For those of you who are still reading after these sporadic posts over the past 2 years, I am truly grateful. I think when there are so many changes in one’s personal life, it’s obvious that the thoughts they have to share with the blogging world change as well. This is why I have some bittersweet news. After much thought, it is time for me to hang up Frum Girl’s hat. The Frum Diaries has been a wonderful way for me to share my journeys over the past 6 years, and although my journey will never end, I think it’s time to venture into the road less traveled. The Frum Diaries will always hold a special place in my heart, and I want to thank you all for sharing the laughs, cries and adventures with me all over the world.
But dry your tears! I’m also very excited to announce, that I will be back. And I mean it. Not with quarterly posts, but with real content that I truly hope will contribute to the Chicago community of mommies and beyond. In the next few months, I hope to officially launch our new space for laughs, lifestyle and sales/deals — A Glass of Whine (pun very much intended). So grab your bottles of wine and your bottles of milk, and join me on this new journey.
The website will be going offline in the coming days to prepare for the launch of A Glass of Whine. You can expect to see us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and right here — very soon! So this is Frum Mama signing out for the last time. It’s been a true pleasure.
If you own a local business or specialize in parenting-related products, I would love to collaborate with you in our new space. You can officially reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking forward to all of the mommies we can help together!
I’ll see you soon with all the whine and wine that mommy hood has to offer. But for now, please pass the bottle! L’chaim! xoxo
I really do think about posting more often, but when I get two seconds to breathe, I usually go to the bathroom or pour a Diet Coke instead of sitting down at my computer to put actual, sense-making thoughts together.
We’ve been so busy around here. The Goldwater Gang is growing up really fast — the babies will be 18 months and 6 months in July. I can’t quite believe it; my Miri is not even really a baby anymore. She’s pretty much a full-functioning adult. She says full words, usually tells me what she wants, and she can basically babysit her little brother. It’s a REALLY fun age. Life with her gets more hysterical by the day. My favorite word she currently says — “Oy vey!”. Yup, that’s my yiddishe mama right there. I also love when she kisses her stuffed Torah, her “Totah”. I’m schepping nachas on the daily over here.
Azi has really started to turn into a bit of a heartbreaker. His chubby everything and big smiles could even melt Scrooge’s heart. He’s so sweet and so mushy. He loves his big sister. If he’s crying, he automatically stops once Miri starts talking to him to “make him feel better” — I’m telling you, free babysitting right here!
You may have heard, but I was able to take a 36 hr trip away from both babies and husband this past week. I went to Lakewood, NJ for my dear friend’s wedding. It was SO hard to leave the kids. I had pages and pages of detailed lists and numbers and schedules written out for the three people who would wrangle the rodeo while I was away. I was away for two bedtimes and one full night. Go figure, that I woke up constantly the night I was away. I am SO glad that I was able to go because, once I was able to relax about leaving the kids, I had the best time. I was able to re-charge (even though it made me more tired than I was before!) and see friends from every seminary I’ve been to and every place I’ve ever lived. Some of the people I saw I hadn’t seen in 6 years! It was really a wonderful simcha with a radiant kallah, and I am so blessed to have been able to be a part of it. I couldn’t have done it without our #1 Tatty, #1 Martha and #1 Papa who held down the fort while I was gone. Everyone survived, and Miri only got into the dog food once! I won’t say who was watching her when that happened…;).
Here are a few pictures from our Lives Lately:
After the past whirlwind of a month, I’m looking forward to enjoying some lazy, Summer evenings at the park, staying up a bit past bedtime and watching the babies learn new things, grow and become cuter every day. Wishing you all a fabulous start to summer!
When I was younger, I went to overnight camp for 12 summers. It was my favorite place in the world; there was no place I’d rather be. I then discovered Israel, and realized there were other places where I needed to spend my time, but I still take many friendships and carry lessons I learned at camp with me everyday.
As part of a teen leadership program that I participated in at camp, we did an exercise called “the help triangle”. Spoiler alert for those who have not done this activity yet** Basically, everyone is led blindfolded in between three trees that are roped off into the shape of a triangle. Participants are given a spot on the rope and told they have to “figure a way out”. You hold onto the rope and walk along helplessly. Most people try and look for a physical way “out”, but the catch is that you are only allowed “out” once you ask for help. Many of us were left in the triangle for almost an hour, as we were feeling around, high and low, trying to find the magical escape route, when really, all we had to do was get over our egos and ask someone to help us. This activity really made a strong impact on me, and I think of it often, even in my role as a parent.
Oftentimes, we find ourselves struggling because we are too “proud” to ask for help. We don’t want to admit that we can’t do it on our own. Well, they say it takes a village to raise a child, and I think it might take an entire city to raise two kids under two. I’m very blessed that people offer their help more often than I even need to ask for it, but I’ve learned that if you don’t ask, you can’t expect to receive, and if you don’t have help, you’re on your own.
Being alone can be very isolating, and I don’t think it’s healthy for anyone, especially a woman 10 weeks postpartum, to feel isolated and alone. Therefore, I have put my “I can do it” mentality aside, and I ask for help. Whether it is from my husband, inviting ourselves out for Shabbat meals, or asking my 14 month old daughter to play nicely by herself so mommy can go to the bathroom, help is help, and it always makes the load a little bit lighter.
I encourage everyone, especially young mommies, to ask for help. Get a cleaning lady, a babysitter or just simply call on a friend to listen to you vent over the phone. H-shem didn’t want Adam to be alone in the world so He gave him Chava (Eve). There aren’t 7 billion people on this planet so that we can each live our own, individual lives. We are meant to be together and work as a community. And I am thankful for my village (or city) each and every day.
Wow! After almost a two month hiatus (again) I actually thought I had at least posted introducing the newest member of our rodeo, baby Azi, but apparently my mommy-brain is so out of whack right now that I actually never even posted!
On January 17, after an incredibly short labor, we welcomed baby Azriel Shalom (Azi) into our crazy lives.
Every second since then has been a whirlwind that I can barely remember. It’s probably a good thing I can’t remember everything because I’ve definitely considered sending him back or to baby boot camp. Our little guy loves to keep us up at all hours of the day and night. It’s been pretty draining to have a 13 month old and a newborn, but, thank G-d, big sister Miri has handled the change in stride. Azi couldn’t have gotten luckier to have such a sweet and caring older sister. I’m pretty sure she thinks his name is “nice” because we always tell her to “make nice” to the baby. So whenever we bring the baby anywhere near her she puts out her hand to pet his head and says “niii”. She is a girl of few words still, so I’m not entirely sure what goes on in her head, but her constant smile leads me to believe she is loving this new toy to play with.
Despite my complete, physical and mental exhaustion, I could not feel more blessed. After struggling with the fact that I had to leave my sweet Miri for two days while I had the baby and that she would no longer be my one and only, my heart has miraculously expanded to hold both of my babies close. In fact, now I can’t even imagine our lives without baby Azi. Through the screaming and long nights, he just somehow fits right into place. It is nothing short of a miracle that G-d helps a parent and a family expand their love so easily — as if the new little one has always been there.
So for now we are doing things on a minute-by-minute basis, with no big plans for the future, other than keeping us all fed and healthy, with G-d’s help. Our new normal is nothing short of a mini rodeo, and we’re all just hanging on to this crazy ride of life.
You may or may not have been following the new craze for this year’s holiday season. It’s called a Hatchimal. The basic concept, to the best of my understanding, is that a Hatchimal is somewhere between a Furby and a Tomagochi.
A blog I follow, Scary Mommy, has a great article on the Hatchimal craze. If bought at retail price, you pay a whopping $59.99, wait a few days for it to arrive, and watch your egg hatch into a beautiful baby Hatchimal that you can take care of. Since these toys are all any child wants for Chanukah or Xmas this year, you can expect to see them sold out at your local Target or ToysRUs and on Amazon or Craigslist for anywhere from $90-$170. I happen to think that this craze is ridiculous. First, who would spend $60 on something like this, let alone $170! I’ve found myself interested in this phenomenon, and when I had the chance, yesterday around 3 PM, to buy one of the few remaining Hatchimals (Penguala, Pink/Yellow) on Amazon for retail price, you better believe I snagged it up (I know, it’s No Spender December, which is going surprisingly well, I might add, but I’m getting to a point). I finally felt like one of those crazy moms who won the World’s Best Mom award because I snagged one of the only-remaining Hatchimals for my daughter. Except that my daughter is 11.5 months old. And she couldn’t care less about a Hatchimal. All she cares about are her new walking with the walker skillz and the Baby Einstein Music toy that is on repeat in my living room.
So what am I going to do with my Hatchimal, you may ask? Well, I am going to sell it to a lucky mom on the North Shore so she can make her kinderlach very happy this holiday season. For my efforts of stressing over the computer, initial money put out of $60 + expedited shipping, AND I’m delivering it straight to her door, I plan to receive $100 for my Penguala Pink/Yellow Hatchimal. Some may say it’s greedy, and I should have just left it online for the next mommy to snatch it up, but with all of my research, it is a fair price. And, hey, I’m just a mama trying to make a little extra moola for my family this holiday season. Look out for my next post on my experience with ThredUp, where I hope to make a few extra bucks on the clothes and shoes that no longer fit me, thanks to my beautiful child(ren). Happy Hatching and a Chag Chanukah Sameach (Happy Chanukah)!
In my marriage, we have two kinds of people. The first, is a frugal, money-saving, deal-finding, handsome person. The second is a pocket-burning, “I need everything”, “our children have no clothes”, okay-looking person. Can you guess who is who 😉 ?
When it comes down to the fact of the matter, my husband will tell you himself that he has never, in his entire life, seen someone spend money the way that his wife does. Sometimes I think it really stems from the way you were raised and how you grew up viewing money, but we won’t get into that now. When I came up with the “No Spender December” concept, I knew that Adam (hubby) would be the most excited/proud/exuberant/ecstatic/(searching Google for more synonyms here). G-d forbid my spending would ever actually get to the point of shalom bayis (peace in the home) issues, but it never hurts when you are working on yourself to know that your self-work is also directly affecting (in a positive way) your relationship with your spouse.
So I have accumulated some tips I have found helpful for myself, thus far, and I have compiled them below in an easy way for you to agree or completely disagree with.
1) When on Amazon and you feel that itching in your pointer finger to click “add to cart” or “buy now”, simply re-direct your pointer finger to “add to list”. I have a Wish List on Amazon where I simply add things that I think I “need” to have. Two things happen when things go to the Wish List. 1) They sit there until I realize that I don’t need it anymore, and I can, with good conscious, remove them from the list, and send them back to Amazon oblivion. 2) A birthday or Chanukah or “just because” rolls around, and a gracious family member decides to purchase something you actually want from your list! Obviously, #2 is much more exciting, but #1 feels really good when you’re trying to save.
2) When things like GapCash are being dangled right in front of your face saying “Spend me or the world will collapse”, I find that it is easiest to pass your GapCash along to someone else who actually needs to buy things for their kids. I just did this, so that there was way I could possibly be taunted by GapCash for the past 5 days, and I did a good deed! I think they call that “paying it forward”? My spending addiction is your gain, lady!
3) Return, return, return! If you waaay over-spent before deciding to implement No Spender December like some of us (cough, cough), when you receive your items in the mail, seriously go through them and decide what you really need. I’ve returned over $100 worth of things I bought in late November, simply because I decided that they are not necessary. The best part? It feels good to return things and know that the money is going back into my checking account/credit card, and it will be saved and better-used for my family.
4) Purge, purge, purge! Somehow (and I can’t imagine how), “things” have accumulated in my apartment over the past year since I had my first baby. Now that I have gone through the third bedroom in order to get it cleaned up for our new arrival, I’ve been able to sell some items that we really don’t need. It’s really fun (yes, I said fun) when a sale actually goes through on OfferUp or the marketplace on Facebook. I feel good about getting back to basics and knowing that I am making room for someone that is infinitely more important than the home items section at Target.
5) Finally, if you do have to spend this month, because, hey, things do come up, then at least use . I seriously get so much cash back this way, and it literally takes no extra effort on your part, after you sign up. I will admit that I get bonuses when you sign up and shop through my link, but I would not be such an advocate if I didn’t truly believe that it was worthwhile.
Well, here we are, almost one week into December, and I’ve only bought necessary groceries, sippy cups, and toiletries/laundry detergent from Target. Yes, I actually went into Target, got what I needed and got the heck out. I’ll call that a win any day! Happy not-shopping!
Well folks, I’m proud to say that No Spender December started early this year. I had made a large purchase of numerous items (mostly unnecessary) for my daughter at Baby Gap last week during a sale (not even Black Friday, lol). I must document the special occasion: on November 29th at approximately 12:30 PM, I went to the mall, walked directly to Baby Gap, even more directly to the counter (with blinders), returned $35 worth of items and WALKED STRAIGHT OUT and back to my car. This was the first of, hopefully, many triumphs in my efforts to alter my spending habits, and it felt really good. Huzzah!
I truly think H-shem is trying to help me out here because since I defeated the Baby Gap, I have had small, random nudges of confidence that make me really believe I can cut back on the spending! I needed to make a few returns to Amazon as well. The first just gave me a refund and told me that I didn’t need to send the item back, and the second worked with me so that I didn’t have to pay return shipping fees on the item. BH, things are looking up! Bring on December!
Where have you saved and succeeded this week? xo, Frum FRUGAL mama 🙂
No Spender December (I know, good rhyming, right?!). Well, it’s about to be a thing in my life. I’ve been told once or twice (or 100 times) that I’m a little OCD about things. These are two results I got from taking those Facebook quizzes, lol.
Anyway, it makes it extremely difficult for me to not completely prepare EVERYTHING for the new baby. From diapers (which I currently have sizes ranging from Newborn-6 thanks to Amazon Prime Day) to the nursery furniture, I find it really difficult to sit and wait around until baby decides to make an appearance in this world to do any sort of preparations. In the Jewish tradition, we don’t have baby showers or do much before the baby actually arrives. I, however, sought out advice from our Rabbi, and as long as I don’t go changing any wallpaper, etc before the baby comes, in order to curb my anxiety I am allowed to purchase a few things.
So we are keeping the gender of baby G #2 a secret from the world, but with my personality, I had to find out. So you all won’t know exactly how much I’m actually buying for baby, but, either way, we are having two separate rooms since big sister Miri is still really a baby herself. So if nothing else, I get to completely decorate a new nursery. I am also a firm believer that every new baby deserves his/her own white onesies to spit up and poop on. It’s so crazy to me to believe that just a year ago we were preparing for little Miri’s arrival. I hadn’t even met her yet, and now I can’t imagine a day without her!
So back to the main focus of this post — No Spender December. Based on my previous history of spending and preparing and buying Miri clothing like she is constantly naked, I have decided that I am going to take a break for the month of December. Aside from necessities (e.g. diapers, wipes, baby food, groceries, etc), I am going to do everything in my power to NOT buy things on Amazon, Gap or make unnecessary trips to Target. And when I do go to Target (for baby food, etc), I will put blinders on, go to the aisle I need and report directly to checkout. No passing go, no collecting $200. That will probably be the hardest thing.
I need to take this time to reflect inwards and really figure out why I feel like I need to buy buy buy all the time. These are not middos (characteristics) I want to pass along to my children, and I think it actually may reflect a lack of emunah (faith in G-d). He is in control, and if I take a break from spending, buying and preparing unnecessarily, it will help me remember that He has a bigger plan for me, and everything will turn out okay in the end. So here’s to forgetting about the gashmius (physicality and materialistic) and returning to the ruchnius (spiritual) side of things for a while. Who’s with me? I may need some serious support this month. RIP, Amazon Prime, RIP.
Well, here we are at my husband’s favorite day of the year. I’m dead serious. The man LOVES Black Friday. He has been participating in the antics since he was little with his father. Go figure, he hasn’t gone out at 3 am since we’ve been married…sorryyyyy, my bad. But we do end up doing a lot of online shopping. And you may ask, “What makes BF different from any other day because you shop online EVERYDAY!?” Well, we do our best to look at our lists of “needs” (aka obviously baby clothes because we don’t have tubs and tubs of them already 😉 and then actual baby items — car seat, diaper pail, rocker, etc) and try to hunt down some deals.
I normally do a post listing some of my favorite deals, but this BF I’m all about . A lot of my regular stores have AWESOME cash back deals, and you get cash back for simply getting to your normal sites via Ebates aka DOING NOTHING. It’s really a no brainer. I made $97 in cash back last quarter (I know — sounds like I have a problem), but it makes it sound better when you can say you’re getting 10% cash back on your order.
If you’re not already signed up for Ebates, all you do is sign up via the links in this post, then go to your favorite shopping websites through the Ebates website. You can also download a button for your Chrome browser, and it will remind you to literally click a button while you’re shopping to earn your cash back. That’s what I do, and it clearly works pretty well. I know there are a ton of other cash back sites, but I am a die hard Ebates girl. I find it the easiest and most universal site to use.
Some sites with awesome cash back today: Gap (50% off EVERYTHING with code:TGIF50) and Old Navy (50% off almost everything) both have 8% back. Kohl’s, J.Crew (40% off a sky-rocketing price tag — so basically almost normal price), Carter’s (60% off and free shipping) and Macy’s all have a whopping 10% back. And ToysRUs has 6% back for all you parents staking out to get Hatchimals for your kids, LOLOL. Toooootally kidding about these Hatchimal things. I don’t see the obsession, but I’ve seen people selling them for $150 on the “black market” because they are so “rare” and in demand this holiday season.
So from my family to your’s, we wish you a happy day of shopping and cooking (again) for Shabbos. I hope wherever you are reading, that you are somewhere safe and warm. We are all praying for those affected by the horrible fires in Israel. Fire is a powerful element. When used correctly, it is used for heat and light. It ultimately brings brightness into the darkness and is used for good. But in situations like the current one in Israel, when something good is used for evil, it can be detrimental and very scary. I hope this Shabbos brings shalom (peace), safety and nechama (comfort) to all of those who are affected by these vicious acts.