emulating Hashem by giving


~Author Unknown~

I do not know how long I’ll live
But while I live, Lord, let me give
Some comfort to someone in need
By smile or nod, kind word or deed.

And let me do what ‘ere I can
To ease things for my fellow man.
I want naught but to do my part
to lift a tired or weary heart.

To change folks’ frowns to smiles again.
Then will I not have lived in vain.
And I’ll not care how long I’ll live
If I can give… and give… and give.


Hagomel blessing

Dear husband , thank G’d, survived a car accident this evening…

Thinking of the “Hagomel” blessing that one recites after surviving a dangerous circumstance:

 Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, Who bestows kindness even to the undeserving, and thus You have also been gracious with me.

I pray to have the ability to comfort and support him through this time….

birthday and a vegan chocolate cake recipe

My oldest son’s Hebrew birthday was yesterday.  Four years of miraculous growth, thank G-d!  We made a cake together and cut and assembled it into the number four; frosted it and put chocolate chips and sprinkles.  Here is the recipe that my youngest sister gave to me:

Simple Vegan Chocolate Cake –makes one small round cake

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 cup white sugar (I used a mix of brown and white)

1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. vinegar

1 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet, just until combined.  Pour thick batter into a prepared pan – we used a round pan (oiled and floured) and Bake in a preheated oven of 350F, until a toothpick comes out clean about 35-45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Simple Vanilla Frosting:

1/2 cup margarine

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


In a small bowl, cream all ingredients together until smooth.

Note: sometimes I make a vanilla cake with the chocolate one above, spreading all the frosting in between the two cakes, and then adding a chocolate glaze on top.  For this one though, I just used about 1/2 of the frosting on the top part.  You and/or your child can really be creative with decorating!

simcha, library, bike ride and thoughts on personal tests in life

This past Sunday, my 20 year-old cousin got married near Yaffo, right by the beach.  I am soooo happy for her and her husband and pray they build a good, healthy, strong and peaceful marriage together.

Later in the week, I took dear son nearly 4 and dear son 2 to the library.  It was really packed because most kids are out of school now and some of them came with their day camps…. It made it a little hard for dear sons to focus with all the noise and energy of the children.

By the time most of the camps left, we only had about a half hour before they closed.  But that was okay. We then went into the lobby outside of the library and had a small snack of rice cakes with avocado and oranges and raisins, before heading home.

Later, in the afternoon we went to a local park.  Dear sons had been begging to go on a bike ride, so we finally went.  There were some neighborhood kids at the park and one of them was looking a lot at dear son 2’s tricycle.  I gently told dear son 2 that I thought this boy would like to have a turn and asked him if he could share…

He did, without even hesitating!  Dear son nearly 4 usually has a much more difficult time with sharing (outside of his family) and looked at his brother with disbelief.  He then looked to me and said “It’s hard for me to share”, not like it is for his brother, he continued, looking dejected.  Dear son nearly 4 once told me that he is always afraid that if he shares, it will get ruined or won’t be returned and then he wont have it ever again.

I tried to reassure him, telling him that we all have areas to work on…. Also, that he should be proud, as an older brother; he in a way should receive the merit for his brother’s good middot: I explained to him that it is probably because of his good sharing that he does do with his brother that dear son 2 learned to trust that he will receive it back and generously could give to someone who he doesn’t even know.

I realize more and more in my life, that a person’s tests in life are specifically designed for them.  With thoughts on this, after a long day, we all fell asleep pretty fast.

a poem on gratitude

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

Author Unknown

peace starts in the home

It’s the “nine days” and many bad things have happened, current and past.  I really pray for there to be peace in the world soon.  My mother always taught me that we need to start with peace in the family first, though.  For me this can be very challenging to do, but I realize it is very true nonetheless.

This last week I’ve been getting into many conflicts with my oldest son, nearly 4.  Two instances in particular.  I want to guide him in a gentle way and yet I find I need to set up firm boundaries, too.

The boundaries is the hard part for me, I guess because I associate that with being mean and not caring.  And I also know myself, that I can and do act mean when I try to “set down the line” and take action.  I get caught up in a bad role, where I raise my voice and act quickly, without much thought in the best way to do it.

And yet, I feel he really wants and needs boundaries.  This balancing of gentleness on the one hand and firmness on the other, has been difficult for me.  I haven’t been so successful I feel.

For example, I would like to teach him to take a small portion of food on his plate and add more as he sees how his appetite is.  To him this is a big insult: ” I want to be like an adult and take a lot of food on my plate!”, he demands daily.  “More, more…like you have!”  I tell him I am happy for him to eat as much as he wants, just not to waste it by taking too much in one serving, at one time.  I tell him that, “Adults take the amount that they can eat, adding more if they’re still hungry”.

The other thing that has been coming up is him using the word S.T.U.P.I.D.  Whether it is towards me or others, this is not a very nice word to use.  I noticed he says it usually when he is frustrated about something; so I try to help guide him to talk to me about the situation instead of just spouting a mean word.

Some say ignore the word and it will go away, but it’s something that really bothers me, so I am failing at ignoring it and failing at talking him through his feelings too.

I’m sure it is most likely just a stage, I tell myself, and yet how is one supposed to respond during stages that are causing an imbalance in our relationship?  I want to be the mature adult that is capable of leading, modeling and guiding.

I pray for the wisdom to understand my son and encourage him to be a thoughtful and caring person…and that we will be able to relate peacefully with one another, by tomorrow morning!

vegan banana pear muffins

These delicious and moist muffins are based on a family friend’s recipe that she compiled combining a few different recipes together.  They are sooooo good hot out of the oven (if you can’t wait) and even better served chilled from the fridge on a hot day.  I like to make them for a Shabbat dessert.

Dina’s Muffins:


2-3 mushie bananas or frozen, mashed

6 Tbl. coconut oil,  sunflower oil or margarine (I used walnut oil)

3 whole pears, (cores removed) grated

1 cup coconut milk, almond milk, or other

2 cups flour (I used 1/2 whole spelt and 1/2 regular)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried ground ginger (or fresh) (optional)

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)

honey, sugar or other sweetner to taste (optional) – I only used about 2 Tbl. of date honey this last time I made it and it was sweet to my family’s taste.  Other times I use about 1/4 cup brown sugar, if the pears aren’t very ripe.)

1 cup parve chocolate chips or chunks


In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork.  Add oil, grated pear and coconut milk .  In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add to the fruit/liquid mixture, stirring until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Taste mixture to see if it needs sweetner, adding if appropriate.  Bake 400F in prepared small or large muffin cups/tins until lightly golden brown.

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