Monday, April 26, 2021

Mother's Day Wish List

Mother's Day is right around the corner and oftentimes I am asked for suggestions for gifts for moms in peoples' lives.

First and foremost, a day off. A day to herself. A day where she doesn't have to think or plan or prep or answer questions or respond or even function at 1/10th regular mental or physical capacity. A day to sleep in (and not til 7:30, like legit SLEEP IN) without being bothered or hearing a car chase downstairs, a nice up of hot coffee where she can relish it and savor each sip, a long shower or bath alone (without interruptions), some time to lounge around and watch television of her choosing with no commentary, a delicious brunch that she doesn't have to cook or make her own reservations for or clean up or even decide to do, an afternoon nap or lazy day in the sunshine, and being told she's appreciated while treating her with appreciation. THAT is what you should gift her. 

If you want a tangible gift for her to unwrap and be overjoyed upon receiving, here's some fabulous suggestions of items I would personally love to receive.

I have been lusting over Lake Pajamas for years as their reviews shout from the rooftops of how amazing they are. Size up one because if they're tossed in the dryer they can shrink. Stick with a classic stripe, everyone loves a classic stripe. 

Possible corny but well worth it and I'm sure needed. She likely has the same bathrobe hanging up that she wore in the hospital when she had your child{ren} 
A gorgeous gingham cotton robe is lightweight enough to wear year round and a perfect fabulous treat she wouldn't gift herself.  

Every woman loves a good pair of shoes and Rothys are a win win across the board. They have an exceptional return and exchange policy so if you're off on size, they'll hook you up easily. 

4. Beautiful slippers (wear inside or outside)

Birdies are a luxurious treat most women wouldn't treat themselves too. They're normal shoes but the inside are soft like slippers. Trust, they're phenomenal.  

Jo Malone is a go to for a classic, fresh scent that flatters almost any woman's natural aroma. Many options and you can even do a set that includes a candle (definitely get the set with the candle for bonus points)  

6. A bathtime gift set (think new fabulous towel, a tray for the tub, a new book she'd love to read, a fabulous scented candle, and a bottle of wine all for her) 

7. A gorgeous new leather bag, you can even momogram it!

Taking something gorgeous and extra and then making it personalized is so thoughtful. 
8. Sentimental plants. She have a green thumb of love flowers? Head to the local garden center and get her a peony plant, a rose bush, or even a young cherry blossom tree. Watching it grow and bloom year over year, this is a great gift from the kids for mom!  

9. New beverage set. She like to entertain or treat herself now and again to a beverage. Have her enjoy that beverage in a beautiful glass with coordinating pitcher. Make it a set so she can enjoy it with friends too. This pottery barn set screams MOM and SUMMER all together at once.   

10. A custom sentimental piece of jewelry. I'm not talking little charms of the kids or a mother's ring or necklace. I'm talking something classic and simple she'll wear every day and never take off. I love YearlyCo bangles and would love to slowly collect them with each symbolizing my story. I also adore my local jeweler who finds the best gifts that do this too.

Moms deserve so much. Every day, not just on the Hallmark day. Remember that.        

Thursday, March 11, 2021

What's Cooking Wednesday: Picatta

I made this last night and immediately knew I had to share it. It. Was. SO. Easy. 

Chicken Picatta 

First off, I made basic chicken cutlets. Thin sliced chicken coated in flour (seasoned with salt and pepper) then in eggs and the dipped in panko breadcrumbs mixed with Trader Joe's onion seasoning. I then pan fry (in my must-have always pan!) I set the cutlets aside on a paper towel on a plate (helps be less greasy) 

After the cutlets are done, I put some garlic (maybe a tablespoon) and minced shallots (one large shallot) into the pan I cooked the cutlets in along with a little butter (1-2 tablespoons). Cook for about a minute. I then added in a cup of white wine and the juice of one lemon squeezed. I let it bubble, maybe 2 minutes, add in a pat of butter (about a tablespoon), let that melt and simmer the flavors together. I toss in some capers and a few slices of lemon then add the cutlets back in for one minute to absorb some sauce. Serve over any pasta. 

I seriously cannot get over how easy and delicious it was! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

What's Cooking Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie

 This is not your regular pot pie. This is my EASY take on pot pie. 

What you'll need: 
an onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
tablespoon of minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
2 cups of stock
1/4 cup cream
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into chunks
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 package Grands biscuits
an egg beaten with some water (egg wash) 
salt, pepper, fresh herbs (I had rosemary and tarragon)

Preheat oven to 400. 

In a large oven-safe skillet heat some oil and butter. Add in garlic, onions, carrots, salt and pepper and herbs. Saute for about 5 minutes. 

Toss in some flour, mix around then add in the broth and cream. 

Add chicken and mix, 4-5 minutes. 

Add in peas and corn and mix, roughly a minute. 

Top with 8 biscuits and brush each with egg wash. 

Bake on middle rack, uncovered, about 25 minutes (my oven is moody and needed 27 to be perfect). 

So easy and delicious. Enjoy!! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

There Is A Difference Between Right and Wrong

There is a difference between right and wrong. Period. 

I debated long and hard about posting something about this topic and decided if I could open even just one person's eyes to what I'm about to say, then it's worth it. 

One week ago, our nation's Capitol was attacked. Yes, attacked. By domestic terrorists and white supremacists. I am not talking about people who peacefully walked down Pennsylvania Avenue hoping to have election results overturned into their favor (which is an entire other issue). I am talking about the people who broke down the doors of the Capitol, who smashed in windows, who brought climbing gear to heave themselves over a wall, who were looking to capture and hang government officials, and who were there to do something that is blatantly illegal. 

We sat and watched the coverage of this all day. We saw the people. You can't 'fake' what was shown on live television or the videos from inside. You just can't. It wasn't a movie or a television show. There was no script. It happened. It actually happened. I still can't believe it happened, but it did. And we saw the people who were involved. Their faces. And their clothes. 

When you see someone in a "Camp Auschwitz" shirt or someone with a "White Power" flag or someone wearing "6MNE" (6 million not enough) or someone waving a Confederate flag, you have to take a step back. You have to REALLY look at what is happening around you. And you have to understand that THEY. ARE. WRONG. Period. 

Allow me to go a ways back in time as to why January 6th had such an impact on me personally. 

I am Jewish. I was raised in a Jewish home by Jewish parents. I went to a Yeshivah until 8th grade. I had a Bat Mitzvah. I can read and write Hebrew. I can even read from the Torah. My family cofounded a Holocaust museum. My father's best friend was a survivor. I am proud of my religion, my heritage, and my culture. 

I grew up listening to my ancestors tell us about the Holocaust, their experiences and horror stories, about living in Europe in a time where they weren't welcomed, about persecution just because of who they were, what they had to do to escape to America, to get to a place where they would be welcomed and accepted. 

My father raised me to be loud and proud of who I am and being Jewish. However, I was also taught to hide it when I needed to hide it. Because, as he told me, there will likely be times in your life when you'll need to hide it. And sadly, he was right.

I didn't experience any persecution or mistreatment for being Jewish until I was in high school. The first boy who ever asked me out on a date was so sweet and so kind. I was so excited. My mom even took me to the Limited to buy a new outfit just for my first 'real' date. I got to wear makeup and since he was 16, he could drive and would pick me up. I sat and waited and waited and waited. He never showed up. He didn't answer his phone when I called. I cried. I cried so hard. The next day at school, I saw him and asked him what happened. He looked at me and said, "Well, I told my dad I was going to take you out on a date and he reminded me we don't associate with your kind. With Jews." I lost it. I couldn't believe it. How dare he?! How dare his parents raise him to think that way?! I was shocked. I was hurt. I was in disbelief. I was crushed.

In college, my roommate told me the first day she wasn't going to accept me because I was a Jew. "I ain't never seen one of yous before." was what she told me. We never spoke. We shared a room for a few months and never discussed anything. I eventually moved to another building because it was too much to handle. 

While student teaching, my cooperating teacher told me I should celebrate "your holiday" over the weekend because during the week it was my responsibility to be at school every day, not celebrating at synagogue. She actually tried to fail me for missing that day of teaching, Yom Kippur. She then proceeded to refer to me as a kike to several staff members. Thankfully, they stood up for me. 

A few years into my teaching career, I had a principal who referred to me as the "dirty kike" teacher to a parent. How do you go into work, every day, knowing your superior thinks so little of you simply because of your culture? How do you continue to teach in a building knowing the administration is a bigot? I won't lie, it was immensely difficult and took a toll. 

Each of these experiences, plus countless more, made a lasting impact on me. I remember every single detail of those moments. What I was wearing, how I felt, their facial expressions, the lack of empathy in their eyes, no remorse for their words or actions. There comes a point in your life when experiences continuously add up over time teaching you the same lesson. White supremacy is wrong. 

There is a difference between right and wrong. Some things are just wrong. Cheating on a test? Wrong. Stealing? Wrong. Refusing to accept someone because of their heritage? Wrong. 
Yes, right and wrong can be all about perception. And I have had friends who have tried to debate with me on this very topic. That I am taking it personal or I'm just reading into things or that these people didn't know any better. That's making excuses for their ignorance. And, they're WRONG. Plain and simple. 

White supremacy, the belief that white people are superior to other races and should therefore dominate society, to exclude other racial or ethnic groups, and the inability to accept people who are different, is WRONG.

I see someone demonstrating their support of white supremacy and/or NOT denouncing it? HARD STOP. 

We cannot let history repeat itself as long as we learn and grow from history. What has happened in the past should be a guiding light as to what to look for in our future.  

How we act in response to this event in history will decide what happens next. Staying complacent will further breed this to happen again, but being worse next time. We need to learn. We need to grow. We need to teach. We need to listen. We need change. We need to lead our children by example. A right example. An example of love and acceptance and open minds. 

While I strive each and every day to teach my child to love and accept everyone, I will teach him that those who do not accept him or want to hurt him, he does not have to love and accept. Because there is right and there is wrong. Plain and simple. 

Hopefully we, and he, can teach them what love and acceptance is and help the next generation so we no longer continue this ruthless cycle of hate. 

If you disagree with me on what I have to say, that's fine. This is my blog and my space for me to speak my mind. While normally it's about clothes and playgrounds and gifting and low-key things, sometimes I take on serious topics. 
Just know, we can all use some education on what led to what happened on January 6th. And if you hate someone just because of their culture, heritage, or skin color, it might be time to take a step back and take a hard look in the mirror at WHY you feel that way and why you cannot accept them.