So it’s officially summer though, to be honest, I wouldn’t know it. I’m knee-deep in teaching summer school health. It’s actually not as bad as it sounds. While I’d REALLY LOVE some time off, I rarely get to be in the classroom teaching students subject matter that I’m so passionate about. I mean, what’s not to love about spending 2 hours a day, 5 days a week talking to high schoolers about topics such as consent education, mood disorders, and sex education!? Fun, right!?

In the midst of all of this, my husband has been out-of-town for a week and a half (half a week to go!) and while I’m really loving having all this time with our girls, mama is in need for a little ‘me’ time. As it is, I’ve been getting up at around 5am just so I can enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a fresh episode of The Great British Baking Show before the girls get up and it’s ‘go’ time. I don’t know about you, but as a parent, I struggled with anxiety when it came to the weeks leading up to being alone with the kids for an extended amount of time. When Eden was just 4 weeks old, husband had to go to Miami for a few days in order to complete some research for his PhD and if anyone is a proponent of exposure therapy for anxiety, it is me as that time alone with an infant and a 3 year-old truly taught me that I can do it. Now that the girls are older and Eden is at one nap a day, I’m able to actually enjoy my alone time with the girls. We can get out, explore this great city with my little buddies and, dare I say it, have fun. Our absolute favorite activity is to head to the beach with sand toys and picnic in hand. I’ve been trying to up our picnic game as lately it’s been day-after-day of pb & j sandwiches and cucumbers. Therefore, I put a call out to some food blogging buddies and the result is the recipe round-up below, which is chock full of vegetarian and vegan options for your summer picnics! I hope you enjoy and don’t forget your sunscreen!

 

Kosher ‘Krab’ Cakes with Zoodles and Avocado Crema from Jewhungry

 

Broccoli Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing from The Roasted Root

Kalyn’s Tabbouleh with Almonds from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Arabic Potato Salad from Persnickety Plates

Chipotle Hummus-Stuffed Potato Bites from The Lemon Bowl

Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad from Food Faith Fitness

Mediterranean Deviled Egg Recipe with Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus from Two Healthy Kitchens

Lentil Quinoa Salad with Golden Raisins and Lemon Dressing from Noshtastic

California Cowboy Caviar from Fork and Beans

Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto from Delish Knowledge

Israeli Couscous Recipe with Chopped Veggies, Chickpeas, and Artichoke from The Mediterranean Dish

All-Natural Carrot Dogs from Healthy Slow Cooking

Falafel Feta Salad from Jewhungry 

 

How do you know when you’re done? Not done with eating, mind you, but done having kids? I thought I knew. I participated in a week-long Positive Psychology workshop last summer and spent the majority of my time digging deep and reflecting on the fact that I thought I was done. Gd had blessed me with two incredible children and that’s it. Leave the party while it’s not only good but great. I spent the many months since that workshop giving away all of our baby gear to various friends and colleagues who were not done and needed the support. “Put it to good use”, I thought, “cause I don’t need it anymore”. But then something happened (as it always does). My father-in-law died and I turned 37. Suddenly I found myself wrestling with my own mortality and with that, the questioning of whether or not I was really ready to close this chapter in my life.

My arguments for not having a third have always been the same: With the life we lead (the expenses of daycare costs, being a working-parent household, wanting to live an observant/kosher Jewish life), we can give two kids a great life but three kids? Three kids would be tough. Plus, I don’t know what you do for a living but I spend a lot of my day talking with adolescents with mental and developmental health struggles so that coupled with the statistics of giving birth after 35 (i.e. the rise of potential of certain developmental delays), I’m frikkin’ freaked. Again, Gd has blessed us with two healthy, developmentally-abled children. LEAVE THE PARTY WHILE IT’S GREAT. But what if it could be greater?

I still have no answer. We are in conversations, clearly. With baby one and two, we were closed up about our family planning but with the potential of baby three I’ve basically been polling everyone I know (and don’t know) on what their thoughts are on how many kids I should have. Yes, that means I sometimes accost strangers in the grocery store with awkward, inappropriate questions like, “Excuse me, hi, you don’t know me but, you have lots of kids. How’s that working out?”

That’s totally normal . . . right? HELP!

 

So since motherhoood and parenting has been constantly on my mind, I made y’all a Mother’s Day breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner recipe using some of my favorite ingredients. If you don’t know what malawach is you can read about it and get the recipe for this quick yet super fancy meal over at Interfaithfamily.com. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

Would not be able to parent without my besties!

 

Supporting our friends, Bear and Bud Bookclub, at the Babyccino event in LA last weekend.

 

 

 

Team. I’m editing this post from The Rape Treatment Center of Santa Monica’s conference, The Roads to Respect. Headliner for this conference: The original bad b*tch, Jane Fonda. Goal of the conference: Learning how to help kids thrive as they transition into adulthood. Topics to be covered:

  • Child/adolescent development through a gendered lens – how it’s different for girls and for boys.
  • Instagram, Vine, YouTube, Ask.fm, Tinder, and more – how the pervasive role of social media in adolescents’ lives is impacting their relationships, communication skills, and self-esteem.
  • Why it’s important to talk with kids about Internet pornography, and how to have age-appropriate conversations.

I mean, exciting stuff, right!? And adding to the excitement is the fact that I was THIS close to getting a selfie with Jane Fonda but then her handler was all, “She’s gonna take a break now. Come back at lunch.” It will happen folks. IT. WILL. HAPPEN. (Update: It did not happen. We chatted, but I was too chicken to ask for a pic).

 

But in all seriousness, this conference is what I live for. It’s what I do and what I want to keep doing for as long as I can. As much as I love food blogging, my heart is in this work. I am inspired to be an advocate for young people. I was inspired before I became a mother but was exceedingly inspired when I became a mother; especially a mother of a daughter. It’s hard enough to get through the worries and angst of adolescence in a safe environment but if recent increases in hate speech and crimes tells usanything, it’s that empathy education and individuals who are willing to teach it are in need much more now than ever. This work is frustrating and sad, uplifting and motivating. It’s exhausting. It can be just as soul-crushing as much as it can be soul-enduring. My commitment to this work is why I rarely post on this blog. It’s absolutely why, when someone asks me where I want to see my blog go in 5 years, I think to myself, “I don’t know. It is what it is”. There are times when I wish I had more time to learn the art of monetizing my blog or creating those fun overhead videos showing how to cook something. But I just don’t have the time. Speaking of time, I gotta jet. Jane Fonda is talking about the role of patriarchy and it’s effect on developmental grown in adolescents.

For this full recipe of this easy but DELICIOUS tahini and vanilla ice box cake, head on over to Interfaithfamily.com.

P.S. I think I’ve lost count on just how many recipes of mine include tahini! I LOVE the stuff. Also? If you can believe it, there was a time when I didn’t actually like tahini. I didn’t even like halva! I remember visiting the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem and being offered free samples of the stuff, left and right, and saying ‘no’ to all of it! I said ‘No’ to free tahini and halva!! What the hell?! Who was that girl!? I don’t know but, needless to say, I’ve grown up a lot since then.

 

 

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