Sunday, December 27, 2015


A few weeks ago I saw a brilliant movie called Bridge of Spies. I won't go into detail about the actual movie, but there was a certain part of it that I really loved.

There is a scene where a lawyer is telling a Russian spy who has been caught that he will possibly get the death penalty. The spy, a soft spoken man in his late 60's just looks at him and nods his head. "You don't seem very upset about this news," says the Lawyer. "Would it help?" replies the spy.

There are a few scenes like this throughout the movie between the spy and his Lawyer. Where he is given not great news but he meets it in a very calm way, just accepting it.

Thats not to say one should not get upset or emotional, we are human beings at the end of the day. But there are times when getting emotional really won't help a situation, in fact, it can actually make it worse.

People often tell me how 'calm' I am during stressful times. The cleaning lady didn't show up on Friday. A friend was over cooking with me. "What are you going to do????" she gasped, "Why are you not freaking out?" "Would it help?" I replied with a smile.

When I first became a mom over ten years ago, I remember wondering why every time my son was hungry he would cry as if the world was falling apart. I mean, I was feeding him on demand, when would he learn that I am his mommy, I love him with every part of my being and my goal in life was to be there for his every need. He really didn't need to get so emotional every time he needed something!

And then came the separation anxiety. I remember so clearly putting him in his high chair and going into the next room to get something. The screams from that poor child, you would have thought I was leaving on a one way ticket to Mars, never to return. Even if I would talk to him while walking away, he would cry his eyes out until I returned.

Obviously our kids all grow up and realize that mommy isn't going anywhere and they learn how to communicate. But those few events stuck in my mind for a very long time.

One of my biggest personal challenges in my life is having Faith. Having Faith in Hashem that He is the one in control, and whatever is supposed to happen, will happen.

But over the years, I have learnt a lot, especially from my babies.

If only our babies just 'knew' that we will feed them, or change them, or return to the room in a few minutes. Why the anxiety? Why the need to scream as if its not going to happen?

We are very much like these little ones. We are often in situations in our lives where it seems like Hashem has 'left the room' so to speak. And we get anxious, and scared, and don't know what to do.

Thats where the faith comes in.

When in a situation where we feel we want to scream, the cleaning lady let you down Erev Pesach, your kids are fighting and driving you nuts, your car broke down, whatever, I am sure you can fill in the blanks with all your own situations, take a deep breath. Getting upset and frustrated really is not going to help. Its a feeling, but not a productive feeling.

Take a deep breath and think, okay. Hashem 'has left the room' for a minute. He will be right back and whatever is supposed to happen, will happen. Will screaming and crying help right now? No. There is a time to cry and get upset and when those times happen in our lives we do not need to ask ourselves if this is a time to cry.

But the times where we have a choice to react, or take a breath, take the breath. Hashem will pave the way whether we believe it or not. But having faith that Hashem will hold our hand and take us exactly where we need to go will make the journey a whole lot easier.

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tree Trimming

When we moved into our home almost 10 years ago, aside for incredible bicoastal views and lots of space, one of the best things about this house was the huge avocado tree growing in the back yard.

This tree gave the most delicious buttery avocados I have ever tasted. The avocados were huge, about the size of a large grape fruit and some years we had so many avocados we had to send friends home with 8-10 avos each time they came over.

I lived on these avocados when I was nursing my first child, absolutely terrified to eat anything that might cause the poor baby gas or any other side affects I had read about.

Fresh mashed avocado was the very first food for all of my kids.

Pesach, we always had an abundance of the most delicious avocados.

This tree was so huge, it cast a massive shadow over our back porch giving it a natural shade from the strong Hawaiian sun. It was truly our magical tree.

Until one day the Maui Health Department arrived on our doorstep telling us that our dear avocado tree was too large and needed to be trimmed for various reasons.

In New York you get in trouble if you don't shovel the snow off your side walk. On Maui you get in trouble when your trees are too high. Go figure. Okay, we didn't actually get in trouble, we just had to take care of it right away.

So along came the tree trimmer. A trimmer. You go to the salon for a trim and she cuts an inch, maybe 2 off. Apparently, tree trimming on Maui means, cut most of the tree down leaving the trunk and a few stubby branches.

It was so depressing to see. I know, its just a tree you say. But this was a huge gorgeous tree, now just a brown stump. Okay, not a stump, its still the tree but imagine a huge tree with no branches or leaves. I was sad. The kids were all sad. Anyone who came over who looked at our tree got sad too.

Here it is. So so sad.

Well, the tree trimmer didn't seem too concerned. And any of our friends who know anything about landscaping and trees were just like,  "Wow, that is the best thing you could have done for that tree!" "Its going to grow back and be so much healthier!" "Your next avocados are going to be insane!"

Yeah, okay, whatever. The tree is gone, stop trying to make me feel better. It's really not working.


A few mornings after the tree was cut down I noticed this rather unusual influx of monarch butterflies flying around the yard. We're talking Disney Movie imagine the princess in the forrest and all the forest creatures flying around her amount of butterflies.

The kids would lay in the grass and have butterflies land on their noses, and we soon discovered a tree that had been somewhat smothered by the avo tree was now just blossoming, and I guess it was a tree that butterflies eat from and build their cocoons on cos now our garden is filled with these gorgeous butterflies.

And then the next morning, sitting at the kitchen table, the sun just came streaming in, creating this really gorgeous warmth. A warmth that had been blocked by this huge tree all these years.

After about a month, I started to notice these tiny green shoots coming out of the cut branches. These shoots have now turned into full on luminous green leaves.


I guess the tree trimmer wasn't just a chain saw happy meanie who destroyed our tree. I guess he knew what he was doing. Because now our tree looks really happy. And we have sun at the breakfast table. And there are butterflies flying around our garden all day. I guess its all going to be okay.

Kind of like life.

Sometimes, it seems like things are really good. And then something happens where it seems really really not so good. And it makes us really sad. We reminisce for the old life we had. How we wish things could just go back to the way they were.

But little do we know, that what seems really difficult is actually Hashems way of making us stronger. It is Hashems way of bringing in the butterflies, and the sunshine and the new brighter leaves.

We just need to listen to the experts. The landscapers who say its good for the tree to trim it down, cut down all the branches. To make room for the incredible blessings to come.

We all know that saying, 'It will all be okay in the end, if its not okay, its not the end.'

Its called having faith. And the next time you feel like a tree that has just been cut down, hang in there. Hang in there really tight, because sometimes the only way to let those blessings in, is by cutting down the tree.

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Making Life Easier

We are all so busy, some of us more over whelmed then others. Some of us are naturally organized, some of us, not so much. And as much as I wish I had a set schedule of chores for my kids, I don't. And as much as I wish my house keeping ran nice and smooth, it doesn't. Which is why I have managed to find some awesome things that have helped me tremendously in my home organization and cleaning adventure. Some are pricey, some more affordable. But check out my personal recommendations:

The Roomba

A very good friend of mine (I love you Janine!) was leaving the island. She offered to buy me a gift and asked what I wanted. I jokingly and not so jokingly mentioned I dreamed about having a Roomba of my own. And the very next day she arrived on my door step with my new best friend, the Roomba.

Every night before I go to bed, and all the kids are sleeping, I turn it on. I come down stairs in the morning to spotless floors and the Roomba happily charging in its station. Yes, when it is finished sweeping the entire downstairs, it brilliantly takes itself back to the charger. Erev Shabbos when my cleaning help doesn't arrive, I just turn on the Roomba. Clean wooden floors. Perfectly vacuumed carpets. Whether or not you have stairs, it knows to stay off of them. Every mother should own one of these.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

I have tried time and again to make a menu plan at the beginning of the week but I never seem to stick to it. I wish I could say I have all my meals planned each day, but sometimes its 2pm and I have no idea what I'm making for dinner.

This Pressure Cooker was a gift from a tourist who visited us. The other day I took an entire chicken, threw in some veggies and in 30 minutes I had the most delicious chicken soup that tasted like it had been cooking all day. Last night I took a roast that I had defrosted that day (yay, go organized me!) and put it in the pressure cooker with potatoes, carrots, onions and spices and 35 minutes later, thick delicious stew. I have made numerous soups, 1 minutes Quinoa, no joke and for moms who tend to do things last minute, this is absolutely for you.

Mason Jars

These are just great to store all food in. They keep food fresher longer, make it more appetizing to eat and the price is great. I make juices for the day and keep them in the fridge. Divide soup into one serving jars so you can just pop it in the microwave if you want a quick bowl of soup. I cut up veggies and salads and they are really great to just keep fresh foods stocked in the fridge.

Personalized Towels

This really helps with laundry. Each kid has a towel for the week. You shower, you dry yourself, you hang up your towel and wash it once or twice a week. Keeps things simple.

Days of the Week Shelves

I never figured out a laundry system, I am sure I will one day but as it stands the washing machine is just constantly going in my house, be it clothes, table clothes, towels, there is always something washing and drying.

This shelving system is great because you can set up the kids clothes for the week. Stick in a shirt, underwear, pants, socks. If they wear something twice like pants or skirt, just put it in the next days shelf at the end of the day. No more 'mommy, where are my blue pants?????'

The White Board

This is my command center, kids homeschool planner, to do list. I have a small one on the fridge where I write down groceries as we run out. I have a small one next to our calendar on the wall of things that need to get done and a really big one where we do our school work where I have divided it into days of the week and each child has their own box where I write what they need to do or have done etc.

I'm a very visual person and jotting things down in my phone is really not for me. I need to see it in front of me, not look for it.

Feel free to share any tips or products you own that make your life easier, and  I hope this was helpful to you.

                                   Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Israelis at the Mall

If you look at a globe and take your left hand and place it on Hawaii then your right hand and place it on Israel, you will see that these two places are literally back to back, on complete opposite ends of the globe.

Many Israelis come here to work in those famous kiosks in the malls selling Dead Sea products, Hair products etc. They are really really good at what they do. Some of them come here for 6 months, some for a year. Either way we end up meeting lots of them as they often join us for Shabbos. No matter who it is, the moment they step foot into our home on a Friday night, there is this instant feeling for them of home. The smell of fresh challah, hot chicken soup on the stove, the many Israeli salads we serve, Matbucha, Chatzilim, Chumus, Techina.

Over the years we have developed some very close relationships with many of them, some who spent Shabbos with us every week, some who came every Friday night. Every time one of them left the island to go back home, they would always gift me with a lotion or a hair straightener or whatever it is they were selling. Lets just say I have built up such a collection I could probably open up my own Kiosk!

We often poke innocent fun at them for being such aggressive talented sales people and how good they are at selling their products.

There is one young man, Shlomi, who we have grown very close with. He comes here almost every Shabbos and he has become a part of the family. My kids adore him and he is just a sweet heart.

He often tells us about these amazing products that he sells and we just laugh it off telling him we are not buying any of it and we are sure its all great stuff.

This past Friday, in honor of Chanukah, Shlomi gifted me with 3 of the lotions that he sells. One for the eyes, one for the neck and one for the face. I told him I'm 36 and have no wrinkles but he made sure to point out that indeed, I apparently have a bunch of lines on my face, around my eyes and on my neck that I had never noticed before. I thanked him profusely for pointing them out to me. (Insert sarcasm font here).

He was then so excited to instruct me what to do, literally an hour before Shabbos. So we both stood in front of the big mirror at the entrance of our house and began... but I will tell you I definitely was skeptical.

I followed his exact directions only on the left side of my face so I would be able to see the contrast. Apparently the results were instant.  The lotions came with these adorable tiny spoons. I put a spoon on my finger and dabbed the eye cream around my eye.

Within seconds, this happened...
Look at the left eye how it just lifted up and all the little lines around it literally disappeared. It was so cool.

Then I put the neck lotion on my neck...
Like I said, I never noticed lines on my neck but I put it on my left side and the lines vanished. See some lines on the right? No lines on the left. So awesome.

And then I put the face lotion all over the left side of my face, check out the left side vs. the right. The lines literally disappeared before my eyes.

So no, this is not a beauty blog, and if you know me personally you know that daily mascara and moisturizer is as fancy as I get. But this stuff is amazing. And its a tiny jar with a years worth of lotion. You do it once a week. I felt I needed to share it with all of you.

I immediately did the other side of my face so I wouldn't get any weird looks from our Shabbos guests. 

I asked my hubby if he noticed anything different about me to which he answered the only safe answer he knows any time I ask him how I look- 'You look perfect.' So he was of no help for this one.

We had a bunch of people for dinner and all our regulars kept making comments to me- 'did you lose weight?' 'did you get some sun?' 'are you wearing make up?' Lots of nice compliments. I sounded like one of those Israelis at the table swearing how fabulous these products are! 

So, I asked Shlomi how much these products usually cost. I also told him I have a blog. I also said I would like him to offer these products to my readers at 45% off the price he usually sells them for and with free shipping. Not asking for much, right?

So if you want to treat yourself out, give Shlomi a call or e-mail him. How often do we pamper ourselves? These are the lotions Shlomi gave me, you can get one or all three:

Shlomi also said that for Rabbanit Danit, he will honor a 45% discount for my readers only and with FREE SHIPPING anywhere in the world. You are all welcome. Just mention you saw the products on my blog. Shlomi: 808-495-6645 or

And just by the way, its been 5 days since I put on the lotions and the lines are still not there. Pretty awesome.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Joys of Reading on Shabbos

Oh, how I love Shabbos.

Now that my kids are getting older, and we live in a warm climate, Shabbos is the day they get to see all their friends that they don't get to see during the week. 

They play outside all day, I barely see them except for the meals.

We have great company come over and I love all the delicious foods.

But most of all, I love love love- did I mention LOVE?- my Shabbos afternoon reading time.

After the meal, my husband makes me a cup of chamomile tea and I go to the living room which has huge windows which are always open, letting in the most gorgeous breeze. 

I plop down on the big leather sofas choosing the spot where the sun is shining onto and just curl up and read, read, read.

Oh, how much I enjoy my reading. 

During the week, I will admit that I am too distracted by life, computers and smart phones to sit down and read. Even in the evenings, I usually just crash after a long day.

But on Shabbos, when I know there is absolutely nothing that needs to get done, the kids are all entertaining each other and I get this juicy time to indulge.

The books I am currently reading and loving are:
The Rising Life by Rochie Pinson
Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma
Flourish by Mary Jo Tate

These books are so fantastic in their own way and truly compliment each other. Here are some of my favorite parts of the books. I highly recommend each one!

The Rising Life

"On Shabbat we return to our essential selves. The fact that we cannot create anything new on Shabbat means that we, and the world, have the permission to simply exist, exactly as we are, for this one day of the week. What a relief!"

"Nobody's Challah dough is inherently prettier then the next persons. It's not about the finished product. When we are fully present during the process, the results- though they may not be 'perfect looking'- will be a flawless reflection of our love and care. And, therefore, the Challah is perfect.

This idea holds true, so true, in the raising of our children and the nurturing of our loved ones. When we parent and nurture with our whole being and focus on the process rather then try to achieve desired results, we find that the results end up being sweet and perfect."

Cleaning House

"Do your kids expect clean folded clothes to magically appear in their drawers? Do they roll their eyes when you suggest they clean the bathroom? By racing in to make their lives easy, have you unintentionally reinforced your children’s belief that the world revolves around them?
Dismayed at the attitude of entitlement that had crept into her home, Kay Wyma got some attitude of her own. Cleaning House is her account of a year-long campaign to introduce her five kids to basic life skills and the ways meaningful work can increase earned self-confidence and concern for others.
With irresistible humor and refreshing insights, Kay candidly details the ups and downs of equipping her kids for such tasks as making beds, refinishing a deck chair, and working together. The changes that take place in her household will inspire you to launch your own campaign to dislodge your kids from the center of their universe."

Her goals at the end of the book (and mine too!):

Top 12 things a Kid should know before leaving Home
1. how to make a bed and maintain an orderly room
2. how to cook and clean a kitchen
3. how to do yard work
4. how to clean a bathroom
5. how to get a job... outside our home
6. how to do laundry
7. how to host a party
8. how to do handyman jobs
9. how to work together
10. how to run errands
11. how to put others first through service
12. how to act mannerly

Flourish-Balance for Homeschool Moms

This is really great for all the overwhelmed Homeschooling moms out there. She has this great Pre-Book Self Evaluation that you do before you begin to read it with questions such as:

"What is the most frustrating aspect of your daily life?
What brings you the greatest satisfaction?
What are your biggest personal challenges? 
What are your biggest family challenges?
What is currently missing in your life that you'd like to make time for?"

It really helps put so many things into perspective and helps those of us who just have so much going on put things into their boxes and deal with every issue one at a time.

You would think I was writing a thesis on Motherhood! But I am enjoying these books so much and they truly compliment each other in so many ways.

Wishing you all a wonderful and happy Chanukah,

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