Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We’re Still Maccabis: A Message of Hope After the Ceasefire

By Ayala Gordesky 
(Photo courtesy
(Photo courtesy
Ayala resides in Israel with her husband, gorgeous daughter and not so gorgeous Boston Terrier. Nestled in the beautiful hills of Jerusalem she is enjoying enjoying life as an Olah and her career as a Marketer/ Content Writer.  Ayala may be reached at See her previous LADYMAMA articles here

We’re Still Maccabis

A Message of Hope After the Ceasefire

As the siren went off and the bombs exploded with our friends in the South living in a rocket rain of terror, there was one  constant thought in my mind.  After three thousand years of persecution and fear this was finally it. G-d had set up the chessboard.  With the State of Israel and Bibi as our PM we were perfectly aligned for the final redemption. This time things were going to be different. This Kislev we were going to annihilate the enemy. We were not going to be cowed by the world at large hating us indiscriminately. Then the ceasefire happened...

No matter how many times the news made mention of it or my family from America brought it up, I firmly believed it was not going to be happen. When it did it was like a blow straight to my heart. I’m not a crier but I actually wept. I could not focus on simple tasks I felt so let down and betrayed. It felt as if I were going back in time and perhaps these were not the days leading up to Moshiach after all. Perhaps my daughter was not going to know a brighter future where hatred for Jews and Israel was a thing of the past.

Now, a few days later, I’ve had time to reflect on those 8 days of battle. There were over 1,500 rockets sent our way with the full intention of killing civilians, there was a bus bombing and a group opening fire in the Gush. Examining these numbers, hundreds, if not thousands should have died. My own friends were fully exposed in a field while four rockets headed directly their way. Instead of death they got a fireworks display as the iron dome took the rockets out directly above them. There was a family in Rishon Lezion in their safe room. The building received a direct hit and collapsed around them completely yet their one room remained intact and no one was hurt. There are dozens of such stories. My husband told me today that never in his 29 years has he experienced the hand of G-d so directly as in these past two weeks. He didn’t even bother to stay hidden as we experienced open miracles that still take my breath away.

Aside from all that we have to examine what was accomplished. During the operation, Israel took down 1,500 terror sites, 30 top Hamas Jihadists, 140 smuggling tunnels and 26 weapons manufacturing facilities. Hamas spent years building these facilities and we took them down in just eight days.

Eight days has a special significance this month. One of my friends commented after the ceasefire that “Bibi is no Maccabi.” Looking back, I’m not sure I agree. Who knows what Hashem intends for us with Bibi as his conduit. Bibi has been openly and fearlessly fighting that battle for Israel since he was my age. Whether this ceasefire enacted by the Egyptian Prime Minister will create a much needed alliance with Egypt or whether it may result in major military backing by the U.S., we don’t know. What we do know is that like the Maccabis it was us against the world, accomplishing an astounding feat, all within the backdrop of open miracles. This story sounds familiar to me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LUNCHES MAKE ME CRINGE: The search for healthier lunches on a budget

By Becky Brownstein 
Becky Brownstein is a  wife, mother of five, cleaning lady, chef, program/trip organizer, taxi driver, blogger and all around great gal that lives in Kingston, Pennsylvania. Visit her website at where she shares all her experiences as a mother with the motto, "When all else fails, laugh!" 

The search for healthier lunches on a budget
(+ 4 lunch ideas you should try!)

Lunches. Uch... Just the word alone makes me cringe. It’s the last chore of the night (on a good night) and it’s the hardest. Especially when the cupboards are running low. As soon as you start chucking cereal in a bag, you know it’s time to go to the store.

Last school year I made it my own “Mother-Mission” to make healthier lunches without going over my food budget. I also wanted to get rid of the guilt of spending money on baggies that just get tossed out without a second glance. When I keep to a budget, I have to keep everything in mind. With my budget in mind and with the idea of not over-using baggies, I set out to look for a reusable container that would make that possible.

I found these sectioned ziploc containers.

They held up for a few months so I had to replace them in the middle of the year plus, they leaked. A lot. I spent a lot of time saran wrapping the apple sauce inside one of the sections. But it still didn’t cost as much as an actual apple sauce to go cup. Plus, it was one container to clean and it was durable. But the con’s outweighed the pro’s, so this school year I set out to spend a little more money and get something better.

I found this Rubbermaid lunchblox kit.
That blue thing in the middle is an ice pack. They are durable, easily washable, sparkle when they are clean and look really cute. The kids like them better since they can grab one container to take out to recess.  A few of the con’s are It’s easier for the kids to lose lids or misplace them.
The lids also have potential to get yucky stuff trapped so you have to make sure to clean those out well. I also have so many little containers to wash. But it beats saran wrapping. I fill up a sink tub with hot soapy water and either me or the kids will chuck the containers inside.

I mainly use the Lunchblox kit for the fresh fruit and vegetables. I use smaller ziploc containers for the carb snacks. I have 1 box of sandwich baggies for the times I must use them (usually for half a cucumber or tomato), or the times my kids ask for extra snacks, but other than those few times, I don’t use them.

When making lunches I try to think of healthy foods that I know my kids will like, not what I hope they’ll like. I usually ask them “will you guys eat green beans if they were in your lunch?” Either they will answer excitedly or look at me like I was insane and yell “no way!” I also try to keep things the same for everyone. If I know all the kids will eat grapes, I’ll put grapes. But if two kids don’t like bananas, I won’t put bananas at all. But if it’s only one kid who has an aversion to that specific food I’ll make an exception. If I had to make different things for everyone, it would make things really hard for me. Plus, there is a greater chance for mess ups.

One time my daughter came home with two full containers of applesauce and said to me “I don’t even like applesauce!” Shortly after, my husband came home and said “I would like to speak with your quality control department please.” He came home with one full container of grapes. He ate the other. So yeah, mess ups happen. Especially because it’s the last chore of the night. Don’t judge!

Now the fun part!


For the main dish I made flat bread (easiest and quickest to make when I didn’t have a chance to get bread) with a small cup of jelly for dipping. Next to that is homemade granola that the kids LOVED. Then it’s cut up baby carrots, applesauce and cut up watermelon.


The main dish is tomato, cucumber and lettuce sandwich with a a little bit of mayo. The sides are dried fruit and nuts, pickles, deviled eggs, pretzels and a clementine or half an apple.


The main dish is a pizza pocket. (I take frozen dinner rolls out while I make dinner and let them defrost/rise until I am ready to make lunches. I then shape them into round circles, add sauce, cheese and mushrooms or olives and bake.) The sides are edamame beans, applesauce, grapes and corn chips.

Lunch #4 

The main dish is a cream cheese sandwich. Not that exciting but the kids could eat those every day. The sides are sugar snap peas, cantaloupe (one is kiwi since my oldest hates cantaloupe) dried fruit and nuts and homemade date bars. (It was my first attempt at these whole wheat bars and I had to agree with my kids that they sucked. I will not be making those again.)

These are just a few examples. I juggle things around, switch around the vegetable options and try to pick things my kids will like. I am not a dietician or a crazy health nut. I just know my kids and know their reaction to overloads of sugar. They crash. Big time! Plus, if I give them sweets as snacks, they are hungry not even an hour later and come home with crazy stomach pains. I used to send them with store bought granola bars but they didn’t feel well after. 

After starting to make lunches like these, my kids have been coming home with empty containers and started requesting healthy snacks first when they are home without even realizing it. Because of that I don’t buy a lot of the snacks I used to. It’s a lot healthier and makes them a lot happier. Sugar treats have become just that, treats.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why I Haven't Blogged (Alternate Title: "Excuses, Excuses")

Warning: This blog post is uninspiring, unimportant and simply satisfies my need to get back into blogging with a post that addresses my insane absence over the past few months :) Nevertheless, welcome me back in the comments and let's get ready to roll :) 

Why I Haven't Blogged
(Alternate Title: "Excuses, Excuses")

1. I am lazy. This comes first because if I wasn't so lazy, none of the excuses to follow would exist. There are no good reasons for not blogging, especially considering that when I do write an important article or even just a fun post, I feel expressed and accomplished. I just need to do it. But from my laziness breeds procrastination and the next thing I know I'm so desperate to snap out of it that I'm sitting down writing and actually considering publishing my excuses because I'm too LAZY to actually put something good out there. But hey, consider this me breaking the ice. 

2. I am tired. This is very different than being lazy. Lazy is a passive and pathetic. Tiredness feels more valid. My kids wake up before 6 and want to conquer the world. That's really great for them. Not so much for me. And yes, I do go to bed early. But since summer, I have been devoting a lot of time to my home and my kids. It's been rewarding. And tiring. 

3. Content doesn't come easy. Sometimes I wish I was a fashion blogger or a food blogger. Not that I excel at either of those. But I would have more natural content covering fashion and posting recipes. LadyMama is my own personal thoughts and opinions (plus awesome guest bloggers every now and then!). I have a plethora of thoughts and ideas during the day worthy of publishing, conversations worth starting. But I need a lot of mental space and time to get it out. And I need to be inspired and thoughtful and caring and NOT #1 (lazy) and #2 (tired). 

4. Losing my groove. When I am in a groove with my blog, things are smooth sailing (okay, that's redundant). But when I let some weeks pass, it's incredibly hard to get back into it. I start feeling like no one cares whether I write or not...and there are so many other rocking blogs out there...who am I to even pretend to be a blogger? And what could I possibly write that's good enough to make up for the time past? And maybe I'm not a good writer. And maybe it's just a silly time-wasting distraction. Sure, I look back at articles like about my miscarriage and my opinion on Chassidim in the media and I know that people are listening and my writing is important to people. But is it really worth it? 

5. I have a new business. Okay, so maybe I'm not THAT lazy after all. Together with my sister-in-law, we started MimuMaxi, an original line of skirts that we design ourselves. I never intended for a new venture to take away from my baby, my blog. I know it's possible to "do it all," especially if my writing is meaningful to me. But nevertheless, putting energy into a new venture still makes it easy to ignore LadyMama. 

That being said, I intend to put some 
more time and energy into LadyMama. Stay tuned :)