The making of a big celebration

Made-a-move #30: Step back to coordinate for projects bigger than big

After 29 weeks in a row of posting to this blog, I missed last week.  Definitely *Not* out of lack of ‘doing’… but more from an over-abundance of ‘doing’!  In fact, I did have a posting idea and pictures ready to post last week, but I let sanity and exhaustion win out and decided to let it wait for another time.  A posting about making a fruit fly trap didn’t seem so important given the other things more pressing for my time and attention.

So what tangible things have I done in the past 3 weeks?…  My youngest DD’s Bat Mitzvah celebration was this weekend.  She said a long speech.  I said a short speech.  We served a luncheon to over 250 people – a combination of people in the wonderful community we live in, friends, family and a few new faces as well.  From sending out the invitations (that I designed and printed) to room set-up plans; from the menu, to the shopping, to the food preparations; from the center-piece plans, to preparing the speeches; etc … I did a major part of the ‘doing’ – all completely tailored to my DD’s personality and wishes.  And, I did it with accepting and coordinating help from others!!  Including taking the ‘back seat’ and being the assistant to my oldest DD’s fancy desserts – only a few of them were:

The whole event went beautifully with a great deal of help from friends who pitched in, my DDs, my DH, my DSs, and, especially, the tremendous help from my mother and mother-in-law! (Not the least of which was for details I couldn’t handle like getting a dress for the Bat Mitzvah girl and taking her to get her nails done – nails done.. really??! What a foreign concept :)   But, she was sooo happy with her bright blue nails, 2 of which with tiny pretty flowers painted on them… really??  I somehow missed the girly stage of life!)  And, she even had one of her sister’s friends straighten her hair.  – Really??! – sit still for that long just for a hair-do?? – I can be so clueless when it comes to this stuff!

…I’ll get by with a little help from my friends…

I am so grateful to everyone who helped and participated and to Hashem for the strength, guidance, and opportunity to make this celebration.  Now, to write those thank-you notes… and to earn some extra $ to pay the bills…

Wishing you all many happy occasions to celebrate with family and friends and the ability to enjoy them in good health!


Morning Musings

Made-a-move #29: Putting ideas into writings to share.

Building on last week’s posting, this week I decided to work on developing my ideas for compiling information on Emuna, Bitachon and Kavana.  I especially delved more into the concept of Kavana – heartfelt concentration and mindfulness.  Instead of mechanically reciting morning prayers, I went to the beginning of them and really thought, and wrote, about their meaning.   I didn’t get to far… I ended up writing three pages of notes on just the first 12 words that are said when first waking up in the morning.  I’m not including all of them here, but here are a few of my ‘morning musings.’

In this crazy age of running around and constantly doing there are increasing messages from the ‘self-help’ industry advising us to take a break to recharge ourselves – to live life with more mindfulness and purpose, to live life with “an attitude of gratitude,” and to think about where we are, where we were, and where we want to go.  One technique I’ve heard from several sources (including John Maxwell) is to use affirmations to start the day on the right foot… “Just for today I will…”

These suggestions are all encompassed in a spiritual way in the Modeh Ani prayer that, by Jewish tradition, is said first thing in the morning when the person first wakes up and opens their eyes.

Modeh Ani Lifanecha — I give thanks to/ before You

Melech Chai Vikayam — King who is living and eternal

Shehechazarta bi nishmati — For You have returned within me my soul

Bichemla rabbah emmunatecha — with compassion, abundant is Your faithfulness.

With these 12 (Hebrew) words, we start our day with gratitude to, and an acknowledgement of, a higher power that exists and is a constant force in this world – a point of stability in our ever-changing surroundings and circumstances.  A force that is not distant, but close enough to be talked to directly and referred to as “You.”   That our soul that infuses us with life was in safe-keeping with The Creator while we slept and He now entrusts us to have it back, take good care of it while we are awake, and use the life it gives us to the best of our potential.  That regardless of the mistakes we have made on previous days, He does not hold that against us and has faith that we will live up to using the gift of life in good ways, and towards our purpose, today.

When we know that someone (whether it be parents, employer, friends, etc) has faith in us, we don’t want to disappoint them.  We want to do things that will prove that their faith and belief in us was well placed.  It makes us more conscientious of what we are doing – especially in front of them.

By saying the Modeh ani prayer with kavana, we can carry these awarenesses with us into this day.  We can thereby live our life (Remember that quote from a few weeks ago? – “How we live our days is how we live our lives.”) with more gratitude, stability, compassion, faith, integrity, and purpose.

Wishing you a great, successful and meaningful day!


Made-a-move #27: better utilizing Pintrest

Pintrest… ohhh the potential!!

Several months ago, I overheard people in the real world and the blog-o-sphere mention Pintrest… and the danger of getting addicted to it.  I decided to try it out, I saw it’s amazing potential, and set up several boards.  But, up until now, haven’t put much time into them – some of them are even still empty.  So my move for this week was to start using them more.



To do this, I used the “Pin It” button that I have attached to my bookmarks bar (Pintrest gives great instructions on how to get it there) to pin pictures from my HoneyTreeBuzz site and my DD’s online picture gallery of her artwork (much in need of updating) to my Pintrest boards.  Maybe I am jumping too far ahead.  For those who don’t know, here’s a basic low-down on Pintrest:  Imagine a big bulletin/ memo board that you pin your favorite recipes, dream home ideas, magazine picture clippings, inspirational quotes, etc to.  Things you don’t want to just lose in a drawer or stack somewhere.  This is great for you, but it can get rather disorganized after a while, so now you divide all of those things you “pinned” up on the board into separate boards for each category.  When friends come over, they see all of the great and inspirational things you have pinned up.  When they see something that you mutually appreciate, it creates a greater connection between you.  But how to share them with more of your friends?  What about sharing them with other people who would love them as well?  What about all of the great inspirational things you find on the internet?

This is where Pintrest comes in.  On one hand, it is an infinitely large memo board that everyone can “pin” things onto for others to see.  On another hand, it can be a not-so-huge memo board that just includes the newly “pinned’  things people with similar interests as you (which you have chosen to “follow”) have posted, and on another hand (didn’t you ask for a 3rd hand?) it is personal, online, memo boards for you to save pictures and links to the things you like – you set your own “board” categories and you choose what to “pin” to your virtual boards.

So when I chose to add a picture of the incredible “fruit cake” my DD made to one of my Pintrest boards, it showed up on 1) the main Pinterest board of “Everything” for everyone in Pinterest to be abe to see,  2) my Pinterest board of just the people I follow and want to see, and 3) on my “Cakes and Desserts” Pintrest board.  The few people who have chosen to “follow” my pins will also see this new “pin” of her cake when they log into Pinterest, too.   Now for the incredible potential part…  when I see a picture on Pinterest of an amazing looking food, I can click on the picture of it and usually be directed to the web site that describes how to make it.  When someone clicks on the picture (or URL link listed with it) of the Foccacia bread I pinned, they are sent to my HoneyTreeBuzz posting for how to make it!  When my DD is ready to sell her painted glassware, people will be able to click on pictures of it they like and be directed to the site that she is (or rather will be) selling them from.  And, for the fun part, whenever you come across something that you really like that someone else posted pinned, you can “re-pin” it, meaning attach that picture to one of your boards for you to refer back to and for you to be able to share with the friends that “follow” you – like these which I put on my “Artsy Creations” board:

Want to get started?  Go to and follow the directions to “request an invitation.”  They give great step-by-step directions to get set up and everything is very versatile to edit/ change your settings at any time.  Two warnings though: 1) Everyone has different interests and tastes, so on the everything section of what people post, there may be images that you don’t want your kids viewing (or maybe not even yourself); and 2) it is easy to get sucked into the “eye candy” of the fun stuff that is posted.  Happy pinning!

Doing instead of ‘Making Do’

Made-a-Move #26:  Made-a-move to move away from “Making Do”

On the wings of last weeks’ accomplishments, I am moving forward to take action.  In my reflections on my mode-of-operation that has made me stall out, I realize that I have been so set on ‘making do with what I have’ in so many ways that I am going in circles, surrounded by old stuff that had past purposes, but not necessarily adequate for the growth I want to make.  Things accumulate, but I don’t get rid of any of them so I can make use of them again for future purposes…   maybe…  Granted, this doesn’t explain why I am also keeping so much of the old dust around too, but that is for a different move :)

Making moves.  My DD who is growing in her baking skills on her way to specializing in culinary arts, including baking these 2 cakes (among 4 others) last week, wanted a cabinet to keep her baking supplies in.   Time to ‘make-a-move’ of all of the baking equipment that is overtaking our kitchen.  At a rummage sale I found this cabinet and my kids helped me clear space and bring it into the house for her – it is going to be great!!

I also picked up, at the same sale, glassware for her to paint… only to find her painting glassware when we got home.  Of course this lead to taking her back to the big rummage sale to get more glassware… and a cabinet and work station desk (with a file drawer to boot) to upgrade my our workshop with.

One good move leads to  more good moves.  As I support my DD in pursuing her dreams and interests, I feel myself being swept up in the motivation and drive to become more organized and pursue mine.

On a Chabad chassidic calendar, today marks a day of celebration of a great leader being freed from imprisonment for standing by his beliefs and values.  It is a day for unity, and supporting each other.  I wish you liberation from the habits and thought process that have imprisoned you from moving forward, strength to stand by what you believe in when it is for good, and the respect and support of the people around you along the way.


A new approach to Time (self) Management

Made-a-move #25:

tell your time

I’ve previously posted some great blogging tips I found at Blogging With Amy.  My move for this week was to read and start to apply her advice from her eBook Tell Your Time.  Yes, I actually started and finished, and started to apply a self-improvement book!  Ok, Amy Lynn Andrews made it doable by keeping her book short, to the point, and practical – all in about 30 pages.

Right from the beginning, she provided a very basic, and yet so profound, statement that made me stop and take notice of how off-track I have been:

How we live our days, of course, is how we live our lives.

- Annie Dillard

What an eye opener!  I live my days running around chasing my tail.  What I want is to be able to say I have/ had a good, happy and purposeful life.  Am I happy?  I have been too busy taking care of the responsibilities and people around me to even think of what that means, let alone, actually make an effort to be happy.  I feel happiness when the people around me are happy (especially my husband and children) and even more so when I have had a hand in doing something that helps them feel happy.  But, would I describe myself as being happy in general?  I pray daily for my children to grow strong and healthy in every way and have happy lives.  Am I really modeling that for them?  To be able to answer these questions the way I want to, I need to make changes!

I went through the first 60% of the book in 1 sitting.  By the next day, I found myself thinking about my approach to life in a very new way.  There has been a big disconnect between my approach to life (living in the here and now, doing the best that I can with what I have) and the dreams I have for what I want to do in my future.  This book shed light on a basic recognition and system for connecting up what I do with where I want to go.

In her book, Amy proposes looking at time similar to looking at finances (something else I have not been very good at).  We have a finite amount of time.  Everything we need to do and want to do has to fit into the limited amount of time we have.  When we “spend” too much time on one thing, or get distracted into “spending” time on something mindless, that leaves less time to do the other things in our day… and our life.  Managing time can be looked at just like people who use an envelop system to budget their finances, dividing up their available money into separate envelopes for their different expenses.  They soon realize that to spend extra $ on one category after the envelop is empty, they have to “take” $ away from something else.  If we don’t “budget” any time for taking steps to reach our dreams, we aren’t going to get there.

As I am presently “spending” part of my time allotment that should be used for sleep, I will end this post with a high recommendation for the Tell Your Time book and an eagerness to finish developing (tomorrow) the schedule it is guiding me to create.

Wishing much success and happiness to you, in your days and life!


PS.  My links to Amy’s site in this posting are now “Affiliate Links” – I did not write this post to get paid for promoting her book, but rather learned how to make an affiliate link (from “Blogging with Amy“) after writing it.  More on that to come…


Made-a-move #24 – Being a catalyst for change with a positive mindset

My sons love Legos.  I amazes me that with the quantity they have they are continually looking to buy more sets.  Few things can bring excitement to their eyes like their grandmother landing a great deal on masses of Legos from a rummage sale.

So, when LegoFest came to our area the same week as DS #1′s Birthday, buying tickets was pretty much a necessity (though I did try to keep it a surprise until he saw the tickets hanging in my bedroom – carefully placed so I wouldn’t forget where I put them).  As the tickets were pricey, I only purchased enough for 1 adult and 2 kids.  Being Father’s Day, I figured it was best making it a father-son outing.  So, my move for this week was sending my husband out with healthy food for the road and healthy advice – to set aside all of the the things that weigh on his mind continuously and, instead, focus on having fun with his sons on Father’s Day.

He took my advice and did.  His reflection on the experience is dominated by the extreme happiness and smiles he observed on his sons’ faces.

From seeing incredible displays… to getting up close to incredible Lego structures… to tromping through calf-high piled Legos… to building and racing vehicles down a ramp… to observing a Lego bridge endurance test… to building Wisconsin-themed creations (beer mug and bowling lane) to include in a floor “map” of the United States… to purchasing Lego sets at a great price (with their own $!), they had a great time.  Together!

My DH was sure to have a picture to show that he took my advice to heart:


Being Father’s Day, I did my part of the day back home – I made home-made pizza to have ready for their return and I told our 4 y/o DS it was Father’s Day – to which news he promptly made gifts for his “Abba” – complete with lots of hearts.

Small actions on my part were a catalyst for such wonderful positive experiences for my family!  The results were topped off by the special hug I got from DS #1 before he went to bed.

How beautiful the flowers grow with a gentle wind to blow away the clouds and let the sun shine through!


Bananas for Yonanas

Made-a-move Monday #23:  Buy food on sale, freeze extras for future

A few months ago we bought a *Great* new kitchen gadget – a Yonanas machine.

We made some up for my oldest DS’s birthday Monday night – a great refreshing treat on a hot day… especially when the A/C is on the fritz.

So what is so great about this treat?

It is all fruit! No sugar added! No dairy.

And it has the consistency of soft served ice cream!  My DH is amazed by the fact that the fruit becomes so much like ice cream that it even melts!   Here’s the scoop on it…

First you peel and freeze bananas after they start to turn brown; Cheetah-spotted Bananas as the Yonanas directions put it.  This is where my “Move” for this past week comes in … I bought a lot of bananas when they were on sale last week and froze all of the extras when they became well spotted.  No over-ripe bananas in the garbage!!

The bananas need to be well frozen as they are what give the finished treat the right texture.  At least overnight is best.

Also have on hand other frozen fruit – either store-bought or frozen yourself (oops, I missed my chance to freeze the extra strawberries in time)

The Yonanas is made by alternatingly putting the frozen bananas (thawed 5 min) and other fruit (thawed approx. 20 min.) into the machine.  The machine grinds the fruit and sends it out a spout as you go.  It only takes a few minutes!  After it comes out, you mix the ingredients together and it is ready to serve.  Clean up is very easy – there are only 5 parts to clean up which are very easy to assemble and disassemble.  The machine came with a recipe book with a variety of dessert ideas we are looking forward to trying out.

Have a great, sweet and successful week!


Family Calendar

Made-a-move #22: Online Family Calendar

As our lives are getting increasingly busy with the conclusion of the school year, my move for this week is to better utilize (and share with you) the online Cozi Calendar that I found out about from The Flylady – last Summer.






So what is a “Cozi Calendar”?  For us, it is an amazing (and free) tool to coordinate schedules of a busy family!  It has all kinds of available tools for sharing information with each other – to-do lists, shopping lists, a family journal…  but the one we mainly use is the calendar!  Just for starters, Cozi allows us to:

  • add calendar items and specify which family members each pertain to
  • select a color dot to represent each person on the calendar to easily see
  • choose to have a reminder sent to each person’s mobile device or email
  • set appointments as repeating or singular
  • access our calendar wherever we are – (rather than only when we are within sight of the one on the fridge)
  • add downloadable internet calendars to include in our calendar – I added a Jewish calendar that even tells us when the Sabbath candle-lighting time is each week

Any one of us in our family can add an appointment to the calendar for all of us to see, set up reminders of events, or have a message sent to the rest of us to our phone or email.

It is a great tool for families and one that I plan to make much better use of for mine as we continue to grow and face new challenges.

Have a great a successful week!

- DebBee

Advance planning and preps

Made-a-move #21: Extra planning and effort early, for more sanity later

Yes, I know – it is Tuesday… but since the move happened before Monday, I’m still counting it as a Made-a-move Monday.  My blog; my rules to bend ;)

Almost half of the first night’s work

Having taken on waaay too much to do last week, I did make the move to, uncharacteristically, make a plan in advance and get things done ahead of time rather than my usual fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants last minute rush.  Yes, after staying up til after 4am Wednesday night/ Thursday morning, I got less than 3 hours of sleep before getting up for getting kids off to school and me to work… followed by another night of less than 3 hours of sleep Thursday night before getting up at 4am for making so much bread (with the help of incredible friends) that took over 100 lbs of flour and about 9 hours to make .,,, followed by carpooling and cooking for the next 5 hours.   My candle burns at both ends now… 

So, in such a seemingly insane schedule, how can I say I made a move of improvement?  First of all, I took the time Thursday afternoon to take a 2 hour nap! (I cannot even remember the last time I have done that when not terribly ill!!)  I planned out my menu for the Friday night – Monday night holidays on Tuesday, did my grocery shopping on Wednesday, and started my cooking on Thursday – wayyyy unheard of for me!  Needing to bake lots of challah breads (over 20) at home, I divided the task into 2 nights rather than trying to do it all at once and did some of the holiday cooking while the breads were rising and baking (with the help of my DD who also shaped the breads for me on the second night).  The end result was: I got nearly all of the cooking done before the 3-day holiday began and, though my body was rather stiff and sore from the rigorous schedule on my feet 3 days in a row, I was able to relax and enjoy the holiday with my family rather than spending so much of it preparing meals.

Old habits and routines don’t break easily.  It is so good to see them transforming into healthier patterns.  More moves to come.   Have a great week!

- DebBee

Getting “it” together

Made-a-move #20.

Divided file foldersTwenty weeks of moving. Hard to believe.  And the direction I am moving is even more surprising.  Years of dreaming of developing my own business have come full circle as the winds of change are bringing me back in the direction of OT (that is ‘occupational therapy’, not ‘overtime’ – I already put in more than enough of the latter ;)   Words I avoided for so long are now sounding exciting to me once again… sensory-motor, visual motor…  And with it I feel brain cells coming out of dormancy.  As I am adding to my juggle of school information for my kids, financial aid applications for next year’s tuition for them, school decisions for my kids who will be moving on to new schools, and now also keeping track of my OT reinstatement requirements and continuing education, I pulled out divided folders, adjusted my hole punch to the right size, and took one small (but big) step towards being more organized.

And, what of my business dreams?  Time will tell. Perhaps they will have an occupational therapist running them some time in the future.  In the mean time, those ideas have helped spark creative juices and launch some of my kids in the direction of developing and working towards their own dreams.

Keep moving.  Keep growing.  Lets enjoy our journey in life together.

- DebBee