats, scarves, mittens
snow angels and hot chocolate
frosty windows, stew

winter is the best time of the year.

rain and warm breezes
flower buds and muddy shoes
farmers markets return

spring is the best time of the year.

flip flops, baseball caps
sunglasses, picnics, and sun
ice cream, fireworks

summer is the best time of the year.

crunchy leaves, sweaters
pumpkin pie and cool mornings
apples, school supplies

fall is the best time of the year.

part of MamaBlogga's Group Writing Project for December. Join in?
P.S. I was it's haikus for me this month.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I am Joseph!

Judah comes to Joe
"Please, you can't take away Ben!
It would kill our dad."

"I'm responsible."
He takes Ben's life as his charge.
Clearly he has learned.

Joe is overcome.
He knows his brothers have changed.
he cries and cries - loud!

"I'm Joseph, your bro,
the one you tried to sell off.
And I forgive you."

They couldn't believe!
It was like back from the dead.
They were really shocked.

Joe invited them
to come move down to Egypt
and they said "okay."

Jake came to Egypt
to see his long-lost son, Joe.
Everybody cried.

The children of Jake
prospered in the land, Goshen,
and they multiplied.

See more Haiku Friday here!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

13 Random Things I've Learned So Far at the Biennial

1. Drama is good. A little sparkle and flash goes a long way toward creating excitement! The Voice of God that speaks at the Oscars has joined us here at the Biennial as well. (you know, "now presenting...the President of the Academy the Union for Reform Judaism!
2. There are so many Jews from so many places with similar experiences.
3. Even in California, you need a coat at night!
4. There is a desire amongst the participants (and hopefully translating into the rest of the Jewish community?) for creative and interesting worship and learning experiences.
5. Wearing a badge means that everyone will smile at you. Even if they don't know you. And you'll invite people you've never met before to join your table in a restaurant just because they're also a part of this grand shared experience.
6. Two Starbucks are still not enough for one convention center.
7. The coffee is cheaper a block away from the convention center.
8. The coffee is necessary.
9. Walking shoes are a must for the Biennial. An absolute must.
10. Even with all the potential and possibility of the new prayerbook, there is still a need for handouts. What happened to a Green Biennial?
11. The shopping opens at 11am today. Can't wait!
12. I still can't get over what a room full of Jews looks like. And I'm a Jewish professional! It's pretty amazing to me that I've been a rabbi for almost 5 years, I'm not new at this -- and yet I still find great joy in being in a roomful of Jews sharing in prayer, worship, study....
13. It's impossible to see and do it all!

Come see the Biennial Blog!

See more Thursday Thirteen here...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The End

Biennial Dispatches!

Come see the Biennial Blog!

My first post about the Biennial is up at my other blog...

Come see me there and come see me at the Biennial Blog!

Bloggy Buttons on PhotoBucket

I'm so excited that I'm blogging at the URJ Biennial blog. I even made myself a little button:

Visit me at the biennial blog!

(and it's camped itself out in my sidebar over there <---- too!)

I have finally figured out the button thing thanks to PhotoBucket.

(I know, you're thinking, do I need another image site? I already use flickr....)

You make your cute little graphic. I use Gimp but you could use PhotoShop or a paint program or whtatever. Gimp happens to be free.

Then you upload to PhotoBucket and it gives you lots of choices for your graphic -- including the code for embedding. I just change the code so that the link is to my own site (or wherever I want it to go) and the "alt" is for something more to my liking, so that when you run your mouse over the graphic, you get whatever words I want you to see! (Run your mouse over my button to see...)

Maybe lots of people already knew this but I didn't! I love it when people give me code to do their buttons instead of having to right-click and save their I finally figured out how to do it! Hooray!

Now I'm off to San Diego and I'll be posting hopefully lots of fun stuff from there...and hope that the ice storm doesn't affect my flights!

See more Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.

See all my other Works for me Wednesday posts here...some are darn good, if I must say so myself! Like this one. Or this one. I like this one too.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Helping & Looking...Best Shot Monday

I love a little sibling-love. This past week's Torah portion was about Joseph and his brothers...not so much sibling-love there!

Here are my two youngest (we often refer to them as "The Littles" although I'm sure that will have to stop at some point!)...sharing some Cheerio-love.

See more best shot Monday here at Picture This...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Gift of the hiding

The snow has come.

It's cold, it's slippery. My car is covered with ice.

The front entryway is strewn with boots and coats and hats and mittens. The floor is streaked with melted snow and ice, and the dried residue of both.

The babies seem overwhelmed by it. Coats and hats and mittens, boots and blankets. Multiple layers of clothing making them feel slightly stuffed.

The biggest, though, is thrilled by it. Each time he walks outside, he scoops up some snow to make a snowball. He wears his snowpants with pride, his balaklava with delight. It's never too cold, he plays outside and thrills to the weather.

The prompt at Wrapped Emotions is to enjoy the gifts of the moment. This week has been tiring and overwhelming. It's Chanukah, there's the pressure to make each night special. My middle child has started waking up at 5am and demanding breakfast. Loudly.

Finding the gifts has been tricky.

But they're there...hiding in secret.

Yael giggles when she sees me and dances whenever she hears music.
Sam is newly obsessed with the Lion King and now has learned the joy of soundtracks.
David is thrilled by each Chanukah moment and bursts into random bits of Chanukah song.

I have to find these or the days will overwhelm. Deep breaths...

See more Wrapped Emotions participants here....


Five Places I've Been This Week...

One Less Candle (Save the world, light one less candle???)

Honey as Cough Syrup

Bacon Cookies....ewwwwww (but it is a great blog!)

No Limit Texas Dreidel

Five Things Every Blogger Should Know from Scribbit

from my

Where have you been?

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Saga of Joseph (It's Haiku Friday!)

We meet back with Joe
Remember he's in prison
stuck there in Egypt.

Pharoah had a dream:
seven fat cows by the Nile
seven thin ones too.

The thin ate the fat
but they didn't get fatter.
what could all this mean?

Then he dreamed again:
Seven good ears of corn grew,
seven bad ones too.

The bad ate the good
but they didn't get better.
What could this all mean?

Pharaoh was disturbed.
When the pharaoh ain't happy,
then no one's happy.

What did the dreams mean?
His wisest men couldn't say.
The butler spoke up.

"I was once in jail
and I had a dream while there;
a guy helped me out."

Aha! It was Joe!
They cleane dhim up, brought him in.
Pharaoh told the dreams.

Joe credited God.
"God helps me figure it out,
I know what they mean."

Seven rockin' years
full of food and great success
are coming our way.

Then come seven bad:
no food, a famine, it's rough!
Things will go downhill.

Joe gave his advice:
"Get someone to make a plan,
set up a system,

put away extra,
save it for the rainy days
so we can eat then!"

Pharoah said: "It's great!
You're the right guy for the job,
you have God's wisdom."

So Joe was the guy.
They saved all the leftovers
to pass out later.

(This is a super long Torah portion! I'll finish it next year... ha ha.. Or see the "other version" of the story!)

And for more Haiku Friday, click here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Magical Meal in a Minute - Works for Me!

This week's Works for Me Wednesday is themed...what do you do when it's time for dinner but nothing's been made and everyone's cranky?

Here we go...

1. Open beer or wine, pour into glass. (In a true pinch, drink either from the bottle.) This is, of course, for the mommy, not the kids.

2. Consult Magical Meal in a Minute List, posted in the kitchen.
(click that link to download your very own copy or click on the pic below to see it larger and print it out...)

3. Consult freezer/pantry and determine which one will work. One has to work. Pray for one to work.

4. Create meal in five minutes. Try to make it look pretty on the plates.

5. Serve to the family. Explain to 6-year-old that it doesn't matter what he thinks he wants to eat, this is for dinner.

6. If all else fails...order pizza!

(For those of you who were hoping I'd put together a Chanukah edition of last-minute latkes...I actually ordered my latkes from a local grocery store this year. Theirs are superb and my house does not have that yucky oil smell...delish!)

Happy Chanukah, y'all!

See more Works for Me Wednesday here at Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's here! Happy Chanukah!

chanukah countdown with ima on and off the bima!

It's here! Happy Chanukah...

Go to XMRadioOnline to get a free 8-day trial of their service so you can listen to Radio Hanukkah!

Hope your Chanukah is great...stay tuned for more fun during Chanukah here at Ima on and off the Bima!

All the Chanukah Countdown Party Posts:

Previous Chanukah Countdown Party Posts:

How do you spell Chanukah?
What works for me on Chanukah
Have a Green Chanukah
Chanukah Chaiku
Applesauce vs. SourCream
Chanukah Miracles

Monday, December 3, 2007

Chanukah Countdown WiNnEr!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The winner of the Chanukah Countdown Party Giveaway, a FREE Chanukah gift tray ($25 value) from the Oh! Nuts, a company offering beautiful food gifts of chocolate and nuts.
(although truthfully, you can use the gift certificate to buy non-Chanukah items too!)


Janet, from The Planet of Janet -- Mazel tov! Janet, I'll be in touch.
(Thanks to

Don't forget, you can still get a Chanukah discount...10% off a a Chanukah or any order on, just use code HBW1116 when checking out. (My mom tells me you have to log in to use the discount, fyi.)

You can still visit my other Chanukah Countdown Party posts (last one is tomorrow morning!)

Previous Chanukah Countdown Party Posts:

How do you spell Chanukah?
What works for me on Chanukah
Have a Green Chanukah
Chanukah Chaiku
Applesauce vs. SourCream
Chanukah Miracles

Miracles... Chanukah Countdown Continues

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The holiday of Chanukah is all about celebrating miracles. And let me tell you, I have seen miracles in the past few days.

I was blessed to spend the weekend with two of my dearest and most wonderful friends and their gorgeous new twins, Eitan and Yael...(like the name? I do!), who were born back in August in a very dramatic fashion at about 2 1/2 pounds each. It was finally time to celebrate their Namings this weekend so I flew in, but Mother Nature had other plans for us and the snow/ice/sleet mix forced us to cancel the event on Sunday. Even in cancelling, though, was the small miracle of spending the whole day hanging out with these beautiful miracle babies! They are now almost 10 pounds each and doing great. What an incredible miracle...I couldn't stop looking at them!

So my best shot Monday is this little beauty...Eitan napping with his fingers curled up in the blankie. (I didn't ask for permission for their cute little faces so no posting of those!)

What miracles did you see this week?

P.S. For anyone that I confused with yesterday's post -- there was one day left to enter the giveaway, not one day left until Chanukah. Chanukah starts TUESDAY night.

See next post for Chanukah Giveaway Winner!!!

Previous Chanukah Countdown Party Posts:

How do you spell Chanukah?
What works for me on Chanukah
Have a Green Chanukah
Chanukah Chaiku
Applesauce vs. SourCream

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Only one day left to enter! Chanukah Countdown Continues...

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The Chanukah Countdown continues....with the eternal question: Applesauce or Sour Cream???

All comments will enter you into the drawing which closes tomorrow (Sunday) at 5pm...

Make sure to look for all my Chanukah Countdown can comment on each of them for additional entries into the giveaway (sorry, I'm posting on a friend's mac and it definitely is more work to make can find the posts yourself, I promise...)

happy Chanukah and Shavua Tov!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Chanukah Chaiku (and Giveaway)

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Alex the Great died.
His empire was split up.
Who owned Judea?

King Antiochus
was the new king for the Jews
but he wasn't nice.

"Give up your Torah,"
he said to the Jewish folks.
"Bow down to my gods."

The Jews weren't too pleased.
He defiled the Temple --
sacrificed some pigs.

Things were bad for Jews
They were being killed for faith.
But one guy stepped up.

In his town, Mod'in,
Mattathias stepped up
He said, "Let's rebel!"

His five sons followed
They helped lead the rebellion
and fled to the hills.

A guerrilla fight
against the Syrian-Greeks
hit-and-run fighting.

Mattathias died.
His son Judah took over -
he was a great guy.

Rebellion went well
They called him the Maccabee
(the word means "hammer")

He struck fast and hard
and finally the Jews won -
a long time coming!

A great victory
It was quite a miracle
Just one of many

Back to the Temple
but it was totally wrecked,
defiled, defaced.

They made it holy,
rededicated to God,
prepared for worship.

A legend for sure:
There was no oil to find
to light the great Lamp

One small flask was found,
only enough for one day
but it lasted EIGHT!

Today we rejoice
with victory dances,
remember that time.

The more likely tale:
They missed Sukkot in that year
and observed it late.

Eight days of the feast
have been translated to this
time of Chanukah.

Either way, it's fun
to eat latkes and candy
and play the dreidel.

Happy Chanukah
(However you spell the word)
let's all celebrate!

See more Haiku Friday here.

If you're looking for my weekly Torah Portion Haiku, it's over at my other blog...

Remember the can comment on each post from this week's Chanukah Countdown Party to enter multiple times! A $25 gift certificate to OH! Nuts...

Previous Chanukah Countdown Party Posts:

How do you spell Chanukah?
What works for me on Chanukah
Have a Green Chanukah

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chanukah Giveaway & 13 Green Tips

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13 Ways to Have a Green Chanukah
(or any holiday, for that matter)

1. Save paper - send e-cards instead!

2. Give environmentally conscious gifts that are renewable or reusable -- CFL lightbulbs, travel mugs, reusable water bottles, cloth bags, linen napkins, reusable lunchboxes...heck, reusable grocery bags are super-hot right now - give one or two tied with a pretty ribbon!

3. Give gifts of time or that will be "used up" -- gift certificates for massages, for special outings or babysitting, tickets to shows or concerts, magazine subscriptions, baked goods or food gifts (see below for the giveaway!) etc.

4. 8 nights, make 8 green resolutions for you and your family. Here's a list of suggestions from the Coalition on Environment in Jewish Life. Some ideas: agree to drive less, turn the heat down one degree, recycle more, etc.

5. Host Green parties for the holidays. Use e-vites, dim the lights, give each guest a mug or glass as their "party gift" and ask them to use it throughout the night (think of how many cups you'll save)

6. Go vegetarian for a few nights of the holiday or for all of the holiday!

7. Pay attention to your consumption and waste. Did you know between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day alone, Americans produce an extra one million tons of trash per week compared to any other time of the year. Try to throw away less during this holiday.

8. Make gifts from recycled objects. Wow, quite a list here.

9. Turn off the lights and watch the Chanukah candles burn. Save electricity by spending an electricity-free evening -- skip the computer, the tv, the ipod, and share a family game night or story night.

10. Pack your lunch and celebrate Chanukah each day by eating in. Try a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich. You'd be amazed at how one sandwich can change the world.

11. Give the gift of your own time. Find a place to take your family and volunteer during the holiday.

12. Going out shopping? Prepare your trip in advance so as to use the least amount of fuel by getting as much as possible in one place. Save trips!

13. Be conscious of your wrapping -- use cloth bags, tie a ribbon, recycle wrapping paper or newspaper...The average consumer wraps 20 gifts during the holidays. If just three of those gifts were wrapped in cloth bags, the paper saved could cover 45,000 football fields! (Source: Cygnus Group)

(See more Thursday Thirteen here)

And now...the Giveaway!

I am so excited to offer a FREE Chanukah gift tray ($25 value) from the Oh! Nuts, a company offering beautiful food gifts of chocolate and nuts.
(although truthfully, you can use the gift certificate to buy non-Chanukah items too!)

Plus! A Chanukah discount...10% off a a Chanukah or any order on, just use code HBW1116 when checking out.

How you can win:
1. Make a comment here or on any of my Chanukah Countdown Party posts. Say something nice about Chanukah. This is your entry! You can enter each day - once per day. Come back and visit all week!
2. If you feel so inclined (I'd like it a lot), post on your blog or tell a friend about this giveaway and link back to me.
(you can grab my Chanukah Countdown Party code too:
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>)
3. Don't forget to give me a way to get in touch with you if you win!
4. Contest ends on Sunday, December 2nd at 5pm. I will post the winner Monday morning!

Previous Chanukah Countdown Party Posts:

How do you spell Chanukah?
What works for me on Chanukah

Join the party!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Works for Me Chanukah Edition & Giveaway!

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As part of the Chanukah Party I'm throwing here on my blog, here's a special Works-for-Me Chanukah Edition.

A variety of fun and useful Chanukah tips and facts:

Chanukah is never late or early. It's always celebrated on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev.

Latkes, potato pancakes, are traditionally associated with the holiday in the US and Europe. In Israel, however, the traditional food is jelly donuts (yum!) called sufganiyot, and here is a whole list of "alternative latkes" -- because the main crux is the oil in which the food is cooked.

The most recognizable symbol of Chanukah is probably the chanukiyah or menorah, the candelabra on which we light the candles. If you haven't heard the story of the Menorahs of Billings, Montana, I suggest you check out the children's book version of the story or the website here of the Not in Our Town movement. An Anti-Semite threw a brick through the window of a 6-year-old Jewish boy who'd placed this menorah in the window. In response, the entire town of Billings put paper menorahs in their windows. (Personal note, I was the student rabbi in Billings for a year while in school.)

Drippy candles? Put them in the freezer in advance.

Check out this crazy list of all the people listed in Adam Sandler's Chanukah Song

Can't remember the words to all the Chanukah songs you think you know? Print some songsheets here.

Did you know that you don't have to make a dreidel out of clay?

In my house, we decorate for Chanukah by putting up shiny paper streamers and Happy Chanukah signs. Most of them are inherited from my parents' house!

We light one menorah for each family member. Will we have to light for the baby this year? I guess so! Maybe I need to go out and buy a new menorah!

See more Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer
and stay tuned all this week for my Chanukah Countdown Party...

And now...the Giveaway!

I am so excited to offer a FREE Chanukah gift tray ($25 value) from the Oh! Nuts, a company offering beautiful food gifts of chocolate and nuts.
(although truthfully, you can use the gift certificate to buy non-Chanukah items too!)

Plus! A Chanukah discount...10% off a a Chanukah or any order on, just use code HBW1116 when checking out.

How you can win:
1. Make a comment here or on any of my Chanukah Countdown Party posts. Say something nice about Chanukah. This is your entry! You can enter each day - once per day. Come back and visit all week!
2. If you feel so inclined (I'd like it a lot), post on your blog or tell a friend about this giveaway and link back to me.
(you can grab my Chanukah Countdown Party code too:
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>)
3. Don't forget to give me a way to get in touch with you if you win!
4. Contest ends on Sunday, December 2nd at 5pm. I will post the winner Monday morning!

To grab my cool badge, here's the code:
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

Previous Chanukah Countdown Party Posts:
How do you spell Chanukah?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chanukah Countdown Party!!!

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One week from tonight we light the first Chanukah candle.

While Chanukah is a minor Jewish holiday, it does have wonderful messages and an opportunity, as all our holidays, to get together with family and celebrate the beauty and joy in our religion!

I'm so excited to begin a week of Chanukah Countdown on both of my blogs.

To kick it off, let's answer an age old question...

How do you spell Chanukah?

Here are some ideas from the LeeVees, a fanatastic Jewish singing duo...

Seriously, though, the reason we can't spell it in English is because it's a transliteration of a Hebrew word that looks like this: the bottom line is: anyway you spell it, it's still the same holiday!

Stay tuned this week for Chanukah Countdown posts culminating sometime this week in a big Chanukah giveaway! (Because what is a good Chanukah Party without gifts!?)

Wanna join the party? Grab my cool badge above or here's the code:
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

Beach Fun...Best Shot Monday

Wow, so hard to choose from all the pictures we took in Florida. I kept 208 that I couldn't delete! (there were more...)

Here is my "best shot" -- I think...

okay, one more for good measure...

See a couple more shots from Florida here...

and see more Best Shot Monday here.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

After the storms...

Our Florida trip in review:

hanging out with family

It was fun and warm and great to get the whole clan together.

Here are some cute vacation pics...

And, perhaps most importantly(?), I kept up with my blogging and it only took me 3 days to read through the 400+ posts in my GoogleReader!