The story of our (not so) little miracle.

When we made aliyah, we made the heartbreaking and very emotional decision, not to bring our dashies with us.

You can read about it here. Suffice to say it was the best thing for them. And they landed up going to an amazing family, they are spoiled rotten, go for car rides and vacations to the beach and sleep on the bed. We get regular updates on how they are doing and pics of them all the time.

When Paul started his new job, which is a work from home/remote office job, we decided that we would look into getting a dog.

One of my stipulations was that we would take in a rescue dog, a doggo that needed a new home. Whether because they had been abandoned, or were too old to be adopted or had health issues. After having to give up our babies and seeing the love and care they were given in their new home, we wanted to pay it forward.

So one day a few months ago, I got a call from Vanessa, her pupper’s sister needed a new home, would we be interested?

Well, maybe.

I called the vet who was in charge of looking for a new home for Nessi and got the details of her current human. Within a week we made a plan to go see her and within a week from then we brought her home.

Here is her story.

When Nessi* (and her sister Sox and the rest of their litter) were about 2 weeks old, they were found on the side of a main road, their mum had been hit by a car . The pups were split up and went to a variety of people to hand rear them.

When they were about 5 weeks old, one of the foster moms older dogs attacked Nessi and cracked her skull/jaw. She was not allowed to be adopted out until she was fully healed.

She was then adopted out to a wonderful guy in Tel Aviv. Because of the pups losing their mum so early, they all have varying degrees of anxiety and other issues from not having that maternal protection. Nessi also has a few extra issues from her attack at 5 weeks. Her human spent hours and hours with her and a trainer working through her anxiety and issues and helping her overcome them.

And then her human got sick. Unfortunately his illness meant he was unable to look after a rambunctious, energy full, crazy puppy and he had to make the very hard and heart breaking decision to re home her.

Which is where we came in.

On 4th April, Nessi came to live us.

For the first day, she lay in one spot, refusing to move or interact with us at all. We left her alone, put out food and water for her and basically ignored her even though we just wanted to shower her with love.

When it came time to take her outside before going to bed she wouldn’t let us come near her to put her leash on and Paul spent ages sitting on the floor with treats, tempting her to come close enough to him to get it on.

That night she slept on the couch in the lounge and would not come sleep in her basket in our room.

To cut a long story short, she warmed up to us within a day or two. She has now taken over the entire house. She sleeps on the couch with us when we watch TV. She sheds everywhere. She sleeps in her basket in our room at night or on the mat next to Paul’s side of the bed.

She loves playing tug with her rope or her rubber bone and get super excited when the kids come home from school.

She loves the children and lets them lie all over her and kiss and hugs her. She is very much a puppy and loves to bite and chew everything, especially people!

She still has very bad anxiety and we give her homeopathic doggy anti-anxiety pills twice a day which definitely helps but we need to take her to training. She really doesn’t like strangers, especially when they come to our house, so we need to help her deal with that or we will never be able to have visitors again.

All in all, adding Nessi to our home has been the best decision. We love her and she brings joy into our home.

*Nessi in Hebrew means miraculous.

6 months

No I’m not pregnant. Just been absent. For 6 months.

For some reason I just stopped blogging. No great secret, no shocking reason. I just stopped. I also seem to have stopped using Twitter. Again, no idea why, no real reason. I just stopped.

So, whats happened over the last 6 months?

Paul has a new job. Its a pretty cool position in an awesome company that he gets to do from home.

We got a dog! Her name is Nessi which means miracle in Hebrew. She is the cutest floof ever, even when she bites and nibbles to get your attention. I will write another post all about her soon.

The morning after Nessi came to live with us.

The kids have finished school and are well into summer vacation. In September, Aaron will be in 5th Grade and Faith will be in 3rd Grade. Where has the time gone?

Our third Pesach in Israel. It was a good evening with my family and our friends.

We all finally got our Israeli passports. This means we can travel easily throughout Europe. So give me your suggestions. Where should we visit?

I dyed my hair. Purple and blue! I love it.

Other than that, the last 6 months have been pretty quiet. Just the way I like it.

Hopefully I will be back in the writing mood now and will post more often. Or not. No promises.

 

My son the chef.

For a little while now, Aaron has been wanting to cook with me.

Last week he decided that he wanted to do all the cooking without me.

So, with a little guidance in recipes and how to execute them, Aaron cooked dinner for us every night last week.

Here is what he has made so far.

  • Mashed potatoes (that he then added onto left over mince to make a cottage pie)
  • Hot dogs with fried onions
  • Chicken breasts in soy and sweet chili sauce
  • Couscous
  • Burgers
  • Spaghetti Bolognese

Tonight he is going to make mac and cheese.

There have only been a few #KitchenKlutz incidents, a scraped knuckle while peeling potatoes and burned finger tips from a hot pot handle. But that’s to be expected, he takes after his mother after all.

Photo by Paul

I’m ordering some kids cookbooks for him so he can continue to learn and explore the kitchen.

If you have any easy, kid friendly recipes you love, please feel free to share them.

Cheesecake and Berry Weekend

I’ve been craving cheesecake for over a week and even though I bought all the ingredients last week I only managed to make it this week.

It was so easy and delicious.

Easy Cheesecake with Berry Reduction
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 


Course: Dessert
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1 packet plain biscuits, Petit Bur or Tennis Biscuits
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted margerine
  • 1 pinch salt
Filling
  • 2 packages cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 splash vanilla essence
Toppinb
  • 1 package mixed berries or berries of choice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon thickening agent (corn starch)
  • 1/4 cup water
Instructions
Crust
  1. Using a food processor (or a plastic bag and a rolling pin), break up the biscuits until they are a medium to fine powder, bigger bits are ok too.

  2. Add the sugar, salt and margarine and mix well.

  3. Prepare a round springform or pie dish and press the crumb mixture into the base, pressing it slightly up the sides.

  4. Set aside.

Filling
  1. With a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

  2. Gently pour the mixture over the crumb base.

  3. Bake in a 180C oven for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool before adding the berry topping.

Topping
  1. While the cake is baking, add the berries, water, sugar and thickener to a pot on your stove.

  2. Mix well and bring to a rapid boil.

  3. Drop the temperature to a simmer and allow the berries to reduce by 1/3.

  4. Allow the berries to cool before pouring over the top of the cooled cheese cake.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Easy Cheesecake

3 Years

We have been living in Israel for just over three years now.

Some days it feels like yesterday and some days it feels like forever.

My Hebrew still sucks but my kids are fluent.

They are both doing well in school (with some serious encouragement) and have so many friends.

Im still at my awesome job and Paul is freelancing and being an amazing house husband (I hardly ever have to do a load of laundry myself).

We have amazing friends, Israelis and Expats.

You cant ask for anything more.

Life is good.

A taste of autumn.

After experiencing an unseasonably warm autumn in Israel, we had highs of 29C, its finally started getting cold and rainy.

What better way to spend a cold morning than baking?

I decided that cinnamon-y stewed apples were the way to go, and it just so happened we had some vanilla ice cream in the freezer and I also had the last of my Moir’s custard powder from SA that was begging to be used. 

Apple crumble was a go!

Hot Apple Crumble
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 


Course: Dessert
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and diced into 2cm chunks (I used Granny Smiths, you can use any type though)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or marge
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

  2. Place the diced apple, first lot of sugar and cinnamon, and the water into a pot.

  3. Bring to the boil while stirring and then drop to a low simmer.

  4. Keep stirring until the apples have softened.

  5. Place apples and any syrup into a pie dish.

  6. To make the crumble, using your hands, mix the flour, remaining sugar, butter, and cinnamon until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.

  7. Pour the flour mixture over the apples in an even layer.

  8. Bake the pie for about 30 min.

  9. Serve hot with ice cream and custard.

Your Favourite Things – Faith

TV programme:  Anything horse or unicorn related.
iPhone App: You have a number of horse games, where you raise a horse from a foal.
Meal:  Peanut butter sandwiches (this is a default because you dont like anything else).
Fruit:  Bananas.
Vegetable:  Carrots.
Breakfast:  Chocolate cereal. Duh!
Drink:  Strawberry Banana juice.
Toy:  Does the iPad count?
You love: Horses!!

 

Something that happened yesterday: We went to watch Aaron ride his new bike, you took your scooter with but spent most of the time hanging upside down off the handrail on the steps. My little monkey!

Your Favourite Things – Aaron

TV programme:  You have started watching The Orville with mom and dad. You think its pretty funny.
iPhone App: Good question, you dont really play on the iPhone so much, you prefer the computer.
Meal:  PIZZA!
Fruit:  Apples.
Vegetable:  You tried brussel sprouts the other day and liked them.
Breakfast:  Yogurt, cereal, toast.
Drink: Whatever dad is drinking.
Toy:  You still love Nerf guns and also your computer.
You love: Coding. You are doing some courses that dad has done and starting to build your own sites.

Something that happened yesterday:  You got into bed and fell asleep while waiting for me to come tuck you in. It must have been a really busy day for you. 

The Magician’s Curse – A Book Review

Title: The Magician’s Curse
Author: Linda G. Hill
Series: The Great Dagmaru
Genre: Romance, Gothic Romance, Fantasy
Stars: *****
Goodreads
Amazon

When Herman Anderson leaves home to make a better life for herself, she doesn’t expect to meet a tall, dark stranger with whom she’ll fall hopelessly in love.

Charming and mysterious, Stephen Dagmar is a stage magician seeking an assistant. The moment he sets eyes on Herman, he knows she’s the one. He brings her home to his Victorian mansion where they embark upon an extravagant romance. Yet a shadow hangs over their love. Will the curse on his family end Stephen and Herman’s happily ever after, before it really begins?

Amidst lace and leather, innocence and debauchery, The Magician’s Curse begins the Gothic tale of The Great Dagmaru. Magic and romance await.

My Review

If you’re a fan of fantasy, intrigue and gothic romance then this is the book for you. 

The chemistry between Stephen and Herman is enough to make your Kindle start to smoke. 

And with a well rounded, and intriguing in their own right, cast of secondary characters, not a page goes by without something to catch your imagination. 

I would have loved to see more of Stephens magic but with a second book around the corner to carry on Stephen and Hermans story, I’m sure we will have plenty of opportunity for more magic.

*I reviewed this book for #TBConFB 

Got yogurt?

We did.

1.5L of Greek style yogurt.

Before it went bad I decided to look up a few recipes to use it up.

Two that stuck out were Snickerdoodle Cake and Frozen Yogurt Bark.

Both turned out delicious!

Snickerdoodle Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 


Course: Dessert
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup Greek style labour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and prepare 2 loaf pans.

  2. In a small bowl mix most of the cinnamon and 6 tablespoons of sugar together and set aside.

  3. In another bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and set aside.

  4. In your electric mixer (or a large bowl), cream the butter, sugar and oil on medium speed for about 1 minute.

  5. Add the eggs and mix.

  6. Add the vanilla and yogurt and mix until just combined.

  7. Add in the flour mixture and stir by hand until just combined.

  8. Scoop a 6th of the batter into each loaf tin, sprinkle a thick layer of cinnamon sugar over the batter, repeat 2 more times, ending with a cinnamon sugar layer.

  9. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.

  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from the tins.

  11. Serve warm with a little butter spread on.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Betty Crocker

 

Frozen Yogurt Bark
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 10 mins
 

Got some Greek style yogurt left over? This is a really quick and easy way to use it up.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Greek Style Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey You can add more or less depending on your taste
  • 1/2 cup fillings/toppings of your choice raisins, craisins, nuts, marshmallows, frozen berries, fresh fruit
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam heated until runny
Instructions
  1. Mix the yogurt and the honey until well combined.

  2. Add in any fillings you want.

  3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or tin foil.

  4. Pour the yogurt onto the baking sheet. Thickness depends on you.

  5. Add desired toppings.

  6. Drizzle the strawberry jam over the top.

  7. Freeze for no less than 4 hours.

  8. Remove from freezer and break into pieces.

  9. Store in a sealed container in the freezer.