Not Your Kid’s Hanukkah Countdown! L’Chaim!

sealedbagswm-copy

If you look around at all of the Advent calendars out there, there are just as many designed for adults as there are for kids. But, in the land of Hanukkah decor, it seems that most of the designers seem to think only little kids celebrate Hanukkah. So last year I decided to make my husband his very own Hanukkah Countdown for each night of Hanukkah.

Continue reading

Pretty pomegranates

pomegranate decor

I am still here, really. Just a bit sleep deprived and in that new baby daze. You know what feels like a super fun outing with a new baby? A trip to Target! With my baby napping away in the carrier, I was able to browse just a little and guess what I found? The perfect vignette for mantle or table for the High Holidays. Pomegranates have special symbolism in Judaism and are often associated with the new year in particular. Now I had hoped to get this posted in time that maybe you could have used it for Sukkot but alas, baby mode got in the way.  But don’t let that stop you, these are still available at Target and would still look great for fall, Tu B’Shevat or to be set aside for 5777.

pomegranate decor

The contrasting textures of the ceramic pomegranate (which has a small opening so you can put a single stem in some water), the solid red one and the wood grain are really fun.  And thanks to my slowness in posting, they are now on clearance so be quick in your shopping!  I just spotted some similar figs (also a very Jewish symbol) on sale too so maybe I’ll have to honor Tu B’Shevat a bit more this year with some decor. Hope to be back again soon (pray for some good napping) with some extreme baby cuteness and a tutorial on how to add a little Hebrew to your birth announcements!  Stay tuned!

Fashion for the Mamaleh-To-Be

 

 Source: ibreakplates.com

Hope you all had a lovely Passover! It has been ages since I have blogged and the graphic above pretty much sums up the reason why  – all of my crafting energy has gone into the little girl currently under development and due to arrive in August! So you’ll have to forgive my very intermittent crafting and blogging of late but I’m sure you all understand.

While today’s post isn’t crafty per se, it’s still focused on being chic and stylish which is really what this mamaleh tries to do via crafting. I don’t know what’s in the water but in the last two weeks, I’ve had a handful of friends all talking about Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix is a fab concept: Basically, you start by taking a style quiz and providing details about your style as well as your sizing and any specific fashion needs you have. Then, for $20/fix including shipping both ways, they send you five pieces of clothing or accessories handpicked just for you. You get to try them on in the comfort of your home (and whenever works for your busy schedule). The $20 fee is applied to whatever you decide to keep and you only pay for what you keep and send the rest back. Bonus if you love all five you get 25% off the total. I was intrigued but didn’t think now would be the time to try given my current need for maternity wear. Ah but then I found out that in the past few months Stitch Fix has started doing maternity wear as well so with that, I decided to give it a go since who wouldn’t want a little fashion help to feel fabulous while preggo! I did a fair amount of online searching before committing to get an idea of what their maternity selection might be like and must admit, given how new this part of their service is, found pretty limited info. So, in the interest of helping other pregnant fashion-forward moms looking for info, today I’m sharing my first maternity Stitch Fix with you (even if these looks are not the most flattering).

First impression – the box was neatly packaged and came with a nice note from my personal stylist who had clearly taken the time to look at my pinterest style board to get a sense of what I was looking for as well as paid attention to the note I had written.  I specifically said no bottoms as bottoms are hard enough when they aren’t maternity! (I am wearing my Seraphine maternity ponte seamed leggings which I LOVE).And a feature that may or may not be helpful depending on your comfort level of pairing clothing is the style card with two ideas for wearing each item.

Stitch fix box

Item#1: Loveappella Anaheim Roll Sleeve Maternity, $58

Maternity Stitch Fix

This was my favorite item in the bunch.  It was a nice  fabric and was definitely on point style-wise (I love stripes!).  I wish it didn’t have as high a percentage of polyester as it does but it’s not 100% so I’m willing to look past it. If I had tried this on in the store, I might have tried a medium as well just to make sure I’ll have enough room as I get further along but it fits perfectly right now and is stretchy so should be just fine and will look super cute with my white maternity jeans.

Item #2: Loveappella Stelli Embellished Knit Maternity Tank, $54

Stitch Fix Maternity

While the color of this was great, overall the fabric was just too thin and clingy to work with my curves.  And for me the detailing, though fun in concept, looked a bit too cheap to me.  So, this one is going back.

Item #3&4: 31 Bits Nikalia Multi-Layer Beaded Necklace, $64 & LA Made Maternity Catina Maternity Cap Sleeve Dress, $84

Maternity Stitch Fix

The dress was a great color but again the fabric was just too thin to be flattering (especially in back which I am hiding with my hand on my hip 😉 and I didn’t like where the empire line hit my bust.  Though I have to give the stylist credit for listening to the fact that I said bonus points for items that would work well for nursing later on (as this style clearly would).  Also, for the price it just wasn’t anything special.  The same went for the necklace which was a bit too boho for my taste and just not my thing but I appreciate that she thought it’d go with the dress.

Item#5: Pixley Abriella Waffle Knit Cardigan, $48

Maternity Stitch Fix

I wanted to love this as it’s one of my favorite colors and was so incredibly soft not to mention, it was priced just right and is non-maternity so would have had staying power.  But sadly it just hit me in the wrong place on my hips and was not flattering so back it goes.

Final verdict: 1/5 for my first box but I am intrigued and from what I’ve read, your style picks get better over time as they get your feedback and now what has worked and what hasn’t.  So, with that said, I’m excited to give it a second try and see what happens.  Are you a Stitch Fix fan already? If so, any pointers? If not, what do you think? Would you try it?

P.S. They also have a referral program for friends so in the interest of full disclosure, if you subscribe via my link, I will get a credit.

P.P.S. I did not forget – the winner of the aleph-bet stamp giveaway was Jamie!  Jamie, I promise to send the stamps your way shortly!

Calendar time!

After spending time at my synagogue board retreat yesterday and with my little one on the verge of starting kindergarten, it is all too apparent that fall is about to sneak up on me.  Last year’s Jewish calendar that functions as our family calendar in the kitchen is about to become obsolete and I haven’t even ordered a new one yet so it’s time to shop!  So in Mamaleh-tradition, here is my round-up of this year’s calendar picks.

This year we have a little breathing room since Rosh Hashanah doesn’t start until the evening of September 24th!  For those that don’t know, the Jewish calendar follows a lunar calendar. Although secular calendars these days try to include the Jewish holidays, they often only include the major ones and often confuse when they actually start and end.  So, I like to have at least one Jewish calendar in the house so that I always know when the holidays are. Some even provide details like candle-lighting and Torah portions. Ours hangs in the kitchen for daily reference and use as a family calendar.  There also happen to be some gorgeous ones out there that add a nice little Judaic flare to your wall. You can also give one as a fabulous Rosh Hashanah hostess gift if you are lucky enough to have someone cooking for you! So, once again, I am sharing with you my picks for a 5775 Jewish calendar:

My yearly pick hasn’t changed from last year (shockingly) and will probably always be the Jewish Art Calendar by Mickie Caspi.  You can see each piece of artwork featured on Caspi’s website.  I LOVE Mickie Caspi.  She sort of reminds me of a Jewish Mary Engelbreit in terms of the warmth and cheer of her art.  We gave both sets of parents her parents’ gifts when we got married and her artwork is simply beautiful.

I was holding out hope that they would have an updated Sammy Spider kids’ Jewish calendar like the one we bought a couple of years ago for my son.  But, alas they don’t, so if you are looking for a Jewish calendar specifically geared towards kids, the pickings are slim.  There is  My Very Own Jewish Calendar which might work for you but it doesn’t really jump out at me.  The art in the Malcah Zeldis Celebrations calendar seems equally appealing to both kids and adults so it might be a good family pick and frankly may give my standard pick a run for its money this year.

 

If you need something a bit more portable or to keep on your desk, check out The Jewish Museum’s Jewish Engagement Calendar.  I got this one last year for blog scheduling purposes and sadly did not follow-through as much as I would have liked but may give it another go.  It has good daily space for writing.

Another portable option seems to be the Executive Jewish Calendar but this doesn’t really look like it packs much pizzazz although it does have a decent amount of room inside to visualize a month at a time and take it to board or committee meetings.

For something totally different, check out this gorgeous tea towel calendar by Barbara Shaw – if you had a place big enough to hang it, it could be a really cool calendar alternative.  It’s so cool, I’m sort of wondering where I could make it work!  Modern Tribe also has a couple of other gorgeous Israeli-designed one-page calendars that are worth taking a look at as well.

Hope this helps you start to prepare for the new year just a little!  Have you seen any other great calendars out there?  Please share if you have!  And if you want to get a jump on some super easy but sweet decorations to ring in the new year, you can always check out these Shana Tova printables from 2013 and 2012.  And be sure to check back tomorrow – it’s my double-chai birthday so I’ve got a little present for a lucky reader out there to help me celebrate!

Shabbat Shalom!

A Harvey Wallbanger Shabbat

Harvey Wallbanger Cake Star of David Bundt

Ever heard of a Harvey Wallbanger?  I hadn’t either until I was introduced to a recipe by way of my brother’s mother-in-law (Thanks Jane!).  But apparently it was a very popular drink in the 70s which would explain why I’ve never actually imbibed one myself seeing as how I wasn’t born until 1978.  Though I won’t be ordering one at the bar anytime soon (I prefer a good Cosmo), I am here to tell you that it lends itself to the most amazing bundt cake you have ever had.

Star of David Harvey Wallbanger

It has become my go-to recipe for potlucks and celebrations.  And every time I make it, I am asked for the recipe.   The bundt cake is always so effortlessly chic, especially if you take it up a notch and use a Star-of-David Bundt pan which I like to save for special occasions like this Rosh Hashanah honey cake.  I know I’ve been a bit MIA this summer and it’s just been a busy one for us with lots going on.   I have just joined our synagogue’s Board of Trustees and will be chairing our annual Gala as well.  And in the midst of that, we just welcomed a wonderful new rabbi this past Shabbat with a Board sponsored oneg.  So, what’s a good mamaleh to do but BAKE! And what else than the deliciously moist and yummy Harvey Wallbanger cake, MOT style!  I can’t take credit for the recipe – it made its way to Jane from someone in the Macy’s kitchen department but OMG, you will love it!  It was practically gone by the time I got inside the social hall after services!  And don’t worry, the alcohol burns off  so it’s okay to share it with your kiddos (or not)!  Enjoy!

HARVEY WALLBANGER CAKE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz. package vanilla instant pudding (small package)
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup cooking oil
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • ¼ cup Galliano liqueur
  • ¾ cup orange juice

SNOWY GLAZE

  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare a  Bundt pan using Baker’s Joy or Pam with flour added to it (you can also grease and flour the pan but the sprays will give you the best coverage and best release from the pan)
  2. Mix all the cake ingredients together and beat for 4 minutes.  Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 5-10 minutes before turning cake over.  Run a knife around the edges and middle before you flip it to make sure nothing sticks.
  5. As the cake begins to cool, whisk together the ingredients for the snowy glaze in a small bowl.
  6. While the cake is still slightly warm, using a pastry brush, brush the snowy glaze over the cake.  Do not let the cake cool completely or the glaze will not apply easily.
  7. I’ve also made this recipe into mini bundts but you have to do several batches and adjust the time accordingly, about 10 minutes per pan if I remember correctly.

It’s Time for A New Jewish Calendar, Again!

I can’t believe that Rosh Hashanah starts the evening of September 4th!  It’s coming up so quickly and I have so many projects still floating around in my head and we’ve been dealing with a bunch of, well, life. At least one thing I can take care of pretty easily is ordering my new Jewish calendar to help myself enter the new year organized!

For those that don’t know, the Jewish calendar follows a lunar calendar. Although secular calendars have tried to be more inclusive of Jewish holidays, they often only include the major ones and often confuse when they actually start and end.  So, I like to have at least one Jewish calendar in the house so that I always know when the holidays are. Some even provide details like candle-lighting and Torah portions. Ours hangs in the kitchen for daily reference and use as a family calendar.  There also happen to be some gorgeous ones out there that add a nice little Judaic flare to your wall. You can also give one as a fabulous Rosh Hashanah hostess gift if you are lucky enough to have someone cooking for you! So, once again, I am sharing with you my picks for a 5774 Jewish calendar:

My yearly pick hasn’t changed from last year (shockingly) and will probably always be the Jewish Art Calendar by Mickie Caspi.  You can see each piece of artwork featured on Caspi’s website.  I LOVE Mickie Caspi.  She sort of reminds me of a Jewish Mary Engelbreit in terms of the warmth and cheer of her art.  We gave both sets of parents her parents’ gifts when we got married and her artwork is simply beautiful.

I am super bummed that there is not an updated Sammy Spider kids’ Jewish calendar.  We ordered one for my son last year and it has been fantastic with great monthly projects/stories.  The only saving grace is that the 5773 version actually goes through the end of secular 2013 so I guess we can hold off but I am still bummed nonetheless.

My Very Own Jewish Calendar is seemingly kid-friendly but it’s certainly no Sammy Spider.  But, could be worth a try.

The art featured in Jewish Celebrations: Paintings by Malcah Zeldis offers a lot of vibrant, family imagery that kids and adults alike would enjoy.

If you need something a bit more portable or to keep on your desk, check out The Jewish Museum’s Jewish Engagement Calendar.  I am contemplating this one for blog planning purposes especially.

Another portable option seems to be the Executive Jewish Calendar but this doesn’t really look like it packs much pizzazz although maybe it’s great inside.  Who knows?  Has anyone tried it?

Well, there you have it.  I’m a bit disappointed in the lack of kid options since I think the calendar is a great place to add a little daily dose of Judaism.  Maybe I’ll have to get a head start on next year and start designing a kids’ DIY Jewish calendar (I remember buying one of those for myself in college and loving it – it came with stickers and everything!).  Oh the wheels in my brain are a turnin’…

Hope this helps you start to prepare for the new year just a little!  You can always check out last year’s free printables if you want to get a jump on some super easy but sweet decorations to ring in the new year.  Or check out what I think is the Best Honey Cake Recipe Ever!  And stay tuned for more  new year’s sweetness in the coming weeks!

Coming soon…A Very Jewish Summer

Shabbat Shalom!  Sorry to have disappeared for a bit.  In short, I’ve just been busy dealing with life. Just the way it is sometimes. Among other things, on Mother’s Day, just six weeks after we lost his brother, Smokey Bear, we said goodbye to our almost 14-year old dog Teddy Bear.  The house has been way too quiet and it’s been a big adjustment for all of us and to be honest, I just haven’t felt all that crafty.  We miss our bears.

Teddy Bear & Smokey Bear

But, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait and  if you are reading this it means you’ve stuck around and didn’t give up on me which I greatly appreciate.  And it also means that you are the first to hear about the very exciting blogging party that is going to be happening the week of June 17th featuring none other than moi and four other fabulous up and coming Jewish bloggers.

I am looking forward to it and have some fun things in store (as do all of these fab bloggers) and hope you will join us!  In the meantime, stay tuned!

A Winner!

It’s been really busy around here lately so sorry for being so slow to post a winner to the Ima Design Store Passover onesie giveaway. Using a random.org, the winner is #1 dkny who has a brand new grandson who I bet is going to look absolutely adorable in his new onesie.

I am hoping for some crafting this weekend and some Passover projects to share (even if they are oldies to me but new to you!),  if nothing else maybe a little recap from the super fun sewing bootcamp a friend and I are taking at Made Sewing Studio in Seattle.   We started a couple of weeks ago and it’s just a fabulous local spot with a great teacher. 🙂

Candy Filled Martini Glass centerpiece

For now, I will leave you with one of the centerpieces I did with a friend for our big synagogue auction last Sunday.  The theme was a BIG celebration of us.  So, we got these fabulous giant martini glasses and then filled them with a little clear cellophane for height before filling them with a variety of purple and orange candies, some wrapped, some not.  We tried to keep each one to a single color profile for that trendy candy buffet look.  My favorite looks-wise were the ones we filled with rock candy pops because they had a really cool shadow effect on the tables (though not as exciting to eat as chocolate).  Also, to have it look more full and have a bit more height, it needed a bit more than just the pops so we used orange m&ms and grape jelly beans at the base to cover the cellophane.  They were a lot of fun!  Finally to finish out the tables, the centerpieces were surrounded by a variety of Glassy Baby candles (which not only looked fantastic but which offer a great deal for non-profits).  It meant I finally got a glassy baby which I have been wanting for forever!

More soon!  Shabbat Shalom!

Quick MLK Day Crafting: DIY Custom Kitchen Art

DIY Kitchen Art

It’s MLK Day and I’ve been home with a cold all day.  My son got a couple extra episodes of BusyTown today.  Not a very fun way to spend a day off. I was feeling a tad better this afternoon so decided to do a little quick crafting.  I’ve been wanting a little piece of art for the shelf in our breakfast nook (same room with the giant NOSH letters on the wall) and after spending a while visualizing it in my head (often a very long process), I was finally ready to just knock it out.  I love it!  Exactly what I wanted!

Continue reading for more details