Gluten free- no eat hamentashen!

Yesterday I decided I wanted to bake hamentashen with my kids. Hamentashen are a traditional triangle cookie eaten on the jewish holiday of Purim.
Yay me. Mom of the year.
Only one problem.
I don’t bake.
No particular reason why, I just don’t. (Probably has something to do with the clean-up… And sugar, which we try to not use by the cup full.)
Anyhooo, someone recently sent me a link to an etsy shop that sells tiny polymer clay fake foods and inspiration hit.
I present:
NO EAT HAMENTASHEN KEYCHAINS!

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(Like the fruitcake on the goyim, they can never be too hard and they last forever!)

Ingredients:
1- large block of beige polymer oven bake clay. (Also known as “Caucasian skin to the doll making population)
2- small block of red, purple orange, brown polymer clay. Choose whatever colors will work for your “filling” of choice

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3- brown piece of chalk
4- rolling pin
5- 1.5″ or so round cookie cutter/glass/Prozac bottle
6- aluminum foil
7- cookie sheet
8- jewelry parts
-I loop (I think that’s what they’re called)
-Jump ring
-Key ring

Directions:
1- roll the skin clay thin but not too thin.

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2- use the cookie cutter to cut circles.

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Lay them on foil on a cookie sheet.
3- roll the jelly colors and make equal sized little marbles. We used a different cookie cutter to get them sized correctly.

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4- form the jelly into a fat lil triangle and center it in the flesh colored circle.

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Tap it with a toothpick to add some jelly texture.
5- fold up the three sides and pinch the corners.

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6- insert the I-loops into the tops.

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7- scrape the chalk into dust and use an old paintbrush or makeup brush to dust an uneven layer of golden baked goodness on your hamentashen.

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8- bake according to packaging instructions- about 275 for about 15 minutes.

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9- (not shown) after they cool, spray them with an aerosol gloss sealer.

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…..oh, shiny!
10- apply jump ring + key ring

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KEYCHAINS for the whole class!!

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11-remind your kids who the coolest mom in town is! (They need constant reminders. I’m certain by the time they are teenagers they’ll totally believe me, right?!?!

PS- last week I made teeny tiny ones that went on necklaces. Same process, smaller cookie cutter.

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This is my life

Today at my in laws my kids were doing this perler bead art with my nephew.

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When they were done my sister in law told him (he’s 9) to carry it carefully to the car and she’d iron it when they got home (about a 3-5 minute car drive.)
They’ve done it many times before and “she hadn’t let him down yet.” (Her response when he asked if it would work.)
I was incredulous.
We could barely get from the table to the countertop without the beads falling all over the damn place.
So I pulled out the scotch tape and covered my kids masterpieces so I could iron them when we got home. (I long ago adopted my in laws iron for crafts- I’m not sure they are aware of where it disappeared to.)
Despite my careful taping, and demanding to hold them, this disaster happened before we even got to the car:

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…disappointment once again.
He skipped to the car while holding his miraculous piece of perler bead magic while mine cried and the injustice.

I almost couldn’t blame them.

The tears have found me

They finally came. I didn’t know I was hiding them, but ooh, was I ever. Weeks of feeling stressed, tense, overworked, unfocussed and insecure… all of that wearing a cloak of… god, something else… I don’t know what.

And then they’ve found me. tonight. In the shower. I’d mentioned on my last Still Standing Post that I was feeling regretful about telling Molly about her sisters. Regretful because she’s been acting out, acting tense, and completely beyond rational behavior. We thought it was because I told her about the twins. So we brought her to a therapist. In the first visit, just Elie and I sat with her (the therapist) to explain the situation. She suggested that perhaps Molly felt unable to talk to us about the twins and her feelings. I denied that, saying I always told her she could talk to me, but I also know that she has intentionally hidden her feelings.

HOW ON EARTH IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I PLAN TO TRAVEL TO WISCONSIN AND TALK TO A ROOM FILLED WITH 300 BABY LOSS PARENTS ABOUT CELEBRATING AND HONORING THEIR LOST BABIES, WHEN I CAN’T EVEN DO THAT IN MY HOME?

Tonight, hubs asked me if Molly thought of the twins as her sisters. I couldn’t believe he asked such a question. uh, yeah. Because they’re her sisters. “But they were unborn” (yes- that is the word he used- lord knows where he picked that up. Oh wait- I know- he picked it up from a mindset we carried 4 years ago before we understood what it meant to lose a baby.)

And then, that’s when the tears found me. When I found myself, in the shower, trying to explain to  him, our parents, siblings and anyone else who needs to be reminded (None of these people were actually in the shower with me… I feel the need to clarify that point) that just because OUR daughters didn’t live DOES NOT MEAN they didn’t exist! And just because their bodies couldn’t work does not mean their spirits don’t. And just because they find the idea of dead babies so macabre that I was convinced I needed to have a D&E which (unbeknownst to me at the time)  mutilated their perfect little bodies does not mean that their sister has to be afraid to mention them, to love them and celebrate them the way that I want to, need to, and feel is HEALTHY.

“Just because you miss them doesn’t mean she has to. This is your tragedy, not hers.” …that’s what I was told. Well, actually, fuck that idea. This is actually a family tragedy and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna pussyfoot around my daughter so as not to make her upset. Clearly, that’s not working, and clearly, it’s not what I believe in, so why the hell am I allowing everyone else’s well-intentioned opinions guide my parenting… in an area I’ve gotten pretty damn well-versed in over the last few years.

Sometimes I really struggle with this blog. I started it to share my feelings and then, at a certain point, my feelings stopped being so “interesting” so I blogged about other stuff… Every internet book on the planet says “position yourself as an expert” but ya know what, I’m no expert. I’m just here, struggling to find light every day, push myself outside my comfort zone, take risks- even if they feel like baby steps, that sometimes move me backwards, because I believe my purpose is to just fully be me, and in the boldest, most sincere way possible. That’s what finding your Muchness is about, right? That’s why my twins were sent to me. To remind me that. It’s why they were sent to our family. I will not shelter my living daughters from the beauty that is their sisters. 

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Sunshine & Daisy. Always in our hearts, in our minds, and without shame, with their names on the tips of our tongue.

I am a mother for four daughters.

I’ve been having some heavy conversations with Molly lately. It was a few months ago that I told her about Sunshine & Daisy. I’d planned to share that story with you, since making the decision to tell her was not one I took lightly. There was a time when the idea of telling your living children about the ones you lost seemed absolutely insane to me. But then, so did a lot of things that have now come to pass. Molly was incredible, and perhaps I will share in another post the clarity and sensitivity she showed. It astounded me.

And then, life went on, and it didn’t seem like anything that was weighing on her.

Until my friend lost her 2 year old, Ella.

And then Molly started asking questions. “Why did she die? Was she sick? Is she going to come home? Is she also in the ground like Sunshine & Daisy? Are Sunshine & Daisy playing together with Ella? …Mommy, why do babies die?” Oh, to have to answer that question, when I have absolutely no idea.

She’d asked for a picture of Sunshine & Daisy and I’d shown her their 3-D ultrasounds. Now she wanted a picture of Ella too. So I gave her one. And she hid it somewhere in her room, in one of the corners where she hides her treasures.

There’s something about Molly… no matter what she feels, it’s like she feels it deeper than most people. Her drama is intense. Her anger, unstopable. Her humor, shockingly sharp, and her compassion, enormous.

The last few weeks she’s been drawing suns and daisies on all her art at school. Because “she doesn’t want to forget them” and she doesn’t want me to either. If I were not a  baby loss mom and read that, I might think “oh, that cannot be a good thing…” but then, I’d just be judging that which I cannot understand.

This morning I was sitting on Liat’s bed with Molly in my lap. Lait, growing jealous, started whining “No! That’s my Mommy!” and I replied “Yes, I am your mommy, but I have 2 daughters and I’m Molly’s mommy too.”

Molly turned to me and said “No silly! You have four daughters! Me and Liat and Sunshine & Daisy!”  and I hugged and tickled her and told her she was right.

That girl’s pretty damn smart for a four year old.

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Two of my four daughters. xoxox

 

Finding your voice / Finding your Muchness.

I love to watch Molly sing. From the day she was born I knew this child had drama written all over her, but she’s also shy and reluctant to express herself unless she’s sure she’ll do it right.
About a year ago Elie brought home the movie Annie. The girls watched it over and over an over again. Occassionally I’d hear Molly singing the songs quietly to herself. When I’d acknowledge her singing, she’d bury her cheek in her shoulder and stop.

That was before Annie came to town.

We bought tickets to a local theatre groups performance. As we settled into our seats, I could feel Molly’s anticipation, she had no idea what to expect. And I had no idea how it would connect her to her Muchness.
The curtains parted and Annie opened her mouth and started belting out “Tomorrow.”
Molly turned to me, eyes wide as saucers and exclaimed, verbatim: “Wow! She can really sing!”
After that day, I took great pride in listening to Molly sing. It’s like she suddenly got the memo that it’s OK to sing loudly and with all your passion and Muchness! In the car, in her room, in the bathroom…. Molly sings.
She often still prefers to save her greatest performances for when nobody is watching because she doesn’t want to mess up with an audience. And she loooooves to sing to herself in the mirror.

To get this clip I set up the computer so she could watch herself and then I hit record and left the room. Here is 30 seconds of what a four year old looks like singing with all her muchy fabulousness.

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Whens the last time YOU sang with that much passion? When’s the last time you belted one out with the car radio, pushing your vocal cords to their limit, actually hearing your own voice as it escaped from your body?

Here’s your Muchness Challenge for the day: Turn up the radio on a happy song that you love. (Spice Girls, perhaps? :-) )  Then, turn it up again. Then, SING LOUDER THAN THE RADIO.

Can you do it?

 

Muchness cookie bake-off

I volunteered to bring cookies to Molly’s school Thanksgiving meal. When I signed up I had visions of hand decorated, hand baked cookies with icing and candy corn designed to muchy perfection…

Ya know what? That’s a lie.

I had visions of the stuff you buy pre-decorated in the refrigerator section of the supermarket that is sitting next to the yogurt.

And that’s what I bought. Because its fun for the kids and takes about as much time as their attention span will allow.

But, in the spirit of Muchness I bought two different brands so I could do a side by side review!

Pillsbury Thanksgiving Shape Sugar cookies
Vs.
Nestlé Thanksgiving Friends Sugar Cookies

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Fun Factor:
Pillsbury Thanksgiving Shape Sugar Cookies
Pros:
-Easy little pellets pop out of the bag and onto the cookie sheet. Not much to do.
Cons:
-Maybe too easy? Very little fun factor.
-All the designs are the same. A lame-o brown and orange turkey in a fedora.

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-They say they are Shaped cookies but the only shape they are is round. Boo.
-They took longer to cook than indicated in the package so I had to sit there like a watchdog. Annoying.

Nestlé Thanksgiving Friends Sugar Cookies
Pros:
-Nestlé cookies are die cut into a square sheet. You have to pop them out. You Then have leftover raw dough you can roll out and make into more cookies or feed to your little sister when moms not looking.
-assorted designs including “I’m thankful for…” which received the reply “my sister.”… #MuchnessMoment for mom.

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-cooked as described on the package

Cons:
– none really. I mean, they’re not the most incredibly incredible cookie on earth, but they deliver on their promises.

Taste:
They both pretty much tasted like sugary crap. I should know. I ate at least 3 of each. Personally, I liked the Nestlé better but neither will be winning any awards on The Cooking Channel.

The Overall Winner? Nestlé.

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Why? They were much muchier.

That’s it!
I know this post is likely to fascinate you with its insight and sophistication. Or maybe not.
I’m sharing it with you ‘cuz it was fun to think about ways to create a muchness moment of an obligation. I coulda gone bonkers and hand decorated a bunch if hand made cookies but that would have just stressed me out and been no fun at all. Alternatively, I coulda just offered to bring the plastic utensils, but really, what fun would that have been?
What’s something you maybe have to do that you could get creative and make into a Moment of Muchness, without making yourself crazy? Share your thoughts and inspire others in the comments below!
Xox, Tova

Muchness Meals!- Muchkin Style!!

I don’t do the grocery shopping much in our house. Elie is really kinda obsessed with healthy food. His Muchness is going to Whole Foods to play in the Whole Grains sold by weight aisle. For real.

But every now and then I find myself at the grocery store. You can always tell when I’ve gpne shopping vs. when Elie’s gone shopping. When he goes, the kitchen gets filled with Kale, Seitan and Corn meal pizza crusts for homemade cheeseless tempeh Pizza. When I go the kitchen gets filled with Donuts, Ice Cream and Laffy Taffys, and for the kids, M&M Yogurt.

So, last week I found myself at Trader Joes, cuz I passed it on the way back from Michaels Craft store and we needed canned corn. I left with brownie mix. It said it was healthy!!

So, me and the girls decided to make the brownies. Yay! Muchy project! The box said the only ingredients you need are fat free vanilla yogurt. I used the M&M kind and muchified the boring brown brownies!

Step One: Reduce the guilt. Done.

Step Two: Get the kid to do the heavy lifting. That mixing is hard work.

Step Three: MUCHIFY!!

(Secret tip: We used the M&M’s from the yogurt for the brownies, but we also used Rieces Pieces from another yogurt. That way, when you ate it, you never knew what you were gonna get!)

Step Four: Clean up. Again- let the kids do the lion’s share of the work.

THE END!

A Muchness Coincidence… and also maybe a bit creepy…

Last week on vacation the whole family went to a shop on the boardwalk to buy a pinwheel. The girls were really excited.
We’d gone to the same spot last year and Molly picked out a little ducky and parrot.
Last Year:
They were in the backyard all year and got the crap kicked out of them by the winter weather.
I Molly was excited to go buy a new one. This year the girls got to pick one together.
As soon as we got home, Molly got to work installing it in the front lawn.
It looked really fun and pretty… Maybe a little lonely in our less than exciting front yard but those fading flamingos are (temporarily) keeping it company:
If I’m honest,  I kinda was wishing I had something else there too, just to balance it a bit. But I don’t. So be it.
Anyway, today I went to work. My coworker, who’d also been on vacation clear across the country, told me she saw something on her trip that made her think of me, so she bought it! How nice is that? I assumed it was some sparkly doodad that’s easy to travel with and screamed “Look at me!! I’m Muchy!!”
So she went into her office and returned with an oversized bag. Inside?
I nearly fell to the the floor. I mean, REALLY? Folks- she didn’t know about our pinwheels. We have NEVER had a conversation EVER about the fact that last year we bought pinwheels on our vacation. I hadn’t posted any pictures or comments or ANYTHING that would have made her brain say “Pinwheel? Tova!” And that is it the IDENTICAL pinwheel…
I don’t know… it’s all just a  bit TOO MUCH for me. :)
Seriously, the only thing I need to do now is yank out those sad bushes that attract too many bugs and install a flamingo garden like the one I saw in front of the Lewes Public Library.
Could you imagine? My neighbors would absolutely LOVE me!!!! 😀
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Valentines Day Muchness!

It’s Valentine’s Day!!

Last year, when Valentine’s Day rolled around, I didn’t really pay much attention. Ya know why? Because I didn’t really care. We’re not big into that stuff in our house so it never really seemed important. But then, Molly came home from school with a bag full of Valentines treats from the other kids and I felt like the biggest loser of a mom ever. So this year, when they announced the Valentines Day dance I’d like to tell you I ran out and picked the perfect little gifts and planned a whole special thing. But I didn’t. I pretty much ignored it.

But today, as I was getting ready to pick up the girls from Daycare I started to feel bad. So I looped the car around, ran into CVS and grabbed some pink stuff.

After Elie came home, I instructed him to give Liat a bath so she wouldn’t try to grab at everything and Me and Molly got to work.

We cut the stickers into strips:

 

Molly carefully selected the correct number and color of kisses:

 

Then she started signing the name tags I made (which are really extra pieces of Muchness Band Wish Strip Book covers)

 

After writing her name 10 or 12 times, she started to get creative with it! See the smiles on each letter? Love this girl!!

 

Every kid got an eraser:

 

and it all went into little treat bags I just happened to have in the basement with my craft stuff. Doesn’t everyone have those little baggies just hanging around??

TA-DA!!

 

Then, after Molly was in bed I remembered I have these little clips that were practically free because they were all broken:

 

1 glue gun and 5 minutes later:

The Muchiest Valentines Day packets EVER!!!

Are You Doing anything extra Muchtastic for Valentines Day??