Thursday, May 7, 2015

Passover 2015

I'm a bit behind the times, but wanted to record what our Passover was like this past year!

We started out by savoring the last bits of leavened bread:

On Passover, we clean our homes and get rid of (dust and dirt) and any leavened bread. Which is a fancy word for "flour and water that rises."  Basically think of all your Atkins diet culprits--bread, pizza, crackers, pretzels, etc.  And not eating those for eight days (or even keeping them in your house!)

We clean on a physical level, but we try to think of it as a spiritual cleansing too. There are so many negative things that clutter up our headspaces--resentment, pettiness, jealousy, insecurity, etc. etc. By focusing on "decluttering" the brain and getting back to the things that really matter, we can lead much more meaningful lives.

Easier said than done, of course--but life is a work in progress and I have found this mental practice each Passover to be so helpful!

This year, we spent Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew--that's the term I usually use) we went to my family in Ohio for the full holiday. That is over eight full days of family time--and it was super fun!

We hit up the Columbus Zoo:

And COSI, a fantastic kids museum! No photos of this one, because Moshe was a crazy man and I could hardly keep up with him!

There was time with my parents, with old friends, and--critical when you are in Ohio--for Graeters!!

The best part of all was watching my kids get so close with their grandparents and aunt and uncle. It was so sweet!

So that was one great Pesach for the books. And now to a fresh, and lighter, and more positive rest of the year!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Just a Phase

I've found that the most important thing to remember in parenting are these four words: IT'S JUST A PHASE. Sometimes tough parenting situations seem like they will last forever--the newborn will always be up every three hours (and be a newborn), you will always be spending hours pumping milk at work, the toddler will always throw himself down to the ground in hysteria when he doesn't get to do something super-fun, like walking unsupervised in a parking lot.

But the little-known, often-forgot secret is that it will end. It's just a phase! It may be a veryveryveryvery long phase, but one day, it will be gone. And you may even miss it:)

A major example of this in our house has been bath time. When Ellie was a little baby, she liked the bath, as you see evidence of below.

And then one day Ellie decided that bathing was a Crime Against Humanity. She would cry, scream, beg, and when she got older, claim to have to poop to get out of baths. True confession: the only way I could get her to actually get in the bath was to threaten her with a SHOWER (oh the horrors).

Now this was a bit of a longer phase. To be precise, it lasted for about A YEAR AND A HALF. A very, very long year and a half.

And then, one day over Passover break two weeks ago, we were in a bookstore and came across this:

We are big fans of the Pigeon books, so I picked this one off the shelf to read to Ellie. The book is about a pigeon who hates baths and eventually (spoiler alert) takes one anyway and loves it!

Ellie came home after reading the book and announced "I love baths!" My husband gave her one that night...and she loved it. Now, two weeks later, she asks me almost every day if she can take a bath today.

And just like that....the phase is over (I hope, knock on wood, pooh pooh pooh!!!!!!). It was a tough go--bath time was something I dreaded, and it would frequently test my self-control, patience, and all-around parenting skills. But now we've moved into a new chapter, and it's awesome.

PS--Except that now Ellie screams when I take her OUT of the bath. (just. a. phase.)

PPS--See photo below. Thankfully that was a very SHORT phase.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


I haven't posted anything scrappy on here in a while, but it has been happening behind the scenes.

Some of you may remember that I used to be much more involved in the scrapbooking industry, and now I've let that part of my life slip to the side. I blame it on the fact that in an eight-month period, I got my first real post-law school job, had a baby, and bought a house! Once life got so hectic, I still wanted to spend time scrapbooking and exploring my artistic side, but without the pressure, deadlines, and requirements that come with industry work.  What I do miss is the people--having so much time and connection with other scrapbookers was a fabulous part of the industry!  I've been doing projects here and there, which has been low-commitment and fun.

So without further ado, here are some odds and ends from what I've been working on the past few months:) There's a lot of Crate Paper thrown in there (one of my favorite companies ever!) along with odds and ends from my (way too big) stash.

I love how this layout incorporates, pink, aqua and yellow--seriously my triple threat in scrapbooking:)

Speaking of paper lines, I can't believe I forgot about My Mind's Eye's Market Street! Loved every bit of that line.

I can't believe my baby is so much bigger already!

How do YOU make time for hobbies lately?

Friday, March 6, 2015


Lately, WE . . .

have been hosting up a storm (these photos are from a post-wedding party for a couple we're friends with)

(easiest dessert ever!)

HE. . . . .

is pretty much the cutest baby ever (see below).

He is REALLY busy, REALLY into everything, but mostly really happy.

SHE. . . . . 

is starting to become quite the young lady.  (And sometimes quite the diva.)  But she has a hilarious sense of humor and personality. 

HE. . . . . 

Is rocking fatherhood as per usual.

(Costume explanations to come soon.)

And I. . . . . 

Just went on my first business trip, all the way to L.A. And I was slightly terrified to be away from my kids for two full days, but you know what? It was great. And I READ THE WHOLE PLANE RIDE. And nobody cried:) So all-in-all a success!

And that's what WE have been up to lately!

What is going on in YOUR life today?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Round of Orthodox Women Talk!

Well, it's that time again....time for another round of the Orthodox Women Talk series!

Today we're over at Rebecca Klempner's blog answering this questions:

How much do you engage in popular music, movies and other forms of entertainment? What factors have contributed to that choice?

Check it out HERE.

For more Orthodox Women Talk posts, see HERE, HERE and HERE.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Project Life 2014--How it Went

I've been very quiet about it the blog, but I have been keeping up with Project Life on a weekly basis for the past 3 years. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with "PL" as its known in the scrapbooking world--on the downside, it's time consuming, causes stress from being "behind," and leaves me very little time for scrapbooking layouts. On the other hand though, it's a great way to do some "creativity light" when life is hectic, and at the end of the year you have this fabulous, detailed vision of the day to day life you led.

Here's a view of my album from this past year:

The title page:

And a little viewer--she LOVES flipping through these albums.

I try not to make it too busy, but I love adding in little bits and pieces!

Since I usually use just one side of a page protector per week with occasional double spreads, I sometimes end up with "placeholder" layouts--so I try to make them fun, like this!

Lots of bits and pieces:)

I will probably keep my format the same for 2015 (although I have been thinking a lot about going to a monthly schedule).

Have YOU been doing Project Life this year? If so, would you do it again?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Fringe Hours (and what you should be watching right now)

Hello friends! I hope life (and this winter weather) have been treating you well! Here in the Starr Casa, we have been juggling the usual joys and challenges of work, kids, preparing for Shabbos, and trying to have some fun in between:)

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner to read, and it came at just the right time.

The book is about the need to create space for things that you love. It's interesting because this has always been really important to me, but sometimes I feel like I'm the only one. Take Fridays--I have the day off and my kids have daycare, so I generally take time for myself then. Each week, I stop at a local coffee shop and settle in with a latte and a book, if only for a few stolen minutes. I also love meeting up with friends for coffee and hanging out, but those quiet moments to read on a busy Friday are vital to me. Sometimes, I'll run into an acquaintance who is in awe of the fact that I'm sitting and relaxing--and it makes me wonder if I'm unusual for needing that mental space, or if we ALL need that sometimes but don't allow ourselves permission.

Reading this book totally reaffirmed my efforts in carving out space for the things that make me feel engaged, passionate, and deeply me.

(Note: While this is a Christian book and contains occasional religious language, it's really pretty neutral and can fit a variety of different situations.)

Speaking of other important things, my little sis helped create a short movie about the dangers of texting and driving: watch it below!  I'm so proud of her!

As part of a project, my sister and her friends have set up a pledge to avoid texting and driving--go and sign HERE!

Even though texting and driving is often presented as a "teen issue" I think it's SO important for all of us to keep in mind. In the age of the iPhone, when it takes enormous self control to avoid checking constant messages, we all have to remember the times to stop, put the phone away, and focus on something else more important.

Interestingly, both of these pieces come back to one thing: TIME, and how to use it. May we all use it safely and intentionally.

What is taking up YOUR time today?