Self-Esteem and Rhubarb Crumble. I mean, Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble

Before Passover, I tried to collect a couple recipes that would be easy for me to make for Passover seder. I figured it'd be okay if I kept it really simple. Then, I went on Facebook. I'm part of several food and recipe groups, and some of them get really busy around holiday time. People were posting five to fifty dishes they cooked, complete with photos and long, long recipes. I honestly wanted to cry. By the time the seder came, I served overcooked roast and the chicken-and-potato recipe I've made a million times. Excellent. 

Some women write blogs. Others love to exercise. Some find a creative outlet in the kitchen. Just because someone is going all out in one area of life, does not mean that they have the time and energy (or money for that matter) to do that with everything. Don't let your self-esteem crumble because you came across a woman running a marathon. You're running your own marathons. Marathons like, how many times can I chase my child back into her room in one night.

If kitchen-marathons are not quite you're thing, but you still need to feed your family, guests, etc., I came across a really good post from The Kitchn. It's a one-size-fits-all guide to fruit crumble, with a few minor changes depending on the the fruit. With summer coming up, this is an easy go-to. I had a friend over for dinner who's moving and I basically just bought stuffed-peppers from the deli, made a strawberry-rhubarb crumble, and called it a night. It worked out really well. Especially because I did not check-in with Facebook beforehand. 

P.S. That chicken-and-potato recipe and another go-to meal of steak on salad
P.P.S All of us struggle

 

 

Gratitude Versus a "Grrrr"-Attitude - It All Depends on Where You Breathe

The other day I was listening to a great Freakonomics podcast someone recommended to me (I wish I was one of those people who listened to podcasts but I’ve only listened to about two and a half). The talk struck a nerve with me because sometimes I can be a bit too cynical and this pushed me to strive for balance. Basically, the idea is that people tend to think life is out to get them, while everyone else has it easy. The consequence is that we miss out on the things we could be much more grateful for.  

The researchers on the podcast outlined an idea called “headwinds and tailwinds”. Like a runner who wants to have the wind at his back so he can run with less effort, we are grateful when life grants us happy circumstances – but we’re only thankful for a few moments. We get used to the “tailwind” and fail to acknowledge the continued generosity in our lives. We then become unhappy when another “headwind” blows us back. Those who, despite the stress, manage to sustain a practice of gratitude have been proven to live happier, healthier lives.

Okay, first of all. I’m a big believer in acknowledging our personal struggles and those of other people. So I cringe at the idea of swapping out empathy/concern for the line, “Oh you should just be more grateful.”  But… having said that… I really did need this reminder about gratitude and perspective.

Someone recently said this to me: Challenges are going to happen in life. The lens with which you view the challenge is what defines your well-being, both physically and emotionally. There’s the event that happened, and then there’s the way you breath meaning into it. What they said reminded me of a TED Talk by Kelly McGonigal - a psychologist who stopped telling people that “stress is bad for you”. After reviewing research, she realized that stress isn’t always harmful. What’s harmful is the belief that stress is bad. People who view stress as a “reminder” or as “inspiration” to seek help, to rally support, and to problem solve actually live longer. How crazy is that?!

In an effort to put this information to good use, I’m going to start a gratitude journal, and report back to you guys in one week, and then in two weeks about how it's going. Every night, I’ll write a few things I’m grateful for before bed. It’s for the blog, so I have to do it, right??

From my husband's phone:

 
 

I guess I'm drinking three cups of water too. I really should. 
 

Interested in joining me?? Thoughts??

P.S. More on striking a balance 
And join our newsletter, resuming again this Thursday! 

Stay-At-Home-Mama Snacks for Survival

When a friend of mine and I were both staying home with our babies (she works full time now and I write for my blog/other publications part time), we used to text each other mid-day about whether we've eaten lunch. By about 5:00, we would both confirm that we did finally have PB & J. Some people believe that when you're a SAHM, there's nothing to do but make pancakes, meet up with lululemon-wearing moms at the park, and match and fold all the socks (oh, you have unfolded socks too? Bring them over! It's no bother).

But as it turns out, staying at home with the kids is unbelievably challenging. There's no ready-made structure, you often feel as though you're not accomplishing anything, and a deep sense of isolation can sometimes (oftentimes) follow you around the house as you go about your day. Then there's the shame that comes with yelling/constantly feeling frustrated with your kids, because you have no space or privacy or patience left. 

So. Here are some things that helped me when I stayed at home, and still help me as a part-time SAHM: Get out of the house with your kids, even if just for a drive. Try to find a friend who "gets it" so you can text each other about how you haven't done the dishes in a week. And lastly, you need to eat. Somehow, it's gotta happen. Because hunger makes all the other emotions too much to handle. I'll wait here while you make some PB & J.

Okay, now, for you all moms out there (whether you work at a conventional job or as CEO of your home) who have trouble finding something nourishing to eat, here are a couple quick ideas that have helped me out in desperate times.. 

Homemade "granola": Mix your favorite healthy cereal (I like Kashi's Sprouted Grains), with almond slices, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Snack on through out the day to help curb hunger

A break from PB & J... Veggies on toast: My favorite is avocado with cucumber and tomato and a sprinkle of kosher salt. I love Angelic's sprouted breads

Healthy chocolate shake: Add 1 Frozen banana, 1 cup chocolate almond milk (I love the Silk brand), and 1 tbsp peanut butter to a blender. If you don't have a frozen banana, add a few cubes of ice. 

 

I hope this helps even just a little bit. I know how hard it can be to take care of yourself when you're caring for your beloved kids and simply trying to "survive". 

What other ideas do you guys have? Whether you're a mom or not, what food do you depend on to get through your day?

xoxo

L & B is on Passover Break!

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Hi everyone! I'm sorry this took me so long to post... I'll be gone for Passover break and will be back the week of the 24th. No matter what holiday you may be celebrating this month, I hope it feels meaningful and beautiful and not-too-stressful (I know that last one is a pretty hard one though...) 

If you're in the mood to read a bit, here are some oldies: 

Enjoy your April and we'll reconnect soon!!! 

Round-up of recipes for Passover

Eating your kids' leftovers for dinner is what being a mom is all about

On becoming more comfortable with my identity as an Orthodox Jewish woman

Do you struggle with anxiety? Here's how women describe anxiety and how they cope

An inspiring interview with a very inspiring woman

Losing it with our kids

Ten women's tips for pretending to look more awake

I'll still be around a bit on instagram

 

 

 

Working Mothers and The Struggle to Make Ends Meet

This blog post was done in collaboration with Women Employed

I’ve mentioned my amazing mother many times on the blog, but today I’d like to give you a bit more background about her. When I was ten years old, and my brothers - Ori and Ziv - were fifteen and twelve, our beloved father passed away from a heart attack. I was incredibly close to my dad and his death was devastating. My mom continued to raise the three of us herself, and we knew our lives would change forever.

My mother worked hard as a Hebrew teacher, and at times worked multiple teaching jobs to ensure our lives would remain normal and full of opportunity. We played whatever sport we wanted (with the exception of football. Sorry Ori…), we went to summer camp, and she sent all three of us to college. I even went with my senior class in high school on a trip to Italy. But there were sacrifices we had to make as a family. Sacrifices my mom had to make. We understand how much she did for us and continues to do for us till this day. I can’t explain the feeling of pride that runs through our family. The admiration and love we all share always comes back to her. 

When I became a mother myself, I wanted to call my mom every day to say “thank you” (and to apologize for… everything). After my second baby was born, I only became more overwhelmed by my responsibilities, and more in awe of my mother. How did she do all of this, and on her own? It was at that point that I realized how important it is to support mothers. Mothers who wake up every day and take care of their babies through everything, with or without someone there to support them and witness their struggle.

Fortunately for our family, we grew up with a parent who had steady and stable work to rely on. She had benefits, a predictable schedule and paid sick days. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many women. Women are twice as likely as men to work at jobs with poverty-level wages. In the United States, nearly 17 million women earn less than $25,000 a year despite working in full-time, year-round jobs.  For low-income workers, over 70% lack sick days. For mothers, this can make life impossible. When their children become sick, they risk being fired or are forced to quit because they can’t make it to work. The risk is greater if there is no spouse, partner, or adult family member to provide additional care. There is a constant fear and anxiety over the ability to pay bills, put food on the table, and provide basic care for herself and her kids. 

In addition to low-pay and unpaid leave, 59% of full-time, hourly-workers experience schedule fluctuations. One week they may work 40 hours, the next they may work 10, but there is no way to know ahead of time. As you can imagine, mothers and caregivers suffer most. Finding daycare becomes a weekly and often hopeless endeavor. What daycare can accommodate such a demanding and inconsistent schedule?

There can be hope for the future. Costco, for example, has a policy of “core hours” for workers where employees are promised a minimum amount of hours each week. While some companies have turn-over rates nearing 100%, Costco's is only 11%. It’s important that our legislators work to make this the standard. It’s also important that workers understand their company’s policies, lest they be taken advantage of unknowingly.

There are many ways to help the millions of mothers in need of good and fair work. Women Employed is a nonprofit dedicated to serving women in the workplace. They work with lawmakers to pass fair workplace legislation and with companies to implement fair policies. You can volunteer, write to your representatives, and learn about your own rights by visiting their website. If you or a friend has experienced a hostile work environment, please write to them with your stories. They’re here for you.

We don’t have be alone in our struggles. We can be each other’s witnesses in hard times, and work together to secure a better future!

Saying "Not My Problem" and Other Things to Try Out in Spring

Are you a people pleaser? I shared a video from the show "Black-ish" on a recent post, and I just have to show another one. After dealing with a patronizing doctor for far too long, the leading matriarch of the show, Dr. Bow Johnson, finally snaps at him. Such an amazing moment that I'm sure many of us have only dreamed about...

A family friend recently gave me this golden advice recently. She said, instead of trying to please the people who show miserable behavior, why don't you just say to yourself "It's not my problem" and move on. Of course, their actions still may affect you deeply, but at least you've liberated yourself from the huge responsibility of walking on eggshells all. the time. 

How does that sound for a spring resolution? What are some things you're "trying on" for Spring? In case you're looking for a couple more ideas, here are a few...

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Want to eat more vegetables? I tried out an edited version of this dip and loved it. It's a refreshing kosher-for-Passover treat for whenever you need a break from matzah brei. 

Veggie dip
About two cups plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil (plus more for drizzling later)
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 small clove)
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp parsley, chopped (or 2 frozen cubes)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder

Mix all of the ingredients together very well. Use a food processor if you want to add the anchovies. 

Or maybe some orange tulips to brighten up your home... I love the blue vase (multi-purpose vessel?) I picked up on sale at the new Home Goods in our area. 


Here's an easy tip for our how to protect your feet from blisters in your spring flats or sandals.


Are you insta?? If so, do you follow Martha Stewart? I don't really do any of those projects, but it is so fun to follow

 

What are you trying out for spring?
A new way of thinking? A new recipe? Something else?

 

P.S.  Follow L & B on instagram
P.P.S  This tastes good in spring too...