Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mental Cartwheels

Well, yes, my brain is in overdrive, working on things like...

Is it cheaper to send stuff by moving truck, USPS, or airplane?
Checking maximum-size bag on airplane is nearly the same as the moving truck; second bag costs MUCH more; so we'll take six checked large bags, which is probably all we can handle along with four car seats anyway! USPS is much more expensive, even to send books at media rate. This involved dizzying calculations of cubic inches, cubic feet, linear feet, pounds and other measurements. Gevalt! I think I'll stick with recipe calculations after this.

How will we get from the airport to our new home?
One adult + 2 kids can drive a tiny car at the airport which we'll use to get to the grocery store until we find a van, hopefully all in that first week! One adult + 2 kids can take a taxi. That should work, especially since we have one much-beloved GPS and one of us would definitely get lost without it! (Only when we are together do we have a good sense of direction!) So no renting two tin cans and returning one to the airport the next day.

How will we do our laundry that last week after our stuff leaves?
Send the washer away (very attached to my oh-so-gentle front loader since I'm an oh-not-so-careful laundress... honestly inherited, I might add), have the landlady haul the other washer away, use the landlady's drier in Savannah, sell the one we have here, but use it until just before we leave so I can do laundry in the bathtub, and still be able to dry clothes! We have a frugal amount of clothing, so our clothes really only last a week, and every day that goes by is another load of laundry. I think exponents figure in here somehow.

How can there possibly be another load to go to Good Will?
I thought we'd decluttered three times already! At least! That load of paper recycling has been rather formidable too, and the recyclers never made it up that hill during the freak snowstorm, so who knows when they'll be back.

How can we pick a send-our-truck off date and get the highest odds of having our truck deliver our stuff the day after we get there?
Easy answer - pay an extra $1,000 for a guaranteed delivery date. Nah. We'll just stare at each other and twiddle our thumbs until our stuff arrives. And keep doing laundry in the bathtub. I did manage to work it out pretty closely. Leaves here on a Monday, has a good chance of showing up in Savannah the next Monday, but it might be Thursday. On the other hand, if we sent it off any earlier it would be ME packing the truck since Dean's last day isn't until Thursday at noon. So truck-packing will happen Friday day, Saturday night, all day Sunday, and Monday morning if needed. In fact, I think the kids and I may just clear out of here and leave DH to the friendly craigslist packers. Sorry, honey. :)

What on earth do you pack for meals to keep six people happy for 12+ hours of travel time?
The good news - food doesn't count towards your carry-on luggage. Bring on the protein bars. The kids will think it's a special occasion, and Eli will actually eat it. Still, it really irks me that the only kosher stuff you can really get on the road is drinks and chips. Even if kosher airplane food was really bad, at least I didn't have to pack it into a small space for six people. Without ice. I think peanut butter is okay now, though. Or not? I think we'll do turkey sandwiches - nice long-lasting protein.

Plane tickets? Easy!

House rental? Unbelievably easy, k'h, thanks to the incredible ML and to hashem, who definitely had a hand in that.

And, hashem, I really hope that that lovely blue ceramic bowl with all the lacy cutouts along the rim, that lovely, fragile, thin bowl, I really hope it survives the move. You can take any other bowl, just not that one.

And in the midst of all of this, I do feel calm (usually, dear husband!). Yes, there are flutterings, things to ponder and figure out, but all so terribly minor, and all to a good end. Yes, the next couple of months will be tricky and no doubt stressful at times. Yes, we will be saying farewell to many dear friends, and a house we have brought all of our children home to, and a Jewish community that has come such a long way in yiddishkeit over the last three years. We are grateful to hashem for a job that will be really good for DH, for affordable housing, for all that we already have, and for the new friends and community to come.

I feel like tomorrow I really should take the kids to the science museum or something. They've been so great despite my great distraction. We've been doing half-days of learning for now, mostly concentrating on reading and writing in Hebrew and English, plus math. Fortunately, for most things we're running about a month ahead of schedule anyway so no harm in putting it off for a bit, but I do want to keep up with the basics, and reading every day is really essential.

Time for bed! So I can do my children the favor of getting enough sleep!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quote of the Week

Amirah and I were working on her biblical Hebrew this morning. The littles were being a bit rambunctious, so we wished them well and went upstairs to my bedroom. Of course they followed us a few minutes later...

After working on various permutations of phrases involving the word "dor" meaning "generation" (in a generation, with the generations, and a generation, etc.), got up to close the door and announced, "This generation ("dor") is now CLOSED!"

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Menu

Ah, shabbos...

A simpler menu than I had planned since I'm a bit, er, distracted!

braised lamb
cucumber salad
carrot raisin salad
roasted lemon garlic potatoes
roasted carrots and zucchini
green salad
cranberry ice "cream"

And for lunch...
eggplant parmesan (well, actually, eggplant mozzarella - no parmesan!)
pasta with spinach walnut sauce
a very dairy Bavarian apple torte

The cranberry ice "cream" turned out delicious. I *love* anything flavored with cranberries. I posted a dairy version here. For the pareve (non-dairy) version I substituted one cake of tofu for the cream cheese. Wowie. Thanks to the richness of the coconut milk it tastes like it's dairy. Of course it won't taste nearly as dairy as that decadent Bavarian torte. Yum.

Moving Along!

I think the little handful of people who read this blog already know this, but I'll share it here nonetheless! B"H Dean has accepted a job at the Savannah College of Art and Design. We are very excited and will likely be moving out of Portland in late January. More details later, as shabbat is approaching and I have to tear my brain from other things and focus on cooking!

Quote of the Week

Eli: Mama, will you cover me up with lots of layers of blankets so I can be like a fossil?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quote of the Week

Eli: When I was three and you gave me a treat I would cry, "More, more, more, more!" Now I am four and I just say, "Thank you."

-Happy Mama

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quote of the Week

From a holiday party coordinator person at DH's place of employment: "Is it okay if we cover up the Star of David with a balloon? OHSU considers that a religious symbol. The menorah is okay, though."

This was very, very funny, since, really, the menorah is the more religious symbol, especially in regard to Channukah!!!! Oy. Gevalt.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Menu

Ahhhhhh, shabbat............

salmon gefilte fish with dill sauce
butternut squash soup
potato latkes
caesar salad
carrot sweet potato puree
roasted zucchini, mushrooms, and onions
pear crisp

and for lunch...

cabbage rolls

And Savta is here for a few days! The party's in her room every night. :) And the last night of channukah is tomorrow night. Such a sweet, simple-to-celebrate holiday. It's been very nice.

Other than that, we're anxiously awaiting some possible job news - a job we like in a location we really like! We're supposed to hear by the end of the week, so hopefully that means tomorrow. He did get told unofficially that they wanted to hire him; we're just hoping it will become official very, very soon or we'll positively explode. It's only been two days, so I shouldn't be complaining! :) I'll share all the details after it's official. So, please, daven that this should be the right job for us!!!

I've been not so good about writing about our learning time. I've been a bit distracted this last week or two! It's going well (of course, I always feel that way!). I sat down to check our progress, and for most things we're around 60% of the way through what I wish to achieve this year. We're nearly 50% of the way through our school year, so it will work out really well to take a month-long break to (please, please, please, Hashem!) move and get settled. If this job works out, we'd like to move before the end of January. We are so very ready to get settled somewhere.

Channukah sameach!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Painting Barns

We had so much fun painting these barns a couple of weeks ago. First we drew them in pencil, then went over the lines in oil pastels. We filled in the color with watercolors. I love the colors Amirah chose for her picture; lots of nice contrasts. Eli says the red spot in the middle of the front of his barn is a tomato. He spent a lot of time adding in all the details. Raizel drew all of the lines herself. She's really good at very small, controlled movements. She covered it all in purple paint, then blotted it with a purple towel (her idea!). What fun!

Amirah's & Eli's & Raizel's Barns

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Menu

honey mustard chicken
latkes with applesauce and tofu sour cream
Moroccan fried eggplant salad
Moroccan carrot salad
sweet and sour coleslaw
apple pie

and for lunch...

apricot lamb tagine and brown rice

Good shabbos and channukah sameach!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekday Menus

turkey egg drop soup
cabbage tofu egg rolls
Chinese plum sauce

lentil cheese casserole

slow-baked chicken with barbecue sauce
cabbage salad

pancakes and eggs

spanakopita and green salad

Not the most frugal week this week, but we sure enjoyed that mid-week chicken! I've gone cold turkey on buying any snack foods (granola bars, bagels, crackers, etc.) and it's been very easy to keep up with our snack needs by making all of our own. So... instead we'll have meat one weeknight per week. Probably alternating three pounds of chicken one week with a pound of ground beef the next in meatloaf or cabbage rolls or meat sauce. Some recipe that stretches the meat out so that one pound feeds all of us.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Interesting Trivia

The first five planets in the solar system have had Hebrew names for over 2,000 years. The remaining planets have names that are just the English names, transliterated into Hebrew. Israel's Academy of the Hebrew Language (which governs modern standards for grammar, transliteration, etc.) has narrowed the proposed names down to just two per planet, and now Israeli citizens can vote on what those names should be.

The proposed choices for Uranus are "oron" (oh-RONE) or "shachak" (sha-CHOK). "Oron" sounds similar to "Uranus" and means "small light." "Shachak" means "sky" and reflects the meaning of "Uranus" which is "god of the sky."

The proposed choices for Neptune are "rachav" (rah-CHAV) or "tarshish" (tar-SHEESH). "Rachav" refers to the power of the sea and "Neptune" is the god of the sea. "Tarshish" is a stone that is the color of the ocean that was on the kohen's breastplate.

I personally like "oron" and "rachav" but I'm not an Israeli citizen, so I can't vote! :) I'll be interested to see which names win!

The Menu

Here 'tis:

roast whole chicken
apple quince walnut conserve
baked acorn squash
mom's stuffing
mushroom gravy
baked potatoes w/tofu sour cream and green onions
green salad
apple pie (thanks, DH!)

and for lunch...

turkey breast (on or off sandwiches)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kosher Meat

A friend of mine asked a couple of days ago why we avoided meat so much, when chicken can actually be purchased very cheaply, often more cheaply than vegetables. I told her about the price of kosher meat, and then she understood! On average, it costs about 250% more than non-kosher meat. To buy chicken leg quarters for our family costs a good $10 + $1–2 for the sides. By having $3-and-under pareve (non-meat/non-dairy) dinners instead, we save over $150 per month, which for our budget is quite significant. Just in case some of you out there were wondering why we eat so many beans!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


In an article about Amish families moving to Maine, there was a quote from a sign on one of the houses:

“To be content with little is hard, to be content with much is impossible.’’

So true, so true. Be grateful and content with all that you have.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Weekday Menus

tofu/cabbage/bean sprout stirfry
eggplant roasted in teriyaki sauce
brown rice

red lentil soup
sourdough flat bread
[total for above meal: $0.32 per adult]

butternut squash kugel
baked zucchini/carrots/onion/tomato
brown rice with lentils
[total for above meal: $0.60 per adult]

brown rice
carrot sticks
[total for above meal: $0.85 per adult]

[note: the salmon was only $1.48/lb, but it tasted like it too; last month's $1.78/lb salmon was much better!]

homemade bagels with cream cheese
pan-fried potatoes
[total for above meal: $0.60 per adult ($0.40 w/o the cream cheese!)


Red Lentil Soup
2 c. red lentils
8 c. water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp paprika
2 medium potatoes
salt to taste

Combine ingredients. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 40 minutes. Serves 8.
I made a double recipe and have three more dinners in the freezer.