Is there such a thing?

I think we have too many books! We are finally making a good effort to unpack. Most of the boxes left are filled with books. We need more bookcases. We have religious books, professional books, fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, reference, you name it, we have it!
We are also getting new to us furniture, hope we can fit it in between all the books!

Frum Food Fridays!

So, Friday is my official prep day for Shabbat (Shabbos), our Sabbath. I love cooking. I love creating. I had gotten into a sort of rut when it came to what to make. Then I got a spiralizer! And it was a game changer! This thing is awesome. So far I’ve done yellow and butternut squash. I’m trying to make our meals fresh and colorful. Who needs pasta when you can have sautéed veggies?
Our Shabbos menu this week is green salad, tomato and hearts of palm salad, chicken and veggie soup, garlic green beans with onions, saucy chicken made with coconut milk and veggie broth (an experiment!), and angel hair butternut squash. Phew! That’s just Friday night! For lunch, we are having salmon salad, tomatoes with hearts of palm, green salad, cholent (crock pot made roast beef and veggies), the same green beans and squash as Friday night. For dessert each meal we will have dairy free ice cream, fruit and of course plenty of beverages.
What do you make that is fresh and colorful? How do you incorporate fruits and veggies into your meals more often?

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My Hair

Okay, I love my hair.  I really do.  I have long, thick, dark brown hair that naturally highlights about a dozen different colors in the summer. Or, it used to, it doesn’t get exposed to the sun. I now cover my hair.  Yep, I keep it under cover.  And I also love covering it.  I cover it because I believe it is something not to be shared with the general public.  Like the rest of my body, it has been created for my enjoyment and for my husband’s enjoyment.  I also cover my body with reasonable modest clothes.  I don’t wear a long sleeved sack cloth and call it good.  I enjoy shopping for and putting together creative outfits that keep me warm and beautiful.

I protect my body and my hair from people who aren’t meant to enjoy it.  I will discuss this further in the future, but I really feel that our culture has gone too far.  Just going to the mall reminds me how far this means.  Girls and women are EXPECTED to share their body with anyone and everyone.  Clothing isn’t created to flatter anyone, its created to highlight what society feels is sexy.  I could rant on about this for days, but I will rein myself in.

In short, I dress to flatter my body and to enjoy fun clothing.  I don’t dress so everyone has the ability to window shop me.  I cover my hair to reserve that part of my being for the private intimate relationship between me and my husband.  Intimacy is so much more than the act of physical relations between a husband and wife.  He knows me and understands my needs on a different level than the rest of my world, including my parents.   There is really nothing like the relationship between spouses. It was created for a good and beautiful purpose. Me keeping part of my physical being only for this part of me gives me that freedom.

Washing Dishes in Cold Water

Who washes dishes in cold water voluntarily? Me, that’s who!
As you may or may not know, observant Jews who are shomer Shabbat, that is, keep the biblical laws regarding the Sabbath, don’t turn on the hot water during our Sabbath. For some, that means not doing any dishes. For cray-cray people like myself who can’t stand to see dirty dishes anywhere, we wash with cold water. Which means I am only hopefully getting them really clean and use less soap because cold water isn’t so great at rinsing off soap.
Just recently I was standing at my sink on a Friday night reflecting on what I was doing. And why I was doing it. And what brought me to this point to happily wash dishes in cold water. I waited five years to have the privilege of being obligated and gifted with the Sabbath. A gift of rest. For 25 hours every week I am obligated to give up my technology and my time, to focus on my Creator and be able to experience the joy of this gift. In exchange, He asks me to focus on Him and not on the mundane tasks that distract me during the week. This exchange is so unequal. My tiny sacrifice of keeping up with my Facebook feed or having super scrubbed dishes cannot compare to what He has waiting for me every week and for eternity. Who needs clean dishes when you have this gift waiting for you? While my mind will tell me to wash them, my soul will be thankful for the gift. My gift of washing dishes in cold water, what I waited five years to receive.

Back In The Game

I haven’t blogged in what seems like years.  I really want to be back blogging, so here’s a good attempt! I have some new ideas and topics ready to discuss, as well as some crazy mundane things like what I’m making for dinner on any given day.  Don’t worry, this will not become a series of meal pictures.  I may discuss what I’m making in the kitchen, as its one of my creative outlets.  Other than that, this will be a blog about life in New Jersey.

Winter

Winter here is very different from home. First, the temperature. I am slowly becoming a wimp when it comes to this. Now, for me, freezing is when it dips below 50 degrees. Next winter, I just might not go outside! Plus, instead of constant snow, there is rain. Cold rain. But, it still is better than snow. Especially when snow turns to slush. Hopefully I will be able to handle the northeast next winter.
One highlight of this month though will be Jonathan arriving in a week. Be ready for tons of picture updates. I am going to try and print some out here too, so I don’t just have them online to look at. We want to spend some time with friends who live here, some Jonathan hasn’t seen for years. I am looking forward to sharing Israel with him. Funny, how I think of this country as something to share with him. I have been living here for almost 6 months, and I am taking ownership. Hmmm…I am very excited to see him and to travel with him around Israel.
People are leaving the kibbutz. Kinda sad. One is coming back, the others are off for good. Some more are leaving next week. Then, in a few weeks, another set of new people will be arriving. I am thankful to have my own room for now. A whole bunch of space just for me and my stuff. This will only last for a couple more weeks, then I have to share space again.
I have been in bed all day. Started yesterday with head cold symptoms, now the only thing that even tastes good are Cheerios. So, I’ve been eating Cheerios all day long. I probably should go get some more water, I’m just too lazy!

Friends

I think I’ve been updating this well, at least when I remember to. I had last week off, which was beautiful! I spent an entire day in Jerusalem, until the last bus left at 10:30 and then I had a night out with the girls. That was fab! We were saying good bye to one of the girls in the program, she leaves for the US this next week. Bittersweet happy times! When I go back to the US next August, she will leave near me, so that’s a big blessing for me. We had good food, good wine and incredible desserts. The best part of the night was conversation. I haven’t had that many good laughs since I left Michigan. One of the best times this past summer with friends was when my dear friend Shannon hosted a mini-reunion of MU people. We spent the whole afternoon talking and laughing about old times and our lives right now. It was an amazing afternoon and I cherish all my friends, present and past. Here are some pics from this past week’s get together as well as the one from the summer.

As you can see, I have the most wonderful friends! I miss all the ones in the US and I will miss all the ones that are leaving in a few weeks! I love you all!!!!