Thursday, March 28, 2013


Passover Envy - Keeping Up With The Goldberg's 

Over Passover I had an idea swimming around in my head for a blog post.
And then my friend posted this on a popular facebook group.
It was like she had been reading my thoughts exactly.
Of course it caused an uproar.......

"I spent 40 minutes talking a friend of the ledge. She's having major performance anxiety over Pesach. Her husband is working again (thank G-d) and she's home with three kids under the age of five. Facebook has gotten to her; the fancy tablescapes, intricate Kosher for Passover recipes, pressure to push herself and their budget in order to feel like it's enough. 

I love seeing what others do for Shabbos and Holidays. For all of you who are easily overwhelmed please know that many of us have weeks where we just piece together meals. It's also quite easy to make things glamorious when you have an unlimited budget. Chill."

It think it's time that we all start an honest conversation about what is real.

So here's my confession.....

I often post inspirational table settings and craft ideas for children and adults.
It may seem that I have it all together and my life is super grand
I literally almost did not make it to this Passover.
If it had not been for my mother swooping in at the very last second,
we would never have been ready in time.

"What do you mean?"
"How could this be?"
" Don't you have it all together Abbey??" 
I hear your thoughts in my head......

I always say that in my family we all stick to what we are good at. I don't know how to clean, I'm not really good at it, so I tend to stay out of my husbands way when it comes to Passover cleaning. Well this year was no exception, but I really really couldn't have helped him even if I wanted to.

Baruch Hashem (Thank God) I have a job, which lends itself to be seasonal, and Passover's my busiest time of the year. I worked myself to the bone, I think I averaged 3 hours of sleep 2 weeks in a row, taking a break for Shabbos. The week that all the items were to ship, my assistant got sick and I was left alone to do everything on my own. Painting, cleaning, and shipping. When Thursday came and all the pieces were out of my house I gave an audible sigh of relief and slept for the first time in weeks and when I woke up I realized that I had to make Passover in my rental home.

Now if you have been following my home debacle saga, you will know that everything I have is in storage. How could I possibly afford to buy new things, how could I possibly make Passover?? You see what I make painting and working is not extra side money, but my actual parnassah (income). There is never any money left over for fancy vacations or pretty things. I have 5 children and Yeshiva tuition's to pay, if anyone has extra money laying around it's not me.

So the way I saw it I had two problems that I needed to figure out.
(1) Cleaning - We needed to get the house clean for Passover in T minus 2 days
(2) Prepare - I needed all the stuff to cook with including pots, pans, and FOOD!
Remember people this was already the Friday BEFORE Passover.
I already hear my husband yelling at me for telling you all this. OYSH! 

So here's what I did to solve problem #1
I called my mother.
Fine. You can all laugh at me. Totally fine, I'm ok with that!!
She came for shabbos and spent Saturday night and Sunday helping my husband getting the house cleaned and ready.

Problem #2 was slightly trickier and will make you all extremely nervous, but I will tell you anyway.
Because my mother is single now and will be spending Passover with all her grandchildren, she graciously offered her Passover dishes, pots, and pans to me. The problem was that our schedule was so tight, that it would be impossible to pick up the stuff until after we burned the Chometz on Monday. My mother's home is in Long Island and I live in Passaic, NJ - A slight situation here. How was I going to cook??

So what did we do?
Well by some miracle we had one box of Passover meat pots and pans in my attic in the old home and while my husband and mother went to retrieve the rest of her Passover items in Long Island I was able to cook what I could with those pots. A friend lent me a knife and a peeler, and I used a plastic plate as a cutting board.

By the time my mother and husband were back it was 4 o'clock about two and a half hours till candle lighting. Most of the food was up and we began to sort through the boxes, washing dishes and getting the table set for the seder. Right before candle lighting I snapped this picture of my table. Notice how there is no silverware, Haggadah's, or napkins anywhere to be seen.

So why am I telling you this story?
Am I proud of the fact that I wasn't ready in time?
No. I'm actually embarrassed.

Am I happy that my mother had to come rescue me?
Well yes, and grateful too!

So what's the point???

I don't have it all together and I'm sure there are many other people out there who don't either!

It's ok to not have a perfect table setting.
It's ok to not have a fancy home.
It's ok to cook on the holiday and not have it prepared in advance.
It's ok to be late.
It's ok to run out to the store 3 hours before the holiday for new pants for your son because you realized all the ones he has are ruined with holes and stains.

I think that in life and especially via social media outlets we've got to be careful
Of what we say and what we post.
It's important to be sensitive to others.

We are not meant to see everyone's lives like an open book.
Vacations, new homes, new cars, children, spouses, and tablesettings.
All of a sudden these things are all brought into your face for your viewing pleasure
And yet you never asked to see them.
Who wants to feel that they aren't good enough??

"The grass isn't greener on the other side." 
You may think that the other person has it all together, but we all have our own Pekel's (lot)

What I am trying to do here is start a conversation about how you all feel.

Was my friend wrong in writing this post?
What do you think?
Please leave a comment below and let me know!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Passover BINGO!

So when I was a kid I sat next to this really skinny pretty girl with long brown hair in school. I can remember going to her Bat Mitzvah in Pico, an area of LA that at the time NO ONE lived. I used to sit in class watching her draw pictures. She was an amazing artist.

Fast forward 15+ years where should we re-connect? You got it. Facebook.

Dena is now living in Beit Shemesh; drawing, painting, and being a mommy. Dena sells fine art portraits and Judaica art throughout the world which can be found at She is also an illustrator and her book Red is My Rimon can be found on Amazon.

Best Collaboration YET!
Dena made these great illustrations for me to use
for my custom Purim shot glass sets 

My favorite portrait made by Dena 

This Passover Season Dena created the most amazing thing for kids!! PASSOVER BINGO!!! And guess what??? It's a FREE DOWNLOAD! All you have to do is enter into the giveaway here and she will send you the Passover Bingo Game at no cost!! Your kids will have hours of endless fun during the Passover holiday! All you have to do it download and print it!!

Make sure to like Dena's facebook page Art By Dena 

Till next time!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DIY Passover Crafts

As seen on
As seen on 

The Passover count down has officially begun. In the coming weeks we will all be busy cleaning our homes and planning our menus. For many that’s the easy part, but I have a confession to make, it’s not so easy for me.  I honestly have no clue how to clean. In my family we all stick to what we are good at, and I suppose for me, that’s crafting.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great cook and I love to experiment in the kitchen, but I think I’ll pass on the sponge and broom for now.
What I love about this tablescape that you are about to see, is that anyone can really create it! These DIY Passover crafts are so incredibly simple; incorporating everyday items that you find in your home with inexpensive products that can be purchased at your local craft store.

Craft #1 Place Settings
Wooden Clothes Pin
Double Stick Tape
Washi Paper Tape (Easily found at any craft store)
Scrapbook Label or Tag

-Take your Washi Tape and stick them to your clothes pins. If you don’t have tape then you can just as easily color them with markers or paint.

-Write the person’s name on your scrapbook label or tag. You can also make these tags with regular paper and scissors with fun edges.
- Cut a small piece of ribbon and staple it to the side of your tag.
- Attach the tag to the clothespin with double stick tape. 

You can now attach your place setting craft to a folded napkin or anywhere else on your holiday table.

Craft #2 Chargers
It’s not Passover in my house without the coffee cake. I buy boxes upon boxes of mixes from Manischewitz year after year. I came up with this great upcycling craft to re-purpose the items that I would normally just throw out.

Leftover food containers or boxes like Manischewitz
Oak tag paper
Mod Podge
Tissue Paper
Aluminum Tin


-Cut up your left over boxes and tissue paper and put it into an aluminum tin

-Trace circles about 12” round onto your oak tag paper. I just traced a normal charger that I had at home for the shape I wanted. Cut them out. I found that I could get (2) charges for every (1) oak tag I purchased.

- Using the Mod Podge spread a thick layer onto the oak tag circles. Lay down the tissue paper and box scraps all over. Create a beautiful design. Seriously do not worry about what it will look like. No matter what - they will be great! It’s so easy my boys joined in with me to do this craft!!

- Let dry for 12 hours.
These make a great charger for your kids table!! And don’t you just LOVE these adorable Chocolate covered locust treats from Zelda’s Sweet shoppe? Perfect for those hungry little kids to munch on during the Seder!

Craft #3 Pesach Washing Station
Leftover matzah box  
Hebrew Stencil (optional)
Wooden Clothes Pin
Double Stick Tape
Washi Paper Tape (Easily found at any craft store)

-Open the left over matzah box so that it lies flat on the table.

-With a stencil or free hand cut out the words Pesach or Passover 

-Take your Washi Tape and stick them to your clothes pins. If you don’t have tape then you can just as easily color them with markers or paint.

- Cut a small piece of ribbon and staple it to the side of your letters. 
- Attach the letters to the clothespin with double stick tape
-You can now attach your Passover/Pesach letters to a towel basket by your sink or even let them stick out of your floral arrangement!   

Whatever you do this Passover to enhance your holiday ambience, may it be making these simple crafts or creating a lavish floral tablescape like this one featured here from Papaya Events, just remember to laugh, breathe, and soak up those special family moments that are shared during this Yom Tov season.

The Seder Plate, Matzah Container, and Seder Glasses are available for purchase at

Monday, March 11, 2013

Edible Passover Makkot Treats

As seen on
As a mommy and teacher I always find it so important to engage our children on the Passover night. We have them singing special songs, answering a multitude of questions, and engaging them in the overall Seder discussion. However, what I hear from my children year after year is “I’M HUNGRY!” And no feeding before the Seder helps. They are always starving, especially the bigger ones. This year I decided that I would pack for them a kind of “Seder Survival Pack” loaded up with some yummy goodies that would sure to enhance their Passover experience. When I was given the task to come up with an edible Passover craft for I knew what that survival pack would include – Edible Makkot!!
So Here’s what I included......
Dom (Blood) – Strawberry Applesauce

Tzfardaya (Frogs) –
Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Frogs
Zelda’s Sweet Shoppe

Add cKinim (Lice) – Chocolate with white sprinklesaption

Arov (Wild Animals) – Gummy/Sour Bears
Dever (Dead Animals) – Chocolate Bear Lollypops

Shechin (Boils) – XL Dot Candy on paper
Barad (Hail) – Mini Marshmallows
Arbe (Locust) - 
Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Locust
Zelda’s Sweet Shoppe

Choshech (Darkness) – Chocolate Pudding

Makkat Bicharos (Death of the First Born)
I know this is the hardest one. I wanted it to be positive instead of negative. So instead of going with bones or something yucky like that, I realized that the kids would be mighty thirsty after consuming all those treats so I got an apple juice and attached a note that says “I know you’re just dying to drink this!”

I took all those tasty treats and wrapped them up simply with tissue paper and some curling ribbon.

On the night of the seder they will go on each of my children’s plates to unwrap. I can’t wait to see each of their faces light up when they see their makkot sacks!   

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kosher Kitchen Remodeled

My 3rd son when he was little. Not so unusual
for this crazy little boy. Making mischief in my
tiny little kitchen.  
As many of you will recall my entire house was destroyed last October, three weeks before Hurricane Sandy hit. A water leak in the second floor bathroom completely ruined my home. Most of my house has been gutted and we have been living in a rental house for the last 6 months. We are FINALLY ready to rebuild!!

My kitchen is so tiny and when we first bought the house, the Realtor couldn't  understand why we picked the house. My husband and I saw the potential. The backyard is huge and although it's a tiny little home, it's cozy and ours. We've even  nicknamed it the "cottage."

Of course I've always dreamed of a new kitchen, but moneys tight and life gets in the way.

So this is what I had before. Just one small wall to work on. An oven, microwave, one cabinet that held both sets of our dishes and 2 pull out drawers one for each set of silverware.

For all of you wondering why I need 2 sets of everything, let me explain. I keep strictly kosher. That means I separate milk and meat. Not only do I not eat them together, but all my dishes and silverware have to be separate  We have separate pots, pans, dishes, cups, and silverware. I can't eat dairy on my meat plates and vise versa. This kitchen would be fine if I didn't keep kosher, but because it's so small it's quite a challenge!

I had a small free standing shelf in-between the
the door and window on the left hand side of the kitchen. 
My kids are always mixing things up, especially since the area is so small. One of the things we wanted in our new kitchen was for everything to be completely separate

As I'm sure you can imagine, we are working on a VERY tight budget. We wanted to make the most of our tiny space and maximize whatever we had. I recruited a friend of mine Sara Schmutter who is a kitchen and bath designer. I had been hearing how good she was from a couple of my friends around town, so it was an obvious choice to ask her to come up with some ideas for me. I told her what I liked and wanted.

I think of myself as a creative person, but I would NEVER have come up with this plan on my own. She is amazing! It's a completely fresh and new redesigned use of functional space - and I even have a dishwasher!

My favorite part it the bar on the right.
It will be perfect for breakfast in the morning. 
The Dairy side of the kitchen

The meat side of the kitchen.
One thing my husband does not like is the separation. He wants a continuous "L" Shaped counter, but I like it.  It will not only keep everything in it's place, but I think we get a lot more usable space. I hate corner cabinets. If you look at the photo below you will see that instead of a corner cabinet on the dairy side, we opted for a cabinet on the opposite side underneath the bar. I thought this would be PERFECT for the kids games. 
See the cabinet under the bar?
Can't wait to start picking colors and watching these plans come into fruition. The way I see it, I may have lost a house, but God gave me a great opportunity to blog about remodeling on a budget!

If you are looking to remodel your home and would like to get in contact with Sara please message me at I would be more than happy to pass on her info.

Till next time!

One of the things that I love about what I do is that I can be inspired by others around me. A few of you guys gave me some great suggestions. The idea of a corner sink I loved so I asked Sara to whip me up a new design using that corner sink. And VOILA! Within a couple of minutes we had this new design for the meat side!! I love how fast she works and that she is so flexible within any given design! 

Because of the size of the window we can't get a corner
wall cabinet  :( 

What do you think?
Please let me know by commenting below!! 
I love hearing everyone's ideas!! 
To get a hold of Sara please contact her at