Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Beautiful Jewish Year

Hello nice people who still visit Kosher Whine!

In case anyone was wondering what happened with KosherCop's campaign to get a cat, I can tell you he won. In fact he won big - I was just about worn down and willing to get one adult cat, slightly used, previously owned. But right at that point I made the mistake of visiting our friends' brand new tiny 8 week old fluffy little kittens. And suddenly KosherCook's assertion that you should always get 2 kittens to keep each other company made perfect sense.

Within a couple of weeks we found these 2 crazy kits:
Chickpea and Nemo - May 2012
Nemo snuggling Chickpea - November 2012
These cats are REALLY attached to each other!

They are a lot of fun and EXTREMELY patient with KosherCop, and they do entertain each other.

They destroy the house, though - literally - Nemo crawled up into the basement ceiling and brought half of it crashing down.

Anyway, just a quick update on the cats. But, the real reason I wanted to post here is to let you know I've started a new project for 2013:
My Beautiful Jewish Year.

It's a year-long project to finally organize our lives, based on the idea that the reason my efforts over the last 20 years have failed is because they weren't focused on Shabbat and the Jewish holidays.

It's just getting started, but I have lots of plans, downloads and crafts coming, so I hope you'll check it out!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Campaign for Real Felines

Our house is under siege. Protesters have arrived. There will be no peace until their demands are met.

KosherCop has lately embarked upon a relentless campaign to adopt a cat. This past Shabbat he took all of his stuffed animals, lined them up on the couch, and announced they were protesting until we got one. Then he yelled, "Occupy the [Kosher Whine] house!"

Apparently, he "really, really, really needs a cat."

I, however, do not want a cat. We used to have cats and when the last one passed away I embraced our cat-free, hairball-free, ammonia-free home and never looked back.

But I'm not sure I can hold out much longer. It's not just the begging, pleading, negotiating, and presenting of logical arguments (he's nothing if not his father's son). It's also the sudden preoccupation with our most recently deceased cat.

The cat has been gone for 3 1/2 years and KosherCop was lukewarm at best toward her when she was alive. But, he is missing her terribly all over again. Last week he had an art project at school where they had to work in the style of artist Alberto Giacometti (I love his school's art program!) So KosherCop's project was an elongated cat that was very much in the style of this cat. When he showed it to me he told me - on the verge of tears - it was a very long Zeebo and she was crying because she missed us. Well, of course, that made me cry, too. Heck, I'm crying right now just thinking about it.

KosherCop's picture of Long Crying Zeebo in the style of Alberto Giacometti

Then, yesterday, I was at a school event and mentioned the stuffed animal protest to his teacher and she told me that he has also been writing a story about Zeebo in creative writing - a memorial tribute, if you will. That may have pushed me right over the edge.

And so, in the face of overwhelming evidence I'm thinking that our son may in fact actually "need" a cat.

Ironically, KosherCook, who has wanted us to get a new cat for quite some time and was initially firmly in KosherCop's corner on this one, has now decided maybe it isn't a good idea. Apparently my arguments against were more persuasive than I realized.

So KosherCook has left it that if, and only if, KosherCop stops asking, in the spring we can consider getting a kitten.

I've got a bad feeling that some of us may not be able to make it until spring. I mean, come on, Hanukkah is coming up. I've always wanted to try to gift wrap a kitten!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Still Alive and Kicking

Yes, it has been a very long time since I last posted. Many people have pointed this out to me and have even said they miss it - which is very nice to hear.

A lot has happened since last November. The most important thing is that KosherCook started a new job last December and became full-time in April. This has been a wonderful improvement to our standard of living, but turned my life upside-down in a number of unexpected ways. Ways that should have been quite expected for someone with a decent amount of foresight and the requisite organizational skills to see beyond lunchtime. But no, not me.

At first everything was normal because KosherCook was working part-time and still picking up KosherCop after school. However, when he started full-time KosherCop began staying after school in his school's after-care program. This was all well and good, but what I didn't account for were days off.

Schools have a ridiculous number of days that they don't bother to open. Federal holidays, Jewish holidays, extra vacation days before and after Jewish holidays that other schools don't have, professional days, and the dreaded snow day (which doesn't require actual snow, just the threat of snow, to grind our lives to a halt).

We had no system in place to deal with these days off and they were a problem even when KosherCook was still part-time since he doesn't have a job that can be done from home. So all of last winter and spring was a marathon of frantic calls to grandma to see if she could babysit, days spent working from home, and in some cases unexpected days off to accommodate a school schedule that can be best described as whimsical.

Summer looked to be better as we signed KosherCop up for Camp Shoresh for both of their sessions. However, again my monumental lack of appropriate planning reared its ugly head when we realized that A) Shoresh was only 6 weeks and 2) when we scrutinized the logistics of the bus schedule we were in real trouble as to how we were going to get KosherCop to and from the bus. And again, because KosherCook's schedule was less flexible and I have a very understanding boss, I adopted a crazy schedule for the summer. While KosherCop was riding back and forth 50 minutes each way to and from camp, I was driving back and forth between Maryland and Virginia and then finishing my work day at home from 5pm to 6:30pm. Then during the other FOUR weeks of summer (did you know summer is 10 weeks long, not 8? I didn't) working from home, scrambling for playdates and again begging Grandma to babysit. The good thing was that KosherCop had a great time at camp which has not been the case for several summers.

Needless to say I couldn't wait for school to start. This year I've gone ahead and actually planned my work schedule around school (and more importantly no school) and things are somewhat more predictable.

A lot of this predictability is also due to the life-changing birthday gift I received from KosherCook last February - an iPod Touch. My years and years of obsessively searching for the perfect calendars and dayplanners came to an end when I set up my Google calendar and work Outlook calendar to both appear on my iPod. What a revelation! No more copying over my digital calendars onto paper and then ignoring them since they were rarely up-to-date anyway. Plus, we now have the added bonus of KosherCop talking about "apps" all the time.

The other sad way in which our lives have been changed is the marked decrease in gourmet dinners. KosherCook is no longer home early enough to cook a big dinner. I've had to start cooking some nights as well (gasp!). It's not so bad. I'm actually a decent cook, just not as creative as KosherCook. We still get the holiday meals and KosherCook outdid himself this year for Rosh Hashanah. He even was able to cook ahead so our guests weren't standing around for 2 hours waiting to eat.

And finally, KosherCop recently demanded to read this blog and was greatly offended by my descriptions of his antics - he thinks I am making fun of him and has told me in no uncertain terms that I am not to write about him anymore (we'll see).

So you see, everything that was at the heart of this blog has changed. We aren't an unusual family with a stay-at-home dad, just another hectic family with 2 working parents and not enough time. We don't have fabulous one-of-a-kind gourmet dinners every night and the KosherCop gravy train of hilarious material may be drying up.

So as I lay here home sick from work for the second day in a row, I'm pondering the future of this blog. What will be the point of it? Does there have to be a point? Will anyone miss the images if I just write and don't have an image to go with it? Can I stop censoring myself and tinkering with the blog design long enough to get some posts out before 2am?

Perhaps these questions will be answered. Perhaps they will remain a mystery. Either way, I miss writing and plan to be here more often.

I hope you will join me!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

That Vintage Chanukah Feeling

I have a real problem this time of year. I admit it - I have Xmas envy.

It's a graphic design thing. I love all the cozy vintage imagery that seems to go along with the holiday.

There just isn't a lot of "vintage" in Chanukah, or Judaism in general for that matter. Jews in general seem to gravitate toward modern design, from what I can see. You don't see a lot of "shabby chic" Judaica - and don't think I haven't looked. Of course this is probably because the concept would be in direct opposition to the idea of Hiddur Mitzvah - although, I ask you, wouldn't cabbage roses enhance any mitzvah?

Every year I scour the web by searching for "vintage Jewish" to see if anything turns up and there is precious little out there. I have found some vintage illustration - mostly early Zionist posters - and this great collection of Rosh Hashana cards. In fact, Rosh Hashana cards seem to be the only place I can find that Victorian style of overly precious, slightly demented illustration that I enjoy and KosherCook loathes so much (so much that I made him a Valentine's Day card last year that bore the disclaimer "This card was made with a refreshing lack of Victorian imagery. No Cupids were harmed in the making of this card"). You can read a little about the history of these cards here. In fact I was delighted by the discovery of these antique cards because KosherCook has been arguing for years that Victoriana is inherently non-Jewish - because he had only seen it for Christmas and Valentine's Day decorations. But, if I remember correctly, it was actually the same German cardmakers that made Valentines that produced these high holiday cards.

In any case, Xmas gets that vintage look and Chanukah doesn't.
I also object to being locked into the whole blue, white, silver and gold color scheme, which is ironic as you will see in a moment. 

Download Your Free Hanukkah Card!
Anyway, I decided if there was no such thing as Vintage Hanukkah I would create it myself. So I set out to make a vintage Hanukkah card that all you nice people could download for free, print out and send to your friends. Which I did. And you can. And guess what color it is? That's right - blue and gold.

Perhaps the next one will have lots of demented-looking Victorian children on it (or as KosherCop calls them, "Aaah! Scary babies!")

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fabulous Shavuot Finds

I spent today thinking about all of the wonderful additions I want to someday make to this blog, and couldn't wait to get home to start them. Of course life intruded and now it is midnight.

So instead I'm just going to share a hodge podge of fun Shavuot finds I came across. (As well as a few KosherCop tidbits, of course.)

Strawberry Rhubarb Blintzes Recipe
Today was the first day of our CSA delivery for the season and as usual this time of year, we received rhubarb. One of our members was nice enough to post a recipe from for Strawberry Rhubarb Blintzes.

Creative Jewish Mom
I have been all over the blogasphere looking for Jewish craft blogs and haven't had much luck...until today. I discovered Creative Jewish Mom which has tons of great craft tutorials for Jewish holidays. I love these cupcake paper carnations! Too bad I waited until the last minute and can't possibly festoon the house with paper flowers before the holiday starts tomorrow night.
For everything kosher, check out They have a kosher cheese update for Shavuot as well as
kosher deals and a project called “Culinary Heirlooms” which will highlight readers contributions of beloved handwritten recipe cards (I have a few in my mother's handwriting that are all stained and frayed, but I love them), advice, photos, etc.

KosherCop Updates
KosherCop brought home all of his Shavuot projects from school today, which include this vegetable placemat and Ten Commandments that are written in kid-friendly terms that a six year-old can understand:
  1. There is only one G-d
  2. Do not bow down to idols
  3. Use G-d's name only when you need to
  4. Rest on Shabbat
  5. Listen to Ima and Aba (Mom and Dad)
  6. Use words, not hands
  7. Be good friends
  8. Do not take what does not belong to you
  9. Tell exactly what happened
  10. Be happy with your own toys
Mother's Day
Backing up a bit, I received a big pile of presents for Mother's Day - all handmade in school as well. There was this beautiful card with a hebrew poem that made me cry:

Mommy, precious to me
Mommy, precious to me,
Precious mommy.
Mommy, precious to me,
Precious mommy.
My precious mommy,
Loves me very much,
Loves me very much.

I will smile at you,
I will smile,
I will smile at you,
I will smile,
I will sing a little song about you,
Because I love you,
I love you.

I had to search for the translation and found it here along with a recording of the song.

In case it isn't clear - that is KosherCop on the left inside the heart and I'm on the right.

But wait there's more: I also received a matching photo clip and box - both decorated in my absolute favorite of all kid mediums - faux stained glass ala tissue paper!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Hag Sameach!

PS - I apologize from the bottom of my little designer's heart for the truly atrocious photo layouts on this post. The photo editor has become rather difficult to manage in Blogger and I just can't make it any better at this hour.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Abstract Art

KosherCop woke me up to give me this collage this morning. I think he figured out that I can't possibly roll over and go back to sleep instead of getting up and feeding him if I'm given artwork before my eyes can even focus.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Before and After

Before - lots of hair and teeth
After - much less hair and one less tooth
The haircut and tooth falling out did not happen on the same day. I just realized I had a picture of him sitting in the same place wearing the same shirt before and after both the haircut and tooth incident.

I say "incident" because this was not a loose tooth that finally fell out. While I was at work KosherCop managed to fall off the couch and land mouth first on a stuffed animal. I will never understand how a soft toy didn't cushion him, but instead was the offending item that caused his tooth to pop out.

And apparently it wasn't a pretty scene. I talked to him on the phone when he was finally starting to calm down, and he was pretty upset. But the Tooth Fairy made it all better. By morning he was running around whooping, "Yeah! I lost a tooth finally!"


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