Perk #1 – They Were Not Kidding!

It’s that time of week again – Shoshi’s Corner!!

Let’s talk about the Granola.
I mean – How good was this stuff?!

Thanks Shoshi!
Can’t wait to try it at home.

Shoshi’s Almond Fruit and Nut Granola

12 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup crasins
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup molasses
1 cup honey
1 cup oil

Preheated oven to 400.
In a large bowl combine oats and nuts. Set aside.
In a sauce pan combine molasses, honey, and oil. Heat to boiling.
Take off of flame and mix in to the bowl of nuts and oats until well combined.
Line 3 jelly roll pans with tin foil and spray. Divide the mixture equally between the pans and place in oven.  Cook about 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.
Let cool 2 hours, pour in to large bowl.
Add the dried fruit and enjoy.

As you enjoy your fruit and nut granola don’t forget to go N.U.T.S. As Chaya’le Gurary would say – Never Underestimate True Simcha! A handful of true joy can’t hurt.

Wishing you a truly nutty – I mean – neat Shabbos.
<3 the BC Blogger

 

PS – Personal message from Hinda Leah: “Skip the cooking stage. One less pot to clean.”

PPS – If you do not (like Shoshi does) have 30 hungry people to feed, you know how to split this recipe by a third or a quarter, right?

PPPS – Can we get together for breakfast again sometime soon??

 

You know him too?!

“As I wiped my hands on the kitchen towel and recited the Bracha (blessing), I caught a glimpse of my nephew standing nearby.

He was staring up at me in shock. He looked stunned.

When I was done he asked (as if talking about one of his buddies), “You know Hashem?!”

I laughed when my friend told me this story. Then I started thinking.

This kid is onto something. It’s what Rabbi Friedman was talking about all along.

To David, saying a Bracha, a blessing over food, is talking to Hashem; His G-d. The G-d he know and talks to, to thank for his food, or when he needs a favor, or just to get a second opinion.

When he talks Hashem hears him. Hashem is his. Hashem is personal. “You mean, you know Hashem too? Wow. Cool.” It’s still personal. It’s my Hashem and you know him too.

Having that kind of relationship with G-d is really where it all begins.

How can one say “Elokai, Hamelech” “My G-d, the king” and not get chills?

My G-d, He is a pretty important dude. I mean, He only runs the whole world and like – four other worlds on the side.

And that king, the king of the whole world, He’s mine. I have an in with Him. When I come over and tell Him about my day, that’s it – It’s Him and me. The king of the entire universe and everything in it in an intimate conversation with one of his favorite people in the world, me.

That’s why I love doing the things He loves. Because He is mine.

How can I not stop the whole world in this moment and light that Shabbos Candle for Him? That’s all He wants. My G-d wants my candle lighting. How can I resist him?

Baruch Ata Hashem Elukeinu.. My G-d.

You know Him too?

 

 

Dear Guilty Mom, Mom who isn’t doing enough, Mom who lost her cool, and Mom who should be doing a better job,

Dedicated to a beautiful mom and daughter duo we got to witness in action 🙂

1 malka and eliana_2391

As a person with an extremely critical nature I’ve spent most of my life finding things that aren’t right, criticizing those in charge, complaining, pointing out how it should be done and trying to come up with ways to fix things or do them better.

Of course that means that I’ve also been feeding MYSELF a steady diet of judgment and self criticism over the years. I need to be better at this, I need to be better at that and I need to be better at the other thing too. I need to be less judgmental. I need to be more positive. I need to…

None of this lead to more positivity. The more I tried to change and become a better person, the more of a constant issue it was in my life and the more I notice all the judgments I make against myself and others.

This past summer at a Bais Chana retreat I learned a really important lesson that helped me totally change my approach. The teacher was Malka Tauger from Israel and she was teaching a verse from Eishes Chayil “A Woman of Valor” a beautiful song that King Shlomo wrote for his mother.

We were learning the third verse “Gmalas’hu tov v’lo ra…” “She does for him good and not bad all the days of her life”. When analyzing the reason for the repetition (good/not bad) we got into a discussion about whether loving good and hating evil are the same thing.

We concluded that every situation (including your mothering, including a class you attend, including a parking ticket) has good and bad.

YOU choose which parts you’ll take home.

Are you going to see the bad and hate it, try to fix it, constantly focus on it?

Or, are you going to find the good, love it, and focus on it until it strengthens, spreads and ultimately completely takes over?

I teach in a local high school. There are challenges. One day a substitute walked into the teachers’ room. She seemed like a gentle, somewhat young and inexperienced woman and I was wondering how she was coping with our “energetic” bunch, especially being in the position of a sub!

Next thing I know, the principal walked in and asked her how it went. I kid you not, her entire face lit up and she started gushing about how much she loves it and the girls are so wonderful and she finds them so inspiring!

Between all of you and me, I know the crowd. I know it wasn’t a picnic for her in that classroom. Only someone who goes through their day loving good can feel (sincerely and truly) a reaction like that.

Practical suggestions based on my experiences:

1. At the end of a long day when putting my child to sleep I do a little review with him.
Ex: ” Today we had yummy soup for dinner, we had fun playing with the puzzle and you brought a beautiful drawing home from school. What else did you love today? ” (by talking about the good I feel like I’m actively shaping his memory to capture and store the bright moments. No need to even think about the yelling match that happened, the hours I was away or whatever other expectations I had that didn’t happen. Those are not relevant and should take up no space at this point.)

2. When I feel a self criticism pop into my head like “I don’t do enough,” I try to replace it immediately with thinking about something positive like, “Itty, you teach, you take care of a child, you said a Bracha before eating food.”

I have found over time that being kind to myself helps me feel stronger and focus on the things I DO right and then I get to do them more.

Do you want your child to be kind and generous, or constantly criticizing him/herself? Although each child has their own journey, our modeling makes a greater impact than anything we say. To raise happy children be a model.

Chasidus teaches us that we need to know our make-up, strengths and weaknesses included. BUT – focusing on self-evaluation in this way is not a full day activity.  For introspection, set aside 15 minutes a day tops. Fifteen minutes where you get in there, think about your day, think about what went right, what didn’t work, and what you want to do differently tomorrow. That needs to be a focused activity done mindfully.

The rest of the day we can afford to add a lot more simcha (joy), kindness and compassion toward ourselves and the beautiful, human work we do, every part of which, struggles included, gives Hashem so much pleasure.

You, struggles and all, give Hashem so much pleasure. Thank you for being an inspiration.

Happy Tuesday,
<3 the BC blogger

PS Malka (pictured above), thank you for being a beautiful, graceful model of love and positivity. The joy and spirit bursiting from Eliana says it all! 🙂

Happy Monday!

Have you ever wondered what really goes down at Bais Chana’s Getaway for Single Moms? Here’s an inside message from one of the greatest moms ever. She probably had no idea about the hidden camera I keep close by for occasions just like these…. presenting Marcy

BC Blogger: Hi Marcy, I understand you’ve known about Bais Chana for quite a few years and this is your first time here. What in the world took you so long to get here?

Marcy: Honestly, I don’t know how I even got here but it’s not at all what I expected. It’s not some inspirational, motivational rah rah weekend.

BC: Not inspiring?

Marcy: Nope.
It’s not like ” You’re so down, here’s a stool to prop you up from below and make you feel better.” It’s like heaven pulling you up to your true self.

The classes don’t speak to us on the practical mundane level. they speak to us on the level of our soul. Shabbos afternoon Rabbi Friedman’s class went on for hours and no one rushed out. There was nowhere anyone would rather be.

BC: What did you hear that was so exciting?

Marcy: This class was about marriage – wow. It was the first time I heard it described that way. Everyone needs to hear these things. The world would be a different place.

BC: Nice. Maybe one day we’ll share some excerpts from that class. Was that the coolest part of the retreat?

Marcy: Actually, the coolest thing is to see the change on people’s faces from the time they arrive. They come in with armor – I’m a single mom, I need to defend my position all the time – and then the camaraderie, the friendship, everyone completely opens up. The change is visible. It’s incredible.

BC: Were you surprised by anything that happened this weekend?

Marcy: Yes. People have a really wrong idea of what happens here. The learning – it’s universal. Everyone needs to know this stuff. The participants share a common experience and that makes me feel so close to each one, but the learning is universal. No one is telling us how to live in this tiny box of our experience. At the end of the day it’s about Jewish women raising children and that is the most important thing.

We are not ‘single moms’ – we are an amazing group of Jewish women who are having individual experiences of raising our children alone. We’re doing an outstanding job at it, and now we have each other B”H to lean on for support, understanding, kindness, laughter and love.

BC: True that. I feel the same way.

Marcy: I’ve never felt more open. This morning in my prayers I prayed that every woman should feel this way. I know that sometimes people feel stuck, but the more they come and grow, they’ll finally be able to move on.

There it is. You’ve heard it from the mom herself.

Want to see it for yourself?
Our next retreat is in the Berkshire Mountains in May and we’d love to see you there! 

Happy Monday!

Love and Blessings,
<3 the BC Blogger

 

PS: Some of the evidence heehee – 

 

 

Shoshi’s Corner

A Friday Formula from our Favorite Foodie

Can you spot her?

I found her in the classroom,

I found her outdoors,

I even found her knitting,

and all this time you thought she was in the kitchen!

Oh wait, I found her in the kitchen –

but that doesn’t look like no cooking to me! When did she do it all?! You know, that crazy, unbelievable, flavor-bursting, meticulously cut and crafted, beautifully presented fare she prepared twice, three times a day?

Honestly, I tried to sneak into the kitchen at all different times of day and night to see when the magic happens but at some point I just gave up. Whatever it is that she’s doing, it’s probably beyond the natural. I literally never caught her cooking! It’s like everything was always in order and in place. There was not a dish in the sink, not a crumb on the table, and Shoshi is on the counter knitting. Then I turn around for a second  and boom – seven dish meal bursting with crazy flavors all laid out pretty in the eating room.

I know you’re craving all the recipes at once but we’re not going to make it easy 😉
For today we present to you just the most popular ever, fan favorite dressing of all times:

 Shoshi’s Sweet Basil Salad Dressing

 2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil

In the bowl of the food processor
combine basil, vinegar,  sugar, and garlic.  
Blend for 2 minutes.
While the processor is still running slowly add the oil let run 20 more seconds and enjoy. 
And that my folks… is how it’s done!!
 
Wishing each of you and all of our sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, moms, dads, grandparents, neighbors and friends a most delightful Shabbos.
 
<3 Love, the BC Blogger
 
PS let me know what you think!

Selfies in the Snow

Hi warm people wherever you are in the world.

Gosh, it’s only been a day but I miss you already!

Remember Minnesota and the mild weather we enjoyed? Remember the breezy walks in the sunshine where we weren’t afraid to slip and break bones? Just kidding, I know, I’m just kidding!

In case you need a tiny reminder here are some of my favorite photos of us 😉

Selfies in the Snow

The rest aren’t selfies per se, but who could resist??

Gangsta Shots!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…  (Otherwise read as: More Gangsta shots!!)

And finally, one for the family.

Awww I know, right??

That’s all for now.
Stay warm!

<3 The BC Blogger

PS: For all of you who thought you found yourselves knee deep – you’ve got nothing on this one!