Friday, October 20, 2017

Fake It till you Bake It

Everyone has their talents.

And everyone has their non-talents.

And not everyone knows what their non-talents are.

Like that friend who can't sing but is always singing the loudest, right? Or the one who isn't great with colors but dives headfirst into all the new fashion...trends.

I am not her (she?). I am the one who is 100% painfully aware of my lack of baking skills. I cook. I clean. I can even sing while I cook and I clean. But I do not bake.

I try, sometimes. I think I'm just not so great at following directions. Like when the recipe calls for flour I just use whatever flour I have in the house (er, usually just whole wheat or whole spelt). Apparently this is not a good thing. Or let's say the recipe calls for amounts of 1 tsp and under. I'm confident I can just "eyeball" it and do just fine. We call that misplaced confidence (and when the kids aren't around, stupidity).

What's enthralling to me is that I have an amazing sister who, among many other talents, bakes. PROFESSIONALLY. Shameless plug for her Facebook page right here y'all: The Dessert Shoppe.

And said sister came to me for the Jewish holiday of Sukkos. And said sister is allergic to chocolate (yes, it pains me to write that). So there went all my easy-peasy-pretend-I-baked desserts like chocolate peanut butter cups and chocolate ice cream that I melt into a pie. And anything with chocolate chips which can help create a taste where there is none.

On went my big girl pants and armed with a fabulous recipe from a friend, I bravely set out to purchase the needed ingredients. Including a bag of white flour, an anomaly in this house (Leslie, my dear health coach, if you're on here you may not want to continue reading. Because I'm pretty sure the white flour was one of the better ingredients). My daughters watched me toss my attempted chocolate cupcakes from the week before into the garbage and we made grand plans about baking together and presenting Yehudis with the most delicious cake she had ever tasted!

Fast forward to Yehudis's arrival and discovery of my plans. With a big smile and a generous heart she instructed me to take a nap while she would bake with the kids (have I mentioned just how awesome she is??) Before my nap I helped her find the ingredients and tools that she would need.

Yehudis: Do you have a sifter?
Me: A who, now?
Yehudis: A sifter, for the flour.
Me: Like the thing with small holes?
Yehudis: Yep.
Me: For real? You really sift the flour?
Yehudis: Ye-e-e-e-s.
Me: Hmmmm, how about that. So a sifter. Let me think what I might have.
Me: *thinking*
Me: *thinking:
Me: *pretending to be thinking*
Me: I can take out a screen from one of the windows?
Yehudis: How about that nap now.

I didn't have a sifter. Or a normal bundt pan. But somehow my house was soon filled with the delicious aroma of cake and despite it's funny shape (I am so going to buy a bundt pan soon) it tasted like slices of non-chocolate heaven.

I likely consumed half the cake on my own but with stealth, so maybe that causes less calories. More importantly though I got some inspiration. I'm not opening a bake shop (yeah, yeah I can hear your sigh of relief from here) but I am going to try my hand at baking today. I am all pep-talked and ready to go: read the ingredients, use the actual ingredients listed, measure exactly and follow the rules. I can do this! Chocolate Cupcakes 2.0, bring it on!

How absolutely lucky for my sister-in-law who will be eating over tomorrow.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tradition is Tradition

I may not have blogged in close to forever but tradition is tradition. Today my baby, (one of) the light of my life, the cause of at least half my heart palpitations and (one of) the reason  I get up every morning and at least once in middle of the night for blanket adjustment, turns 5. A whole, entire handful of mischievous five!

Our Birthday Interviews are serious business. Here's how this year's went down:

1. What is the meaning of life? To be happy.

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Mommy.

3. What makes you happy? To have shaloch manos on Purim. (If you're following, food makes her happy and life is about being happy and thus the meaning of life is food. Ah, the good life.)

4. What would you buy if you had a lot of money? Toys. Toys for my baby if I would have a baby. (Unsaid: and considering you do have kids, you should be buying toys, Imma.)

5. What are you afraid of? Lions.

6. What's a funny/silly word? Chunky. (Relax, she has no idea what that means and if she did she'd be referring to thick heels not anyone's weight. <3)

7. What is the best thing in the world? Hashem,

8. What is the worst thing in the world? My yetzer harah.

9. What makes you angry? Get back to this part because I don't have any ideas. (*Uh huh*)

10. What makes you sad? When Mommy and Tatty use a rough voice then I cry,

11. What is your favorite toy? PLAYMOBIL!

12. Who do you love? I don't have any ideas again. Ummm....yeah, get back to that part. (?!?!?!)

13. What is the hardest thing to do? Listen to Mommy and Tatty.

14. What's the easiest thing to do? Push my stroller everywhere or drive a car. (I think she means when we cart her around but I'm not 100% sure and since her sister has already requested driving lessons, I'm not asking any more questions.)

15. What is the meaning of love? I don't know.

..........Okay, are you ready to get back to those questions from before that you had no ideas about?

What makes you angry? Um. My yezter harah! My yetzer harah gets me SOOO angry!
Who do you love? *cheeky grin, fake pause* Imma, Abba, Chaya and myself!!

Happy Birthday to our beautiful Hashtag. We love you a whole lot and we don't even need to contemplate to know for sure!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

I Got Nothing Done

When Jet Blue started cancelling flights and NYC Public Schools announced their closing, I knew today would be a snow day. And I was pumped! Right toward the end of an incredibly busy week a snow day would be a gift of a day where I could get things done.

And because I'm my mother's daughter, I wrote a list. A nice, long list of all the things I would accomplish in my pajama-clad, makeup-free, wonder of a day.

I am pleased to report that it is now 2:30pm and I have not crossed a single item off my list. Not the cooking, not the cleaning, not the laundry, not the song I was supposed to edit, not the envelopes I was going to address, and not the Shabbos I was going to plan.

If you're waiting for me to write that I spent all the time engaged with my daughters and creating new memories just know that I am so tempted to lie and say that's all I did today. But it's not. Sure, I helped them bundle into their snow gear and I watched them played outside. And I made hot chocolate for them when I came in. And I rearranged the play room which inadvertently caused them to remember long forgotten toys and launch into a grade game of magnet dolls.

But mostly I just let myself be. I got distracted by random ideas (such as rearranging the playroom for the umpteenth time) and I followed through. Well, at least halway (my husband may not be so thrilled about my half started projects around the house but I am going to finish this blog post by making something inspiring out of it and then pretending that was my idea the entire time.)

I guess for most people ignoring the to-do list and "wasting" a day off of work wouldn't be something to celebrate. But for me, someone who has struggled with anxiety, it's actually a pretty big deal. It means I was able to let go of my vision for the day and my expectations for myself.

So raise those hot chocolate mugs with me and relax if you haven't made today productive: it was all part of the plan. And we are all exactly where we should be.

(Except for the dirty clothes; those should definitely be in the wash right now and all the inspiration in the world isn't gonna get me out of that one!)