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Simply Thankful. – November 29 ’13
Happy Friday, Chanukah, and Day-After-Thanksgiving, my FabULyss DivaMoms (T.G.I. Gobble Tov)!! I can’t believe tonight we will be celebrating the third night of Chanukah. We have been celebrating with our best friends, with many, many potato latkes and Thanksgivukkah fun! It is so absolutely adorable to watch the boys exchange gifts with their friends; Jackson’s friends know he loves sports and video games, and Ollie’s friend group knows he loves music and books! We decorated our Menurkey from the Jewish Museum (they are all sold out…can’t believe how popular they got!) and are ready to light candle number three Oliver hand-painted it very creatively and attentively, and Jackson lit it like a responsible little man! Totally warmed my heart The boys asked me, “Mommy, what do you want most for Chanukah?” …and what do you think I said? 1) No fighting. 2) A lengthy bubble bath sans interruptions. 3) DeLysscious meals every night of Chanukah with some FabULyss wine! We had passes to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and was glad the weather held up! The boys were so, so excited to see Snoopy, How to Train Your Dragon, Wimpy Kid and more! I felt sooo old; I remember coming in NYC during college for Thanksgiving break, going to a club and then watching the balloons get blown up while eating a big, hot street pretzel. Such a wonderful time; time to live vicariously through my boys! They will never know how lucky they are!
Who caught me on Fox Business News on Wednesday: Money with Melissa Francis? We were debating as to whether or not people should work on Thanksgiving Day; I am well aware that many people do not have a choice in the matter, and that they are in dire need of the money. But, for those fortunate enough to have the choice, Thanksgiving should, without a doubt, be a nice, long day off spent with family. There is nothing more special to me than spending this holiday with my boys, husband, mom, dad, sister and her awesome fiancé. But, the DeLyssciousness doesn’t end there; DING DONG! Fresh Direct is here to deliver the food my sister will be cooking and that I will be baking. My sister, Sam, should really consider a career change and open her own restaurant. She is seriously the most amazing cook, just like my Nanny Natalie, my mom’s mom. Her food was one of a kind and always something we looked forward to growing up…I can still smell and taste it. My next book is actually dedicated to my grandmother, which I will be sure to keep you all posted about… We here at DivaLysscious Moms have a lot of exciting projects happening in 2014; the If You Give a Mom a Martini script is near completion, which gives me chills just to say! It is truly so exciting to see something come alive after much hard work and dedication.
On a side note, my back is still hurting me, but feels better since I went to see the best prenatal massage therapist downtown last week. He really “worked his magic!” Our holiday cards are, finally, stamped, sealed and ready to go…all 200!!!! Luckily for me, Oliver was my little helper and made the process that much more fun and efficient. Speaking of the continuation of the holidays, my older son is celebrating his big holiday…birthday number TEN!! Double digits in two weeks, baby! Oh my G-d…when did this happen!?!? I am busy working on his fun birthday party which will be at the FabULyss Pop Star Parties! Jax and his friends are going to record a rap song, Jackson’s favorite genre.
Rock star parties are all the rage when it comes to party themes. From American Idol to The Voice to X-Factor, people everywhere are captivated by singing talent shows. With Pop Star Parties, children and adults alike can be rock stars for a day at DeeTown, a premier New York recording studio where stars like Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige have belted it out. Whether your special occasion is a birthday party, bar mitzvah, or bachelorette party, the voice and music professionals at Pop Star Parties will coach you and your guests as you become rock stars for a day. Hosts, just sit back and relax for a day while Pop Star handles every little detail to make your party a success. Pop Star Parties is also a unique idea for honoring mom, your Valentine, or a new retiree. Let our award-winning song writers and producers write custom lyrics and music that perfectly capture your sentiments. And if you’re inclined, you can deliver the song yourself or have us sing it for you. Whether you want serious or comical or something in between, a Pop Star Party will truly be an event to remember. Theresa Scotto, Ali Theodore and James Petrie launched Pop Star Parties in 2012. “Pop Star came to be after a friend asked Ali if she could use the studio for her daughters birthday party!” said co-founder Theresa Scotto. Pop Star is a unique party experience, which allows you and your guests to fulfill all your Grammy dreams!
I hope all of those who traveled for Thanksgiving had safe travels through the icky weather. And to think I survived four winters in Syracuse! The winters last for months upon months there, too…crazy! Luckily, we have a fun event coming up with the original Bachelorette, Trista Sutter, to keep your mind off the cold!
Looking forward to taking Ollie to see Jim Hensons Dinosaur Live show at NYUS Skirball Center Friday. I will definitely be staying away from all the stores today on Black Friday!!! If you’re looking for something to do today, go see Philomena at my favorite theatre, the Paris theatre! It was truly a phenomenal film. I hope everyone has a great weekend and a Happy Chanukah full of sweetness and warmth; I am grateful for all of those who believe in, support, and are members of DivaLysscious Moms; we love you right back! Happy Holidays!!
Thanksgivukkah is Finally Here! – November 22 ’13
Hi, DivaMoms!! I hope everyone had a great week! All I have to say about mine is, “wow!” What a week this has been for me. I pulled my back out on Tuesday and am in so much pain; I cannot wait to feel better again so I can get to my core fusion class at Exhale (doing it the Lyss-moderation way), but I have been in bed for more than two days slathered in Bengay and Tigerbalm, with a heating pad and an ice pack. Fun, right?! I had a lot of prior commitments, so it has been pretty difficult for me. But, one of these commitments was luckily the Chanukah party at the Jewish Museum! It seems like only a couple of months ago that my boys and I were watching the Maccabeats at last year’s event. Jackson and Ollie looked so handsome in their brand new Brooks Brothers holiday outfits (finally, a break from the Under Armour!) and had such a blast eating, singing, crafting and lighting candles! I could not believe that we were actually eating latkes and singing Chanukah songs last night– it’s just way too early!! But, we are sooo excited to paint our Menurkey (turkey menorah) this weekend! Despite the tremendous back pain, I also made it today to speak at an intimate UJA (United Jewish Appeal) Federation luncheon for moms that work and walked away feeling so blessed to have had the opportunity to share my stories with these women, and listen to other inspiring and compelling stories as well. Hopefully, I will feel a little better tomorrow as I had been planning to take Jax and Oliver to their cousin’s birthday party at Bounce on Long Island. I am really looking forward to seeing this space, as I have heard it’s absolutely amazing! Hmmm… Maybe my next DivaLysscious project move should be to facilitate the opening of a Bounce: Manhattan! I know I will feel better on Thursday as we got VIP tickets to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I am looking forward to taking the boys and seeing this year’s new floats. I have heard, however, that there may be some protests, as there is a lot of controversy surrounding the Sea World float since the release of Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary, Blackfish. Have you seen it? What are your thoughts on the matter and/or on the float? All I know when it comes to the holiday this year is that I can’t wait for the DeLysscious Chanukah food!!
I am also so looking forward to taking Oliver and one of his close school friends (who is a music-and-acting enthusiast just like Ollie…yay!) to see Wicked on Broadway on Sunday. Oliver has been asking to see this show for the longest time and I am just excited as he is! I’m taking them to Ellen’s Stardust Diner first for lunch to make it a true “musical” day. Should be a great and relaxing Sunday for everyone!
I am so unbelievably grateful for so many things in my life, especially this Thanksgiving season. I have two wonderfully DeLysscious boys, a loving and incredibly supportive husband who has believed in me and my business from day one (yes, we fight, but who’s perfect!?), a career that I love and am so passionate about, my special and humanlike puppy, Jedi, the world’s coolest sister who is getting married to the world’s coolest soon-to-be brother in law this summer (so busy planning her amazing bridal shower), great lifelong friends, my health and, last but CERTAINLY not least, my soon-to-be BABY GIRL!!! She can’t get here fast enough. Oliver and Jackson have already warned me that they will try and feed the baby Thanksgiving dinner through my belly because they don’t want her to miss out on Aunt Nizzy’s (my sister Samantha) amazing cooking skills! What are your plans for Thanksgiving Day? The DivaMoms team and I sincerely wish all of you and your families the warmest, most meaningful and FabULyss Thanksgiving with your beautiful families. If you don’t come from a long line of cooking enthusiasts or don’t have Thanksgiving meal traditions, try these yummy (and healthy!) recipes! They also are both vegetarian dishes in case you are looking for a meat-free Thanksgiving or some veggie-based dishes to complement your DeLysscious turkey!
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Place the quinoa in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add 1 3/4 cups water (or use low-sodium chicken broth) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the olive oil and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic to the plate, reserving the oil.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add the pine nuts, garlic, reserved oil, parsley, raisins and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and toss.
Per serving (3/4 cup): Calories 300; Fat 15 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 5 mg; Carbohydrate 37 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 8 g
8 sheets honey graham crackers
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
12-ounces 1/3rd less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup low-fat (2%) Greek style plain yogurt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Position the oven racks in center and lower third of your oven. Fill a roasting pan about half full of water and place on the lower rack. This will create a moist environment for the cheesecake and help prevent cracking. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Put the graham crackers and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until fine. Add the butter and two tablespoons of water and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Bake until set and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl. Beat, with an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth and fluffy. Add the yogurt, egg and egg whites, reduce the mixer speed to low, and continue to beat until blended. Add the pumpkin, flour, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat until just combined. Stir with a spatula a few times to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated and to release any air bubbles in the batter that could cause the cheesecake to crack.
Pour the batter over the crust and rap the pan against the countertop a few times to bring any trapped air bubbles to the surface. Place the cheesecake on the center rack in the oven. Bake until just set and the center wiggles slightly, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and crack the door open. Let sit in the oven for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Run a thin sharp knife between the cheesecake and then pan to release the sides. Cool completely and then chill until cold, at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Before serving, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and release the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top of the cheesecake and brulee the sugar with a kitchen torch or under the broiler for a few seconds.
Per serving: Calories: 228; Total Fat 9 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Protein: 6 grams; Total carbohydrates: 31 grams; Sugar: 22 grams Fiber: 2 grams; Cholesterol: 34 milligrams; Sodium: 154 milligrams
(You can brulee the cheesecake up to about 1 hour before serving, but any longer than that and the sugar will become soft.)
Please join us for a fun book reading and signing with author Trista Sutter!
Tuesday, December 3rd
Staying Warm with Hot Chocolate, Hysterical Laughs and Movie Nights! – November 15 ’13
Hey DivaMoms, and happy Friday! #TGIF! Wow, we definitely had a crazy temperature drop in NYC this week; my boys are calling it a real-life Disney’s Frozen! It feels like a total arctic chill; I have been in the mood for decadent hot chocolate ALL week! On the coldest night of them all, I saw the hilarious musical comedy Murder for Two! I kept telling my husband how the big laughs were keeping me amply warm; it was seriously a laugh-out-loud musical that you should all see (for entertainment and warmth purposes)! Officer Marcus Moscowicz is a small town policeman with dreams of making it to detective. One fateful night, shots ring out at the surprise birthday party of Great American Novelist Arthur Whitney and the writer is killed…fatally. With the nearest detective an hour away, Marcus jumps at the chance to prove his sleuthing skills—with the help of his silent partner, Lou. But whodunit? Did Dahlia Whitney, Arthur’s scene-stealing wife, give him a big finish? Is Barrette Lewis, the prima ballerina, the prime suspect? Did Dr. Griff, the overly-friendly psychiatrist, make a frenemy? Marcus has only a short amount of time to find the killer and make his name before the real detective arrives…and the ice cream melts! Murder for Two is the perfect blend of music, mayhem and murder! In this hilarious 90-minute show, 2 performers play 13 roles—not to mention the piano—in a witty and winking homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries. The New York Times calls it “INGENIOUS! A snazzy double-act that spins out a comic mystery animated by funny, deftly turned songs.” You won’t want to miss this killer musical comedy! As I like to say, RUN, don’t walk! The boys and I are going to see Disney on Ice at the Barclays Center on Sunday– their own version of a laugh-out-loud and entertaining show! I’m just as excited as they are… I love Disney!
Even thought ice cream is the last tasty treat I want to think about in this freeeezing cold weather, I can’t help but be intrigued by the latest food craze: Glow-in-the-dark ice cream! I’m not sure if I should tell my boys, because they’ll undoubtedly want a scoop… NOW! I think this weather calls for popcorn, hot chocolate and a movie for my boys on this Friday night! Speaking of which, did you catch me on Fox this week discussing the RidicULyss rise of violence in PG-13 movies? It is my personal view that we cannot blame the movies or the people who make them; it is our jobs as parents, role models and educators to have common sense when it comes to what is appropriate. If it feels off or wrong based on your child’s personality to allow him to watch films with a certain amount of violence, then he is not ready for it and you are not ready to deal with the possible consequences. There have been countless studies done regarding children acting out in violent ways when they watch violent movies or play violent video games… so much that I can’t believe we still are discussing what to do! If you really do not know what to do or feel you cannot determine/read your child, it is simple: let your kids watch PG-13 movies when they are 13. I know that my boys– ages 9 and a half and six– can handle a little bit of violence in movies because they are grounded strongly in their morals and proper, ethical social behavior. Jackson and Oliver have a great little repertoire of must-see movies that they very eagerly wanted me to share with you! My son Jax says that “EVERY” boy in the world needs to see 42 and Like Mike, while Ollie loves the classic musicals like Annie and The Wiz! A happy medium for both boys seems to be the relatively new movie, Parental Guidance. They love it! (Also, for my fellow DivaMoms, the film Frances Ha, which I know we all saw in theaters and loved, is now on Netflix! Just a heads-up! )
And now, for the DivaLysscious-Did-You-Know of the week: Mothers who exercise during pregnancy may not only improve their health but the brain development of their babies. A new study found that pregnant women who exercised for at least 20 minutes a day, three times a week, had newborns who showed higher levels of brain activity than pregnant women who did not exercise. I was so thrilled to read this fascinating article, and immediately told Exhale Core Fusion and FlyWheel Sports NYC that they’d be seeing a LOT more of me and my pregnant belly! Aside from my exercise classes, my husband and I had parent/teacher conferences! I have never been so proud of my boys; nothing better than TWO great reports! We also stopped by the incredible Stephanie Hirsch’s art gallery opening! “Religion is for people that don’t want to go to hell. Spirituality is for those of us that have been there.” There is no better saying that captures the emotion of Stephanie Hirsch’s artwork. Her work delves into the deeper or double meaning of words and sayings with both humor and enlightenment. “Initially, sayings can be static,” Stephanie says, “but once we apply our life experiences they can have infinite meanings.” To convey her messages, she utilizes beads and embroidery, which give her artwork a three-dimensional depth. The metallic sheen of the medium also serves to remind us that the mantras can shine a positive light on our inner struggles, both literally and figuratively.I absolutely fell in love with this piece of artwork and, from what I’ve been told by my assistant and friends, it looks kind of like me (I think it’s the eyes…definitely not the lips unless I’ve stolen one of my kids’ blue raspberry lollipops..)! Speaking of art, don’t forget to take your little ones this weekend to the Free Art NYC Kidsfest, hosted by Dior!
Have a beautiful weekend, DivaMoms! And remember…
“I have never in my life found myself in a situation where I’ve stopped work and said, ‘Thank God it’s Friday.’ But weekends are special even if your schedule is all over the place. Something tells you the weekend has arrived and you can indulge yourself a bit.” – Helen Mirren…. I know I’ll be indulging in that decadent hot chocolate I’ve been dreaming about…
I also encourage everyone to keep everyone in the Philippines in their thoughts and prayers. Natural disasters are unfathomably horrific and detrimental. FOR MULTIPLE WAYS TO HELP, CLICK HERE.
DivaLysscious Moms is also thinking of the incredibly #BRAVE Amy Robach as she battles breast cancer publicly & gracefully.
An Event-Filled Weekend! – November 8 ’13
Hi DivaMoms! Wow, it’s so cold out today! The morning started out so beautifully and I loved walking the boys to school on the sunny side of the street Does anyone have some exciting weekend plans? Last weekend, I took Oliver to the Big Apple Circus! He and his BFF Harry had an incredible time and, of course, quickly made sure we found the cotton candy and popcorn; however, Ollie kept asking me, “where are all the clowns?!” We had such a blast, and really loved watching the people walk the tightrope; I held my breath the entire time! After the circus, we had a true NYC adventure; as we got out of the show, the NYC Marathon was only just ending (speaking of which, everyone was a winner in my eyes), which means we couldn’t get across to the East Side! We had to walk all the way through Central Park (yes, Sunday was very cold and not a day for a stroll through the park!), and then take the subway home to the East Side… Talk about a schlep! But, it was definitely worth it! So, Tuesday was Election Day– who did you vote for?! I voted “yes” to a holiday card photo shoot with the one and only Heidi Green Photography! After the shoot, I took the boys to Minus 5; what an incredible, unique experience! I also got to see the movie The Book Thief which is one of my favorite books. What a wonderful film! I also saw Dallas Buyers Club which will absolutely receive many nominations; both Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto were phenomenal. I had a beautiful breakfast at Sarabeth’s the other morning and had to stop myself from ordering everything on the menu. I know I’m pregnant. but I know that’s not an excuse to me unhealthy! So, I ordered an egg white omelette even though I was dying for the pancakes and french toast!!
I finally went to the salon to get my “greys” covered; I went to Louis Lacari and loved the way my color came out! I am still a brunette, for that is always made very, very clear. I will never have black or red hair! My hair looks shiny and I love it. Just as I was thinking my new hair would look beautiful with a dress and some heels, I spotted this lovely article– can you imagine that in 2013 a man is saying that a woman who wears high heels has no brains?! What is this country coming to?! I gave a response to this issue on Fox News Business; did you catch it? What do you think should never, under any circumstances, be worn in the workplace? Tweet me your responses!
Speaking of work, who’s excited to be off for Thanksgiving/Hanukkah break? I hope everyone plans on buying his or her tickets to the Jewish Museum’s Annual Hanukkah Party! I was also on The Today Show with Kathie and Hoda! I was showing off my beautiful Rosie Pope Maternity clothing; her line is absolutely FabULyss and still makes me feel pretty and in style. The topic I was discussing with them was whether or not it is OK to prank your children. I feel that it all depends on knowing your child and your relationships with them; I think the Jimmy Kimmel Halloween candy prank is brilliant, and my kids love to tease me and we have a very funny family, so I would have done this prank on them for sure (as long as there were no tears)! It plays in the back of the taxi and the boys laugh so hard that they want me to turn it up every time. My boys are extremely playful, and love to trick me, my husband and my mom. But, if I ever felt even a little bit that they wouldn’t be able to take a prank, I would never do it. It’s about knowing your kids’ natures and using common sense! As a society, we undoubtedly coddle our kids too much and are afraid to pull pranks for fear of what other people deem “good” parenting. Sometimes, I just want to say, Oh, please! Everybody get over yourselves and have a little fun! We need to make sure they have funny memories; my childhood was a very happy one in that there was always laughter! My boys saw this video and would do this to me when they were 8 and 5 – their uncle showed them this clip, and now they “spagett” me all the time. Now, at 9 and a half and six, they still “spagett” me…especially at night when it’s dark. I sometimes do it back to them, which they love and think is hilarious! Hopefully they don’t do this to their teachers; I will find out at parent-teacher conferences next week and report back in next week’s blog post! I’m wishing you all great reports, as well! I’m sure all your DivaKids will make you prouder than proud!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get back to core fusion class this weekend; I had my amnio last week and had to take a rest and, of course, I feel like I gained 10 pounds Better get moving this weekend; sure my boys will have no problem making me play hockey or baseball with them!
Have a FabULyss weekend, DivaMoms!
Divas, Dreidels & Drumsticks: Celebrate Thanksgivukkah with DivaLysscious Moms – November 1 ’13
Good morning, DivaMoms, and happy first day of November! Wow, it feels so crazy to write that. I am so excited for this amazing month full of divas, dreidels and drumsticks or as some are calling it, the month of “Gobble Tov!” We have the most FabULyss “Thanksgivukkah” inspirations for all! How many of you knew that the next time these two holidays take place at the same time of the year will be in 70,000 years?! I feel so lucky to be around for this because it is truly going to be the best food week of the year; I’m looking forward to the most DeLysscious home-cooked meals! DivaLysscious Moms is celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime “Thanksgivukkah” with Divas, Dreidels and Drumsticks!! Almost every day during the month of November, we will be giving away the most incredible gifts for moms, dads and kids! We are excited and ready to give away gifts from C Wonder, MacKenzie-Childs, Bliss Spa, and many more of your favorite brands! Entering to win is simple; you must live in Manhattan, like us on the DivaLysscious Moms Facebook page, and keep an eye out for the following: each day, we will b
e posting a fun question along with a description of the gift associated with that question. We will decide whose responses are the most interesting, creative and FabULyss! There will be one lucky winner each day and her special gift will be hand-delivered! The DivaLysscious Moms team loves the holiday season, and we are going to make it as fun as possible for you because we know how a full holiday calendar can cause stress; I just looked at my November calendar and I physically got dizzy from all the upcoming holiday events at school! Thank goodness we get to turn back the clocks on Saturday night so I get a much-needed extra hour of sleep…and my boys need it, too (trust me)! Not sure where all those marathon runners will be getting their energy on Sunday!!! I wish all of the amazing athletes running in the NY Marathon the best of luck! Ollie and I will be doing the complete opposite; we will be at the circus with Aunt Heidi and Handsome Harry, Oliver’s BFF and personality-twin! Ollie loves the circus and, I must admit, I love the candy!
I hope everyone had a safe and amazing Halloween yesterday; I know my boys had a total blast. Oliver led the Monster Mash at our annual Dylan’s Candy Bar Spooktacular as an adorable, tough policeman! The boys had so much fun trick-or-treating in our building and neighborhood and, of course, at their school dance last week. We also had a morning of family fun on Fox and Friends yesterday with a group of amazing kids in the coolest costumes!! Ollie was Sully from Monsters, INC., Jackson was a handsome Superman, and our dog Jedi was Batman. I can’t wait for my baby girl to get here so I can dress her in the cutest costume I’ve seen: a Chanel handbag! How many of you read the disturbing article on the woman in North Dakota planning to hand out “obese letters” to some children instead of candy?! All I could say was, “WTF?!” I found this so obviously emotionally damaging and inappropriate. Then, I thought, if this woman is going to be an arrogant, irrelevant know-it-all, she might as well spell “your” correctly; I’m pretty sure saying “You child is” is poor grammar…
Thanksgivukkah in the Stern household obviously calls for some serious arts and crafts! My boys love to sit down to a meal knowing they made the centerpieces, or decorated the placemats or, this year, constructed the napkin rings! That’s right– our Thanksgiving dinner will feature Magen David napkin rings! If you want to do this craft with your little ones as well, here are the steps!
- 24-gauge silver wire
- 16-gauge silver wire
- Seed beads: size 6/0 variegated bright blue, size 8/0 cobalt silver-lined, and size 11/0 cobalt
- Specialty beads: size 8/0 purple iridescent hex-cut, cobalt and white iridescent leaves, aqua wafers, and light-blue teardrops
- Needle-nose pliers
- Wire cutters
- Needle, toothpicks, or skewer
3. Cut an 11-inch length from the 16-gauge wire for the top triangle. Form wire into a 3-inch triangle and twist ends together. Flatten ends; trim excess wire.
4. Cut six 12-inch lengths of 24-gauge wire. Offset and overlap the two triangles, having the wire triangle on top of the beaded triangle. Use the 24-gauge wire pieces to tie the two triangles together where they intersect.
5. Using the remaining beads randomly, slide beads onto the “tie” wires and wrap around the 16-gauge wire triangle. Occasionally, wrap the “tie” wire several times around a needle, toothpick or skewer, coiling the wire, and then continue wrapping the wire around the triangle.
6. Cut a 5-inch length of 24-gauge wire. Wrap one wire end around an intersection of the triangles. Wrap the other end around the opposite intersection, forming the napkin ring.
The once-in-a-lifetime holiday of Thanksgivukkah is the perfect excuse for a new menorah, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy one (unless, of course, you want to). It’s easy to create a fun twist on the traditional Hanukkah menorah using materials you have on hand (well, most of them!). This homemade menorah uses pumpkins to bring a seasonal vibe to your holiday table and is a great way to engage kids of all ages.
- Eight mini pumpkins and one medium pumpkin (for the shamash, or helper candle)
- Tea light candles
- Hanukkah menorah candles (these will be easier to use for lighting the tea lights)
- Hand or electric drill fitted with 1 ½-inch-wide paddle bit (you can find the paddle bit at a hardware store for about $7)
- Paint and brushes or paint pens
- Other decorative materials of your choice (sequins, beads, buttons, gems, glitter, etc.)
- Newspaper to protect your work surface
- Kids: Remove the stems from pumpkins. (Mine snapped right off but adults can use floral cutters if necessary.)
- Adults: Using a drill with a 1 ½-inch-wide paddle bit, drill holes in the tops of the eight mini pumpkins. A hand drill will allow you to hold the pumpkin in place with one hand. I only had an electric drill, which worked great, but you will need a vice or a second adult (wearing work gloves) to hold the pumpkin in place. Make the holes just deep enough to fit the tea light candles.
- Adults: For the pumpkin that will hold the shamash candle, use a regular drill bit and make a hole large enough for your Hanukkah menorah candles.
- Kids: Decorate the pumpkins. I used glitter paint pens, sequins and beads, but you can use any craft materials you have on hand. Be creative!
- Kids: When the decorated pumpkins are dry, line them up to create a menorah.
- Kids and adults: Use your Thanksgivukkah menorah as you would any Hanukkah menorah, replacing the tea lights and shamash candle each night. Enjoy!
An article in the Times last week really caught my eye; they are now making baby-friendly versions of classic novels! I think this concept is brilliant because we already expose our infants to classical music and foreign languages and art in this form shouldn’t be excluded. I know I definitely plan on reading some baby story boards like this to my new baby girl in March! Quality time with your children is so amply effective when you are cuddled up with them to a nice book instead of just throwing them in front of a television or a video game, which so many parents mistakenly do today. It is really a shame! I think at the end, everyone agreed that the quality time reading is important and whatever you choose to read to your little ones is OK… as long as you are reading. But, two important points I made were that A) it’s important that the parents somewhat enjoy what they are reading so they are able to be more enthusiastic about their love for reading and B) you never know what could help your kids develop a taste for revolutionary and beautiful things, so why not try?! I tried with both my boys and definitely saw results, and will definitely see my baby girl in a few months chewing on and listening to Romeo and Juliet! These Baby Lit books are beautiful, thoughtful, creative and colorful and encourage bonding and learning as much as any other baby book. What could be better? I wish my mom had had these books to read to my sister and I when we were little girls.
Has the change in weather been giving you bad hair days? Chapped lips? Dry skin? How about a celebrity makeover?! Chantecaille and DivaLysscious Moms invite you to GET GLOWING this Holiday Season! Please join us for a holiday makeup cocktail! There are only 75 spots available and one lucky DivaMoms will win a supermodel makeover by Olivia! The first 25 will also receive a complimentary facial. The event is going to be so much fun and full of beautiful ladies looking to look effortlessly chic this season.
While the pumpkin menorah is absolutely adorable, some may be interested in this whole Menurkey (menorah+turkey) sensation. If so, I know your one-stop place to buy a menurkey of your very own…
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The Jewish Museum Shop is Exclusive NYC Retailer of
Hanukkah-Thanksgiving Sensation the Menurkey
New York, NY – This year, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide on November 28th, an extremely rare occurrence. In celebration of this once-in-a-lifetime event, The Jewish Museum Shop will be the exclusive retailer of the Menurkey in New York City, a Hanukkah lamp in the shape of a turkey designed by 9-year-old New Yorker Asher Weintraub.
Inspired by the themes of thankfulness that both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving share, Weintraub set out to create the perfect way to commemorate this unique combined holiday. He used Tinkercad, a 3-D modeling platform, to develop the first sketches of the Menurkey prototype and, with help from his parents and Makerbot Studios, a 3D model was printed. A wildly successful Kickstarter campaign funded production—they ended up with nearly double the requested pledge amount.
Commenting on the Menurkey, “As a retailer for 15 years, I have never before seen such a phenomenon regarding a Hanukkah lamp,” observed Stacey Zaleski, Director of Merchandising at The Jewish Museum.
The Jewish Museum Shop has one of the largest selections of Hanukkah lamps in New York City, ranging from artist and designer interpretations to reproductions of historic menorahs in the Museum’s collection. The Menurkey is available in the Museum’s shop as well as online for $50.00, $45.00 for Jewish Museum members. Made of plaster and measuring 6.5″h x 8.5″w x 5.5″d, the Menurkey is produced locally in New Jersey.
At The Jewish Museum’s Family Hanukkah Party fundraiser on Wednesday, November 20th, Asher Weintraub will be on site to sign his creation.
The Jewish Museum is one of the world’s preeminent institutions devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture and has the world’s largest and finest Hanukkah lamp collection with over 1,100 objects from around the world spanning five centuries of artistic production. Visitors to The Jewish Museum can see over 50 Hanukkah lamps currently on view in the permanent exhibition, and the Museum’s free Hanukkah app, Light My Fire, enables anyone with an iOS or Android device to explore and digitally light a selection of lamps from the collection.
The Menurkey is part of a long history of Hanukkah lamp design, as reflected in the extraordinary collection of The Jewish Museum. The joyous nature of Hanukkah has led over the centuries to a profusion of imaginative lamp shapes and decorations, serious or whimsical: biblical figures, characters from popular culture, buildings, exuberant flowers or exotic animals. Each lamp reflects the interactions between artistic expression, Jewish traditions, historic and geographic influences, and personal experience. Local styles and motifs may be seen in many of the lamps and show the great diversity of places that Jews have settled and flourished.
The festival of Hanukkah commemorates an ancient victory for religious freedom – the reestablishment of Jewish worship in the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. According to legend, a miracle occurred as the Jews gave thanks for divine intervention. A one-day supply of consecrated oil necessary for worship burned for eight days, enough time to create more oil. Hanukkah celebrates freedom and the blessing of miracles, and the tradition of kindling the festival lights continues to have profound meaning around the world. Hanukkah begins this year at sundown on Wednesday, November 27 (the evening before Thanksgiving Day).
Happy early holidays and happy Friday, DivaMoms!! And remember…