Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Contract? Release...

Out of sheer boredom and complete impatience I decided to spend today being 'productively creative' - in my mind the best way to accomplish that is in the kitchen...
The first order of business was mixing up 1/2 a batch of these soft sugar cookies (I used 1 XL egg, made each cookie 8 tsp of batter big, rolled them in the sprinkles then flattened them and chilled as shaped discs for an hour before baking.) I ended up with 12 nice-sized cookies - so I was quite pleased!
At Z's insistence I made a batch of 'healthy' cookies - enormous oatmeal craisin white chocolate chip cookies. I customized the add-ins and actually used 6Tbsp of oil instead of applesauce (because I didn't have any applesauce.) This isn't a flattering picture - but they were very tasty - big, moist and chewy. I scooped them out 8 tsp of dough per cookie and ended up with 14 cookies.
These double chocolate cookies were quite a hit. I liked them best warm out of the oven (or zapped in the microwave so that the chips were melty and delicious.) I made only 1/2 a batch of dough and scooped the cookies out about 1/4 of the 'recommended size' - granted they were still 6 tsp of dough apiece and I got 12 out of the batch.
 My most exciting venture of the day was trying these Black&White delicacies. I only made 1/2 a batch and got 10 cookies. I actually followed the recipe for the cookie bases, and even measured out the batter to the specifications of the recipe (yup - that's 12tsp - or 4Tbsp of batter per cookie.) I used my 'usual' glaze and they came out beautifully and absolutely delicious. I think I might have slightly overbaked the bases so next time I'll cut back on a minute or so.
The guys came over for 'game nite' and Sara & Yael came up too. Pasta primavera for dinner was an absolute hit and of course the cookies for dessert! We played a 5-player game of extended 'Settlers' then some Set, Yaniv and finally a round (or three) of poker. We decided to call it a night at 10:30ish - exhaustion hit us all pretty hard. Lots of laughs and everyone kind of wondering when the next game-night will be...
Tomorrow - laundry to wash, friends to visit, cookies to deliver, Shabbos to cook for...

Busy day. Wish me luck...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yay for Pictures!

Last Wednesday was pretty quiet. Sara showed up with 400 grams of cheddar cheese and said, "let's make soft pretzels!" So we did. A double batch no less. 44 cheese-stuffed pretzels later we were exhausted and stuffed with pretzels.

Thursday was a busy busy day. We picked up a package at the post office, ran into a friend and got to shmooze for a bit. Then I fell asleep at a little after 9pm. Hehe. The joys of pregnancy exhaustion.

Friday was a crazy hectic - run around like headless chickens sort of day. Thankfully everything was alright and we made it to The Sun House in time for Shabbos. A delicious meal Friday night then I crashed for the night - it was about 9:30pm. I'm heeding advice and trying to get as much sleep as I can now.

Shabbos morning everyone went to the 'later' minyan because the kiddush was sponsored by the parentals in honor of the new niece. She's got the very cutest little fingers and toesies and we spent Shabbos with her (and her completely exhausted parents) in The Sun House. We all walked up the hill for the event - which was highly amusing and entertaining (especially for the people in the community who still don't know the difference between Freddie & me.)

Lunch was delicious (as usual) and we spent the afternoon playing 2 highly competitive games of 'Settlers' (Cities&Knights obviously) then by the time havdala was over everyone was completely wiped out.

Z & I opted to drive Home so that we could roll out of bed early and have a productive day. It was a good plan because we did just that. Fruit & vegetable shopping, paperwork, and more. I even did the yearly 'bag'-wash. Now the backpack, my purses and the 'cloth' shopping bags are allllll clean!

Tomorrow - lots more to do!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

*face palm*

Sometimes it's just best to prepare for a 'worst case scenario' - well - not quite 'worst' but 'just about the worst' anyway...

I'm not even going to bother typing up what's floating through my head because you'll all freak out and wonder what the heck is going on.

Let's just say it involves the following over the course of the next 3 months:
   - Birth (Date + Process)
   - Pesach
   - Miluim (for 3 weeks on the Egyptian border with 'closed' weekends)
   - House Guests
   - Lack of progress on House
   - Shiputzim on current rental-apartment

G-d willing everything will go smoothly and wonderfully with regard to all of the aforementioned topics. I'm just a hormonal, emotional, utterly exhausted, 37week+4day pregnant crazy person.

Who cares anyway - not one of the things on the list is even a little bit 'in my hands' to control.

Guess it's just time to 'let go'.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Seeeeelaaaaantrow?!

You've really got to love it when a plan comes together. That's about all I can say for today. Productive and timely - 2 things I can definitely work with.

Yesterday was a whole lot of fun. Z and I attended the 2nd session of our birth & labor class in Tel Aviv. We kicked the guys out for the last 45 mins (and sent them to pick up Chinese food) while the girls had a 'gory details' shmooze then we relaxed in the ambiance of the pregnancy-center. (If you're pregnant in Israel and near Tel Aviv - this place offers tons of pregnancy related classes, massage, photography, they even have a little store for maternity clothes and whatnot - its great to know about! http://www.embrya.co.il/)

On our way back to the car we stopped at a little bakery and I picked up some pastries and the most amazing bagel I've tasted yet here in The Holy Land. I'll definitely have to go back there at some point.

We did a few errands on the way Home (filling up on gas for 'in case of emergency' and grocery shopping), then back at Home we started organizing the guest/storage room and I packed up the delivery-room bag. One of my packages is waiting at the post-office already and I'm hoping that the 2nd one arrives tomorrow - then I'm 100% ready to go. Super exciting, huh? Yeah, I think so too.

Last night 2 of the game-crew-guys were bored so they came over for a game of Settlers. It was highly amusing and entertaining - but I got creamed - like stuck at 7 points forever creamed. It's ok though - it's just a game - and I'll get them back some other time. Hehehe.

Tonight is actually going to be this week's official 'game-night' - because one of the guys is heading back to miluim (army reserves) and won't be around later in the week. It's a good thing I've got most of a tomato-onion quiche, a pot of vegetable soup and a raspberry&white chocolate babka leftover from Shabbos. That means I don't have to cook anything and *poof* like magic - delicious nutritious dinner. Ta da!!!

Tomorrow Z & I are going out for a nice little breakfast and to the post-office. It should be nice. I like this whole 'Tuesdays off' thing this semester. It makes the week slightly less stressful.

Friday, March 16, 2012

37 means just 3 more to go...

I baked my '9th month' challah today. It's the last time I'll be doing so before Pesach so I did it all by hand.

And for your amusement here's a guest-post by Yo'Abba - (names changed to protect my insanity)

It's a true story - you just can't make this stuff up:
Some teenage punks broke into Timmy's apartment in Nachla'ot while he was at work, and stole his laptop and IPod-Touch. They climbed up the outside porches until they reached all the way up to Timmy's floor and then climbed in through the kitchen window. Timmy did the right thing and went down to Police HQ in the Russian Compound and filed a report. Detectives arrived just a few hours later and dusted for fingerprints.

Now, what the punks didn't know was that you can login to your I-Cloud account and track the location of your I-device. Timmy gathered together a posse while Z in the control room in Ariel guided them to the target location, quite a distance away in Bet HaKerem where one of the punks was playing with the IPod. When they got to the location, Z repeatedly sent a command to the device that caused it to beep, and the posse quickly zeroed in on the suspects who gave it up without a fight, B"H.

Timmy got his I-Pod back, but his laptop was at a different location. They took this guy's laptop as collateral and said that a police report would be filed if the guys didn't show up with Timmy's laptop in Kikar Tzion by noon today. Sure enough, they showed up with the laptop. In the meantime, Timmy booted up the guy's laptop and took some personal details and family phone numbers. Z called the family to report the misdeeds of their offspring, and Timmy changed the Windows password to: THOU SHALL NOT STEAL.

I guess we can be happy with the outcome, but I would have been more cautious about confronting the perpetrators.

If it makes any difference, you should know that the punks were young Anglos.

So what do you think? Should Timmy go to the police, or can we assume that the punks learned a lesson from our Mishnah: There is an eye that sees, an ear that hears and everything is recorded in a book. Previous generations didn't need the Internet to prove this, but it certainly seems even more true in our technological age.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Heehee - you said pot!"

Today was March 14th - also fondly known as Pi Day - which for anyone who in geeky/nerdy and likes/loves spending time in the kitchen is an awesome excuse for making pie.
Sara and I went out to town today. We also went to 2 grocery stores in search of a bunch of random items. We ended up with 2.66 liters of ice cream and 1 package of knockoff 'Oreo' cookies. We ate the ice-cream. Then we turned the cookies into an amazingly delicious pie crust - which we filled (obviously) with rich and delicious chocolate mousse (alcohol free - so that I could enjoy - a lot!) Then the chocolate mousse pie took a vacation to the freezer to firm up.
The guys came over for dinner and since Sara was over we invited Yael too. Dinner was a delicious meal of 'spaghetti pie' (my new favorite dish in place of lasagna) and a tossed salad.
Then we all enjoyed the chocolate mousse pie for dessert.
A highly entertaining game of 'Settlers' ensued - (they played with the green box for added amusement.) The most exciting part of the game was how the first-time-player kicked all the guys bottoms! Go Team Girl!!!
Today turned out amazingly! Another great day in a super-busy, super-productive and highly amusing week!

Tomorrow - challah, more laundry and who knows - I might even find some koach to clean a little bit - but I'm not counting on it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Looney Tix

Such a productive day today! I am actually impressed with myself - and am hyper and wired on account of getting so much done!

I managed to acquire/order 3 things which I've been 'on the hunt' for - 2 baby-related and 1 present for The Crazy Lady.

I mailed the 013 phone-box thingamajig back to 013 and am now officially no longer 'indebted' to them for phone service.

I cooked a delicious dinner and dessert - Island Chicken, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Tossed Salad, Fresh Baguettes and Buttery Cherry Cookies for dessert.

And then for the grandest finale to a day - I got to meet Gogo - in person! She's super adorable and super sweet - ka"h!!! The Freddies are doing great - they got to go Home today and we met them there and brought dinner with us. It was so cute to see their little family.

Tomorrow: grocery shopping, keilim mikva trip (hopefully), bag-packing/stuff organizing for bag-packing, straightening up the guest room, laundry and game-night for the guys - so I guess I'll be making dinner of some sort...

Here's to hoping tomorrow ends up as productive as today was!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Introducing Gogo!!!

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day - sunny and warm for the first time in weeks!
Decidedly a good day to be born.

Congrats to The Freddies who welcomed a sweet 3.86kg baby girl to the fambily!!!
Z & I attended our first Birth&Labor class in Tel Aviv. We found a perfect parking spot, had a delightful class and then enjoyed a delicious breakfast from a little bakery before heading Home.

Z spent the afternoon working on a school project with a classmate. Meanwhile I baked 2 batches of chocolate chip muffins to replenish the depleted freezer stash. Super cheesy baked ziti with chunky tomato sauce was on the menu for dinner. Then I got some snacks ready for book-club which was hosted at our humble abode this month.

We read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project and overall it was quite a fascinating concept - but sure seems like a whole lot of time and effort. At first I was exuberant about setting up my own personal project but the enthusiasm waned as I actually started to think about where/how to begin. Maybe one day I'll try it. I did take a lot of ideas and concepts away from the book. Most notably a life-altering quote:

"The days are long, but the years are short."

Think about it.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Babyboots

Overheard Yesterday: "Ezri, where'd you put my beard?!"

This Purim we combined the holiday miracle celebration feast with Saba's 80th birthday and we celebrated in style with the WHOLE family!
The Dibble dressed up as a dwarf barbarian. (We're still trying to work out whether he meant that he was a dwarven warrior - or just a the shortest barbarian in the clan...)
We came out to The Sun House on Wednesday afternoon. We had a few hours to rest and relax before heading out to hear the megillah.
Thursday was super busy. Prepping for the party, delivering shalach manot, visiting with friends and finally the big party feast!
Songs, family, awesome food. We had everything! Even funny costumes and coloring-pages!
 The minion and the 'redneck' rounded out the costume side of things for some added amusement.
After clearing up the shul-hall we all headed back to the house for some after-party-fun! Cannibalizing all of the food-packages that had arrived and separating candy (and eating candy - on second thought - maybe eating a little too much candy...)
 We're all spending the weekend in The Sun House which means more good times in store -
Stay tuned for news and updates - whenever I get around to posting them...

Monday, March 05, 2012

An Apple on a Fork.

Last Thursday the tax-man-visited. Allow me to clarify - the 'television tax' man. Now allow me to expound -

In this lovely little country of ours every household is theoretically required to pay a television-tax for government channels. The bill for a few hundred shekels comes every year and you're considered 'guilty' (of owning a tv) until proven 'innocent' (which can only be done following a near-impossible series of steps.)

Every year our bill arrives and we attempt to contact the broadcasting authority in order to inform them that we have no television in our house. After multiple phone calls and numerous faxes we rest easily enough in the knowledge that we tried our best to do our civic-duty. It's not our fault that the numbers they provide seem to be disconnected and that nobody ever seems to work in their offices.

This year for the very first time the broadcasting authority is trying to crack-down on tax-evaders. So Thursday mid-morning when there was a knock at my door I definitely wasn't expecting a cheery little guy who identified himself as an employee of the broadcasting authority. He had legitimate looking papers and knew all of my details (and he didn't seem creepy or weird) so I invited him in and offered him a glass of water.

He explained that it was his 'job' to investigate citizens who have neglected to pay their tv-tax for 'a long time' - we most definitely fall into that category. He said that in the event that we owned a tv that he'd give me a fine and a bill and if not then we'd just sign the paperwork stating that we we tv-free.

I assured him that we were 'tv-free' and not free-loading tax-evaders. Then I offered to show him around - just so he could be sure that I wasn't making up stories. He peeked into each room for a grand total of 1.38 milliseconds and concurred that our home was indeed free of any television monitors.

He checked the "tv-free" box on the form. I signed on the dotted line to acknowledge that he had visited. And that was that.

He left with a smile and a little sing-song chant which went something like this:

"Now you're all set - for the next 5-10 years or until the next time the broadcasting authority decides to get their act together..."

At least that's taken care of.