How To Prepare Passover Seder Plate

Passover Seder Plate

Passover Seder Plate

This week marks the celebration of Passover. I learned about the celebration of Pesach in my Catholic school religion class many years ago when we were discussing the Last Supper during Holy Week.

Both celebrations were Seders.

What I never learned about was the significance of the Seder plate.

So when a friend of mine brought me a Seder plate from her trip to Israel, I decided to learn how to prepare a Seder plate:

  • Shankbone or neck of poultry, is a reminder of the “mighty arm of G-d” as the Bible describes it. It is also symbolic of the Paschal lamb offered as the Passover sacrifice in Temple days
  • Haroseth  a mixture of apples, nuts, wine and spices, is symbolic of the mortar the Jewish slaves made in their building for the Egyptians
  • Parsley a vegetable (parsley or potato is generally used), is dipped in salt water to represent tears.
  • Horseradish is a bitter vegetable (celery or lettuce can be used). Those who do not put chazeret on their Seder Plate sometimes put a dish of salt water in its place
  • Hard-boiled egg, interpreted this as a symbol of mourning for the loss of the two Temples (the first was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E., the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.). The egg symbolized this loss and traditionally became the food of mourners.
  • Bitter herbs  represents the bitter life of the Israelites during the time of their enslavement in Egypt.

I find joy in the celebration of both holidays which are full of joy, hope and rebirth.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all who celebrate!

How To Prepare a Seder Plate - 

Mindful Parenting…Solutions for Parents

Hand in Hand Mindful Parenting

Mindful ParentingAlong about twenty years ago, mindfulness came into my life. At the time, my own children were young and day to day living was anything but mindful.

After learning biofeedback techniques to overcome anxiety due to mitral valve prolapse, Jon Kabat-Zinn came into my life through his book

Full Catastrophe Living.

It was life changing and helped introduce me to yoga, which helped to prepare me for my inevitable open heart surgery 6 years ago.

So when I came across Kristen Race‘s book,

Mindful Parenting

I jumped in to see how I could relate my mindfulness practice with my “work” as a grandmother. Nothing is more important to me than family, children and grandchildren.

Kristen Race has helped me to effectively live the mindful life with my granddaughter in today’s fast paced world.

She explains in clear and simple terms how our brains work and how our stress effects  our own overall well being and that of our family. She goes on to give many helpful techniques to implement in our busy lives. Her tips help you to find the balance that is essential to manage stress. Balance is an integral part of living happier lives through “mindful parenting” and “mindful” grandparenting.

This is a book I will continue to read and dog ear the pages for years to come. It is one I will recommend to friends. As a therapist myself, I will recommend it to parents as a must read to help them parent mindfully!

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. I was given a copy of “Mindful Parenting” for review.

The Muppets are Back!

 

Muppet Love

If you know me then you are aware of my love of the Muppet characters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQiGyBiNjLI

My love affair with the Muppets began in the 80′s when my children were very young. At the time we were living on the Treasure Coast of Florida without cable television. It was a lucky morning on the weekends when our antenna would capture Public Televison signal from Miami.

The new Muppets Most Wanted promises to entertain adults and children alike with all the “old characters” making an appearance.

Who is your favorite muppet?

muppetsmostwanted526ecae2bfbad -The Muppets

Mine is Kermit!

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I Have a New Blog!

I am excited to tell you all that I have a new blog,

blog and grandmothersToday’s Grandmum at ChicagoNow.

I will be continuing to post on both blogs,

Parenting in the Loop and Today’s Grandmum.

It has been thrilling to be chosen to join the great group of bloggers at ChicagoNow.

It is my hope that you will click on it and enjoy some of the great topics from some of Chicago’s finest bloggers.

When I began this blog a little more than five years ago, it was a very new endeavor for me. At the time, I was a new grandmother and I was interested in everything baby and newborn.  As a former, mother/baby nurse, newborns were hardly a mystery but I had to admit that much had changed in the years since I had my own children. Fortunately, it seemed that all my questions about baby products, foods, diapers, sleep training etc could be answered with a click of my mouse.

Not only were products available but young moms, who had real experience with these products were posting their opinions on their blog.

It was somewhat overwhelming.

But then, I began to realize there were no grandparent opinions. I am not quite sure what I was looking for but there was not anyone over 40 blogging about their parenting and grandparenting  experience. The reality is that there are many grandparents raising their grandchildren due to varied circumstances. Where were they?

So my decision was made…I would attempt to blog about parenting as a grandmother.

and

Parenting in the Loop was born!

I have met so many wonderful parents, grandparents and people in general, who are on this journey and are willing to share it.

At the click of my mouse, I can talk to virtual friends all over the country and the world.

It has been a truly gratifying experience and it has helped me share my knowledge now that I am somewhat “retired” from nursing and social work, although I remain available online and on Skype for parenting support.

I welcome you to my blogs and Facebook. I am always grateful for your comments.

Happy Friday!

“Simply Saline”….Rescue from a Cold

 In winter, a cold is my number one enemy!

Suffering through the stuffiness and the sneezing seems like part of the season but I have learned it does not have to be that way, since discovering

“Simply Saline” from Arm and Hammer.

Simply Salline for Cold ReliefLast  summer, when cold season was the least of my worries, I was at BlogHer13 here in Chicago. It was my pleasure to meet many of its sponsors especially the group from Arm and Hammer which has always been a favorite of this mom and now grand mom.

I did not know that they had a line of products known as “Simply Saline”. One of the representatives kindly sent me some samples to try …little did I realize then, this product would come to my rescue several times over the  longest and most frigid winter.

First off, my little granddaughter had early winter sniffles and we tried the children’s formula…it relieved her congestion and was so easy to use.

Next…I caught her cold…I knew how well Simply Saline Children’s had worked so I grabbed my grown-up Simply Saline Nasal Relief. It helped my congestion immediately.

As a mom, grandmother  and former mother/child nurse I am concerned about products that I use for

cold relief.

When it comes to children especially, a parent needs to select carefully any over the counter product.

For me, the more natural the product the better…what could be more natural than saline nasal spray when it comes to relieving congestion and stuffiness symptoms?

This past week, I have had my third cold of the season! UGH!

Simply Saline again came to my rescue…between the dry air in our house and the frigid temperatures outside it was a miserable bout with nasal congestion, relieved in part by this wonderful natural Arm and Hammer product.

Arm and Hammer products have been in my home for as long as I can remember and for me that is quite a number of years.

It is a product label, my grandmother and mother trusted…and now I am passing that on to my family…five generations later.

Thank you, Simply Saline, for helping me through this cold and flu season.

Disclosure:

This post is sponsored: I was given product to review, all opinions are my own.

What are “STEM” Toys?

Do you know what “STEM” toys are?

 

 

Toys

Toy Fair 2014 NYC sounded like the place to be for anyone who loves toys, buys toys or sells toys.

As a grandmother, I am particularly interested in toy quality and what is educational as well as age appropriate.

I am not particularly bothered by toys that target gender because I buy and encourage my grandchild to play with items whether they are considered “boy” or “girl” toys.

The princess rage does not bother me either…I try to watch the princess stories so I can explain the positive qualities that each character possesses along with the issues that the villain presents to my grandchild.

This all being said…I came across some interesting posts that were driven by visits to the Toy Fair 2014.

toysI was not familiar with the acronym STEM- which refers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Apparently this word describes characteristics, which parents like when shopping for play items.

Samantha Murphy Kelly, describes several toys which teach children architecture, programming and construction…including creating your own robot.

Quite a change from Barbie, as she says!

Another favorite mom blogger of mine Liz Gumbinner from Mom 101 and Cool Mom Picks devoted a piece to toys that she felt were not so gender specific.  Why are we so committed to pink for girls and primary colors for boys or fireman outfits for boys and princess gear for girls?

My wish is that toy manufacturers would catch up to parents, and grandparents, who are looking for toys that do not single out gender but instead help to create a world wide open to boys and girls in their world of play.

 

Related:

7 STEM Toys That Put Barbie to Shame

 

Smart Toys for Girls-No Princesses Pink Aisle by Samantha Kelly Murphy

A Very Happy Valentines Day 2014!

Happy Valentines Day!

valentines dayA Valentine mosaic is so appropriate today…

I am remembering all the Valentines in my life…those who are far and those who are near…those who who are no longer here.

We are all tied by an Invisible String of Love that “Loops” us together forever.

Valentine’s Day 2014 is dedicated to my beloved sister-in-law who died recently.

She helped loop our family together with

LOVE…

Listening to your Children

listening“Are you listening to me”?

Since I returned to Chicago two weeks ago it has been frigid, with a mixture of snow and ice…

I cannot remember when the cold has been this bad for so long…it seems like many years since I made sure I had a blanket and supplies in my car just in case it was needed!

At least, I no longer have a diesel engine car which would freeze and just refuse to go anywhere in the cold.

During the past few weeks, I have taken a hiatus. With all the cold I was beginning to think my brain has frozen along with my keyboard…

A few days ago, I came across an important piece about active listening

There just doesn’t seem to be anything more important than actually listening to our children and grandchildren to help them develop empathy, feel validated and remain willing to talk to us.

As a social worker and nurse, listening skills were paramount while caring for others… listening both with my ears and my eyes. Body language can also tell you how a person really feels and whether their words are contradicted by their bodies.

When I was growing up in the 50′s…there was a mantra…”children should be seen and not heard”.

I was never quite sure what was actually meant by this statement. What I do know, is that as the youngest member of my family, I always made myself known.

Over the years, it seems this saying has disappeared and to that I would say, “good riddance”!

Children speak to us in so many ways…through solo play with their toys, through our interactions with them, through body language and through behavior such as crying and tantrums.

Listening to your child with your undivided attention can derail a tantrum…really!

Making sure you understand what he is trying to tell you with his actions and his words is a very powerful tool…it actually shows your child that you care about how he is feeling.

I know, I feel so appreciative of someone, who really listens to me and is not trying to formulate a response while I am talking.

Children appreciate real listening as well and will continue to seek you out as they get older if you are a good listener when they are young.

So…try active listening…it is not easy. Beforehand, you may have to step back and center yourself rather than scream out loud as you step forward with open ears, eyes and arms.

listening with hugs

Related article:

Active listening improves communication in the parent child relationship.

 

Sand and Sun in the Caribbean

Image

sand and sun

 

Sometimes sand and sun is all I need to rejuvenate me…what about you?

For the past few days, I have been relaxing and taking in the beautiful hospitality of Grand Cayman.

It is a wonderful island …the beaches are pristine and the water is welcoming, especially after leaving sub-freezing temperatures in Chicago.

Tomorrow reality will return as we travel back to the cold…but in the meantime even though it is cloudy today, there is still a little sun and sand alongside the beautiful Caribbean.

See you all stateside…Happy Thursday!

Moms and Sons…

Old Spice has exploited moms and sons and their relationships.

What do you think?

I would be interested in hearing from moms of sons on this one.

Are you that attached to your sons? If you have more than one son, is your attachment stronger toward one son than the other?

This commercial is kind of creepy but is there an element of truth to it?

Are moms wary of their young adult/adult sons developing relationships with girls/women?

After watching this commercial…what do you think about the depiction of the mom…so crazy ….RIght?

Not only does she act crazy but she looks crazy as she watches her son grow up…

Sad…sad…sad!

I have no sons…but I hate this commercial because of the way it depicts the mom.

I know moms of sons. I sometimes think they helicopter too much but not necessarily more than moms of daughters… yet I remember my friend in the early 80′s, telling me that she had to let her pre-school son be a boy as he was climbing around the playground somewhat recklessly compared to our daughters. I was nervous for him but understood what my girlfriend was saying.

She did not want him to be a “sissy”.

Old Spice is this grandmother’s, father’s aftershave so…

Moms, you really have nothing to worry about if your son is using Old Spice…

moms and sons

 Related links:

http://m.blogher.com/hello-oedipus-old-spice-made-some-ads-you

http://selfishmom.com/2014/01/07/old-spice-and-sad-moms/

http://www.momfluential.net/2014/01/07/bad-old-spice-ad/