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Showing posts from August, 2009


Ted's on imdb!   Weird!   And while I'm posting this, if anybody out there wants the coolest graphics, animation or personalized cartoon portraiture in town (great for any birthday, wedding, anniversary or other simcha), check out his online portfolio here:

Just Supper

I'm surprised the pasta machine hasn't gone all rusty:  I'm making homemade pasta tonight for the first time in FOREVER.  Like at least since Gavriel Zev was born.  Maybe since Naomi?   Homemade ravioli with chevre-spinach filling... basic tomato sauce on top, I guess.  Hope to get a few full-sized tomatoes from the garden into it!   Trying this recipe for the pasta because my pasta cookbook got torn up and maybe lost and I can't be bothered searching...

Another homecoming...

Princess Big Girl is home once again, after a lovely weekend at a friend's cottage.  Every homecoming is another heartbreak for her, another evening of stomping around the house for us to put up with.   She is totally sleep-deprived and has alternated between pouting, shouting and apologizing since I picked her up 45 minutes ago.   Sigh.

Quick! Find this bochur a shidduch!

My, but he sure does look “official” in the hat & jacket (thanks to Sears for the suit (only $75!), and to my mother for springing for the hat as an early birthday gift for him)… this was the only picture I could get of him where he wasn’t smirking.  Actually,  I did take a close-up that looked a little good when I saw it on the camera, but when we imported it into the computer, we noticed a wasp buzzing beside his lip.  I was like, “didn’t you notice it there???” He hadn’t.  Ruined a perfectly good shot, too: Despite the fact that I shudder now every time I hear the word “green,” I took the littles down to the Green Toronto Festival at Yonge and Dundas Square, just for something to do. Sara wanted to do BuskerFest instead, so she met us at Queen & Yonge and took Naomi while I headed up to check out the exhibits alone with Gavriel Zev.  Fun fun fun had by BOTH of us!  Boy, I sure don’t get enough one-on-one time with that kid, and boy, did he have a great time. Wh

Rather droopy Shabbos bookay

Okay, the backyard flowers are looking terrific (relatively speaking), but I guess it doesn’t translate indoors all that well.  These are the most beautiful hostas, and Naomi Rivka said I should include them, but I didn’t realize until just now how droopy that bottom few flowers were.  Sigh… it really does look like an end-of-season “dregs” bouquet.

The Breakfast-Cereal Bypass

So if General Mills are going to be morons (see my previous post for the rather dreary saga), I decided to bypass them and go right to the source: Chirp Magazine, aka Owl Publications! Will they take my very subtle hints in this email and send Naomi Rivka at least a trial issue, if not a 3-issue "mini-subscription" of her very own??? Will they at least sit on the General Mills people to get this stupid, trivial, little thing done for me? We shall see... as the SAGA continues... January 2010 postscript: the saga does indeed continue. January 6th here and no magazines yet. Read on! ----- Original Message ----- Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:51 PM Subject: Chirp Magazine - promotional subscription Back in May, we bought a box of Reese Puffs cereal that promised a free subscription to Chirp magazine. All we'd have to do is go to the General Mills website, enter a special code, and our three free issues would be on their way. Well, we were all very exci

BCMOCRS - the saga continues (moron alert!!!)

Yes, I'm sure you all heaved a giant sigh of relief when our Breakfast Cereal Magazine Offer Code Redemption Saga  was happily resolved back in June.  In fact, I reported here that we had received what I called " Cereal Satisfaction ."   But wait - not so fast!!!  (okay, three months is not exactly fast)   Apparently, the MORONS at General Mills have lost our address ! Yes, after we successfully redeemed a book for the big kids ("Frindle") AND a mini-magazine subscription for me ("Canadian Gardening" - surprise, surprise), and countless follow-up emails from me, they no longer have our mailing address to send Naomi Rivka's subscription.   Yes, the one I promised her back in MAY.   Here's what they said.  Notice how they sign off with a jaunty " Cheers ," like this is something businesses do all the time.  "Cheers; we lost your info!"  "Cheers; we disappointed your preschooler yet again!"   Che

Shabbos Food!

Shabbos dinner: ----- Challah Soup w/kneidlach Meatballs - pineapple sweet & sour Farmers' Market Fingerling Tatoes roasted w/ olive oil, salt, pepper Farmers' Market Beets roasted w/ olive oil, salt, pepper Squash - Eli Bass's Squash Kugel PB Cookies Choco chip cookies (Elisheva made these last night but now there are only 7 left!!!)   Lunch: ----- Jar fish Quiche Garden fresh tomatoes Lettuce salad   Keep it simple, silly!!!

Superhero no more...

Well, I was feeling like a superhero...and then stuff happens.   Up from 4-6 a.m. this morning sneezing.  I am allergic to something, and at times like that, I know for a FACT that it is something in this house.   And all the sneezing, I am afraid, is breaking my nice new bellybutton.   It doesn't hurt as much as it did, but at times, it's up to 60%.   So sad.  I totally felt on top of the world, I really did, just doing stuff everybody takes for granted:  being able to stand upright, walk around, carry my children.  And they promised that stress from exercise etc wouldn't hurt the repair.    Actually, this feels like it's a slightly different spot.  Stupid childbearing abdomen... probably sturdy as cheesecloth now that my four kids are done stretching it out.   Maybe I'm just tired.  Maybe it will go away.   The VERY GOOD NEWS is: The periodontist didn't want to treat me.  I went today, I sat nervously in his chair, grinding the pages

Sour d’oh!

I did it!  After four attempts, today’s bread was a SOURDOUGH SUCCESS.   I feel like I have successfully scaled Mount Sourdough. Here is the outside of the loaf, which I made based on the recipe here (scroll down to find recipe and technique).  There seem to be two schools of sourdough thought:  the uptight “do it exactly right or you will screw up and your starter will DIE” school, and the more laid-back “it’s yeast… it wants to ferment; just step back and let it GO.” So the recipe I used follows the second, mellow school and really made me feel at ease with the dough, including the tip (doh) that sourdough takes longer to rise than commercial-yeast-driven bread.  I never knew that!!!  Obvious, but true. For once, we were eating fresh bread and it wasn’t Shabbos, so I took the liberty of snapping pictures of the Opening of the Bread.         Look at those thick, yummy slices! Elisheva was really worried that the bread would be literally sour .  I pointed out th


Farmers' market, fresh-baked homemade sourdough bread and fresh Ontario corn for supper, drove/biked to the Ex with Elisheva... and back in time to pick up YM for night seder at 10.  I am SuperMom and I can do/have it all!!!   (gack)   (sound of head hitting desk in fatigue)

SFG Update

Square foot gardens are actually coming along really well.  Note to self:  more climbing beans next year!!! Full slideshows of progress since March can be found (still) here: slideshows (scroll down) I can’t believe Mrs. ViKi starts again in less than two weeks.  Don’t worry; I will refrain from lamenting about where the summer has gone!

Yummy Corn Fritters

Mmm… this was last night’s supper:   The salmon was just pan-fried in butter with fresh lemon juice and I threw some garden herbs (lemon thyme, thyme and parsley) on in the last couple of minutes. I used this recipe for the beer batter corn fritters.  I especially admire the simplicity of the ONE instruction.  Yum! Tonight’s supper (Wednesday): ~ Sourdough bread (yes, I’ll keep trying ‘till I get it right!  and this one has risen very nicely so far) ~ Corn on the cob ~ Soup – maybe from a tin???

Summer: August Coleus Round-Up

So enough about me, you ask – how are all your COLEUS??? (Caution:  the following is intended for Advanced coleus lovers ONLY!) Yes, it’s late August and they are at their peak… well, okay, I guess they’ll peak a bit more in September, but come October, they’ll be gone and that’s it for the year. Front-bed coleus:  these are 40 or so of the ones I divided and propagated under lights and in our windowsills over the winter .  There are five basic models, which I have grown for three years now.  They’re described here:  Meet the Coleus!   All but two of these originated from free (okay, stolen ) cuttings (small ones!  nobody missed them!  I promise!). So here they are.  Not as impressively huge as I remember them getting last year, but maybe they’ll grow a bit more still…     I love how rich the colours get by late summer.  Indoors, they are a pale imitation of their own colouring… sometimes in February I wonder why I’m propagating them, they’re so pale and weak.  And then, in

Persicaria amplexicaulis “Firetail”

I hate beer, but wow!

This looks unbelievably good!!!   (I'm searching for a beer batter recipe to make corn fritters)

Feeling my age

I know you are as young as you feel and all that pep-talk stuff, but MAN .   Hanging out yesterday with a couple of mamas of kids around my little kids' age as they figured out where they knew each other from... until one of them said, "I know - you're Rabbi {Ploni}'s daughter, right?"  And she was.   Well... Rabbi {Ploni} was my choir teacher in Hebrew school - a crush and an inspiration all in one.  And I remember when he got married; I made my mother buy them some kind of gift (she bought a crystal tray, I think...I'm sure it was lovely and appropriate, though she rolled her eyes copiously at buying a lavish gift for this teacher who she probably didn't think all that highly of).   Did I go to the ceremony?  I don't think so, but I did drag her to his shul one Shabbos morning so I could bask in his commanding (and tuneful!) ambiance from thirty or however-many rows back. I remember thinking - yea, knowing - that his wife was the


Yes, it's official... my sister is a DRIVER!!! (photo credit for this picture probably goes to her boyfriend Peter)

My Top 10 Favourite Posts

In my silly little mind, with my awful memory, these are my Top 10, but they’re in alphabetical order so as not to bias anything: Bad Day with a Good Supper – February 19, 2008 Cast of Characters – January 18, 2006 (needs updating BADLY!) Eulogy for my father – January 31, 2009 Gramma & Grandpa Monkey do Vegas! – January 27, 2008 Little Kids Superimposed on a Pirate Photo – March 31, 2009 Long-ago pics from the Garden – January 29, 2008 My E-Z Bake Garden – June 11, 2009 Purim Madness – March 10, 2009 Seed Starting Chart for Toronto – March 15, 2009 Six Plants I could not Live Without – April 22, 2009 Uncle in Israel – July 22, 2009 YM’s pictures from Casa Loma – June 16, 2009 Oops… is that twelve???  Maybe I’ll come back and edit it down. Kind of strange that this blog is almost four years old, yet most of my faves are from the last six months.  Weird… though I guess I did skip two years, so maybe that makes sense.

Drat, the sukkah party

Naomi had so much fun at her sukkah party last year, so I asked her if she wanted to do one again this year.  The catch this year being that Yom Tov is on Shabbos and Sunday; there’s no good Sunday in Sukkos to have a party.  Drat! I decided to do this last year because, most years, her birthday sort of gets swallowed up by Purim (it’s two days before). (What to get the Two-Days-Before-Purim birthday girl?  A costume !!!) (or another costume !) Anyway, we didn’t really do anything with friends for her birthday, so I decided to invite neighbourhood friends – Jewish and otherwise – to our sukkah.  We got great weather and everything! This year, Sukkos has the advantage of being “early” (in quotes because it actually falls on the exact same dates as it does every single year – as long as you’re using the right calendar).  So it should be good weather.  The drawback is that a lot of Naomi’s friends will be in preschool – slash - kindergarten this year, so I am suspectin


I invited somebody for Rosh Hashanah!  WAAAaay ahead of the game this year!

Luckily, there are even worse parents...

Just when I think I'm feeling like the lowest of the low for calling my daughter a "spoiled princess," I come across the blog of this couple who have recently adopted a 14-year-old girl after fostering her for several years. Keep in mind, they fought to get this kid. And now they're at a point in their relationship where their kid is hitting them regularly and telling her they hate her and they're sick of her. Ha ha! " Spoiled princess " is a compliment next to that. It saddens me that this blog author came into the blog process all gung-ho about Jewish values and has since seemingly abandoned any semblance of spirituality - at a time when it sounds like that's exactly what she and her foster/adoptive daughter really need. Speaking of which, YM hit me today in passing because I and I told him that he is a big boy now, and if he is EVER violent with me or any of his siblings, he will be going to live Elsewhere. Which probably means with m

Better titles for a blog

I'm thinking Adventures in Mama-Land is kind of lame... but is there any title that could appropriately capture in relatively few words exactly what it is that I do here? I'm so bad at titles; when I write an article, the title is always the hardest part - and then every single editor changes the title!  I always ask myself why I'm even bothering to create a title, but an article (or story) looks naked without one.   I could probably just use the words " UHU Paste:  Pros and Cons " at the top of every article I submit, just to give the editors something to change.  They always like the text okay, but no editor has ever kept my own title.   So - here's a list of titles for this blog that would be way cooler: Lasagna Night Mama Rant Adventures in Mama-Land (Elisheva's suggestion) Unimaginable Violence (a reference to this cartoon , which I find hilarious, while nobody else does) H.M.S. SinkyTown (a reference to this car

The Wrong Present

Guess what we got for Ted's birthday???  I will only say this once, and I will imply it very discreetly, in Hebrew (I'm reminded of the classic saying/joke, "if you can't think of anything nice to say, say it in Yiddish"):  נידה   Blah!  Definitely the WRONG GIFT for this occasion!!!

OK, mommy cred = ZERO. Diaper Disaster Day.

That's right - ROCK BOTTOM.  I called Elisheva a spoiled princess in Lawrence Square for insisting on the stupid bike that looked cooler rather than the one I really think would have been better.   And for making me drive her there, and setting her mind to buying a bike (okay, with her own money, which she earned ). And for whining and pouting and asking if we were just going to LOOK at a bicycle because naturally she wanted to walk out WITH a bicycle, otherwise there is just no point in living . (roll eyes) In fact, she'd already made plans to go biking with her friend Nechama this afternoon, so we had better find a bike RIGHT THEN AND THERE. (roll eyes)   Did I mention I bought her a used bike last year that she refused to even look at, let alone ride, because, well, it was ugly? Did I mention she had two bikes stolen this spring because they were used bikes that she had condescended to ride but they were not good enough, in her opinion, to actually lock

Cranky Complaints-Lady Buys a Plant!

Website note sent to Hort Couture , maker of such coleus as “Religious Radish” and “Morning After” (plus a plant suspiciously named Cuphea “Purple Nurple”), along with today’s striking new coleus find: “Came across Coleus " Bi Polar By Golly " in Toronto's Plant World store today.  It is a lovely and unique coleus, but I feel I should mention that, far from a fun fashion statement, the term "bipolar" actually refers to a rather serious mental illness.  I do hope to continue seeing your wonderful line of colourful accent plants in stores here, but also hope that, in future, you will be slightly more sensitive to the fact that certain names may be upsetting or offensive.  Thanks!”

Did I mention I’m in love?

Garden magazine, Shabbos.  Okay, note to self, do not read garden magazines on Shabbos.  They make me lustful.  And there it was:  Musa acuminata “Siam Ruby” – a big red banana.  The garden magazine described this thing and I fell in love. Ten, today, at Plant World’s annual 40% off sale – well, I spotted ONE left on the shelf.  (okay, when I looked again, there were two… that’s not the point!). It has deep-red leaves with splotches of chartreuse.  Okay, it looks a bit like a canna, but it’s not… it’s a BANANA.  Bananas come from one of two geni – musa or ensete .  I believe the most common banana, the ones we eat, are called musa basjoo.  Mine is closely related, but apparently flowers very rarely and will likely never bear fruit.  It can also grow from 6-8 feet, given the opportunity… which it will likely never have here.     And here it is in my very own driveway…!  I wish I did have two, but perhaps if it thrives, I can dig one out and pot it separately next year, for the

Saggy Sunflower

And the corn, is corn…so corny!


Beautiful gift

Sara made Ted this awesome purple kiddush-cup set for his birthday.  There are seven cups and a tray (seven = just enough for us plus one guest:  her!).  This picture was the closest I could get to doing justice to the rich, deep violet colour.  It’s a food-safe glaze, but some of the glaze didn’t cover the bottoms of the cups entirely, so she took it back to re-glaze and will appropriately re-gift it to him SOON, I hope!

Sara’s back – and Happy Birthday to Ted!!!

  The love of my life, my inspiration, yes, it’s sappy, but it’s true. Sara came home from her summer away at camp, and convinced Eli to come along and celebrate Ted’s b-day.  I think she bribed him with this Starbucks, and then I wouldn’t let him bring it to the table because we were eating fleishiks (except Sara, who gamely munched on some dried-out-looking veg burgers).     And here comes Elisheva with the cake!   Forty-six!  I didn’t have a four and a six, all I had was four single candles and an upside-down nine.  What a cheesy family… but he knew us long enough before he married me; he knew what he was getting into!!!

We have AIR!

Okay, I spoke too soon; apparently, Ted does care. Ignore how grimy this window a/c unit looks… it’s already a couple of degrees cooler in this crowded little desk-corner where I currently sit. I <3 a/c What an ungrateful small-minded  miserable person I can be when I’m too hot!

And to be honest (hate hate hate)

I see Elisheva's point.  This house is a dump.   Ted has no idea how awful this house is, day in, day out.  Was I happier in the apartment?  Probably.  It was easier to air condition and less likely to break or flood unexpectedly like this house seems to - constantly.   (and there was someone to call - a landlord! - if something did break or flood)   When Ted refuses to put in air conditioners because it's not going to be hot for very long, that is so obviusly the perspective of someone who spends the day somewhere ELSE - anywhere ELSE.  Driving around in an air-conditioned car, mostly from one air-conditioned building to another.    I hate this house, and there's no hope of ever getting out.   I spend half the year in it so cold that my fingers are numb and the other half sniffly and miserable because I'm allergic to the heat and damp here.  And sweating.  Ugh; coated in sticky sweat.   Even ten minutes of cool air would make the struggle to i

I wish...

Wish Elisheva was happier about being home.  YM is okay, you can stick him anywhere, but Elisheva is never happy to come home.  She acts like we're dragging her down from her palace into a pit of muck.  I mean, our house kind of is a pit of muck, but we do the best we can... :-(

Ice Cream Truck

Naomi Rivka:  "Mommy, I hear the ice cream truck and it's singing, 'put the chicken in the pot, stir it up, nice and hot...'"   Poor child will probably hear of "London Bridge" only as an adult and curse me for deluding her in this way...

Erev Shabbos Checklist

Checklist: ~ Mandelbroit - done! ~ Sourdough challah take 2 - done! ~ Iced tea - done! ~ Pickled brisket Phase 1 - done! ~ Chicken soup - done! (in crockpot, all afternoon!)   Why do I suspect tomorrow will be crazy-rushed anyway...? (the kids get in at 2 p.m.)

Cranky Complaints-Lady Totes her Groceries!

Email to the makers of the Bring Your Own Bag, who have a page on their website to “ tell them your story ” of using their remarkable (?) shopping bag.  Anyway, I didn’t submit this to that page; I thought that would be a tad snarky, even for me.  So I just sent this to the general “info@” email address.  It’s not even all that cranky, in my opinion… guess I’m losing my touch. “Due to a poorly-sewn side seam, this bag now has a finger-sized hole in one side.  I would love to get a replacement, as I just bought this a short while ago and was looking forward to using it at farmers' markets, etc. It was purchased in Toronto at The Kitchen Table location on Spadina, just north of St. Clair. Thanks!” I do love how prominently my own actual finger appears in the hole I have referred to as “finger-sized.”  I am not exactly sure if they will appreciate the greatness of that photographic and literary touch, however.  It just tickles my own funny-bon