Purim preparation, chatzos style

When we learn how to prepare in an organized ahead of the deadline way for Shabbos, it can’t help but seep into our other holidays all year long. (Pesach, anyone)

So we are less than two weeks away from Purim and some of us chatzosers are well underway.

I’ll tell you about me, but by all means, this is only to inspire all of you to think about what is possible for you. I would never suggest that what I’ve done is right for other people.

I figured out my theme ( we always do one) a few weeks ago and I made up my poem, found my visuals, and created the flyer that will go inside the mishloach manos.

I ordered special bags online that fit with my theme.

This year I’m doing baked goods that fit with the theme and I already baked them, wrapped them in saran wrap and ziplocks and put them into my freezer.

I updated my purim list from last year so I know how many to make and where they are going, and some I am mailing, so I know who to mail to beginning of next week.

We are joining with three other families for the Purim sueda and i figured out what i’m making for the seudah.

I know i”m on track because I don’t feel anxious about purim. One thing I haven’t done yet, but I will –

For us chatzos women, you know a special challenge this year is that Purim is on thursday. For those of us who don’t cook on friday, or only friday morning, and also, figuring that the house will be upside down after Purim, this presents special organizational challenges for preparing for shabbos that week. More on that in a later post.

So I normally end up a sunday post by asking you, what are you doing today for Shabbos? I’ll ask you as well, what are you doing today to prepare for Purim?

Love, Azriela

How one cooked or baked item can be used twice

This is a chatzos mindset. What can I cook or bake, and then double it so I have another one in the freezer for a future meal. ( Think cake, or burekas, for example). it’s often the same amount of effort, so I often do this whenever I’m making something that freezes well. (The closer we get to Pesach, the less I’ll do this!)

Another example: Tonight two bochurim are coming to our home to help my husband set up a new computer. Computer tech is not our strength and they eat by us sometimes for shabbos lunch so they are happy to help us old folks with what they think of as simple. . . and we think of as. . . huh?

They refuse payment, but I want to do something for them so I asked myself, what can I make as a snack to feed them hot from the oven, that will also work for Shabbos? (Since they are coming thursday night).

Potato burekas. So they will get them hot from the oven, the best they taste, and my shabbos guests will get them warmed up on the blech – not as good but still yummy – again, chatzos mindset – what can I make once, and be able to use twice?

Wishing you all a yummy safe and happy Shabbos with lots of simcha and plenty of rest too.

Love, Azriela

Instructions for commenting on my blog posts

I am getting feedback from members that the new system is working better for them, and I’m glad to hear it! 

A few times a week, I will be sending out a blog post that goes right into your mailbox.

Those of you with internet access are invited to post comments on the blog, which, once approved, will be visible to any visitors to the Chatzos website.  Unfortunately, there is no way to post comments via email.

If you have something special you want to share with the group- either a Chatzos success story, or an inspirational thought, or an amazing Shabbos tip, you can email it to me privately and I will post it to the group.  When sending in a submission, please specify if you’d like me to post your name or to keep your identity anonymous.

Also, every so often, I will post a question to the group and ask you to email me your answers directly. I will then put all those answers together into one blog post.

If you have a chatzos related question you’d like me to address in a blog post, by all means share it with me.

And if you want to ask me privately for guidance, but not have your email posted, that’s fine too – that’s what I’m here for!

I wish you all a peaceful week!

Love, Azriela

 

Always using my Sundays for Chatzos

It’s been years of making something for shabbos on sunday, so many weeks, months and years that I just consider it entirely normal. It’s not IF, but what? Depends on the week, what’s in my house, my menu, and if I have guests coming for shabbos. Sometimes I also repurpose something that wasn’t eaten on shabbos that will make something delicious for the following shabbos, so I make something and it goes back into the freezer for the following week, or another shabbos in the future.

Next shabbos we are celebrating my husband’s birthday by both married daughters coming for shabbos lunch so I already know I’ll be making more food than when it’s just the two of us, my husband and me.

Today my house smells like fresh challah. Years ago I bought a mixer that can handle 7 pounds and I only use it for challah. I make my challah on sundays and it lasts me two weeks, sometimes three.

I am also making my husband’s favorite chocolate dessert today, which will go into the freezer.

My menu for the week is up on my fridge on the white board with a check mark next to what is already in my freezer, or what I’m making today. I have two small white boards – one has the menu, and the other i write “to make” and “to buy” and that tells me for the entire week, before thursday night, what i have to purchase, and make for shabbos.

If I find out mid week that I’m having unexpected guests, I can always build on what I started with, but every week, I start out on Sunday with my menu planned and a shopping list and a “to-do” list on my fridge. And every day I check something else off.

One more thing I’m doing today as a Sunday project.

This is about the time every year that I dive into my chest freezer, take everything out of it, and figure out what is in there and organize it so that I have the best shot at using up what is in there before Pesach. Every year I discover forgotten gems buried in the freezer!And every year I remind myself why it really is important to label everything – because I always find some mysteries that once frozen, I’m thinking, huh?

Off to the freezer now.

Love to all,

Azriela

Shabbos sampling on Wednesday night

I do all my shabbos cooking on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday for the most part. I work full day on Fridays so long ago my chatzos became thursday night.

My husband looks forward to samples, and since it’s just him and me at home now, I don’t usually even make dinner for us on wed and thursday night because we are generally sampling the Shabbos food or finishing up leftovers from the previous shabbos.

Shabbos sampling has two pay offs. One, a few times I’ve determined that this new recipe is a flop and this can’t be served on Shabbos. Good thing I figured it out on Wednesday. Second, my husband absolutely loves his tastes of shabbos. He knows what to look forward to, and since I’m not someone who makes the same thing every week, sometimes it’s a new recipe he’s tasting for the first time.

In case you are curious – tonight he sampled banana chocolate chip cake, chicken schnitzel, and before he got home, I put away the salmon I broiled because i didn’t have enough to let him have samples!

We’re supposed to think about Shabbos all the days of the week, and in our house, we do. Starting with Sunday, we are often sampling tastes of Shabbos throughout the week as well.

Love, Azriela

CORRECTED: The way to start, is just to start!

UPDATE:  I scanned the article and didn’t hit the button for two sided, so the first version I gave you only gave you one side of the page. By scanning two sided, you get an extra treat now – a recipe for a cake and the first page of Mordechai S’s, humor column. So anyone who was confused by the first version of the article, my apologies, and this should make for easier reading!

Some of you are new to chatzos and it seems overwhelming. Trust me, when you make the first steps, Hashem will help you. I’ve experienced this myself and heard about it from many other members.

Recently I read an article in the Hamodia that runs along the same lines – a new BT who hesitates to begin the shomer shabbos journey but when he takes the first step, Hashem helps him. I thought it would give chizzuk to those of you who are on the fence about whether or not to take on this challenge/opportunity.

By the way, even those of you who are doing chatzos for a long while will enjoy the chizzuk that this article provides.

Hope you have a calm week! Click on the link below to read this inspiring article

Love, Azriela

CORRECTED: Link to Article 

 

Good Shabbos!

We say it all the time, many times without really thinking about it. We wish each other a good shabbos.

When I started doing chatzos years ago, it was a novel idea, and people in my community would joke with me – they would see me on a Tuesday and say, “Hey, it’s Tuesday, should I wish you a good shabbos now?”

Sure, why not?

Good Shabbos to all my chatzos friends around the world. May you all be blessed with shalom in your homes.

Love, Azriela

Friday afternoons are now available

A member of our group writes to me:

“My mother has been in a rehab facility for the last 4 weeks. I was able to spend every Friday afternoon with her and still bentch licht early. This could never have happened before I joined the group. I still have a way to go, but I am so thankful for all the inspiration that got me this far.”

Before chatzos, you wouldn’t dream of being able to do anything on friday afternoon, or all of friday, other than making shabbos. For those of you who work full time, sometimes, when it’s not a winter shabbos, you’d be trying to make most of shabbos between 4-6 PM. I know –

I am a professor of public speaking for Rutgers University for the past five years. It’s a hard job to get, and to keep, because I have to prove my worth every semester there to get another assignment. They start off new professors with one section, and keep us in one section for a year to see how we do. A year after I was there, I was offered a second section in the spring – Friday mornings from 9-12. That’s when my chatzos readiness became Thursday night, because by the time my section finishes friday mid day it’s past chatzos, and I won’t do any shabbos preparation then.

I said at the time that Hashem knew I needed about four years of doing chatzos and making it my new normal so that I wasn’t scared by a Friday morning job. I had figured out how to prepare for shabbos without panic and I was organized enough to not be intimidated by the prospect of losing my friday morning for preparation time. I feel that Hashem rewarded my chatzos effort.

Here’s what I want you to think about. If I had been offered that job when I wasn’t comfortable with chatzos it would have been very difficult for me. The woman writes about her mother being in a rehab facility could not have predicted that this would happen. She has been doing chatzos preparations for awhile so she was ready for it. I ask you to think about this question:

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you got into a way of preparing for shabbos all week long so that if something comes up on a Friday ( snowstorm, power outage, sick baby, job offer, etc, etc), you’d be able to handle it without stressing about Shabbos?

Love to all –

Azriela

Shiur about Chatzos on Bnos Melachim

I recently spoke about Chatzos for Bnos Melachim. To hear the recording of the shiur I gave, call 718-906-6451. Press option 4 for the Shabbos and Yom Tov section, then press 3 for Shabbs Programs, and then press 3# to hear my shiur.

Here’s the ‘blurb’ from their program:

It’s Erev Shabbos. Let us make it a “Gutten” Erev Shabbos. Will we enter Shabbos harried and stressed or amid peace and joyous anticipation?
Join thousands of women like you in a worldwide initiative as a kabbalah for the new year to welcome Shabbos with joy and serenity by being ready for Shabbos earlier. Approach hadlakos neiros in a relaxed, focused state of mind and make the most of that special time to daven for yourself, your loved ones, for Klal Yisroel – and let the flow of bracha that Shabbos brings saturate your home and your life. What an awesome source of unlimited merit!

Let us tap into the wondrous power of Tosfos Shabbos – each of us in our very own way. Whether it’s lighting a few minutes earlier, or being ready for Shabbos earlier. Find the change that will ultimately transform your family’s erev Shabbos experience into a time of connection and truly joyous anticipation.

You can also call in every week to hear the name of someone in Klal Yisroel in need of rachmei Shomayim for whom to be mispallel at this special time.
This program will also feature weekly hilchos Shabbos Q & A and divrei Torah on the parshah to keep you inspired.

 

I hope you enjoy the shiur! Listen to it while you are preparing for shabbos in the kitchen this week!

Welcome to the new chatzos blog!

We did it! Our old website and email group had grown to 700 members but I knew that only a handful were still reading and posting, and also, the group was starting to be used for postings that were not shabbos and chatzos-related. It was time for a reset.

With Yael’s help in Israel, we are now starting with all of you as our core group who elected to shift to the new site and blog. We have over 100 women who made that move, and I’m very excited for this new beginning. I thank you for your encouragement and your trust and your interest in what this blog and website has to offer.

I encourage all of you to take a moment if you have Internet access to visit www.chatzos.com and see our new website. You will find there a nicely organized collection of rabbinic encouragement for chatzos and early preparation for Shabbos that I’ve collected over the years. It really will give you chizzuk.

It’s Monday. Have you thought about Shabbos today? Now you have!

Love, Azriela