Friday, January 20, 2012

Drawings From The Film Beginners By Mike Mills

I was recently gifted with this book, a limited edition companion to the film Beginners by Mike Mills.

courtesy of Reprizent

Thank you, Michael Arkin!  (to the blogosphere:  I also wrote Michael a thoughtful, hand-written note of thanks.  Long before I was acquainted with Derek Blasberg's work, I was trained in proper etiquette by my mother).

My college boyfriend's father was gay.   I remember the great secrecy and emotion surrounding him telling me about his father in the early 90s.  Times are so different today for the gay community and this film gives a broader historical perspective about the lifestyles of closeted gays in the 20th century.

I have been told that I will like Mike Mills' style if I like Wes Anderson's.  This is too delicious!

Naturally, I have great affection for Christopher Plummer, who stars in this film, as he will always be the Captain singing "Edelweiss" in my memory.

Thank God It's Friday, Hollywood Disco-Style

This comes via my friend Big Josh aka The Coach. He is such a gregarious soul, dare I call him a social butterfly? xoxo to Big Josh, and I can't agree more with this song, part of the film that launched Donna Summer's career!

 As I played field hockey in high school (though about 10 years after this film, and therefore no red tube socks), I naturally love the opening sequence with the girls getting on the bus and their field hockey sticks in hand.

 Thank you, Barry Bernstein and Rob Cohen, writer and producer respectively, for this beacon of light!

(there is a YouTube video link below:  If you are not seeing the image, click through to the website itself and it will appear.  Sometimes in the email digest you won't see it)


Hostess Gift #1: Glendale Organic Grape Juice & Taza Chocolate

We get invited to friends' homes frequently for Shabbat lunch on Saturday afternoon after synagogue.  There is always good food, many children, and yummy challah involved.  The traditional gift to bring is a bottle of wine or other readily edible food for that meal, but I put together something a little more original.

Glendale Farm Grape Juice from the Finger Lakes, NY with waiter-style table crumber.  Buy NOW as by Passover 2012 it will no longer be under the O-U

Organic Glendale Farm Grape juice, 2010 vintage.
Waiter-style table crumber
Tag made from PEZ candy cardboard package.
Bringing to our hosts for shabbat lunch.

Table crumber is essential for the challah crumbs!  Easily found in Judaica stores and Kosher food markets.  Or, just ask your waiter at Maialino if he has an extra to spare.

With children, grape juice is a necessity for the kiddush (blessing over the wine).  It is a 100% acceptable substitute.  It's even legit for adults to use it.

Enter the upscale organic Kosher grape juice.  Mix half with seltzer for a "juicy beverage," or, what many folks might know better as a spritzer.  Call it homemade soda, it's all the same goodness.  We have been buying this for years at Fairway in New York City.  It is available via special order through Whole Foods on the East Coast.  You need to order a case, and only this size bottle, 22 ounce, is available.  [If you are familiar, they used to be in a bottle that looked like the Santa Cruz juices bottle (not kosher),  but those days are currently over].

I spoke with the proprietor of Glendale Farm recently. He explained that the juice is now in a bottle that looks like his competitor Kedem (which, in my opinion taste-wise doesn't stand any comparison) because the Orthodox Union gave him no other option.  This is getting political and not my bag...

He was not bought out by Kedem.

He is hoping to get certification for his 2012 vintage with the OK Laboratories.

I plan to bring one bottle from my stash coupled with a nice bar of Parve Taza chocolate (also available at Whole Foods).

Taza chocolate is Parve, organic, made locally in Somerville, MA, under the OU

Go here to see more Taza Chocolate
Go here to see more Glendale Farms  (he is a small company, very under-the-radar, but highest quality).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mama Tip #6: Fun Snacks and The Original Fun Healthy Snacks

I know it's been done, but here is how easy it is to make a healthy snack fun and a fun snack healthy.

The Wolfman's Brother enjoying:  2 dried plums, 2 sugar cookies, 3 veggie straws, 4 chocolate chips, 10 almond slivers.  Dill will surely not get eaten.  I know, I need more fresh options but at least the dried plums are a good start.

In 4th Grade my classmate Jason brought in this cookbook and demonstrated the recipe for the vegetable monsters.  It was a lot of fun.  Mother subsequently purchased for me, during Cook Book Book Report Month.  My friend, the author and cartoonist Marc Tyler Nobleman always loved that I had this book on my shelf, as he is a super hero all-knowing guru.

Very early adopters of healthy eating guidelines in the early 80s, this book's messages of  healthy eating stayed with me throughout my childhood.  I believe this is out of print but you can currently get it on Amazon for $75.00

I actually ended up taking Dr. Joan Gussow's course on Nutritional Ecology at Teacher's College of Columbia University.  I recently wrote her a note thanking her for her work.  I mentioned this book and how much it meant to me.  Dr. Gussow didn't remember me, but that didn't matter.  She is a trailblazer when it comes to healthy eating.  For her I have the highest regard.

Yeah, some locally-sourced fruits would have been a good addition to the Wolfman Brother's snack.

At least he had organic milk for those cookies.

Mama Tip #5: Buy Laundry Detergent When it is On Sale at the Grocery Store or Pharmacy

I admit I love the convenience of Costco just like anyone else, and I have gotten used to purchasing my laundry detergent there.

But like my mom has always told me, buying Arm & Hammer detergent when on sale for $1.99 per bottle is the best buy out there.

Easy for you to say, mom, since you are in the suburbs.
Not so easy for the urban mama.

on sale at $1.99 per 50 ounces, this is the best buy for  laundry detergent!

If Tide Ultra at Costco is $14.29 for 50 ounces, who cares if what is on sale is not the same brand!  This is a no-brainer, and one need not be so brand-loyal when it comes to laundry detergent.

Plus, due to skin sensitivities, we only use Fragrance Free.

Yes, you can and should use Fragrance Free for babies.
Forget about Dreft (I know, you like the smell, but it isn't good for the baby's skin.  Trust me).

So, if you find yourself in the suburbs, get to an A&P or SuperFresh or Waldbaum's or Food Emporium where you might find, as I did, a great deal.

Limit of 3.

I think I will go back tomorrow for some more Via Roma Marinara sauce and get more detergent.

Mama Tip #4: The Wipeable Plastic Placemat

You might be thinking, "um, Loony?  That is a no-brainer."

But it wasn't to me when I first had children.  It sort of evolved after seeing more and more friends who had these.

Initially I was totally jazzed with the educational placemats.  You can get them at any good independent toy store or brainy toy-type store.  Or online our cousins Ellen and Ken Levinsohn's Learning Express store in Bedford and Scarsdale, NY.

However, at $3.99 each, after about 6 months of getting junky and moldy, it is simply another disposable expense.  But they are indeed educational and even I have learned more about the United States Presidents than I did in Ms. Gibson's A.P. US History class in 11th grade.

Our table with the learning placemat.  It offers a great opportunity to learn!

IKEA has their own version of the plastic placemat, which at $2.99 for 4 is truly the frugal way to go.  It is also a totally cool design.

Our table with the IKEA placemats.  It offers great design and looks so pretty!

I am having a feng-shui moment of confusion.
Do I keep the somewhat junked-up ones, but my children will still learn?
do I get rid of them and use the more trendy IKEA ones, and my children will just be looking at birds, without a lot of educational enrichment.

For the sake of feng-shui, I am choosing to purge.
Old learning placemats are getting put in the giveaway bag.  Some other child whose parents didn't or couldn't spend the $3.99 per placemat are now going to benefit.

Plus, the IKEA ones take up less space on the table, fulfilling a true minimalist's dream.

My budding scientists or historians will just have to suffer.

Phood Tip #2: The Best Jarred Marinara Sauce for the Money

My family has been eating the private label jarred marinara sauce produced by On Point for years.  Initially it was produced under the label Master's Choice and we bought it at the Food Emporium, A&P,and Waldbaum's.  All the flavors were delicious:  Four Cheese, Bolognese, Tomato Basil, Marinara to name a few.  All natural ingredients, made with olive oil, no additives or hidden spices.  Always the best price for the homemade-quality taste when compared to the specialty brands like Rao's, Patsy's and the like.  Also, they were all Kosher.  Even the Bolognese was OU-Glatt.

No longer Master's Choice, the sauce is now marketed under the more attractive label of Via Roma.  This is still the private label for A&P, and mama mia are they doing a good thing!

For the Kosher folks out there, only the Marinara is certified Kosher parve.  (Please, bring back the other flavors!  You are very good for the kosher world!).  This is the best quality, best tasting, best priced jarred Parve sauce any Kosher consumer will ever have.  It is a necessity for Friday night sweet & sour meatballs.  I recently tried substituting ketchup, and my kinderlach could taste the difference.

For everyone else:  try out all the flavors and see what you like best.

Via Roma Marinara Sauce, $3.99 per jar, currently on sale for $2.49 at my local SuperFresh, Certified Kosher by the Orthodox Union (the O-U)

At $3.99 a jar, this is the best homemade-tasting sauce for your buck.

It is made locally in Pennsylvania, too!

Currently it is on sale at SuperFresh (also an A&P affiliate) for $2.49 a jar, no limit.

My sister Reba dismisses this sauce, as she is more of a food purist and immersion-blends a can of san marzano tomatoes as her sauce, but she doesn't have children yet, and so I wonder if she will start relying more on the convenience foods that most families use when God-willing she has children of her own.  But, I hear her.  And, she remembers the glory days of when this was part of her after-school snack atop a piece of vegetarian schnitzel (aka tivall in Israel) with melted cheese on top.

The Marinara is higher in fat than the others at 6g per serving, but the Tomato Basil is lower and similarly tasty.


And, if this type of stuff matters to you, for further info on the company, read this recent Forbes article on A&P's CEO.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Prophecy in Our Day

That Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these words the day before he was assassinated tells me one thing:

He was a Righteous Gentile and a True Prophet, in the larger world picture.


This is one step closer to the true messianic redemption.

The security guard at my kinderlach's school said something I have heard numerous times before:  that he knew the end was near for him.  What a wise, wise, wise man who did greatness for the people of the United States.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Marcel the Shell or Marcellus Shale? It Would Be My Pleasure.

A new friend suggested the sound-alike connection between Marcellus Shale (I do *not* support Fracking) and a very cute child-friendly YouTube video Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.

Your children will like.

At 1:40:

Marcel:  "Guess what I use as a pen?
Film Guy:  "What?"
Marcel:   "I use the pen but it takes the whole phamily."

 Marcel the Shell is such a great way to turn lemons into lemonade.

  No Fracking!