February 27, 2009

The Garden

I heard someone make a comment about Monet at our photography meeting on Monday night. I was thinking... if only I could be so successful! But I write about him because I am copying his idea. I planted many bulbs this past Fall because I wanted to photograph certain color flowers.

One of my recommendations to artists is to take photographs, paint or draw in your own neighborhood because you have the advantage of seeing it every day. You have a unique world that many other artists do not visit. Your home can be your niche area... like Monet's. He designed his gardens and lily ponds. Isn't that cool!

So the tulip and iris leaves are about 4-5 inches out of the ground now. Any day we will see color. I can't wait to see exactly what shades they are and how they look in the sun and shadows. One of my neighbors has a gorgeous Japanese Magnolia... so stay tuned for that. It blooms for only one week. I took photos each day last year. Above is an image from that grouping.

February 24, 2009

Beautiful bowls

I love these bowls. Last month I splurged and bought them from Williams-Sonoma. They are gorgeous. Tonight I created a salad in the green one, and the bowl made lettuce look delicious. Yes, I used these bowls for the image on my challah plaque. Here are two shots.

February 23, 2009

A Personal Haggadah

One of the 613 Mitzvot is to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt each year at Passover. In 2000 I took a class on creating a haggadah, Rabbi Debra Landsberg taught me to make my own Haggadah. She suggested consulting different Haggadot to pull materials together and make the seder unique. To me this makes Passover personal and allows me to make it age appropriate for the children.

Below is my personal Haggadah, which we revise each year. We swap out the selections to keep everyone interested. The page numbers refer to the following haggadot: Family = A Family Haggadah, 1987 by Shoshana Silverman; Child = A Children’s Haggadah, 1994 by Central Conference of American Rabbis; Night = A Different Night, 1997 by Noam Zion and David Dishon. I checked and all of these books are available on http://www.amazon.com/. We use A Children’s Haggadah as our main text because then most children can participate by reading. This copy is beautifully illustrated and includes many songs.

A Personal Haggadah (Click to download a pdf version with formatting.)

p. 10 Family “Order” of the seder
P 4 –11 Child A Children’s Haggadah
Song Take us out of Egypt
What other occasions do we light candles?
How does that make you feel? (p. 9 Family.)
p. 13 Child dip parsley
p. 14 Child hide afikomin
The four questions board book for the really young!
p. 41 Night Izzy did you ask a good question today?
Song Child p. 18 Mah Nishtana
p. 19 Six Children (wise, wicked, simple, curious, mischievous, does not even know enough to ask)
p. 3 Draluck The Ballad of the Four Sons
p. 30 – 38 Child A Children’s Haggadah
p. 39 – 41 Child TEN PLAGUES
p. 43 – 46 Child A Children’s Haggadah
The parting of the red sea
Song Child p. 47 Dayeinu
All Pretend that you had to leave home for good,
what 3 things would you want to take with you? (p. 35 Family)
p. 45 Night What does it mean to be a slave?
p. 99 Night Harriet Tubman (Ask a child guest to prepare)
p. 48 – 51 Child A Children’s Haggadah
p. 53 – 54 Child A Children’s Haggadah
p. 56- 57 Child Passover Poem (read by a child)
Children hunt for Afikomin
p. 95 Night Giving a helping hand
p. 60 Child The cup of Elijah
Song p. 119 Night If I had a Hammer
Song Child p. 62 Eiliyahu Hanavi
Song Night p. 155 Who Knows One?

February 22, 2009

OJ – My favorite Ingredient

Whenever I am out of a crucial ingredient, and I can, … I substitute orange juice. I first learned about adding orange juice from Martha Stewart, who has a French toast recipe that includes orange juice. I'm not sure I have made the pear version, but always add OJ to my french toast mixture. Below is my own recipe, which uses orange juice to marinade carrots.

Orange Juice Carrots

Boil carrots for 35 minutes until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and pour into an oven safe dish. Pour an ample amount of orange juice over the carrots. Spray the very tops with Pam, so they are not burnt. Cook the casserole in the oven at 325° for 30 minutes until bubbling. Cover and leave in the oven until the rest of the food is ready.

Let me know what recipes taste good with orange juice added

February 20, 2009

What's on their iPod?

I love music! A few years ago, I read that singing reduces stress, so I crank it up whenever I need to relax. Recently, my father suggested that I delete all the rap music off of my son's iPod. I don't know about his advice or the answer, but I do know we can suggest positive songs to the kids. My same son recently purchased a copy of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" for his iPod and requested the song at a bar mitzvah. I hope this is, in part, because of my love of musicals and my positive influence.

What's out that I love for the kids? One new really beautiful song, from a mom's view, is "The Best Day" written and sung by Taylor Swift. She's the same country artist that published "Our Song" last year that your child may have memorized... "The Best Day" is a song about a 13 year old girl whose friends were mean to her and her mother drove her out of town and window shopped, so she "forgot all their names." It's a wonderful song about family... buy it for her iPod.

And, while you are shopping... we had a lively discussion in the car about the talents of Miley Cyrus. I pointed out to one non-believer that her recent song "Fly On The Wall" is an amazing metaphor. My applause to someone so young finding a new analogy today. It turns out the song is written by Miley Cyrus and Antonina Armato, Tim James and Devrim Karaoglu. Their song says, "Don't you wish you could be a fly on the wall? A creepy, little sneaky little fly..." to a jealous boyfriend. This sends a nice message that no one can be with us all the time and you need to develop TRUST!

So there is my mom stuff for today. Have a good Shabbat and weekend!

February 18, 2009

Rebbetzin's Challah

Today I am jumping in with both feet. It’s time to blog! I have always enjoyed writing, so except for the time element… this should be easy. I am releasing my challah plaque and note cards this week on http://www.mitzvahminded.com/. Then, I will begin working on a Passover image. It's a new day!

Rebbetzin's Challah
4 C water
3 T active yeast
1 T sugar

Mix above ingredients; set aside until bubbling. If mixture does not bubble, start over!

5 lbs bread flour
2 C sugar
1 1/2 C canola oil
1 1/2 T sea salt
3 eggs
Combine dry ingredients and pour into wet ingredients. Stir well. Cover and let rise 2 hours. Punch down. Separate into 8 sections (plus a small piece for Hashem). Braid into challot. Brush with egg and water mixture. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Freeze extra loaves. Thaw 10 minutes and bake for 25.

I recently added this item to Etsy as an ACEO 2.5" x 3.5" Art Card, Edition and Original. Mine is an original photograph that can display in your kitchen.