Saturday, March 30, 2013

Macaroon Madness!

Macaroons are one of the treats of the Feast of Unleavened Bread! Fluffy coconutty goodness, smothered in chocolate, they make giving up bread well worth it! Likely originating in Italy or France, its not fully known how these tasty confectioneries entered into the Pesach tradition, but many suspect it was simply because they met kosher requirements! No matter the origin, they are part of what makes Pesach, Pesach, in Israel!

We went to the Shuk to buy some for the feast.  


Crowds gathered around...  pushing and shoving-Israeli style- to get in. 


Aviel, we'll say, "sampled" this one.


If he had "sampled" this chocolate one, that's all I would have bought!
 

Israeli's don't do lines... imagine the madness! There may have been some throwing.


This is probably as traditional as the macaroon gets.  Its a yummy one, too!


And here's our loot.



Dig in, Little Guy.


Chag Sameach! 

Related Posts:
Nuts About Stuffed Honey Dates


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

His Time Out Chair was the Cross

"Ima, hold me!" my little one said on a walk to the park one day.

We were about to head up a hill.  It would have been easier for him to walk, but knowing one day he won't ask me to carry him anymore, I scooped him up.

"I love you." I whispered in his ear.

"I love you, too."

"And Abba loves you.  Do you love him, too?"

"Yeah..."

"Do you know who else loves you? 

"Who?"

"Yeshua.  Yeshua loves you.  Do you love Yeshua?"

"No.... Only you and Abba."

He has given me this response before.  I've gone to the Lord in prayer about how to reply, and He said:

Tell him how much more I love him. 

Because no matter how much I love Aviel, it can never compare to God's infinite love for my son... love that burns with jealousy, love stronger than death.  One of my greatest callings is to point him toward that love.

"Oh well, I hope you will love Yeshua with your whole heart one day.  He loves you.  As much as Ima and Abba love you, Yeshua loves you so so so much more."

We turned the corner and the began climbing the steep hill.

"Do you know how much Yeshua loves you?"

"Hmmm....."

"He loves you so much that He went to time out for you."

Now this struck his attention.

"Time out?"  

"Yep.  Time out."  I wondered if I was treading lightly on something so sacred. Since he was listening,  I continued.

"We all broke the rules that God gave us, and we were supposed to take a very long time out, but Yeshua said, 'I'll go to time out for them, Abba.' and He took our time out...  can you believe it?"

He laid his head on my shoulder and snuggled in.  I could sense a real presence of the Holy Spirit with us. 

"We all should have been punished.  I should have gone to time out.  Abba should have gone to time out.  You should have gone to time out, but Yeshua said, 'I'll take their punishment and go to time out.'"

"Yeah... " he whispered.  Something of this story was sinking in. 

"Only, Yeshua didn't go to time out in a chair.  Do you know where he went to time out?

"Hmm?"  He was still nestled into my shoulder.

"His time out chair was the cross."

"Oh..." He sighed.  We had been reading the story of the crucifixion from The Jesus Storybook Bible, as part of our Passover preparations.   He was very familiar with Yeshua on the cross.

"Yeshua was punished on the cross, so we wouldn't be.  He took our place.  He took my place...  Abba's place...  your place....  He took the punishment that we all deserved.... and he died.  That's how much he loves us.  That's how much he loves you."   

We walked the rest of the way in silence.  As I carried my son up that hill, I though about Yeshua carrying His cross for me.


The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Loyd Jones, Illustrated by Jago pp. 304-305

I offended God.  I should have gone to Hell, but Love had a solution before the creation of the world.  That solution is found in the person of Yeshua.  Our humble God came down in human flesh and paid the price that I should have paid.  He was my atoning sacrifice.  He was the lamb slain for my sin. He took my place...  He took the punished I deserved.   And He took your place, too.  Enter in, Beloved. 

Related Posts:
The Angel of Death Won't Get In! 
Celebrating Passover 
Hosea 3



Monday, March 25, 2013

Nuts About Stuffed Honey Dates

Several months ago, I found an recipe for a special Pesach treat on the Neot Kedumin website that I've been excited about trying.   If you are unfamiliar to Pesach, we celebrate by fasting from leavened bread.  Matzah takes the place of flour, and creating tasty treats minus this common ingredient becomes part of the fun.  The challenges are increased when attending a Seder where guests keep kosher, separating milk and meat (which we will be doing  this year!).  This Stuffed Dates recipe is totally kosher for Pesach!

Dates are quite tasty as it is, but in honesty, what I was drawn to was the nostalgia in the description from the website...

Based on a recipe that was found written on a piece of clay in Egypt dated to approximately 1600 BCE, which coincides when our tradition holds that the Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt. Perhaps Joseph – or even Moses enjoyed this Egyptian sweet…

So...  Aviel, Devin and I made this ancient treat together!
  


Here's where we bought our dates at the Shuk. 


While Aviel was watching The Prince of Egypt, I pitted the dates... 


And finely chopped the walnuts.


Then we added a little water and mashed the dates to create a paste. 


Here we are working together... 


And it did take quite a bit of work! 


This is how the consistency of the paste looked after the addition of spices.


Next, Aviel dumped the chopped walnuts in the paste. 


Dumping is his favorite part! 


And we folded in the nuts. 


Next, things got a little sticky! I rolled the nutty paste into balls stuffed each one with an almond, then coated with honey - per instructions. Devin and I evaluated the balls and decided they might be easier to eat (avoiding sticky fingers) if we coated them with nuts, so....


Devin finely chopped some almonds, since my hands were dripping with honey and date paste!


And Aviel helped him roll the balls in the nuts. This was really fun for him!  (Pardon my dishes drying in the background. We're hand-washers around here.)


We then refrigerated the balls on some parchment paper until time to go!  They firmed up nicely. We will tote them to our Seder tonight, along with dairy-free mashed potatoes!  

Chag Sameach!  


***

Ingredients:
1 cup of dates
1 tsp. of cinnamon
½ tsp. of ground cardamom
½ cup of fresh walnuts
A plate of crushed almonds
Honey

Preparation:
• Remove pits from the dates, crush dates and add a little bit of water to create a paste.
• Add the spices and mix
• Crush the walnuts and add them to the mix
• Roll the paste mixture into small candy-sized balls, coat the balls with hot honey and stuff them with the almonds.
• Serve and enjoy!

*Our  slight change is that I used whole almonds to stuff, and rolled the balls in finely chopped almonds after coating in honey.

Find the original recipe here.

***

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Angel of Death Won't Get In!

"Pharoh's son died because the angel went into his house. " Aviel announced at dinner a few nights ago.

Earlier that day, we had attended our Playgroup where the lesson was on the Plagues of Passover. Our group leader, Carly, showed the Angel of Death scene from The Prince of Egypt, then had the children use red paint to cover door frame of the play room.

Following up with Aviel, I asked, "What about the Jewish families?"

And my three year old son replied, "The angel couldn't go in. He went like this..."

He then mimiced, with swooping hand motions, the movement of the animated spirit form from the film.

"Why couldn't he go in?"  I asked.

"Because of the sheep of the blood."

"Ahh... the blood of the sheep?"  Devin gently corrected.

"Yeah!" said Aviel. "The blood of the sheep was on the door and the angel went like this..." 

(Swooping hand motions again.)

"Yeshua is like that sheep, right?"  I affirmed. "Only instead of painting the blood on the door, He painted His blood on your heart."

And out of the mouth of my babe, "Yeah... so the angel of death won't get in."


(Followed by more swooping hand motions.) 

Amen. 




Do you know Yeshua as Messiah, personal redeemer, and beloved?  If not, perhaps you stumbled across this post because He is pursuing your heart with a jealous love!   He was the slain lamb so that the Angel of Death would passover you, that you might be set free,  and know the Lord's heart as your eternal inheritance!  He has chosen you, so why not chose Him today?     


Related Posts:
This Year in Jerusalem!
Celebrating Passover   
His Timeout Chair was the Cross

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Yom Huledet Sameach! Aviel Turns 3!

This year, when I asked Aviel how he wanted to celebrate his birthday he said, "I want a train party with cake and my friends."

"Instead of a cake, what if we make a cupcake train?" I asked.

 "Yeah!!!"

Well, that settles it. Train party, with friends, and cupcake train it is!




We decided to celebrate Aviel's birthday a few days early this year, because Devin would soon be heading out to England for a conference. We set up his party in the same little park as last year's birthday and we had a fantastic turnout of friends. Of course, we missed all of our friends and family in the States. It would have been great to have have had some cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents celebrating with us!


A lovely group.  We all gathered around for some instructions....


Then we made a Follow the Leader train!


Aviel was the Engine, of course!

Next we did some painting!
 
This was my favorite part of the party. Several months ago, my cousin Amanda, posted a photo of her son painting a canvas with a taped off word. Her sister-in-law, Ashley, prayed over the children attending her daughter's birthday party and made one for each child. I was so moved by the idea that I wanted to do the same at Aviel's party.

I adapted Ashley's idea to work with the Train theme of the party, and the materials that I could find in Jerusalem. Rather than canvas, I used square wooden tiles, and along with a word, I taped of a train track that connected the tiles together. The track gave a beautiful representation of the Kehilah (community/body of Messiah) and emphasized the concept to "Stay on Track" with the Lord. I kept sibling and cousin groupings together, so the tracks could connect at home.

To discern the word for each child, I started with their names. This is because of the Hebraic sense of a name holding prophetic meaning as well as reputation. Also, I wanted to affirm what the parents' spoke over their child. Together, Devin and I researched the meaning behind each name and prayerfully chose a word that related to, or built off of the the meaning some way. We wrote the explanation in the form of a blessing or prayer with a bible verse on the back of each tile.


Here's the track. Each one came with a little paint brush, as well.



And here we are painting! I brought finger paints and gliter paint. Kids like glitter paint, I'm learning. Before the party, I let the parents know that we would be doing a painting activity, so come prepared! I had a few spare paint shirts, just in case someone forgot!

 








Above are a few drying, and below is Aviel's after we removed the taped later that day. Looking at each child's unique creation, I thought the results were stunning.
 

Our friends seemed incredibly blessed by our effort. It truly was a labor of love that took a bit of time, but it was worth the investment! I can honestly say that it gave me a deepened loved for each of the children present, as I received a small glimpse of the Lord's heart for them. I hope that as they grow up together, visiting each others' homes and seeing the tiles on walls, they will be reminded of their family in the Lord!


My making station.

Ok... Now back to the party! 

After painting, we did some eating!  Chef Devin made some lovely salads and sauces.  We had homemade Guacamole (Aviel calls it Acomoli, which is the Israeli version of Children's Tylenol - haha!), Blackbean and corn salad, salsa...  and we bought some Israeli salads and pita.  The kids ate on Thomas the Train plates that Sabba and Savta sent from Cincinnati.


The Spread. 


And the cupcake train again...  Note the jobi logs (Thomas the Train reference) in the first car.
 


Then, of course, it was time to sing Happy Birthday and Yom Huledet (the Israeli/Hebrew birthday song) and blow out candles...  Well sort of...  Devin's family has a tradition of using a giant sparkler, so we stuck a sparkler in a cupcake and let it do its sparkly thing while we sang!   Aviel sat on his Abba's shoulders through the serenade.





Then we ate those lovely cupcakes and jobi logs!  The jobi logs were especially popular with the kids.





Last, but not least, we opened presents!


 


Aviel was blessed by all of his gracious gifts!  We have been enjoying them around the house since the party.

Thank you so much for celebrating three incredible years with our little guy!  We are so blessed to have him and thank the Lord for his life every single day!


Happy Birthday Sweetie Pie Crust!  

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