Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Mystery Vegetable, and Other Exciting Events

****Please make sure to read the "Apology" post first...part of my teshuva****

The Turnip that Wasn't was actually a...beet! I think the soup came out ok, but the parsley gave it a weird taste, so I just added more sugar. But I got a good suggestion (thanks, Sarah) to add squash/zucchini to soup, which I will do next time. I'm hoping Ariella will eat the soup.

Some kid updates: So Yaakov is sleeping in a big-boy bed. We got him a bed which came on the lift, and he insisted in sleeping on it. For those of you who remember the Pesach Bed Disaster, this is a big relief. He does play by himself for like 3 hours after I put him to bed, but as long as he's in his room, he can be doing the conga line with monkey, doggie, and froggy, and that would be just A-OK with me. Ariella is asleep about 2.5 seconds after I put her in, but Yaakov stays up and has a big ol' party. He is also obsessed with airplanes, which I can't understand - he's constantly asking to go back on one, and looks longingly at the little airplane on our ModiinFone book. Poor guy. Little does he know I have no intention to ever, in my life, go back on a plane, at least not with him. Meanwhile, Ariella is whiling away the hours at gan, doing I'm not sure what, since she doesn't tell me, but she does come back with lovely art projects. And a shout-out to her teachers at SAR - she has often come home telling me she knows a Hebrew word (tapuach, gezer, etc) and I ask him if she learned it at gan. She replies, "No, SAR!" I'm not sure what she is understanding and what exactly is going through her head all day. She spends a lot of time with Aiden, the fellow oleh, and they are currently conducting a science experiment to see if they can grow a flower in the sand. The way you do it is this: Put a seed in the sand. Take Ariella's water bottle and water the seed. Wait. Repeat the next day. Wonder why it hasn't grown yet. (By the way, if they are successful, they will be the richest Israelis EVER.)
We are planning to go to Jerusalem tomorrow and take the kiddies to the kotel. I told Ariella she could tell her morot that she was going to the kotel because "kotel" is a Hebrew word. Then she asked me how to say "Friday." I said, "Yom Shishi." So she said, "Ok, I'll say to my morahs, 'Kotel. Yom shishi.'" I asked her if she was going to end the sentence with, "500 shekels. Unmarked bills."

Carts: Anyway, back to our day, post-Misrad (You wonderful people, you!) Since we were in the holy city, and we were finished early (it was only 9:30), we did what any good, God-fearing Jews would do during the Month of Judgement: We went to the shuk to look for a Bubby cart. Is everyone familiar with this term, "Bubby cart?" If not, I will enlighten you. It is not a cart made from actual Bubbies. It is not a cart in which to haul Bubbies. Rather, it is a cart USED by Bubbies, I think that's where it got its name from. You know, to put your groceries in after you shop and push them home. We have this problem that we live in an apartment. (Is everyone familiar with this term, "apartment?") We are parked on meenoos shalosh. We need to get the groceries from the car, to the elevator, then from the elevator to the apartment. Modi'in is full of people who live in apartments, yet apparently none of them have this problem because they don't have Bubby carts ANYWHERE. I guess Modi'in people (Modi'inites? Modi'inians? Modi'iners?) have arms of steel. We looked and looked - in supermarkets, in Kiryat Sefer (aka "Modi'n Illit"). To no avail. Luckily, LISA had told us that she was pretty sure in the shuk you could find one. So we looked in the shuk (Ha! That rhymes!). In the third little store'le (you know, a little store), we found it! It was 180 NIS, but when we said we would return in a minute with cash, he brought it down to 165 and said we could pay with a credit card if we bought it right then. I think "shuk" actually means, "Don't pay the asking price, twit." I am very happy with our cart. It is heavy duty. We had been using a suitcase to schlep stuff up from the car, but no longer. Now I have a cool Bubby Cart! I will be the envy of all on meenoos shalosh!

Balsams: Then, after stopping in a bakery for, you guessed it, TREATS, we made our way back to Modi'in. A highly successful morning. We came back home, I did laundry and worshipped my washer and dryer for a few minutes. Then we had to sign a shtar chov with Nafi and Lisa, which basically says if we skip the country they would have to pay lots and lots of money for our rent. But don't worry guys! We're not going anywhere! We'll stay riiight here...Ohmigod! What's that behind you?!! (Quick, Donny, grab the bags and run!) Seriously, though, we are glad we got to see Nafi and LISA before they ditch us for a month and go to America. I mean, we travel 6,000 miles to see them, and then they just leave. Speaking of which, I forgot to write about a very exciting outing this week with Lisa and the Balsam Children. We went to this "fun place" in Modi'in called Eretz Nehederet, which has climbing gymboree type things, riding toys, a little train ride, a climbing wall, etc. It was really nice and I was glad I did something fun with the kids. In general, I'm a pretty bad mother. After all, the title of my treatise on child-rearing is "Leave Me Alone So I Can Read the Paper." But that's a discussion for another time. At least on Tuesday I was an ok mother. Then we had a chance to host the Balsam children for dinner. I even blew them away with our awesome frozen fish nugget thingies.

Shopping: After the signing ceremony, we came back, dropped off our free mirror ("free" because LISA gave it to us - thanks Lisa!), and went to pick up Ariella. From there, we went straight to Supersol Deeel (by the way, I love that the Supersol website is "" - how cute that they use an English term, then transliterate it incorrectly!) Donny went on another intensive cheese-testing mission. We were looking for a few things in the cheese department: sour cream, farmer cheese, mozzerella, and cheddar. Apparently, mozzerella and cheddar are easy to find - you ask the cheese lady for "mozzerella" or "cheddar," using the correct Israeli pronunciation. Thanks to the Ramat Modi'in email list, I knew what the Israeli form of farmer cheese was - "Tuv Ta'am gevinah levanah." (The problem with the email list is that when you search for a certain topic, you often find the question, but then people tend to respond to the questioner personally, and not to the list. Luckily, the woman who asked the question posted the response to the list.) We found the correct farmer cheese, and then, because we couldn't figure out the sour cream situation, we decided to use "cream" instead of "sour cream" and just frown when we cook with it. Now for the carrot muffins. You will see that the muffins shortly become more trouble than they are worth. In our lift, we happened to have had a box of stuff from our pantry. The box included 3 jars of baby food carrots, which I use for carrot muffins. I figured I would make that this Shabbos, because why not - I have the carrots, the rest should be easy! Ha. Ha. In Supersol, I needed to find paper muffin cups. I had the tins, but I wanted to find cups so the muffins wouldn't stick. We could not find the cups. I looked everywhere. (Also strange - they do not sell Shabbos Sponges at Supersol Deeel. Luckily I solved that problem by going to the baby section and buying bottle brushes.) No cups. So I figured I would look for disposable muffin tins. Then I realized, not only were there no paper muffin cups, there were no foil pans of any sort. Now this is very strange. Supersol has everything, man. You can get a polo shirt, on your way to picking up a microwave, which might be too heavy to carry at the same time as your hot water pot, but you can always put them on top of your washer and dryer. That's right. All those things are sold at your local supermarket. If you need to put your lights on a Shabbos clock, you can buy one there. Need a set of dishes? Check. Laundry basket? Check. But no muffin cups or foil pans. Odd.
Ok, no problem, I figured, I'll just make carrot cake/kugel (depending who you ask) instead of muffins. On the way home, Carrot Muffin Crisis #2 occurred - I realized I had no flour. Flour's one of those things that since I always have it around, I never think to buy it. We got home, and Donny said he would go to the mall, try to get his bank card to work, and buy some flour from the grocery store there. He came home with the flour (but not a working bank card - it was nap time at the bank.) I started making the cake/kugel, when I came to baking soda. No baking soda. Crisis #3! I called the two people I know in the building, but no luck. So we figured that we'd go out for dinner, to celebrate it being dinner time, and on the way, pick up some baking soda. Done. We drove to a supermarket in Kaiser and picked up the baking soda. (It said "Soda L'shtiyah," so Donny was concerned it was some kind of drink mix. Now it was in a baggie, and Israelis do love to drink things out of bags, but it clearly said, "Sodium Bicarbonate" in English, so I wasn't concerned.)

Falafel: Anyway, for dinner we found this awesome falafel place (not "found" so much as "called Lisa and asked her where it was") - they give you falafel and cheeps in a pita, and you stuff it with all the sauces, pickles, and salads you can fit. You can even go back for seconds as you make your way through your falafel! Ariella ate a pita, cheeps, and salad. Yaakov ate a pita slathered in ketchup - East meets West. But we did have a big food breakthrough - Ariella decided to try a piece of falafel...and she LIKED it! She even wanted more! Maybe there is hope for her. Then we came home, to my carrot mixture sitting in the fridge, and we encounter...Crisis #4! When turning off the oven before we left, I accidentally turned it to "clean" mode. Haha! Luckily nothing near the oven got too hot, but the oven was locked and there was no way to stop the cleaning cycle. So I waited. Now, though the carrot cake/kugel is done, and there is no parsley in it, so we should be fine.

Unpacking...Not! Donny and I have been successfully avoiding the rest of the unpacking. I'm not talking about the pictures that take months to hang up. I'm talking about a room and half of stuff that needs to be taken out, looked at, then left where it was because we're too tired to deal with it. No, seriously. Our entire bookcase and all of our books are just lying around the 4th bedroom, and there are still piles of clothes and coats in the cheder klitah. We REALLY need to make a push to clean it. Also, our printer is not set up, there are various chairs lying all over the place, and all of our important documents (which started as in a folder but have reproduced and multiplied and we can never find the one we are looking for, although the next day when we're looking for a different important document, we'll find the one we were looking for the day before) are strewn all over the room. Not sure when it will get done...probably in time for our next move...

To end, I would just like to say that it is really, really, cool that the entire country is celebrating the New Year. Donny had a Rosh Hashanah get-together (aka New Year's party) at his office, and everyone, I mean EVERYONE - the checkout lady, the shomer, the random dude in the elevator - wishes you a "Shanah tova." I know that this is Israel and this should not come as a surprise, but it makes me smile.

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