Friday, September 23, 2011

Currently Reading...

1. "Mudbound" by Hilary Jordan. I am almost done. I really recommend it. I will be discussing it in a book club I was invited to by Angie next week. I was also invited to a Delta Gamma alumni group book club that I will try to attend - the book they picked sounds good too - it's called "Wanderlust". Neither book club seems to have picked books for the next few months, which bothers me. I always like to know ahead of time, this way I can plan which book I want to read, etc. I can also order them all together on amazon. Although I suspect I will soon be converted to the kindle.

2. A few different articles for school (masters) on the Hebrew school issue and the fact that our youth is over programmed and it's just not working. Ugh, no magic solution yet.

3. About a hundred different books on high holidays and sukkot to finish up the family program on October 9th. I got about 7 responses from NATE list serve (National Association of Temple Educators) where people just sent me their ENTIRE programs, organized to the T that they have done for Sukkot form past years. They include supplies lists and post-programs critiques, etc. WOW!

Speaking of Sukkot, Charlie and I had our palm fronds removed, and cut down the three pine trees in the back (wow those pine needles SUCKED!). I thought that the palm fronds would be perfect for the s'chach of the sukkah (the material that we need to use as a roof for it),

For those who do not know what a Sukkah is, it is a "hut" that you build that has to be made of temporary/natural material, has an open wall, you have to see the stars through the top. You usually decorate it with colorful paper chains, hanging fruit, lights if you want, etc. You have it up and eat your meals in it during the holiday Sukkot, "Feast of Tabernacles"

We ended up having SO MUCH, enough for a lot of sukkot (plural of sukkah). We'll obviously give some to my parents and use for ours if Charlie ends up building one. If anybody needs palm fronds, let us know! The backyard smells like a forrest - very piny, I want to go to a log cabin!

Shabbat Shalom Ya'll!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ilana Shapiro's cookie recipe

The day we got engaged I went over to Ilana's house for Israeli dancing right after - my mom had to drive me I was so jittery. We were dancing up a storm and Ilana made these cookies. They were huge and thick and chewy. So So SOOOO good. Here is her recipe

• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 2 1/4 cups bread flour
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 egg yolk
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
• 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
3. Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips (or whatever you want to add in).
4. Chill the dough for at least an hour, then scoop onto baking sheets ( Ilana uses a 1.5 oz scoop) , 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 375 or until golden brown, checking the cookies every few minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. This makes around 20 cookies...and they are big and thick. Enjoy!!

Modification - I made them a smaller the second time around because they were going to serve a lot of people, (I hosted a DG bbq at our house - by the way, our neighbor across the street is a dg alum!). I reduced the cooking time to about 10 minutes, and they came out really good, but a tiny bit browned at the bottom, so if you are going to make "normal sized cookies" I would suggest 8 or so minutes. They come out so good though when they are thick (they are chewy either way).


a bit of cooking

A few weeks ago I decided to utilize our 'engagement" herb garden. A lot of the herbs had died from it just being too darn hot, but since I cut all the dead leaves off, and used a lot of the good ones, they have now grown back quickly and are staying nice and green! 

Above is the basil I was able to use. I made a pesto and marinated some chicken. It's in the freezer still - will use for a big batch of weekend cooking at some point.

This is the curry plant. A lot of it had dried up from the heat. I used this with some tikka paste and chicken broth and chicken in the crock pot. It came out spicy and delicious, and lasted us FOREVER. The last bit of it I served over pasta and mixed goat cheese into the sauce. Yum!

A week and a half ago we had the Schlossbergs over for Shabbat dinner. Remy was my student in 8th grade and she is now in 10th grade, and I still have a very close relationship with her. This year they have taken in a girl named Noa who is a junior in high shcool from a reform jewish community in Israel that my synagogue sponsored to come as a student ambassador for four months. I wanted to make an Israeli dinner so I had a specialty bread made that you always get in Jerusalem and eat with zaatar, I made cheese bourekas, served Israeli pickles and olives, fresh pita, and we had rice and "ktzitzot". Ktzitzot are basically "patties" of anything, and they are usually about the size of a meatball, but flat. They can be meat (usually) but you can also do turkey or chicken (what I usually do) and you can make them with anything! You can shred up vegetables and bind it with egg, coat it in breadcrumbs and pan fry it, and it's a ktzitza! I made two different kinds. 

In the left bowl is a packet of very lean turkey meat, a small bit of lean beef, an onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, and ketchup. You basically mix it all up in a food processor, add salt and stir it in (if you put salt in the food processor it can dull the blade), let it sit for a bit in the fridge, and then form it into small meatball sized patties, and pan fry it. 

On the right, I have ground chicken, peanut butter, fresh ginger, cilantro, green onion, an egg, and panko breadcrumbs. I had made these once before and they turned out good, but I used too much peanut butter this time and they came out dry. I also should have added some soy sauce or some liquid to the mix. Any suggestions? I mixed up the two ktitzot with sauce for leftovers though and this one was fine. The other was great!

I don't really bake besides cheesecake (although I have recently discovered Ilana Shapiro's cookie recipe, and they are the best cookies in the world - seriously, they are). I've wanted to make a peanut butter cheesecake for forever so I did! It was Gail's birthday, and Anthony/Jess were arriving later that night for the weekend and it was Jess's birthday, so I made two cakes. This was what was remaining - plain cheesecake (that came out too lemony for plain, but not lemony enough for lemon), and peanut butter cheesecake.

We had a great time having a few drinks with Anthony and Jess when they came in, and the next day we went to a huge breakfast together (Charlie completed a dish that was on man vs food). We both had stuff to do that day, but that evening we joined them at Fleur for Jess's birthday dinner. It was great to finally meet them and I can't wait to go to their wedding in Antigua next month!!!

Here is some homemade chocolate yogurt that I made about 5 weeks ago. 
I made this the same exact way I made the regular yogurt which I have referenced before, but I used chocolate milk instead. At the end of draining, I added a a teaspoon of vanilla, and splenda to taste (don't remember how much). It was SO good. I had a bowl one night and gave Charlie a bite, and he literally just took it away from me and ate it like he hadn't had a meal in days! I made another batch about a week ago and something didn't work - I even tried to restart it and it just failed. I think the milk was getting old and it only works with fresh milk. I'll try again and report - it was so good!

babies babies all around! (but not ours yet don't worry)

It's the season of babies!

I guess around our age you could expect that. On Friday we got a very exciting text from Sarah, Charlie's sister, with an ultrasound of a fuzzy little male organ! She is about 17/18 weeks, and we're so excited for her! She was too modest to post the picture on her blog so I won't post it, but you can read about the wonderful story of how she got to share the news that they were expecting a BOY!!!! on her husband's birthday to him, as his present! What good timing. You can read the story here.

Our good friends from a different squadron Nick and Jess just had baby Amelia Jolie a little over two weeks ago. We went and visited them in the hospital when she was two days old.

Jessica and Nick so in love with Amelia Jolie

She's still a bit swollen and "stretched out" from delivery - can't wait to see her on Friday!

Since I have fallen of the blogging bandwagon (again, reference this title in july), I have missed out on telling you about many amazing adventures with friends. We had a great little bbq at our house with some friends of Charlie's from his squadron, and the parents in the group brought over a few of their babies. Jeff and Allison have Grant (2) and baby Todd (brand new), and Jason and Jessie have a 2 and 4 year old. 

Allison and Jeff holding Todd

Todd is gonna be a ginger!

I also missed a whole day of adventures including going to the park with Olga and her 4 year old Adam (well, he turns for on the 27th, day before Charlie), and 6 month old Julia. Her other friend was there with her daughter and she's pregnant with twins! Here is baby Julia, who was fussy that day, poor baby teething. She's normally the happiest most smiliest (is that a word?) baby ever!

I also missed a whole cooking section and dinner parties and lunch with friends and Anthony and Jess's visit, but that's another post.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The dogs deserve their own bed

Charlie noticed that the dogs liked sleeping on the armchairs and they liked this specific blanket. So instead of cutting it into two, he put the chairs together and now they have a dog bed!

Spoiled Maya sleeps on the bed. If we don't let her in the bedroom she scratches at the door incessantly, and if we put here somewhere else she just follows us back into bed. Oh well, three's company!

Monday, August 08, 2011

The engagement story

Okay, where do I begin??? AH!!!!

Everyone has been asking me how it happened etc, so I figured I would just write it in this blog and tell everyone to read it.

This is from my perspective, so I am not sure what others were thinking during the whole process, such as Charlie and my parents.

Charlie and I purchased a new house, but because of issues with movers, the sellers had to delay their move out. We gave them an extra week, and then it took another day or two after that, because their movers broke their contract, blah blah, we're all victims, everyone's healthy, let's move on.

Yesterday (Sunday) Rose and I had been planning to get lunch because we hadn't seen each other in a while. We had lunch at Brio and Charlie called while we were eating telling me that they were totally moved out and we could go see it. I spontaneously asked Rose if she wanted to come see the house (Charlie said that was fine), and she came home with me. We met at my parents house, and Charlie quickly got shoes on, and we left for the new house (Me, Charlie, Mom, Dad, Rose). Rose drove separately, and my mom spontaneously said she would go with Rose (I thought it was just sweet, but in retrospect realize she wanted to fill her in on the details).

When we got to the house they took a picture of us right before we used our keys for the first time. 

First time using our keys

When you walk into the house there is a stair case on the left that leads up, and about 3/4 of the way up there is a ledge. On the ledge there were two balloons taped up that said "welcome" and "congratulations". I said how sweet it was that the sellers left it for us, and made a mental note about a small detail that makes a big difference for us for the future. I started telling Rose "We want to put the piano there and dining table by the bar etc etc" and Charlie said something along the lines of "hey why don't we go see what's up here". 

I walked up to the ledge and saw a few different things. There was a stuffed dog that looks like Odge, a mermaid Barbie, a bottle of champagne with two glasses, a magnetic grocery list notepad for the fridge, another balloon that was flat on the ledge that says "I love you", and a little herb garden. 

I sort of saw the dog first and got confused and then the barbie and herb garden and still didn't realize what was happening and was just confused and said "Wait Charlie, did you do this?" and I turned around to him and he was down on one knee holding the box with the ring!

I was so surprised and just did not expect any of this, and finally someone (my mom?) said "you have to say yes" and obviously I did! In retrospect, I think Charlie was really nervous too because neither of us remembers him actually saying anything!!


After hugs and kisses (and Rose recording it and my mom taking pictures), I yelled at my mom that she let me pain my nails royal purple the day before, and that my orange bra was showing through my shirt and she didn't force me to change it!! In retrospect, I would have maybe been suspicious that somehting was up, and I truly had no idea, so it was perfect!  My parents brought us the bottle of Dom and the champagne glasses. When they set it up, one of the glasses cracked, and my mom told him to save it because we can use it for breaking of the glass at the wedding! What a good idea mom. Here is us drinking their champagne while he explains everything.

So the symbolism now. The dog, well, that's Odge. Duh! Have you all seen that kitty commercial where the guys asks her to marry him with the cat collar? (Ps I still hate cats). If not I suggest you watch the link I put above! Anyway, he thought of doing something like that because Odge needs a new collar, so he got him a new one and on the tag it has both of our information and both our phone numbers, and the collar and tag is on the stuffed "odge". There was a mermaid barbie there because when we were moving to the US from Israel, I really didn't want to leave, and so my parents told me that they would buy me a barbie in the US (they were very expensive in Israel at the time). As a kid I was also very obsessed with The Little Mermaid and wanted to be a mermaid, so after searching for barbies with brown hair and blue eyes for far too long (apparently they barely exist), he finally found a mermaid barbie that had brown hair and blue eyes! He said that because I got one for my big move to the US, that now I get a barbie for my move with him. There was an herb garden because I am not a lover of flowers. I think that it's a waste of money to get flower that just die when you can spend your money on something that will last, so Charlie got an herb garden that even has FRESH CURRY for me to use while I cook! Perfecto! He also got a magnetic grocery to-do list for the fridge (which turns out to be not magnetic) for us to use at the house, and the balloons, which were very thoughtfully not blown up, but taped up (I am terrified of balloons). My parents brought the champagne, and then there was Charlie holding the ring, my parents right there (I couldn't have imagined them not there, thank you, Charlie for thinking of that), and one of my best friends, Rose, taking pictures. It was truly perfect! Minus the purple nailpolish and orange bra!

My parents are THRILLED to officially welcome Charlie to our family!
walking down the stairs (ps we are changing the color of the railing)

Me and the mother of the bride
Happy Charlie!

After all the excitement, we walked around a little - I had had a glass of champagne and was totally flustered and didn't even give Rose a tour, my parents had to. But I found these left in the garage!

So obvioulsy it was perfect. Charlie, I am all yours now and forever!

Hey Charlie, you're my cutie pie fiance!

I had a work committment at 6 pm and it was creeping up there so I quickly texted the individuals involved "I'm running late, I'll explain when I get there!" and we wrapped up at the house. I had to give him a few more kisses though.

Here is the ring w/my royal purple nailpolish. Charlie, you did freaking good man! It's exactly what I wanted, very simple, ginormous perfect diamond. (sorry if I'm being tacky by posting this....I knowwww, but I don't care!!!). It SHINES shines shines, my man did GOOD!

We camped out at the house that night and I had to take a picture of this. My close friends will understand. This was all that's in our fridge (the sellers left us that bottle of veuve).

This morning I had breakfast with my mom and I still can't take the huge smile off my face. Here is me on the phone with my grandmother in Israel and other close friends sharing our joy.

Thank you all for your well wishes. It is overwhelming! We are going to plan a celebration day so that we can celebrate with everyone soon!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

D'var Torah - Parshat Masei (mini Bible sermon of the week)

Tonight we had an education committee meeting at work. In the Jewish Community, before we get to business, many board meetings begin with a D'var Torah.

**For those who don't know** the Torah is the main source of text in Judaism - the first five books of the Bible. D'var Torah translates to "words of Torah" and is the sermon during weekly worship service, but can also refer to a very short, 1 or 2 minute "words of wisdom" where someone takes text from the weekly Torah portion (parsha) and relates it to something relevant in our life.)

The Parsha this week is Parshat Masei. I STRONGLY recommend everybody to go to, hopefully the link through youtube worked above! G-dcast has 5 minute cartoon depictions of every single Torah portion. If you are interested in learning about the first five books of the bible through a Jewish perspective, or want to share these with your kids (5th grade and higher), then please watch these weekly! They are amazing.

I have been starting every education committee with a D'var Torah. This meeting was no different. I didn't write anything down and just spoke, so I will try to make this sound as eloquently as possible.

So here goes!

This week's Parsha is Parshat Masei. In this portion, the tribes are distributed over the land of Israel, and given their land. However, the tribe of Levi (the Levites) are not given property of their own - they are distributed all over and told that they are the example for the rest of the tribes. They are scholars, G-d doesn't want them troubled with working the land.  So they are supposed to be the most important, but they aren't important enough to be given their own space? In a way, it's a great lesson for anybody in education, especially Jewish education. You can be a synagogue or church (or I guess a school if we continue the metaphor) without walls. But you can't be a synagogue (etc) without lifelong learning! Despite any other challenges we may have, our goal, and my personal goal as a Jewish Educator is to make sure that lifelong Jewish learning is desired by our adults, and modeled to our youth.

Okay, now go watch the G-dcast video!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

25 thing - Couples

I remember being in middle and high school and filling out these e-mail survey things with all your friends. One summer my friend Heather and I made one up for camp and there were stereotype questions for our camp friends such as who was most _____ and we got in trouble! I still find it fun to fill them out once in a while, and just encountered this couples one. So here goes!
♥ What are your middle names? 
Kesley and Avigail 

♥ How long have you been together? 

Long enough :-)

♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating 
We met online, so no our first date was when we met 

♥ Who asked who out? 
I "winked" at Charlie because my profile was hidden in a different city so I wouldn't get overwhelmed. But he immediately threw away his "wait 4 days to respond" rule (or whatever it is) and responded that day and he organized an AMAZING first date a few days later.
♥ Whose siblings do/ did you see the most? 
None, they are all over
♥ Do you have any children together? 
Just Odge - he and Charlie watch TV together
♥ What about pets? 
Again, Odge

♥ Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple? 
For me, it's that when you start sharing responsibility, everything becomes a "honey did you feed the dog" "sweety did you call the house inspector" and we try to make sure our relationship doesn't turn into just that
♥ Did you go to the same school? 
♥ Are you from the same home town? 
♥ Who is more sensitive? 
Always the girl 

♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple? 
The sushi and firehouse subs
♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? 
For now Hawaii, but we plan on going to lots of other places in the near future 
♥ Who has the craziest exes? 
Neither of us are in touch with exes
♥ Who has the worse temper? 
I get really stressed over little things and take it out on him

♥ Who does the cooking? 
I do, he does the eating (and the dishes!)
♥ Who is more social? 
We are about the same and love it about each other
♥ Who is the neat-freak? 
Ha! Definitely me, so much to organize right now too
♥ Who is the more stubborn? 
Me without a doubt, what have I done to deserve him?
♥ Who hogs the bed? 
Geez, I do, I'm sensing a pattern!

♥ Who wakes up earlier? 
Charlie gets up earlier, I wake up a few times and stay in bed as late as possible 

♥ Where was your first date? 
Ferraros Italian restaurant and then a helicopter ride along the strip

♥ Who has the bigger family? 

♥ Do you get flowers often 
via text message emoticons (he also sends me animals and stuff that way)

♥ How do you spend the holidays? 
Odge killed the Easter bunny!

 Who is more jealous? 
I think we've only had one night where this came up and it was Charlie, but it was resolved that night

♥ How long did it take to get serious? 
A little less than a month
♥ Who eats more? 
Always the boy
♥ Who does/ did the laundry? 
Welllllll, right now it's neither of us. But when we move into the new house it will be me :-)
♥ Who’s better with the computer? 
Definitely Charlie! Computer science degree!

♥ Who drives when you are together? 
Always Charlie, even if we take my car

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Catching up part 3: beginning of July until my birthday

Okay, catching up all in one day is tough! Gotta be better at this. Where to being. So, July.....

It was the 2 year anniversary of Charlie's squadron. They allowed everyone to invite their families and significant others for a great family day. I was excited because I (obviously) know so little of the nature of what Charlie does 8 hours a day. I had never even been up to Creech. Geez am I lucky it's only 8 hours a day and I have him home each night though! There was a great presentation about the predator (the unmanned vehicle they fly through a ground control center). They talked about the fact that his squadron is the only one in the US Airforce that is in Libya right now. They managed to declassify some information and show us some amazing videos, which just made me want to wrap my arms around Charlie and kiss him and tell him he's my absolute hero. After the presenation we toured the hanger, and then we even got to see a ground control station!

Mom and Dad infront of the predator

Dad wanted a picture with his BFF Charlie

So proud of my love!

Obviously we wanted a family picture

Dad got to sit in the pilot's seat with the manual, etc

I wanted to participate so I sat in the next seat, which I thought was the copilot, but then was reminded that there is no copilot but a sensor operator.  So as you can see below, I decided to pilot the drone by myself! I look like such a happy little girl!

After the demonstrations and tours there was a barbeque and we met and interacted with many of the families. We all wore name tags, and I was being silly on the way home and decided to put my name tag on Charlie. Then I realized I should edit what it says. 

"Avigail Eisenberg's"
He didn't mind, he likes being mine!

When we got home, we decided to swim, cuz it's just too d*** hot to do anything else! We did a few laps and then we I decided that Odge should have a swimming lesson. I have been worried for a while that he will become old like Oreo was, blind and deaf, and fall in the pool and not know how to swim. Odge was PISSSSSSSSSSSSSED!

It was 4th of July weekend so I decided to be patriotic and get a french tip manicure with red white and blue. Kinda tacky, but whatever, I liked it!

That night we had an impromptu bbq with a lot of our friends and had such a great time. Olga and Jason Lasry came with their kids, Adam, below, and their baby Julia, who never stops smiling. Adam is one of my absolute favorite kids.