School meet & greet

Two months of school vacation is almost over! At one point I really really didn’t think we would make it through in one piece.

But here we are, a day away from the new school year.

Last night we had the kids orientation meetings.

Faith has moved from her small kindergarten (Gan – גן) to the equivalent of Grade R or Grade 0. And she is now going to the same school as Aaron. Quite a few of the kids from her Gan have also moved to the new school and there are a few kids from other kindergartens that are joining them. There are about 25 children in her class. Her teacher seems really sweet and friendly. 

When we got there the children had to colour in an apple (or a pomegranate, I’m not sure, its the first project for Rosh Hashanah) with their name on it and the parents had to write a note for the kids on a little cut out of a dove that will be given to them when school starts. Then all the kids went into the main classroom with the teacher and she read them a story about starting school. When that was finished the children had to go and find their lockers and look inside. Inside each locker was a note from the teacher wishing them luck and a sucker. Really really sweet. By the time the 45 minutes were up, Faith was quite comfortable and had picked out the friends she knew from before and made a few new ones.

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A bit later we went to Aaron’s meeting in his new classroom. We were supposed to bring his stationery with but something got lost in translation. Oops. One of his friends shared his though so that was good. It seems that all the kids from his 1st Grade class move up to 2nd grade in the same class, which for our anxious boy is a good thing as he doesn’t have to make all new friends again. Speaking of anxious, he is already starting to worry about the new class and the new teacher (who is very sweet) and the work he will have to do. We have tried to explain that he will be fine, that he knows all the kids and that he knows the alphabet and the math that he needs to know. I’m sure he will settle quickly. The teacher was very sweet, when she had them all sitting she asked them who had a sore tummy (which is one of Aarons anxiety symptoms) and quite a few kids put their hands up. I think its a great way for the kids to see that they are not alone.

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He was quite excited when he got home. They both were. I think they like the idea that they are going to the same school too.

So school starts tomorrow. I’m not sure who is more excited/anxious/nervous/happy, me or the kids!

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Our first proper family Shabbat!

Last night was the first time we have had a shabbat dinner in MY home with my mom, my brother and I around the table.

Even though Paul and I have had our own home together for the last 10 years, its only been in the last 2 years or so that we have been kosher. My brother Matt came to Israel about 10 years ago and is strictly kosher so when he did come to South Africa we always had shabbat dinner at my moms house.

Last night, our family of four was joined by my brother, his wife, his mother in law and my nephew, my mom who is here visiting and my sister from another mister and her other half.  11 people around my table. Naches. It just doesnt get any better than last night!

shabbat candles

How beautiful are our Shabbat candles? One set for each family last night.

My mom and I spent the afternoon cooking a feast and I think we really outdid ourselves.

Our menu:

  • Challah
  • Slow pot roasted beef with onions and potatoes (recipe below)
  • Teriyaki chicken wings and legs with chopped cashews
  • Rice
  • Chickpea and red onion salad
  • Roro brought her famous Quinoa salad (click the link and scroll down for the recipe)
  • Peppermint crisp tart
  • Chocolate mousse
  • Diabetic friendly apple crumble
  • Diabetic friendly choc vanilla ice cream

Supper was amazing. We ate so much I had to literally sleep on my back last night :)

The best part though was having my entire family around me. Those I was born to and those I chose. Thats what makes shabbat special.

Slow Pot Roasted Beef
Serves 10
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.2kg chuck roast (or any meat that can be slow roasted)
  2. Brown onion soup powder
  3. 1 onion, thinly sliced
  4. 5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or eighths
  5. salt
  6. pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 200C
  2. Dissolve two tablespoons soup powder in a litre of boiling water and set aside
  3. Place your sliced onions in the bottom of a large roasting dish (preferably one with a lid, you can cover the dish with foil though)
  4. Place your meat on top of the onions, fat side up
  5. Liberally sprinkle the salt and pepper over the fat of the meat
  6. Place the potatoes around the meat
  7. Put the dish in the oven, uncovered at 200C for 20 minutes
  8. Remove the dish from the oven and pour the stock mix over the meat and potatoes, cover the dish with the lid or with foil
  9. Turn down the oven to 140C and place the dish back for 2 hours 30 minutes
  10. Uncover the dish and cook for a further 30 minutes to an hour (until the fat has gone brown and crispy) at 180C
  11. Remove meat from dish and allow to sit for 20 minutes, then slice and return to the dish to serve
Notes
  1. In my opinion the fat makes this dish. A piece of meat with a nice thick slab of fat on top is ideal. Not healthy but ideal. For a healthier version get a piece without too much fat on top.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

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Diabetic Friendly Apple Crumble

Laura-Kim from Harassed Mom inspired me with her recipe for a Quick Apple Crumble.

I found what I thought was a tin of diabetic apple slices in the store and bought it only to discover it was a tin of diabetic friendly apple puree. Oh well, we made a plan and modified Laura-Kim’s recipe.

Diabetic Friendly Apple Crumble
We adapted this recipe from Harassed Mom to be diabetic friendly. For the original recipe click through to Laura-Kim's site above.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 175g flour
  2. Half a cup 'spoon for spoon' sugar replacement
  3. 110g butter or marge for a milk free option
  4. 1 tin diabetic friendly apple puree (we used the יכין brand)
  5. 2 green apples, peeled and sliced thinly
  6. Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine flour and sugar replacement in a bowl
  2. Rub the butter/marge into the flour and sugar replacement mixture until it resembles crumbs
  3. In a greased pie dish spread the apple puree and layer the apple slices over it
  4. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon
  5. Cover the apples with the flour and butter mixture
  6. Sprinkle additional cinnamon over the top
  7. Bake at 180C for 35 minutes
Adapted from Harassed Mom
Adapted from Harassed Mom
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

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Peppermint Crisp Heaven

My mom brought a veritable sweet shop with her when she arrived in Israel, Chomps, Tex, Smarties and of course Peppermint Crisp.

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I remember biting off the ends of the Peppermint Crisp and sucking milk through it like a straw as a kid. Good times.

So while mom is here we decided to make a Peppermint Crisp Tart for pudding.

Peppermint Crisp Tart
A traditional South African dessert made with cream, caramel and Peppermint Crisp chocolate
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tub whipping cream
  2. 1 can caramel (or make your own by boiling a can of condensed milk. In Israel I used a tub of ready made dulce de leche)
  3. 1 packet of coconut biscuits (Tennis biscuits in SA, in Israel I used vanilla petit biscuits)
  4. Milk for soaking biscuits
  5. 1 large slab of Peppermint Crisp,crumbled. (Any peppermint flavoured chocolate would do)
Instructions
  1. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks
  2. Dip the biscuits briefly in the milk and place in a single layer on the bottom of a large square/rectangular dish
  3. Cover the biscuits with a layer of caramel
  4. Sprinkle half the crumbled Peppermint Crisp over the caramel layer
  5. Add another layer of dipped biscuits
  6. Add another layer of caramel
  7. Cover with a thick layer of whipped cream
  8. Sprinkle the remaining Peppermint Crisp over the top of the cream
  9. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve
Notes
  1. You can mix a bit of the caramel into some of the cream and include a layer of caramel cream in the middle of the tart.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

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We all went on a summer holiday.

Last Sunday my mommy arrived!

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I went to meet her at the airport in the morning and we went to my brothers place in Tel Aviv since my mom was staying with them last week, and then Paul and the kids met up with us later.

This last week both Paul and I were off work so we could spend time as a family with my mom.

We went to the beach, the pool, the (kids) science museum, the Kotel (Western Wall), Ben Yehuda Street, Sarona Market. We walked so much Im not sure if my feet will ever recover. On the day we went to Jerusalem we walked almost 12km!

Last night my mom came to us and will stay with us until she goes home. Unfortunately I had to come back to work so she is hanging out with the kids this week.

Here are some pics Paul took over the last week (some on the camera, some on the phone).

My mom with all her grandchildren :)

My mom with all her grandchildren :)

 

Family selfie in Jerusalem

Family selfie in Jerusalem

 

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Aaron took this one :)

 

These two!

These two!

 

Olives at the Sarona Market, Aaron was in heaven!

Olives at the Sarona Market, Aaron was in heaven!

 

Family selfie at the science museum

Family selfie at the science museum

 

The cutest nephew in the world!!!!

The cutest nephew in the world!!!!

 

More sibling love!

More sibling love!

 

Refreshing our feet in this awesome mist generating thingy on the streets in Jerusalem

Refreshing our feet in this awesome mist generating thingy on the streets in Jerusalem

 

Family in front of the wall

Family in front of the wall

 

 

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A day in my life

My typical weekday (Sunday – Thursday*)** goes something like this…

05:30 ~ 06:30 – Aaron wakes up.

05:51 – My first alarm goes off.

06:00 – Paul’s alarm goes off (usually he has actually already gotten out of bed).

06:00 ~ 07:25 – Paul gets ready for the day, sorts out the kids with breakfast, kids get dressed and mess around.

This is from the beginning of the year. I cant get over how much they have both grown since then :)

This is from the beginning of the year. I cant get over how much they have both grown since then :)

06:01 – My snooze alarm goes off.

06:10 – I get out of bed.

06:10 ~ 06:30 – I get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, wake Faith up (she is totally my child, hates waking up), give copious hugs and kisses to family.

06:30 – Leave the house to walk to the bus stop (about half a km walk).

06:40 ~ 06:50 – Wait for my bus, obsessively check the app to make sure I haven’t missed it.

06:45 ~ 07:15 – Play games on my phone or catch a cat nap on the bus ride to work.

07:15 – Unlock office (I’m usually, but not always, the first one in) and turn on the coffee machine before booting up my computer and settling in.

07:30 ~ 08:00 – Paul drops the kids at their respective schools (both within a 200m walk from home) on his way to the train station. From September this will be a whole lot easier since Faith will be attending the same school as Aaron.

07:30 – 13:00 – Work, drink coffee, work, drink more coffee and occasionally a cup of 5 Roses tea. Sometime before 11:00 I order lunch (we are given a budget for the month and can order from a variety of places that will deliver to us).

13:00 ~ 13:30 – Join the rest of the office in the dining area and enjoy lunch.

Love the concentration tongue!

Love the concentration tongue!

13:30 ~ 16:10/17:30 – Work and drink more coffee. Depending on the day, I either leave the office at 16:10 to catch a bus back home in order to fetch the kids from after care by 16:45. On the days that our babysitter fetches the kids, I work later to make up some time and usually leave the office at around 17:30 to catch a bus home.

16:10/17:30 ~ 16:30/18:00 – Bus ride home.

16:30/18:00 ~ 19:00/19:30 – Fetch kids/get home, do a load of laundry (not every day), play with kids, wash dishes,  read my book, bath kids (Aaron has now discovered showering on his own, when the hell did he grow up?), start supper, set table, hang laundry if applicable, clean floors or vacuum if necessary, make a salad so we get some fresh veggies in our diet.

19:00/19:30 – Paul gets home and we eat supper.

20:00 – Kids brush teeth and get ready for bed, story is read, debate over which parent puts which child to sleep.

20:15 ~ 21:00 – Put kids to sleep. This takes so long because Aaron is a chatterbox and needs to get all the words out before he can sleep. Once a child is asleep, that adult then baths/showers, followed by the other adult when the 2nd child (Aaron) eventually falls asleep. Dishes from dinner are washed in between all of this by whoever is free.

21:00 ~ 22:00 – We usually watch at least one episode of a show we are watching, at the moment we are re-watching Firefly, Netflix is awesome!

22:00 ~ 22:30 – Wash up any leftover dishes from dinner and Paul usually sorts out the kids lunches/snacks for the next day.

22:30 – Get ready for bed.

22:45 – Collapse in a heap, possibly read a chapter or two of a book or play on Twitter/FB.

23:30 – Fall asleep, sometimes earlier, sometimes later but this is the average.

And that’s our normal weekday.

*Fridays are slightly different because neither Paul or I work on a Friday and the kids finish school at 12:30ish. So Paul and I clean the apartment or go do a big grocery shop while the kids are at school and then we fetch them and spend the afternoon playing and getting ready for Shabbat.

**Saturdays are spent at the park or watching movies (again, thanks Netflix), there is no public transport and most if not all stores are closed.

 

 

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Dumb Phone

Aaron is an anxious child. He really doesn’t like new places or situations and takes a few days to settle into a new routine.

This week both kids are at a new camp. Its small and intimate, about 8 kids, in the camp mothers house. We thought that since the kids would be together, Aaron’s anxiety would not be so bad. We also decided that maybe having a way to communicate with us if he needed to would help him be more settled. So we bought a ₪150 (R500) Nokia ‘dumb’ phone (it makes calls, sends sms and has a radio) and added him to our cell contract for an additional ₪10/month, which gives him a set number of minutes and sms.

I adore these men!

I adore these men!

We told him the phone is for emergencies and he must only use it if he really really needed us.

On Sunday I received 10 calls from him. After having a chat about wasting the minutes and not having them when you really need them, I only received 6 calls yesterday. I’m hoping that they have settled in today and I don’t get any calls but I will probably get at least 3…

6 Comments

Mom Camp – קיטנה אמה

I’ve lamented the fact that these summer holidays are too bloody long. And bloody expensive when it comes to summer camps. The kids went to camp for the first 4 weeks (July) which is standard in Israel. The camps were run at their schools and were coordinated by the local municipality. August is another story. The only camps available are private. Unfortunately we were not really prepared and we could only get the kids into a camp for the second week in August which meant that the kids and I had Mom Camp last week.

Morning Cat - by Paul

Morning Cat – by Paul

It also happened to be the hottest week in Israel, ever! So we pretty much stayed home in the air conditioning for 5 solid days.

The kids played on the computer, watched Netflix, played ‘Zombie Apocalypse’, had a friend over, Aaron was sick, I got sick, we went to Jerusalem with Roro on Tuesday, played with Lego but mostly we imitated sloths.

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I think by the time Friday rolled around the kids were a little bored of being cooped up all day. We went to the large grocery store and did our monthly shop and then took the kids to the municipal pool in the afternoon. They love the pool and I have to admit its pretty awesome, spotlessly clean, plenty space, changing rooms, umbrellas, chairs and tables available, a kiosk with drinks and snacks and ice creams. Whats not to like?

Saturday we put the little buggers to work cleaning the apartment, or their rooms at least. And then we slothed some more in the afternoon.

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This morning they went to their new camp. They were pretty excited to go since they are together for the week and its also an English speaking camp which they find very exciting. I think they were mostly excited just to leave the apartment!

I adore my kids, I really really do but I really really missed work and was super grateful to come back today.

*Photos by Paul

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10 more sleeps

Until my mommy is here in Israel!

Im too excited. I cannot wait. Her plane comes in early so I am going to catch a train to the airport to fetch her and then go with her to my brothers place where she will be staying for the first week. She will come and stay at our place in the 2nd week.

Photo by Paul :)

Photo by Paul :)

The first week we are all on leave so thats the week we will do the tourist thing. Jerusalem, the Kotel, Tel Aviv, the beach, water park, museums, markets, fruit picking. So much stuff to do.

Its also my birthday and my moms birthday while she is here, so lots of celebrating.

The excitement is real!!

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Sugar free, no bake crunchie biscuits

 

 

 

Sugar free, no bake crunchie biscuits
Paul asked me if I could make him some sugar free crunchie biscuits and I found this recipe online. As usual, I’ve made some changes because of the ingredients I had on hand differed slightly. They don’t look as pretty as the originals but they are yummy.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup ground quick oats
  2. 1 cup unground quick oats
  3. 50g ground walnuts
  4. 100g chopped raisins
  5. 50ml canola oil (if I had coconut oil I would definitely have used that rather)
  6. 6 tablespoons honey
Instructions
  1. Mix both cups of oats, walnuts and raisins together.
  2. In a pan or microwave, melt the oil and honey on low heat.
  3. Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Spread into a greased tray and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Cut into squares (I only had a round tray so mine will be a bit non-squarish) and enjoy with a cuppa.
Adapted from Collecting Memories
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

2 Comments