Before and After

Subzero temperatures seem to lend themselves to leisurely Shabbos preparations. (So leisurely, in fact, that I almost forgot to make the salmon!) Luckily, this week’s recipe (from Old Bay) was super-quick and foolproof:

Zingy Dipping Sauce


1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup ketchup

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning

In a small bowl, mix honey, ketchup, lemon juice and OLD BAY until well blended.

I use this on salmon and chicken with equally great results. Brush it on and bake till done.
(No, that’s not the salmon in the photo above. Those would be the chicken stew and the quinoa, respectively, which for some reason proved far more photogenic than the fish.)

After havdallah, it was time for a quick tidy-up. (Denny, if you’re reading this, will you please come install my dishwasher? My dishpan hands are waiting…) Thankfully, the littles have developed an affinity for sweeping, so with their help, things got done in twice the time no time at all.


Say “bubbles!”

The cream of the crop from the almost-annual Bernstein Family Torture Photo Session:

My Book-Stack

There’s always a Pisa-esque stack of books threatening to topple off of my night table. The fruits of my frequent library raids keep me entertained while I nurse the baby, and in the (highly unlikely) event that I have a few minutes to spare, I bury my nose in a book. While I do read my fair share of fiction, my book-stack tends toward the how-to, DIY variety. You can gauge my obsession-of-the-month (week?) by scanning the stack at my bedside. (My bookmarks kind of echo my library pile in that regard.) Right now I’m enthralled with the whole urban-homestead movement. I’m planning our garden with a vengeance borne of cabin fever, and the kids are drawing up increasingly complex chicken-coop plans.

Now you tell me: what’s in your book-stack?

Guest Blogger: Rachmy B. (age 7)

I drew some pirates on a boat. The Captain said, “Get ready to fire!” Before he could fire, the second-in-command said, “Stop it, you crewman! You’re not even a captain.” Then the second-in-command threw off the cannons. They were shooting at a sea serpent because it broke off the one of the crew-mates’ legs at the hip. That’s it.

Yup, that pretty much says it all. Hope your day has been uneventful and that all of your sea monsters are behaving themselves.

Back to civilization

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, (1706-1790), Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1746

It’s my firm belief that anything I want to say, Ben Franklin has already said, and said it better. This exciting episode of the Wendy Files has been no exception. By the time Denny the Wonder Plumber gave us the all clear this afternoon, I was just way too excited at the prospect of doing dishes. And laundry. And washing the floors, for heaven’s sake. Anyway, the pipes are fixed, so we can check that little item off of yesterday’s list. Now, we’ll just have to see about the floor. And the walls. And and the ceiling.

On a lighter note, I finally got around to taking pictures of the presents I made for Esti and Chevi. Esti’s corkboard is based on this tutorial:If I didn’t know my kid would be reading this, I’d tell you I got the corkboard on clearance at Mal-Wart for a quarter. And the canvas is a Home Depot find…I bought a huge dropcloth that should provide me with all of my material needs (had to!) for awhile. Black acrylic paint from my stash and a doily from a pack I bought eons ago…easy-peasy, and definitely budget friendly.

Chevi’s name-art is as basic as it gets. I bought the frame at Goodwill, primed it, painted it, and cut a piece of scrapbook paper to fit. Printed out her name in a font that pleased me, printed it as a mirror image, and glued it to the back of the scrapbook paper. X-actoed it out, and put some contrasting paper behind the cutout, and voila! I’ve stopped lusting after Pottery Barn trappings. (Well, mostly.)

Things to Do:

Cover ugly milk crates. This is a house of many crates. They are muy ugly. Must. cover. crates.

Make bedskirts. Simply have no desire to look at hideous boxsprings for another moment. Ick.

Make more rice bags. My feet are always freezing, but if I pop a rice bag under the covers before I go to bed, it’ll keep my toes toasty till I fall asleep. We all use them…we all love them.

Set up studio. This is what it looks like at the moment: (Kind of forlorn, isn’t it? But fear not! I have prodigious plans!)

Make belly bands … avoid TMI moments.

Finish moving. Still.

Finish unpacking. Still.

Laundry. Dishes. Again.

Feed kids. Again. Yes, that’s snow we’re melting on the stove to make supper. Yes, I feel like Ma Flippin’ Ingalls. No, the water’s not fixed yet. Which brings us to the piece de resistance:
Fix busted pipes.

Before and after

This week, my Shabbos preparations got off to a particularly slow start, since I’d left my shopping till Friday morning (and because we finally got around to bringing the fridge from the rental to our new house after my grocery run.) Anyway, I found myself baking challah less than 2 hours before candlelighting, which is a little too close for comfort in my book. A certain klepto-child helped herself to a sample of the rising dough: We made our first meal on the wacky fold-down burners: and Esti worked a little magic wit our new, eco-friendly cloth napkins: Anyway, everything got cooked in time, cleaned in time, and ready in time. We had a lovely supper and a pleasant evening and woke up to a very chilly an almost-Arctic basement. Now, those of you who live in colder climates know that this is a resoundingly bad thing. We shut off the water to the house, and the plumber will be spending his Sunday with us. Not ones to be deterred by a little thing like busted pipes, we gleefully deferred the sinkful of dishes and popped some sweet potato fries into the oven: Jess fired up the gas-fire, and from there on out, it was all books, games, and Star Trek, the Next Generation.

Norman Rockwell, eat your heart out.