Semi-Off Topic: Shared Joy – Happy Mother’s Day, Lag B’Omer & The Egg

Shared Joy: Happy Mother’s Day, Lag B’Omer & The Egg

Recently, in addition to being time challenged, I have been life challenged.

I am always dispensing advice and providing comfort to people in distress who are suffering.

Unlike many of my patients, who have mood disorders, I am not an emotionally volatile person. If I am in a bad mood, then chances are, there is a specific reason. But, I also practice rigorous self-care. All of the tools and techniques that I provide to my patients, I practice myself. Coping and maintaining a positive attitude is a daily mental discipline.

I am grateful for the disciplines that I practice. This past year has been particularly stressful, and these past few months have been even more so.

One unfortunate side effect is that I have been unable to blog recently. I find blogging creative and fun. It is so nice to finally have this opportunity to connect and share with everyone again. I have missed it!

 

There are too many wonderful celebrations today for me not to post. Today is Mother’s Day, as well as the holiday, Lag B’Omer.

Lag B’Omer is a festive day, which celebrates the passing of the great sage and mystic, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar. It also commemorates the end of a semi-mourning period. During the weeks between Passover (which just passed) and Shavuot (which will be occurring in about 2 weeks) there was a plague that occurred in which many of the students of Rabbi Akiva (teacher of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai) passed away. The reason for the plague was because “the students did not act respectfully towards each other.”

On Lag B’Omer, the deaths ceased, and the period of mourning ended.

 

LOL! On Lag BaOmer, we also light bonfires.

The theme of this holiday is about loving and respecting people — even if you do not agree with them. It highlights the destructiveness of having one’s ego invested in being right, at the expense of the relationship or preserving the dignity and honor of another person.

Since the mourning practices are suspended, Lag B’Omer also happens to be a very popular day to get married.  Unbelievably, today would have been my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.

Today is Mother’s Day too. As I have shared in the past, my mother has always been very ambivalent about Mother’s Day.

This year, my mother called to thank us for the flowers we sent her. My mother yet again confirmed her ambivalence for what she calls a “Hallmark Holiday.” My mother said, “Everyday should be Mother’s Day. We should treat our loved ones nicely all of the time.”

I thought her comments dovetailed nicely with the theme of Lag B’Omer.

 

Yaffa is a happy camper. The words mean “like 1 person with 1 heart.” Meaning, we are all united and share each other’s joys and sorrows.

 

In keeping with her iconoclastic ideas, my mother has also informed me that she no longer wants to receive flowers for Mother’s Day. Instead, she is requesting that the money spent on flowers should be donated to a charity of our choice. What a nice idea!  I just had to share it with everyone!

Yaffa ate a hard-boiled egg for the first time!

However, the coup de grace for today is that Yaffa ate a hard-boiled egg for the first time. It took a lot of cajoling and effort, but she did it!  We are so proud!

So, happy Mother’s Day to everyone, Happy Lag B’Omer, and congratulations Yaffa!

It is good to be back.

Surprise! Happy Birthday!

I wanted to share this adorable story about the girls.

Yesterday was their birthday. Unbelievably, Raizel and Yaffa just turned 15 years old!

 

img_5721

However, I did not plan any celebrations. Between all our recent (and ongoing) holidays, and various illnesses, I thought I would wait until their Hebrew birthday. Only a few weeks away, I thought it would be easier to plan something special for them then.

I believe that you can never have too much joy, but I thought this was funny!

However, God clearly had other plans. He was clearly determined that the girls would have their birthday party on their secular calendar date as well.


It just so happened that we were invited out for lunch yesterday, on their actual birth date. But, I neglected to mention to our hosts that that it was also the girls’ birthday in advance. So, we were all very surprised when we got to our friends’ house and it was full of birthday balloons.

img_5729

I asked my friend, Marcie – “Who are the birthday balloons for?”  Ironically, it was the birthday of another one of the other guests, Aimee. It seems as though several other families were also invited for the meal.

It was such hashgacha pratis (Divine Providence) — on so many levels!

Aside from the obvious, there is a little history involved.

When the girls were born, Yaffa was very sick and was frequently hospitalized.

Our routine in those days was that I would spend the morning at the hospital with Yaffa. Then, I would arrange for different people to stay with Yaffa at the hospital so that I could go home and spend the afternoon with Raizel.

In the evening, after my husband came home from work, we would have dinner together.  Then, one of us would go back to the hospital to be with Yaffa, while the other would stay home with Raizel.  This way, we were able to minimize the amount of time that Yaffa was left alone in the hospital and have someone at home with Raizel too.

Aimee, the other guest, whose birthday was also being celebrated, was actually one of the women who used to stay at the hospital with Yaffa. And now, it seems as though she also has the merit of being the harbinger of the girls’ birthday party. Unbeknownst to me, they all share the same birthday!

The girls had birthday balloons, a birthday cake (actually 2 different birthday cakes) and everyone sang happy birthday to them.

God,  in His kindness, orchestrated a perfect birthday for Raizel, Yaffa and Aimee. He arranged for the girls to have a birthday party after all – with many of our dearest friends too.

Does it get any better than that???

img_5724

 

Tonight also begins the final days of the holiday of Sukkot. I want to wish everyone a beautiful and joyful Sukkot.

IMG_1371-0

 

Just for fun, in honor of the new year, I thought I would post this inspirational quote as well:

img_5734

Happy Birthday Yaffa and Raizel and Aimee!

And, a happy and joyful Sukkot to all!

A Night Of Firsts 

The title of this post was suggested by Raizel. This week, we had a night of firsts. Both of the girls are growing up!

Raizel made scrambled eggs all by herself!

As I have shared, I have an airborne egg allergy. I have been waiting for the day that she could make her own eggs.

Raizel even initiated making the eggs on her own. She cracked the eggs into the glass to check them one at a time. Then, she scrambled the eggs up, and placed them on the hot grill.

On the griddle and ready to flip.

The first time that Raizel used a spatula on a hot stove.

The final product.

For those who may not know, eggs are kosher as long as they are from a kosher bird and do not have any blood spots.

When cooking with eggs, each egg is opened into a clear dish or glass and checked for blood spots before it is cook or combined with other food. If a blood spot is found, the whole egg must be discarded, and the cup or dish should be immediately and thoroughly washed with cold water.

When boiling eggs, it is customary to boil at least three eggs at a time. Some people have a separate pot just for boiling eggs.

If a blood spot is found in a boiled egg, the whole egg must be discarded.

Eggs are also pareve, which means they can be eaten with dairy (milk) or meat.

I couldn’t believe that on her own, Raizel knew to check the eggs for blood spots before cooking them!

Raizel was very proud! Even the next morning she was still glowing with pride that she make scrambled eggs all by herself. I am even prouder.

I guess we are all in love with the new grill!

In addition, it cleans up very easily. I just wiped it off with a damp sponge.

Our second moment of firsts was that Yaffa opened up a cheese stick all by herself.

Taking the cheese stick in her hands.

Success! Pulling the plastic down.

Success! Able to eat it all by herself!

It was hard work and she got a little frustrated, but she did it! She even went back to fetch a second one.

It’s amazing was a little motivation can achieve!

Now, she is asking to eat cheese sticks all the time!

I am so proud of both of them!

 

Pancakes For One

Pancakes (or Waffles) for One

My children are both in public schools. Consequently, there are usually very few other children at school who also keep kosher.

Events where there is food involved take a bit of planning.

If there is a birthday party for a classmate, or another special event around food, I will send in a similar kosher item for the girls to eat.

I try to make whatever I send appealing and special. I hope that this way, neither one of them will feel left out or deprived.

Last week, Raizel’s class went to a local diner for brunch. The goal was to learn how to speak to a waitress, communicate what you want to eat, stick to a budget, handle money, etc.

This always presents a quandary for me. While I am happy to have Raizel learn these tasks, I struggle with what she will eat, when she cannot eat anything that she orders.

Raizel explained her dilemma to her teacher, who then asked if he could speak to me. As a member of a religious minority, I very often have to explain to their teachers and the administrators about our food restrictions.

Her teacher was very kind and respectful. It was his suggestion that I send Raizel to the restaurant with kosher food that she could eat with her class.

This time, I made Raizel pancakes, using our new wonderful stove top grill. Since pancakes are not very popular in our house, I only wanted to make just enough pancakes for one serving.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup flour

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon –a dash

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon oil

3 drops of vanilla

Optional extras:

Maple syrup, ¼ berries, chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon shredded coconut, 1 teaspoon icing sugar, butter

Instructions: 

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl. Then, add the egg, oil, milk and vanilla and stir until smooth and well mixed.

Spray oil the grill and heat over a medium hot flame. When the grill is hot, pour batter onto the grill until desired size and cook on one side until lightly browned. I added chocolate chips on top of each pancake. Then, using a spatula, turn each pancake over and cook on the other side.

For waffles, cook according to the settings recommended for the waffle maker.

I served the pancakes with maple syrup. When I packed the pancakes in a container, I added the maple syrup inside the container with an even smaller container.

The pancakes came out great and Raizel loved them!

I think that now that we have this wonderful stove top grill, I am likely to be making pancakes more often. Since I only spray oiled the grill, they came out light and fluffy and not greasy.

 

Mixing the dry ingredients in a bowl.

The batter mixed up until smooth.

Pancakes on the griddle.

Chocolate chips added on top.

final product, in process.

Served with maple syrup on the side.

Raizel said, “this is the best recipe ever! Usually I don’t even like pancakes.”

References:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Old-Fashion-Pancakes-Single-Serving/
http://itsautumnslife.com/waffles-for-one/

 

One Small Step For Yaffa

Yaffa’s art project

This may be slightly off topic, but, I must share my excitement. 

Yaffa used to be on a feeding tube. Weaning her off was a slow and difficult process.

Last night, for the first time, Yaffa ate a cheese stick!

I realize that to some, this does not seem exceptional or noteworthy. But, for Yaffa, it is extraordinary.

Up until tonight, we had never seen her do this!

I was so excited to see her do this I had to take a picture. 

It brought tears to my eyes.

   
 

Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that are major accomplishments and quiet miracles.

Go Yaffa!