Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yes, I'm making supper!

OK... finally figgered it out.

~ Multi-veggie barley soup (ie leftover slimy fridge celery plus frozen cut-up veggies)
~ Pasta (casarecce) in creamy garlic tomato sauce (ie the rest of the cream cheese and tinned-tomatoes)
~ Sweet potatoes like we had on Yom Tov in the oven with butter & brown sugar

Mmm... and then off to aerobics to work it all off!

<3 J
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Birthday Boy Jollity

Yay! Somewhere along the line, we made it to 14 without killing this boy.

Family dinners have become a real party as Daddy gives away all his junkiest possessions (a binder full of provincial park brochures to YM as a remembrance of this summer's wonderful camping trip - BONUS: "you can keep the binder").

When he's not divesting himself of the stuff he can't take with him, he's dispensing advice - offering to buy me a cemetery plot, exhorting me to care for my teeth, etc.

This week's good news is that my root canal wasn't... it turned out the decay wasn't that extensive and we managed to avoid drilling into the root - for now. Dr. S assured me that it might or might not "stick" and it might need a root canal at a later date. Oh, well.

Tonight's Supper: NO CLUE!

<3 J
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Naomi's getting

Well, her birthday's still almost five months off, but if anyone asks what she wants, here it is:

TEKNO the robotic BOUNCING puppy! Available at Sears for only $70!

We have a totally old-school Tekno I bought Elisheva a million years ago. Even with batteries, he no longer has the pep he once did, but this is honestly one of the best electronic toys I have ever, ever seen. Some of the reviews on epinions say their kids got bored with it very quickly, but our kids have NEVER tired of switching him on and letting him run around. And even now that our Tekno doesn't really switch on, Naomi and Gavriel Zev love him to bits.

So I'm hoping a new one will provide just as many years of fun. Let's hope so, cuz this is what I'm suggesting to the first person who asks what she wants!

<3 J
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The baby's gift arrived!

Well, here's what I got him... and let me just say, he was TOTALLY surprised!
It's a Baby Bottoms Doll. They're available in various ethnicities, but I ordered this one, which is hispanic, because the caucasian model is so very, very unnaturally white. The shade of white my father has turned lately. Deathly-pallor white.

Aren't these the sweetest little "babies"? They're anatomically correct, but not OVERLY so, if you know what I mean. Some of them look like something cops would use with abused children, all in-your-face and dangly. This guy is cuddly and comes with a diaper so you can still take him to shul. ;-)
(Naomi has his big sister already:

Bad experience ordering it, however. Ordered from a company called based on my two criteria: had to ship internationally, and had to take PayPal. Those two things totally limited the playing field, so I was happy to find this company - at first.

When the doll didn't arrive and I didn't get a ship notice a week or so after I ordered, I contacted the company and was assured the doll had shipped on September 21st - a week before I'd ordered it.

Well, the owner promised me she'd gotten me mixed up with another customer - great record-keeping. And after I filed a PayPal dispute, she said they were out of stock on the one I'd ordered, but she could send me another one.

When that one didn't arrive in a couple of weeks, I escalated my PP dispute to a claim, and eventually, she provided shipping info and the doll arrived - with a customs charge of $16-something ... because she'd written in the value of this $20 doll at $74. For a $20 item, I probably wouldn't have had to pay anything. As it was, we were fishing around for change and finally gave the Canada Post driver what amounted to a $2 tip because they can't make change.

I emailed the owner about the customs charge and the fact that she'd declared the value wrong (maybe spitefully?). And because her email is slow (she said they've had to lay people off because of the "economy" and are swamped because of the "approaching holiday" - in SEPTEMBER???), she finally got back to me yesterday, over a week later, to say she'd happily reimburse the $8 I had asked her for (because I didn't feel right asking for the full amount, just the overcharge) once I paid for the doll.

Which totally stymied me. I mean, hello? She shipped the doll because I paid for the doll, right? That's what that whole paypal transaction was about. I emailed her my PP receipt for the original payment but given the amount of time it takes for her to respond to emails, doubt I will ever hear back from her again.

Anyway, just so you can avoid it, the company's name is - they have a whole bunch of cute ethnic dolls on their site, but don't let that fool you. The owner's name is Denise Gary Robinson.

The great news is that the baby loves his doll - and Naomi loves it even more. She adores its "PEEeeeeenis"! (so do I; truthfully, it is just as cute as can be!) And she loves putting them together so they look like twins.

Apparently, the company that was making these, Fanny's Playhouse, is now under new ownership, so I don't know how readily available the dolls will be in future. But in the meantime, if you're looking for a cute and slightly different gift, I'd recommend a Baby Bottoms Doll. And I'd definitely recommend you buy it somewhere other than :-(((

<3 J
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Under Pressure!

Got Freecycled a Lagostina pressure cooker (Brava model?)! So last night, our first on-our-own, non-Shabbos, post-Yom Tov meal (last Thursday night, we had leftovers), I made pressure-cooker "risotto." Vegetables, mushrooms, wine, leftover chicken soup, Louisiana chicken sausage, whatever else I had sitting around, plus some Arborio rice.

Mmm... I put "risotto" in quotes, however, because it wasn't creamy and soft like I suspect real capital-R Risotto is supposed to be. The dumb thing wouldn't come up to pressure for the longest time, so basically, I suspect the rice cooked in the normal time. Veggies were nice and soft and eatable, however.

The red stuff below is leftover meatballs from Shabbos. Also, I dumped the leftover chicken soup in the pressure cooker, but didn't want to waste the nice kreplach, so I fried them in my small pan a la pot stickers - yummy! They're the slightly slimy-looking things at the 11:30 position on the plate at the left. :-)

I love how the steam is still visibly rising from the meatballs in this picture. How come magazine food pictures never have steam? Oh, yeah... because the food is underdone and inedible and they sit posing it for hours under lights. But at least it looks a bit more yummy when they're done.

More to come now that Yom Tov is out. Feels like it has been days and days of non-stop laundry so far.

The baby is going through another phase of waking up in the middle of the night. Baah. At that time of day (around 12 or 1) I simply hate babies. For his own preservation, he must regain the skill of sleeping through. Right now, I go in to him, sing a bit, pat him, but he's usually kicking and flailing and just seems SO angry. But last night he cried less after I went out than he did the night before, so maybe it's easing off.

But then he was so tired this morning that he started screaming at the childcare program halfway through my aerobics class. They called me out and said he needed changing, but I checked and he wasn't too bad. He was just crazy-tired and wanted nummies and wanted ME. I told them I'd be out in 15 minutes, but just a few minutes later they were back and his screams were reverberating through the halls. So I packed up my stuff and left the class to nummy him in the childcare room.

They had served Naomi non-kosher crackers - oops, must tell them next week to ONLY give her the snacks we bring; they're not "optional extras" - and after I told her to stop (I promised her crackers when we got home) she just kept scarfing them down like they were the most delicious thing. I explained in the car that Hashem said everybody could eat crackers, and if people were a yid (Jewish) they should only eat kosher crackers.

She is at a totally defiant age, however. There was a stale old pretzel sitting in the car and I told her she shouldn't eat it, so of course she popped that in her mouth, too. Or at least, she made a chewing motion with her jaw and TOLD me she'd eaten it. So then I said no crackers - aargh. So I gave her two crackers, and she went and snuck some pretzels from the same box.

Meanwhile, I was rushing to get the baby to bed because he was still so crazy-tired, but once he got to bed he "bounced" and refused to sleep. Even with a cloth book and Naomi's "eyes-baby" that he loves because he's allowed to poke her eyes and she has real eyelids with lashes. I don't let him do it with me or Naomi, so poking eyes has become his obsession. :-)

More later, I hope.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Belly Button Surgery Nummies

They didn't say no, anyway. Just not the morning of the surgery, or the 24
hours following.
I can't imagine how we'll go 2 days without nummies, though... or have him
shlepped back and forth so he can get a little nummies the week I'm away.
Or how I'm going to possibly take a week out of my busy life... :-(((
----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: "Jennifer" <>
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 2:04 PM
Subject: Re: Shouldice Hospital - food inquiry

> Dear Mrs. MamaLand:
> Thank you for your follow up inquiry. It may be a good idea to prepare as
> many bottles of breast milk as you can before your admission. The morning
> of surgery you will be mildly sedated and this will not be a good time to
> breast feed. The residual anaesthetic in your system makes breast feeding
> unfavourable post operatively for at least 24 hours and after that you
> should be fine. You should inform the nurses of your wishes to have your
> son visit for breast feeding when you arrive for admission.
> Kind regards,
> Daryl U.
> Shouldice Hospital
> Jennifer wrote:
>> Mr U:
>> Thank you for this information (see emails below).
>> Now that I am booked to arrive on December 8th, I will contact Mrs. M.
>> soon.
>> Another question: I am currently nursing a baby and was informed by the
>> surgeon that I will not be able to breastfeed for 24 hours following
>> surgery. However, at other times, I'd like to have my baby brought by
>> family members three times a day so I can continue to nurse him. In
>> addition to afternoon and evening visiting hours, I would like to make
>> arrangements to have a brief "visit" with my baby in the morning as well
>> (ie Tuesday morning before surgery and Thursday/Friday mornings). Who
>> would be the best person to speak to about facilitating this exception to
>> your visiting schedule?
>> I appreciate your help in making this surgery possible for me (after four
>> years of pain) with as little interruption as possible to my baby's
>> schedule.
>> Thanks!
>> Jennifer M. MamaLand

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sukkos Meal Plan









Round Challah

Salmon w/honey,mustard

Some Kinda Soop

Blintz Loaf thing


Neapolitan Cake



Steak Salad

Green Beans

Honey cake







Round Challah

G fish ballies

Pea Soup

Cabbage Rolls

Honey Cake



Round Challah

G fish ballies

More Pea Soup

Shepherd's Pie

Honey Cake


Fw: Products: Irresistibles, Selection, Master Choice, Equality, Solutions 1-2-3

----- Original Message -----
From: "Customer Care-Metro ON" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 8:07 AM
Subject: RE: Products: Irresistibles, Selection, Master Choice, Equality, Solutions 1-2-3

Dear Ms. MacLeod.

Thank you for tyour e-mail.

Our Corporate Brands Department has informed me that they have just confirmed that the 2 vendors in the running for the new IS Pasta business are both Kosher.  So when vendor changes (4-6 months), the new IS product will be Kosher.

Kindest regards,


Lucie Gignac
Customer Care Specialist
Metro Ontario Inc.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ant swarm erev Shabbos!

Gack! I'm still covered in ants from this crazy swarm going on outside... must be mating
day! I think I'll be feeling creepy crawlies, both real and imagined for a while... I went out to take pictures and only too late realized I'd been colonized.

After Yom Kippur Supper:
~ Blintzes (too-thick too-big skins by Elisheva Chaya, filling by Ted, stuffed by Ted & me)
~ Honey-Mustard Salmon by Yerachmiel Meir - just right on the second attempt! The
first attempt involved stirring all the ingredients, including mustard and bread
crumbs, together in a bowl. Whoops!
~ Lime pie by MOI!
~ Ace Bakery bread

Shabbos food:
~ Challah
~ Chicken Soup (made ahead and frozen since Wednesday) w/ kneidlach by me
~ Garlic-Mayo Shake n' Bake Chicken by Ted
~ Leftover potato broccoli kugel from before Yom Kippur, by me
~ Leftover cranberry kugel from before Yom Kippur, by me
~ Chocolate cake by Elisheva, baking as I write this...
~ Pumpkin spice cake with Orange Frosting by me - ok, it's white cake mix with the other half of the pumpkin pie filling mixed in! :-)
~ YM's food task was peeling potatoes for the cholent.

Shabbos Lunch:

Once again, beyond the cholent, we have utterly failed to plan for Shabbos lunch. There's still time to boil eggs, at least...

Good Shabbos!!!

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Dull Pasta Letter to Metro Stores

"We've shopped in our new Metro store (formerly Dominion) twice so far.  I've been dismayed to notice that none of the Irresistibles brand pasta seem to have kosher certification.  Since most (if not all) of the national brands of pasta and other stores' brands do as well, I'm surprised this isn't a feature of your product.  I'm wondering if you have plans for kosher supervision in future.  Your response is appreciated.  Thanks!"

Brilliant! Idea! What to get for the baby who has every THING!

Mary (big kids' grandmother, but I just call her my mother-in-law because I promised I would never divorce her) called yesterday to ask what she could get the baby. 
She was on her cell and had her hands on some probably gorgeous baby-outerwear thing at the time, but I had to say NO MORE CLOTHES because their dresser is literally overflowing... okay, what they need is a new dresser, but that's not a great birthday present.

So I asked another mama, Rachel, what to get for the baby who literally has everyTHING he could possibly want... we are actually asking people to not send any more stuffed things EVER and, studying the toy company websites last night, I couldn't imagine opening our home to any more plastic JUNK. 
And she said a zoo membership.  Which is brilliant because it doesn't clutter the house and saves us about a hundred bucks each time we visit (oy, literally - I just added it up and once Elisheva turns 13 and Naomi turns 4, it's $92 for the 6 of us plus $8 parking). 
Oooh, I think this is perfect; I'm so excited!  The baby is the perfect age; he loves animals, and we could go over Sukkos next week... and if you get to Toronto in the next year, we can sneak Mary in somehow.  :-)))
Last night's pasta warmed over with tomato sauce and salmon...
Not original, but tomorrow night is Yom Kippur and I'm out fixing somebody's computer at 5, so there it is.
<3 J

Monday, October 06, 2008

Morbid Math

"If you have THIS MANY kitties and two of them DIE, you only have one left!"

I guess that makes it slightly easier to remember than all those word problems where some ghostly hand was "taking away" your apples.

Supper: Ha ha. No clue.

<3 J
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Sunday, October 05, 2008

And so it begins...

With tomorrow bringing Toronto's official First Frost Date,
I declare...
The Indoor Coleus Season 2008/2009
officially open!!!

Ladies, start your rooting... or something!

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Circle time, sukkah time

Here's a rare shot of my sometimes-sung hero of the Sukkah world... putting up our sukkah over a week ahead of time. Amazing!

Went with Elisheva and the Littles to "visit the relatives" today, ie the graves of my grandparents. Tried desperately to figure out which Tehillim you're supposed to say when you go there, but all I could find were mentions that you're supposed to say Tehillim: thanks!

So I did, I took a tehillim and actually said a couple. Then we ran around finding rocks to put on the headstones and then we left. Well, not to make too much light of it. We actually do take our time, reading the names, seeing who's related to whom, who was born and died when, all that stuff. And I point out to each kid which relatives have "their" name.

Gavriel Zev fell asleep in the car and I was dreading shlepping him in the carseat around from site to site, but then it turned out they've redone all the roads into Bathurst Lawn and I was able to park three seconds from the grave. Well! Makes you want to visit the cemetery more often!

Elisheva said it was creepy seeing the half-complete headstones, like with one spouse's name engraved, just waiting for the husband or wife to die so they can finish the stone.Then we shook off the gloom by making fun of the people with weird names. The Lipsyc family is right next to my grandparents, and I can't help it; I always snicker at that one... you picture a dead guy, singing along with the lyrics... well, lip-SYNCHing, right? You got that, right?

At Beth Tzedec cemetery, we found my mother's family, along with the future site of my parents' graves. I was reminded of the Northern Exposure episode where they were trying to figure out how many graves they needed to dig before winter frost set in and they couldn't dig anymore. So they (probably Ed) were going around asking people how they were feeling. I almost felt like we should put up a sign or start digging or something, before winter - and the serious chemo business - sets in around here.

We also discovered two columnar apple trees at the cemetery! I have been eyeing these in the Vesey's catalogue (or somewhere else I saw them) and thinking we could find space somewhere for a couple of these... ha ha ha... but it would be cute. But we only found two good apples, so Naomi ate one and we gave one to the baby.

At my parents' for supper, I told them my usual, which is "regards from your parents." It always takes them a few minutes to figure out... no clue why.

But then, after supper, my father asked if I would visit him there. Well, what do you say to that? He's joking and not-joking and the end result, of course, is SO not funny.

And then he said his in-laws bought him a plot and wondered if he should buy me one, too.I hummed and bluffed my way through somehow.

No, I don't want them to buy me a plot.

Yes, I will visit him.


He does start chemo on Wednesday, with a 4-hour marathon toxin infusion session. I hope it is quick, not too brutal, and over soon.

<3 J
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Well, this is unusual... (me, awake)

Sitting here at 7:26 waiting for the stunned-by-two-days-of-Yom-Tov kiddies to wake up; what a rarity to have a moment of peace and quiet.  At the expense of sleep, of course.  Got up at 5:30 to wake YM & EC so they could eat before the fast (Tzom Gedalia) and wasn't able to fall back asleep, OF COURSE.
Lay awake thinking about my father and his crazy obsession with spreadsheets and ITINERARIES.  The earliest "big word" I remember learning - itinerary.  His dumb binders full of trips and plans as opposed to my brilliant and occasionally disastrous spontaneity.  And now they have all those "cancer patient" brochures... I wonder if he'll stick all those into a binder as well.
Rosh Hashanah was a total disaster... we didn't have money so couldn't shop until the last second.  I actually ended up running out leaving Elisheva with the kids with strict instructions NOT to put them in the bath while I was out, even though we'd already started the bathwater.  And I left the soup on what I thought was low, but by the time I came back an hour and some later, it had boiled almost completely dry and the whole mess (beautiful homegrown leeks, broccoli, etc.) was scorched to the bottom of the pot.  So I had to start over and throw together some carrot soup thingy and the lasagna didn't get started until late in the afternoon, which meant I couldn't even begin cooking the cabbage rolls... and the "meat" (which was actually just a box of hamburgers because neither store I went to had ground anything) was still frozen because Ted wasn't paying attention Sunday night when I asked him to put it away in the FRIDGE not the freezer.  So it was still frozen and highly unattractive in a frying pan with water to try to steam it into submission.
The cabbage rolls turned out delicious, by the way.  And I scooped out the unscorched bits of veggie from the first soup and just pureed them with the tomato sauce for the lasagna.  Sent one plus a cheesecake plus a challah to the Silver/Freedmans, who said it was excellent.  He had hand surgery erev Yom Tov to fix his broken fingers.  We had Judy the first night and three people the second night.  Plus Abigail and Karen from shul the second day... what a backhanded invitation. 
At shul on Tuesday she said she was just back from a funeral in Montreal, so I invited her spontaneously , for either lunch (at my parents') or supper, but she couldn't make it for supper, and then when I talked to her in shul on Wednesday, she said she could come for that day's lunch.  So I was, like, "well, it was going to be just our family."  Because there wasn't really any food cooked or planned that I could pull together!  But then I back pedalled, because I didn't want her to think she wasn't welcome, of course... so I said she could come if she wanted to, and then I backpedalled some more and told her it was an honour, she was always welcome, of course, but the meal would be informal and weird.  She did end up tagging along and it was a great meal.  Abigail showed up - I'd forgotten I invited her altogether - and there was lots of talking and plenty of food.
My father was in the hospital the whole Yom Tov - they went down Tuesday morning and they kept him overnight and again last night.  He may come home today, new and improved with a stent that will hopefully help him swallow, which he hasn't been able to do.  And a soft-food diet, which, my mother says, means no bread even though people apparently assume bread is soft.  Maybe the middle bits of bread are okay but not the crust?  They're talking about starting the chemo this weekend.
Oh, and the bathroom light got turned off and we ran out of pre-torn paper because (and this was a GOOD thing!) Elisheva bathed the kiddies while I was out shopping erev Yom Tov.
Oh, and a power failure Tuesday morning meant the oven shut off, but I didn't know that because it still said "SAB" when it came back on, meaning it remembered it had been in Sabbath mode, so I assumed it also remembered what temperature it had been set at.  But when Elisheva went to slide in the Ace Bakery bread on Tuesday night, she said, "this oven is cold."  So we had to give up on the bread and take the lasagna to my parents' house to heat in my mother's 240-degree oven.  Okay, "heat".  It took the icy edge off, but that was all.
I did serve the lasagna again on Wednesday, but this time we reheated it in a frying pan on low and it was delightfully hot.  And the cabbage rolls were excellent, as I said.  Foodwise, not a total disaster.  But everything else feels like it's falling apart.  And today, the whole shopping-cooking-cleaning cycle starts anew as we prepare for Shabbos.

And I haven't really spoken to Ted civilly in about a week... SO so SO tired and grouchy and he gets the brunt of all of it.  On top of which he is tired and not functioning well and irritating in his own right.
Wow - 7:43 and babies still asleep... yay!
Have a great day!!!
<3 J