Thursday, March 10, 2016

Purim is coming: DIY Costume!

I realize that Purim is only a little over 10 days away.  Under two weeks.  The title of my post must seem a bit impossible to you.  Purim is so so so close and you think I still have time to MAKE a costume.  Yes, yes I do.

Perhaps you go to a more conservative or orthodox synangogue.  Perhaps your daughter goes to a Jewish preschool that prefers their Purim to be purimy...not halloweeney.  Maybe you want your daughter to be Queen Esther, not dressed like Queen Elsa.  If that's true, then here is the answer for you- the Peasant Dress.  Easy to make, minimal or no sewing required.  In fact I have personally made two of these dresses inside of one evening after the kiddos went to bed.  I believe that you can to!

The first thing we need to know is what's a peasant dress.  It's a super simple dress not that far from the pillowcase dress. It has a gathered neckline and gathered sleeves, meaning that you make it out of basically a square and then use some elastic to make the neckline fit.

Here are some images of the ones I made for my kiddos.  The bright yellow tie and purple tie on the front is literally a shoelace from her lacing card kit.  In these cases I made these out of super simple fabric that was around, literally out of sheets.  Then I had them put over little vests that I made two.

Here are a few excellent tutorials on how to make them.  Since such great tutorials exist, I don't really think I need to write out another one.

Tutorial Number 1: Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
Tutorial Number 2: Once Upon a Sewing Machine
Tutorial Number 3: Sew like my Mom

For all of these tutorials you can easily use Iron seam tape.  Just make sure you buy the really good stuff that's totally permanent and spend a long time with the iron.  I also suggest that you take a blouse or a non-cotton shirt that is large on your child and use that as a base.  It can sometimes be much simpler than printing out the pattern.  You aren't making a dress forever, it's just for a day of fun.  If you want to make a super simple bodice, just use that hem tape to add a fancy ribbon.  You could even just tie it around the waist.   Here's a quick tutorial for a vest:

Tutorial Number 1- 8: All Free Sewing
Tutorial Number 9: One Moms Daily Drama

If you aren't up for making the vest just pair the Peasant dress with a skirt and an apron.  YOU CAN DO IT MAMA!

Top Photo: Stitched By Sara

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Kesha: NOT an Agunah

I'm sure you've all heard the story of Kesha by now.  If you haven't here's the long and short of it via Skimm:


Will $250,000 get you through? Earlier this week, Taylor Swift wrote "$250,000" in the blank space on a check to Kesha to help the singer get through some tough times. Back in 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against her former producer Dr. Luke for allegedly drugging, raping, and verbally abusing her for years. Dr. Luke has denied the charges, and his lawyers sayKesha made up the claims to get out of her recording contract. Late last week, a NY judge said she can't get out of her contract early while the court case plays out. Lots of big name ladies in music – Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson, and now T-Swift – have come out to support Kesha. 
So now that you have the DL on what's up with Kesha, let's talk about all the Jewish writers out there comparing her to an Agunah.  Wait, you don't know Agunah.  It's a Jewish terms which literally means a 'chained woman.'  Basically it boils down to the fact that in order to get a divorce a woman needs to have consent from her husband.  Here in America it's possible for you to have a civil divorce but not a religious one, which means that living with another man or having children would make them technically children born out of wedlock, despite a civil marriage to the contrary.

Back to Kesha.  What she's going through is really rough, and I do feel badly for her.  I can understand how being forced to stop working, unable to do what she loves and secure a financial future.  I don't agree with the court for enforcing the contract with her attacker, which means she is legally chained to a man who has abused her.  But I still don't think that makes her an agunah.

To compare a woman's ability to earn money as similar to her ability to raise her family, find and have love and enjoy any actual freedom is insane.  It belittles women around the world who are struggling to get a 'get.'  In a marriage you have an interplay of family, children, finances, home, everything a person needs to have and keep a secure life.  While Kesha might not be able to make money being a recording artist, there's nothing to stop her from having a safe home, a loving and normal relationship, etc.  Maybe she can do what Prince did to get out of his contract?

Divorce is an extremely complicated issue, which already has so many sides and factors to consider.  And the Jewish position which puts women at a disposition can really seem like an unfortunate side effect.  Here, however, lies the truth.  Neither a woman NOR A MAN can get granted a divorce without consent of the other.  The trouble lies in the fact that a man can 'lie' with another woman, father her children and those children will still be considered Jewish, not mamzerim.  A few movies show the legal difficulties of a woman, who might not be living with her husband, or whose husband may even be deceased without a body and the struggles they go through.

The discussion is particularly relevant, given the Daf Yomi tractate from the Talmud where the Rabbi's debate the particulars of a man granting his wife a gett.  IT's interesting to see the lengths they go to debate something.  To really try to understand the intricacies of what might happen, how that might change things, and where to go from there.

By all means, let's try to free Kesha.  But maybe, while you are thinking about her, you could also be thinking about any of these women, whose plight might be a bit graver than hers...

Redeem Rivky

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Moving Home

It's finally happened.  We've moved our family into the new house. Despite the workmen still coming in and out daily, it is beginning to feel like home.  Sitting on our couch by the fireplace.  Putting Ocho to bed in her wooden crib rather than a pack n play.  Putting our Ketubah on the wall and our mezuzah on the doorpost.

There have been so many emotions in moving to a new place.  Boxes everywhere, tears were shed. On the way over to the new house EG told my in-laws that she wasn't going to sleep there.  That she was going home to Grandpa's house.

It's always tough to transition the family into a new place, so here are a few tips for doing it with kiddos:

1. Prioritize their spaces.  I know this seems a bit counter intuitive, but the reality is that you can unpack the kitchen while the children sleep, but you can't put away their toys in their rooms.  The faster they feel safe, secure and home the better off everyone will be.  It also helps to let them explore where toys are, clothing, and all the things they may have missed during the move.

2. Think about windows, doors and lights.  There's nothing worse then getting out of the shower after washing off all the moving dirt to suddenly realize that the whole neighborhood can see you in your towel.  It seems obvious, but children are exceptionally sensitive to light and are so quick on the pick-up.  They might open the door you never thought they would.  The last thing you need is your 3 year old opening the front door while you think they are safe inside the house.  Trust me...

3. Do it all at once.  Just like ripping off a band-aid and moving to a toddler bed it's best to just do it all at once.  There won't be that many days of transition and the faster you establish the 'new normal' the better off you are.  It can be tempting to try some sort of easing into it, whether letting Ocho sleep in the pack n' play, or letting everyone play at the new house then return to the old to sleep.  It just confuses things and prolongs the adjustment period.

4. Set up Standards.  One of the hardest things with moving is figureing out where everything should go.  As an adult it's okay to think that you can put something somewhere then move it.  But for kiddos that's so much harder.  We have totally lost that battle on the shoes.  We didn't have the support we needed to put together our shoe cabinet until just last night, so everyone has just started throwing shoes on the floor by the door.  Can we change it? Yes, but it will take time and diligence.  Plus a rug by the the garage door..

5. Do something nice for yourself.  Something to make your home yours.  Putting up the mezuzahs was ours, but also commanded.  This door hanger, however, makes the house feel like a home.  It was a gift from Working Dad's brother and his wife.  And we love it.  It makes our house chime with happiness whenever you open the door.  It's your home... do your thing!

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