Let’s talk about bus etiquette.

Public transport is just that, public. This means that I get to travel with the (literal) unwashed masses. It also means you should have a little bit of respect for the strangers in or near your personal space.

Personal Hygiene

Yesterday, my afternoon bus was almost completely full when I got on. I was one of the last people to get a seat. The driver can allow up to 10 people on the bus standing. So the next few stops we picked up a bunch of people.

Naturally when standing on a bus, you reach out to hold something to steady yourself. Now I’ve had to stand on a long journey home before. I grab the conveniently located handles on the sides of the seat. Not Smelly Armpit Man, oh no, he had to stand reaching up, holding onto the baggage rack above me.

I get it, its summer, we sweat. But please for love of all human beings, spray or roll on some deodorant when you leave work. I do. Its the last thing I do before leaving my air conditioned office where I don’t even really sweat. I roll on my deo so no one has to catch even the faintest whiff of me. Its just polite.

Space

(Wo)man spreading. The seats are not big, not small either, but we are not riding a 1st class ticket with extra leg room and champagne to work.

So when you sit down, try not to rub thighs with the person sitting next to you. Don’t try to mash your handbag into the tiny gap between you and me. Put it on your lap. If you are sitting in the window seat, try not lean across the person in the isle seat to greet your long lost friend who is walking past. 

Oh, and if you are in the isle seat and the person in the window seat needs to get off the bus before you, stand the F up and move into the isle. Don’t just swivel your legs to the side and force me to practically sit on your lap to get past. I’m so tempted to fart on the next person that does that.

Noise

There are these amazing newfangled inventions. They are called headphones. You can get them in comfortable, over ear models or even in discreet, in ear models. You even get ones that have a built in microphone in them. The common feature though is that no one needs to listen to your crappy music, horrible canned laugh track sitcom, your grandchild screeching at the top of their lungs or your Very Important work call.

Or your loud, repetitive games. Those especially annoy me. No one wants to hear your rat a tat tat 1st person shooter game or your ching ching ching Candy Crush. If you don’t have headphones then put your phone on silent. You do not need sound to play a game.

Smells (unrelated to personal hygiene)

Hard boiled eggs, tuna, garlic. These are all yummy and delicious foods. But not on a closed bus. Certainly not at 06:45 before people have had their coffee and even worse, at 17:30 after being in your bag for the entire hot, sweaty, summer day.

Just don’t. You can eat before you leave home, or while you wait for the bus to arrive or wait until you get off the bus. But please, I beg you, do not eat your stinky food on a bus where all the windows are closed. Especially if you are practically sitting on my lap or standing over me.

Before getting on the bus

While waiting for your bus, allow older people, pregnant women or women with small babies to sit on the bench under cover. Especially when its raining.

If you really need to have a cigarette, could you maybe walk a few metres left or right of the stop and light up there? You know, away from the elderly people, pregnant women, and the children. If you are really nice, you could even see which way the wind is blowing and smoke down wind. That would be really pleasant.

Oh, yes, last thing. Get your money or your bus pass ready. Seriously, we all need to get to work or home. No one wants to stand around waiting to get on the bus because you insisted on getting on first and now cant pay. Either stand at the back of the line or be ready.

So, yeah, some of my pet peeves that really should just be common courtesy. And now, I’m going to shut down my computer, roll on my deo and I’m going to catch my bus. Wish me luck!

Kitchen Gadgets

Its no secret that I love cooking and baking.

I also love kitchen gadgets. From small gadgets like the all in one apple slicer & corer to the larger gadgets like mixers and blenders.

Here are a few of my favourite gadgets in no particular order:

  • Apple slicer and corer. I use this almost daily to slice apples for the kids.
  • Nespresso machine. Also gets used daily.
  • My new slow cooker. I’ve only made a few things in it and I’ve yet to leave it on during the day while I’m at work, but I really love it so far. Its made cooking for a Friday night so much less stressful.
  • My chopper/dicer. I bought this little gadget for ₪20 and its a life saver when I want to dice up veggies really quickly into small bits. It also ensures I don’t dice my fingers along with the veggies.
  • The Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker. This little hand held mortar and pestle is so much fun to use. I often find that some of the dried herbs I have are too big, and if the pieces are too big then the children complain that there are sticks in their food. This gadget grinds all the herbs in a few seconds.
  • Waffle machine. We have a small waffle machine that gets used at least once a month if not more. It makes 2 square waffles at a time so its a bit slow but Saturday night dinners are never more fun than waffle dinners.
  • Braun hand blender. We were given this nifty little gadget when we got married (almost 11 years ago) and its never let me down. I use it to mince onions and carrots and other veggies, I use the whisk attachment when I make (waffle) batters, I use the immersion blender when I make soup. Best gadget ever! 

This weekend a friend gave us a halogen air cooker which I cant wait to try out. Apparently you can do everything from a full roast meal to baking a cake in it. I’m pretty sure this is  also going to become one of my favourite gadgets.

The one thing missing from my kitchen is a stand mixer.

Seriously, you wont believe this but as I finished typing that last sentence my boss walked into our office and said “Who needs a stand mixer?” 

She had found a Kenwood Chef Classic being sold for half price on a ‘daily deal’ type site. So I have now bought myself a stand mixer!

I cannot wait for it to arrive!! 

What gadgets can you not live without? And what gadgets have you bought but never use?

I went to IKEA and it was awesome!

*I was not asked to nor paid to write this post. IKEA is just so awesome I had to document ALL. THE. THINGS!

The #BestBossEver was going to the IKEA food store after work and offered to take us with her. Shani and I decided to make an evening of it and do the whole store.

I made myself a list and was promptly laughed at by everyone because apparently you NEVER stick to your list.

Which  is true. I did not stick to my list. Although I only bought 3 extra things so that’s not so bad.

My list consisted of the following:

An oven glove

A4 boxes

Smaller boxes

A whisk

2 sets of tongs

An egg lift

A pasta spoon

A garlic press

IKEA zip bags

Light fittings for Faith and Aaron

And from the food shop:

Mustard

Herring

Ikea Meatball Sauce

The additional things I picked up were:

A knife sharpener

A flamingo

A frog-pig-monkey 

Start Here

Shani and I started upstairs going through all the various rooms and apartments. It also happens to be the big winter sale, so lots of things were marked down. 

Sale

We took about an hour going through the whole upstairs and then parked our trolley (and Shani for a minute) while we went to the dining area so I could experience the quintessential IKEA meal. Swedish meatballs.

Parking bays
Meatballs

Oh man! Since it was relatively early for dinner, we landed up sharing a plate of meatballs, chips and green beans. We stopped just short of licking the plate clean. For ₪25 for a huge plate of food its almost worth just going there for dinner, never mind all the awesome things to buy.

All done

Once dinner was over we headed downstairs to begin the real shopping.

It took us about an hour to go through the store, find the things on our lists, find things that were on the sale, put things we really didn’t need back on the shelf and check out.

All the things!

We then popped into the food store and grabbed all the yummies.

I really enjoyed IKEA. The whole experience was amazing. I loved the room set ups, so many cool ideas to utilise a small space. And all the nifty gadgets. I could probably spend a fortune in there if I could.

I will definitely be going back since I saw a whole lot of things I would like to get.

Yogurt = cheese. No, really!

What happens when you ask your husband to by you plain yogurt to go with your muesli and instead of coming back with the 500ml bottle you were expecting he presents you with a 3L bottle instead?

You ask FB for recipes to use up the yogurt, that’s what.

You also get some great options.

  • Fruit yogurt smoothies
  • Frozen berry yogurt drops
  • Yogurt chocolate chip muffins
  • Tsatsiki
  • Yogurt pancakes (which I made last night and were delish)
  • And a half dozen suggestions to make Labneh cheese

After doing a bit of research and buying a brand new pair of knee high stockings I set about making cheese. It was really really easy and I will definitely be making more of it!

Look closely, you can see the liquid draining out the stocking

 

Cream cheese!

 

Labneh balls rolled in sweet chili mix, rosemary & garlic mix and a few plain ones for the kids.

 

Labneh Cheese
A simple and delicious Lebanese style cream cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup full cream (or high fat percentage) plain yogurt
  2. pinch of course salt
  3. cheesecloth (or a pair of new knee high stockings - I used 20 denier)
  4. a colander or large sieve
  5. a bowl big enough to fit the colander/seive
Instructions
  1. Place your colander into your bowl and then your cheesecloth over your colander.
  2. If you are using stockings, double them up and get someone to hold them open for you.
  3. Mix your salt and yogurt together.
  4. Spoon or pour your yogurt into the cheesecloth/stockings.
  5. Tie the top of the cloth/stockings closed at the top, squeezing the yogurt towards the bottom as you go.
  6. Now you can either leave the cloth/stockings in the colander as is or you can hang them above the colander and let gravity help (I hung mine from the kitchen tap).
  7. Leave your yogurt to drain for at least 24hrs, the longer you leave it the firmer the cheese will be.
  8. You can leave it out on the counter (in winter) or in the fridge if its too warm.
  9. When you are ready to unveil your cheese, give it one last squeeze to remove any residual liquid and then, over a plate, unwrap the newly formed cheese.
There are a few options once your cheese is ready
  1. You can place it in an airtight container in the fridge and use it as a plain cream cheese spread.
  2. You can roll the cheese into small balls and then roll the balls into various herb and spice mixes before placing in an airtight container in the fridge.
  3. You can roll the cheese into small balls and then place them in a glass jar with a well sealing lid. Top the balls of cheese with a high quality olive oil to preserve them. You can also add various herbs and spices to the oil to infuse the cheese with flavour.
Other options
  1. You can also add your herbs and spices to the yogurt before draining if you like which will give you a flavoured cream cheese when you are done.
Adapted from various recipes on the web
Adapted from various recipes on the web
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Salutations

One of the things I love about Israel and the Hebrew language is that there is a greeting for everything and everyone greets everyone (well mostly, remember the grumpy old men?)

There are regular, every day greetings, good morning (בוקר טוב – boker tov) and evening (ערב טוב – erev tov).

There are greetings for the beginning and end of the week, good week (שבוע טוב – shavua tov) said from the moment shabbat has ended to the end of Sunday and  shabbat shalom (שבת שלום) said anytime from Thursday through to the end of Saturday night.

Then there are greetings for High Holy days, usually happy holiday (חג שמח – chag same’ach) or the yiddish, gut yontiv (גוט יום־טובֿ – good yom tov). 

My favourite though, is an alternative to good morning. It is usually said as a response to someone who says good morning (boker tov) to you.

The greeting is בוקר אור (boker or) and literally translates to ‘morning light’.

It really does lighten up my day!

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Sukkot

*** Right, so, I actually completed this post about a week and a half ago, thought I published it, and found it now in my drafts… So, ja, enjoy 🙂

The last few weeks has been a whirlwind of Jewish Holy Days, starting with Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year and ending with Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles (booths).

Sukkot is my favourite festival. The celebration has a double meaning, the first being the end of the harvest season and the second commemorating the years that Jewish people wandered in the desert after leaving Egypt. 

One of the things I love about Sukkot is that it is a happy festival. There is no sadness to be found here. Only celebration.

We build temporary booths called sukkot (plural) and a sukkah (singular). There are a few requirements that need to be stuck to in order to make them kosher, they must have at least 3 walls, the walls can be fancy or plain, printed material or planks of wood. The skach or roof covering must be made of untreated, unvarnished natural material and you should be able to see the stars through it at night and it must be a temporary roof, not something that is there year round. Quite a few people use palm fronds either for the whole roof or as additional roofing along with a bamboo mat.

Once you have your sukkah up you can either leave it plain or you can decorate it. We chose to decorate ours this year with crepe paper pom poms (home made) and some crepe paper garlands (shop bought) as well as a few drawings from school that were holiday themed as well as some strings of plastic fruits.

One should eat all their meals as well as snack in the sukkah and some people even sleep in the sukkah (weather permitting).

I love sitting out in the sukkah in the early morning air with my cup of coffee and my book. Its just not the same when there is no sukkah up. I also love hosting people in my sukkah and having big, noisy meals with friends and family!

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#ZombiePrompts – My 5 favourite blogs

So a few days ago, Sam from Tech Girl mentioned on Facebook that she enjoys catching up on my blog, even though we don’t have that much in common.

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It got me thinking and I remembered this prompt from #Zombieprompts. I have roughly 50 or so blogs in my feed reader at the moment. They run the gamut from mommy blogs to photography blogs to entertainment and lifestyle blogs. narrowing them down to 5 is going to be a tough one.

Harassed Mom

I met Laura-Kim online ages (and ages and ages) ago, and have been an avid reader of hers for all that time. Laura has a large family (4 kids!) and I love reading about how she manages her kids, home, work and passion for the blogging community. I especially look out for her awesome tried and tested recipes. When Laura isn’t blogging at her personal blog, she is over at South African Mom Blogs.

6000.co.za

His tongue is as sharp as a scalpel and he never fails to make me snort laugh. Mr. 6K is from the UK, living in Cape Town, has family (including a beagle) and in his own words ‘does science for a living’. Underneath his biting and often dark humour are harsh truths and eye opening facts. I always feel like I should grab a bowl of popcorn when one of his posts turns up in my reader. Oh, he also takes some awesome photos.

Tech Girl 

I have to include Tech Girl on this list, not because Sam mentioned me but because her blog is a regular go to for me. Tech is one of the things we do have in common and I really enjoy how Sam and her team break down the latest trends, games and general tech stuff into simple, easy to understand posts. They post about everything from Pokemon to curling irons, to the ins and outs of blogging. They also review a HUGE variety of products, apps, games and gadgets. I particularly love the small glimpses we get into Sam’s personal space, furnishing her home and cooking up a storm(trooper) are my two favourite examples.

jewgal

Adina has a way with words that is spellbinding. She doesnt post often but when she does I make sure to have some uninterrupted time so that I can properly concentrate on her posts. Adina writes about her her religion and faith and how she stands up for what she believes in, never wavering from her path. She writes about her family and their adventures. In every post no matter the subject, she manages to weave her soul into the story and often leaves me with tear in my eyes.

Bloggsy Malone

I’ve never met Dave IRL, but one day when I do meet him, the first thing I’m going to do is give him a great big hug! You see, Dave is one of the most inspiring people I have come across. He is a recovering addict, who writes honestly and openly about his experiences. His frankness and willingness to share his journey is a treasure. Dave is a wonderful writer with a fantastic sense of humour,he also takes awesome photos of CT. Oh, he also loves cheese. No really, he LOVES cheese!

So those are the 5 blogs that really stick out for me at the moment. What are some of your favourites?

Did you know?

I learn something new everyday. 

Today was all about bergamot.

You know, the flavour in your Earl Grey tea? Or in your favourite body wash?

Well, I always thought that bergamot was a herb/flower. And it is. But that’s not where you get your Earl Grey, fragrance or skin care products from.

No, you get that from an extract of the oils in the skin of the Bergamot Orange. This little citrus is similar in size and shape to an orange but the colour of a lemon. It smells similar to the herb and flowers but all the scents and flavours you get in your products such as tea, perfume, body lotions are from the citrus.

The herb, also knows as Crimson Beebalm, is part of the mint family and has a pretty red flower and is used in traditional medicine, in particular it is used for its antiseptic properties. Although it has been used as a tea, specifically to help with throat infections, no Earl Grey here.

By Joe Schneid, Louisville, Kentucky - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6691558
By Joe Schneid, Louisville, Kentucky – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6691558

The flower, which is technically WILD bergamot is ALSO known as Bee Balm, and it has a small cluster of white flowers and is also part of the mint family. It is also used in traditional medicine as a medicinal tea in treating colds and flu.

So, now I know and you know, unless you already knew. Did you?

Rainfall – A Book Review

I requested and received another book from Coral-Leigh to review last week. I was already in the middle of another book so I waited until the beginning of the week to start this one.

I requested another Melissa Delport book, Rainfall. Here is my review:

rainfall

Twists and turns and a gripping story

I usually don’t like 1st person books. I find it difficult to immerse myself in them and it always takes me a while to get into the story and this was the case with this book too. That being said, the story itself drew me in. Its not something I have read before and I was thoroughly intrigued by the psychology of the main characters. Not just Adam and his D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder) but Paige too. I love her happy go lucky attitude and her total dedication to the man she loves.

As I continued reading and became more immersed in the story and the characters, clear favourites started to emerge (no pun intended). I love Adam and Paige and was rooting for them from the start. I just wanted to hug Jacob and smack Simon. And Kyle… Lets just say he will always have a place in my heart.

I had heard so much about this book before I started reading it. I knew there were twists and turns and that it would be something totally out there. I did manage to guess the big twist but even though I knew what was coming, I still held my breath and lets out a frustrated ‘Nooooooooooo, it cant be!!’ when I read it.

Grab a box of tissues, a glass of wine (or two) and set aside a weekend to read this book. You wont be disappointed.

*If you would like to buy the book, hop on over to Amazon here.

*If you would like a chance at reading review copies of more awesome books, hop on over to Read & Review here to become a reviewer.

Word Origin…

Mediterranean.

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A picture of the gorgeous Mediterranean sunset off the Tel Aviv pier by Paul

Sometimes we take the words we know for granted. They just are. We don’t really think of their origins or their actual meanings.

In my last ulpan class we learned the word for middle, אֶמצַע (emtza), we were talking geography, far east, middle east etc… While explaining the word to us, our teacher said ‘middle east, like the Mediterranean sea area.’

It suddenly clicked, Mediterranean means in the middle of the land. The sea in the middle of the lands. From the Latin medius “middle” and terra “land, earth”.

I had never thought about it before. But suddenly it made sense. Funny how in a Hebrew lesson I learned something new about an English word.

It makes me wonder how many other words I take for granted. Have any of you had a word origin epiphany?