Sunday, September 30, 2012

Party in the Sukkah

I know, I know, it's been over a week since I last blogged. Let's just say that the whole holiday--Shabbos--holiday--Shabbos turnaround has kept me busy. In other words, I'm either celebrating a holiday or in the kitchen, so you know where to find me:)

The holiday coming up is one that I've had to learn to love over time, since it involves a lot of things I don't take to easily, ie the outdoors, unpredictable weather, and backyard forts.

Each Sukkot we build a hut like this:


And eat our meals in it for eight days, to remind of us of the days the Jews traveled in the desert and G-d cared for them.

Now Sukkahs can take many forms and shapes.

There's the terrace-sukkah you find everywhere in Israel:


And even a back-of-the-car sukkah:


S and the other neighborhood guys spent a long time debating the benefits of different sukkah styles--canvas, fiberglass, wood, plexiglass? Windows or not? Sliding doors? My only contribution was to advise him to get the fiberglass one I could tell he secretly wanted.

So all in all, I'm pretty excited for my first Sukkot in our house with our brand new sukkah! I'm also excited because I have NOTHING LEFT TO COOK at this particular moment in my life. Wheeee!!

(I like cooking, I really do. But four weeks straight people. Mama is going to spend some time at the mall today!)

I hope you all have a happy, wonderful weekend! And tell me, have YOU ever seen a sukkah?


photo sources--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukkah, http://miriyummy.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/unstuffed-sukkah/,http://owujew.wordpress.com/tag/sukkah-city/

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tax Day for the Soul

Life has been really, really busy lately.

I've been making fall treats for the holidays:



Trying to get this one to eat food:



And even scrapping a bit when I can sneak away.



But in between all of the busy-ness, I've been thinking a lot.

Tomorrow night is the beginning of Yom Kippur, one of the holiest and most intense days of the Jewish calendar. There are a lot of explanations of what it means, but I like to say that it's a tax day for the soul. It's a day where we sit down and look at all the parts of ourselves, not just the bright, happy "facebook-ready" sides, but also the less presentable parts, the sharp comments and uncharitable thoughts.

The cool thing about Yom Kippur to me has always been the positivity underneath it. We don't address our wrongdoings because we're bad or flawed but because we know we can do better. This Yom Kippur, my first as a mother, I know I have a lot of growing to do. But I also feel so confident in the person I know I'm capable of becoming.

That's the great thing about potential. If  you can go from this:


to this:


in seven months, how much can we grow in the next year?

Here's to a happy and healthy new year for everyone:)

And tell me, what are YOUR favorite fall treats?


Friday, September 21, 2012

Montreal: Part 2


First off, thanks so much for your Happy New Year wishes! We had a wonderful holiday, and now Shabbat is coming, so between the two, things have been a little crazy!  But I wanted to pop in to share the rest of our Montreal vacation!

We spent one morning enjoying a walking tour of the city.

This was my view as we walked: (someone was anti-stroller)


The architecture was so pretty!




How adorable is this building? The blue door, the wheel, the plants? Love!

The Notre Dame cathedral (apparently where Celine Dion got married):


In the evenings, we left E with a local sitter (got to love the Jewish community networking options!) and went out to eat. We had one meal at a fancy-shmancy steakhouse, and it was delicious!


The next day, we hit up the Jean Talon Market, which is like a Farmer's Market on steroids. I think food is more of an "event" in European cultures, and you could really see that in Montreal. If you ask me, healthy eating is so much easier if you embrace delicious natural foods than if you try to force a diet!

Now that I'm off my soapbox, here are some shots of the beautiful market:



How sweet is this chalkboard sign? I kind of want to spraypaint something like this for my kitchen!



Later that day, we attempted a family photo, but this was the best we got:


Oh well. You win some, you lose some:)

We did get some nice mommy/baby shots another day though:


Before we left, we had to get a shot of this pharmacy chain all over the city.


Something about the name--sounds like an insult to me. Am I right?

What are YOU busiest with this fall?

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Happy New Year!




I love this video--it totally sums up the hope and excitement of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year (which starts this Sunday!).

And all of the people running around like crazy pretty much sum up what I'm doing for the next few days:)

What I'm looking forward to this Rosh Hashana:


  • Seeing close friends who are coming to stay


  • Dressing E-bear in her wardrobe (tights + tweed + baby = awesomesauce)


  • Going to the synagogue to hear the shofar


  • Eating lots of cinnamon crusted challah 


  • Taking time to press the "pause" button on this crazy life and really think about who I am, where I'm going, and how I can be better. I have so many areas to work on, but this time of year always makes me feel that I can fulfill my potential and become the person I want to be


Oh, and opening our home to lots of guests. I love hosting, and I'm excited to have so many guests this year!

And if you want another excuse to avoid the dishes/laundry/homework, check out this fun Rosh Hashana video too:)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Montreal: Part 1

Over Labor Day (and a few vacation days tacked on!) we took a fun vacation to Montreal.

The Pros of this destination:


  • Not too far from us
  • People speak French
  • You get to cross a border!
  • Lots of kosher food
  • People speak French!


Over our trip, we made quite a few visits to Second Cup, a Canadian chain. I was glad to see that the great bookstore/coffee shop combo, which seems to be disappearing near me, is alive and well up north.


And we also enjoyed a local delicacy, poutine--french fries slathered in cheese and gravy (in this case, vegetarian gravy, which is much tastier than it sounds!). I was super excited for this and it definitely met my expectations!


The little lady looked especially cute on our trip:


This was the day I had the great revelation of BABIES IN CARDIGANS. Where have I been?

E had a bit of an ear infection and fever for part of the trip, but she was chipper during the day. She also developed a new hobby, namely trying to steal our drinks and chomping on straws.  See Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:


And Exhibit C:


I'm trying to tell her that she has to eat her baby food first, but she won't listen.

One of our favorite stops was a local farmer's market:



And you can't beat the Starbucks menu--in French!


Stay tuned for Part 2 of our trip!

What is YOUR favorite part about going on vacation?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

An itty bitty newborn!

I'm back! One vacation to Montreal (more on that later!), 3 days of fever/ear infection, and some spotty internet have all kept me away. Going away is fun but boy, is it good to be back:)

A few weeks ago, I did my first ever newborn photoshoot! Seeing as how it was my second ever photoshoot in general, I was (understandably) terrified. And while I still have SO much to learn, I have to say I really enjoyed the process, especially the editing!

I am by no means a professional, but I figured I would share the results of my experimenting with you all:)


I had a lot of fun putting this poor child in a basket and then shooting away. Becky was so sweet as to give me some tips on setting up the basket shot (and if you want more of her advice, check out her new Studio Calico class on photography! I signed up and can't wait!).


More basket fun...this time with the most adorable vintage teddy bear Baby A's parents brought. I may need to pick one up for myself:)


And now in black and white...love the vintage vibe.

I also seem to have found myself a little niche in newborn photography....the tush shot.

Take note:


And again...



But I digress.

Even more than the sweet newborn shots, I loved capturing some moments between Baby A and his parents, who are so head-over-heels in love with him it makes me so happy to watch:)



More family shots....



A little mama-baby moment:


And possibly my personal favorite.....


So tell me, have YOU ever taken photos of someone else besides your family? If so, were you as terrified as I am??  (On the other hand, sometimes my own family terrifies me more....ha!)

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A School Layout

I'm interrupting my vacation posts with a layout--I realized I haven't shared one in a while! In the spirit of back-to-school season coming up (how I miss shopping for those school supplies....) I thought I'd share a school themed layout.

This documents Ellie's outfit for her first official school pictures. I was very pumped. Ellie, not so much--in the photos we got back, she's staring at the camera with a serious expression like people posed for photos in the 1800s. But without further ado, the layout:


I used a Studio Calico kit for this one, and had fun incorporating all of the little cameras in the kit! I also used one of my favorite Dear Lizzy journaling cards.


And there you have it!  Tell me, how did YOUR (or your kid's) school pictures come out?