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Dec 5 2013

Mayim Bialik’s Thanksgivukkah, in Pictures

By at 11:52 am

Since the last night of Hanukkah was last night, today is technically the 8th day of Hanukkah. Here are my top 10 photos of my Hanukkah, including some highlights from Thanksgiving, which coincided with Hanukkah this year.

1. As I discussed here last week, my parents hosted Thanksgivukkah dinner. Here is the name card that was at my seat at the table. Note the Jewish star name card holder and the Thanksgiving and Hanukkah stickers adorning it. It should be noted that there were only six of us at dinner, but I think it’s kind of adorable that my mother insists on making name cards just the same.

mayim bialik thanksgivukkah place card

2. Here is my mother’s perfect fusion of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah: a Hanukkah placemat with Thanksgiving paper plates and napkins.

mayim bialik thanksgivukkah placemats

3. Ditto. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 2 2013

Eight Things Mayim is Thankful for This Hanukkah

By at 1:59 pm
mayim bialik in maccabeat's miracle video

A still from the video of the Maccabeat’s cover of Matisyahu’s “Miracle.”

 

Since Hanukkah fell on Thanksgiving this year–or did Thanksgiving fall on Hanukkah rather!?–I wanted to share eight things I am thankful for so far this Hanukkah. Context: I just got back from the weekend with my ex and our sons at my ex’s mom’s house. All of us together. In one house. For three nights. Cozy wozy, indeed.

1. I am grateful that my ex and I communicate so well, even when it’s hard. We planned the gifts, the travel, the meals; everything together.

2. In my dreams I would do a “No-Gifts” Hanukkah, but in reality, the ex and I made modest choices that suited both of us not perfectly, but reasonably. We chose medium and small gifts our boys truly have been wanting and will hopefully enjoy for a long time.

3. I love celebrating Hanukkah with my ex’s mom who converted to Judaism from Mormonism about six years ago. She is such an inquisitive Jew, and she studies more Torah and Talmud than most Jews from any denomination that I know. She makes a mean latke and even buys vegan sour cream for me to smear on mine. And she doesn’t even complain about how every Jewish food is destined to make us all fat, and her kitchen stove top all greasy. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 27 2013

Top 3 Thanksgivukkah Debates Going on in Mayim’s Home

By at 9:13 am

menurkey-8

Debate #1: To Latke or Not to Latke

Hanukkah starts tonight and although it is a holiday in its own right, with religious, historical, and spiritual meaning and ritual, I can’t ignore the fact that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. My mother, as I discussed here last week, is making latkes as our Thanksgiving meal starchy side dish. Should I make latkes tonight?

Yes: Latkes are always delicious. You can never go wrong with latkes. My kids love latkes. My ex loves latkes. Yes, latkes all the time.

No: There’s so much cooking to be done tomorrow and since my parents are hosting, it would kind of be a shame to get my kitchen all messy since it’s currently not messy. Latkes, while delicious, are not super healthy. And since we are spending the weekend with my ex’s mom and she will be making latkes and I will undoubtedly make them after the weekend, before Hanukkah ends, I think it might be enough fried food for the week as it is.

Debate #2: To Cook or Not to Cook

My hand is still not 100% and I have been assigned the task of making Brussels Sprouts chips (Yes, the recipe is in my book which comes out in February.) and sufganiyot (Yes, the recipe is in my book.) My ex has graciously offered to cook for me with me supervising of course, but I’m still not sure 100%.

Yes: Cooking is important to me and it really makes me feel part of the holiday, even if I’m not hosting. Even though my ex is capable and competent in the kitchen, the sufganiyot recipe especially is complicated and I like things done my way!

No: I shouldn’t hurt my hand more than it is already hurt. Chuck Lorre himself told me that even making my own challah is not worth hurting my hand, which I did at Rosh Hashanah and I’m still paying for it.

Mayim Hanukkah

Debate #3: To Gift All at Once or Not All at Once

The ex and I are not giving our sons eight gifts, but I still am not sure if we should give them what we did buy them all on the first night or space it out. They will also be getting gifts on Thanksgiving from my parents and this weekend when we see their safta.

Yes: Giving gifts all at once eliminates the “planned disappointment” that expectation inherently breeds. It’s also pretty fun (even for a scrooge like me) to see kids open a bunch of gifts at once.

No: Maybe it’s too excessive. Maybe they won’t appreciate each gift if there are several following it. Maybe there will be too much of a letdown on subsequent nights. Maybe it’s better to leave a couple of things for after we return from our big weekend away with their safta and can spend the final nights of Hanukkah at home together.

As it stands going into Hanukkah tonight, I am voting for no latke, letting the ex cook, and spreading the gifts out, and once my ex reads this post, he can weigh in.

Chag Sameach!

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Nov 14 2013

Sneek Peek at the Bialik Family Thanksgivukkah Menu

By at 1:57 pm

mayim bialik vegan thanksvigukkah menu

I’m not always the best daughter. Sometimes I’m impatient, short-tempered, bossy, and annoyed with my mother. I work hard to promptly apologize to my mother when I’ve not behaved nicely but I admit that I don’t always do that perfectly either. I may be able to make up for every prickly thing I’ve ever said or done to my mother with this post, because I would like to talk about how she prepares for holidays such as Thanksgivukkah, which happens in a few weeks.

My mom is a great cook. Her Hungarian mother was also a great cook and I bet my grandmother’s mother was a good cook too, and so on, all the way back. My mother specializes in all kinds of food but her presentation, her attention to detail, and the joy with which she cooks and serves food are also noteworthy.

Since I had my first son eight years ago, my mother has started the mini-tradition of writing up menus before holidays. This serves a dual purpose. She is a Type A list-maker and, thus, making menus satisfies her list making needs. Secondly, she likes me to consult about the menu, make changes as needed, and select which items I will be helping with. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 12 2013

Hanukkah Isn’t Just About Gifts (But Here’s What My Boys Want)

By at 11:45 am

mayim in blue

This year, for the last time until about 80,000 years from now, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day. Thanksgivingfully (hahaha), Hanukkah goes on for eight nights but Thanksgiving is only one. This means that for those of us who value the religious, spiritual, and cultural significance of Hanukkah, it won’t be completely engulfed by Thanksgiving. We’ll have seven more nights to sing Maoz Tsur and spin the dreidel.

However, for those of us with children raised in a day and age when Hanukkah has become synonymous with gift-giving, this coincidence becomes a problematic one. Case in point: my 5-year-old seems to think that Thanksgiving is a gift-giving holiday since he has heard that Hanukkah falls on the same day. I keep telling him it’s Hanukkah that he thinks of as a gift-giving holiday, and he looks at me like I’m insane. In his little brain, they are on the same day, and he therefore expects gifts on Thanksgiving. Hence, it’s a gift holiday. Sigh.

Why do I have a problem with my son associating Hanukkah with gift-giving? The first reason is that historically it hasn’t been associated with gifts, both in the greater Jewish population and in my family in particular. When I was growing up, my parents typically gave me new pajamas, a new wall calendar, and some collection of stationery items (pencils, note cards, erasers) as gifts. I always got at least one new dreidel for my dreidel collection. And of course, chocolate Hanukkah gelt. There may have been some years when I received a toy but my immediate association with Hanukkah when it comes to the notion of gift-giving is one of small gifts that were primarily functional and generally elicited eye-rolls and complaining from me because I thought all of that stuff was lame.

Except the Winnie the Pooh PJs I got when I was about 8. Those were awesome. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 13 2012

What I’ve Learned from Hanukkah So Far

By at 10:31 am

Hanukkah started Saturday night. Here’s what I’ve learned this week.

1. Hanukkah doesn’t have to be a huge deal. It can be about simple things: being together, small gifts, spinning a dreidel.

2. It’s hard being a working mama and missing out on daytime Hanukkah parties and fairs and such. Grumpy about that for sure.

3. Putting kids first is absolutely critical at any stage of a marital relationship. Kids matter so much more than our “issues” do. It is wonderful to be able to give them a safe and joyous holiday despite what we are handling.

4. There’s not much sweeter than watching small hands hold a shamash. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 10 2012

Mayim, The Maccabeats & The Miracle Match Campaign

By at 12:16 pm

mayim gift of lifeAs I posted last week, The Yeshiva University Maccabeats have a new Hanukkah video out. In addition, four of my favorite Maccabeats have now formed a new group separate from The Maccabeats called StandFour. They put out an awesome Hanukkah “mash-up” of three popular songs written with Hanukkah-lyrics which I am loving upside down and backwards.

What I wanted to focus on, though, was something I touched on in my post about making the holidays meaningful by giving. And how taking active steps to not “just” make the holidays about the consumerism and the gifts reminds us and shows our children that giving is the true spirit of the holiday season.  Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 5 2012

Help Others This Holiday Season

By at 1:04 pm
friendship circle mayim bialik

Photo credit: Daniel Jankovic Productions

As the holiday season begins, I am reminded again of my distaste for consumerism, commercials that only revolve around Santa Claus, and the assumption on every street corner that everyone celebrates Christmas. In my grumpiness, I am also reminded of my desire to break out of the Scrooge-rut and try and find joy in the holiday season.

What occurred to me about my distaste for the consumer madness is that I feel it especially negatively impacts my (and your, I suppose) children. All of those prodding commercials and ads in the newspaper and the signs and posters and billboards, the turning of a trip to the mall anytime between Thanksgiving and January a maze of Santas beckoning you to sit on their laps, shops enticing you with sales–bah, Humbug. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 3 2012

Whether it’s the Maccabeats or StandFour, Mayim is a Fan

By at 1:35 pm

standfour maccabeatsAs many of you know, I have had a several years-long obsession with the Yeshiva University Maccabeats. They are an all male a cappella group who released a Hanukkah video, “Candlelight” two Hanukkahs ago that went viral and sort of changed the face of Modern Orthodoxy and how gentiles and Jews view Orthodoxy. They sang for President Obama, they sell T-shirts (I own several and a hoodie), every Jewish kid knows who they are (and most of the kids’ moms too…). They’re wonderful and talented and sweet. Read the rest of this entry →

About Mayim

Mayim Bialik is the grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the mother of two young boys. She is best known for her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom Blossom, as well as her current role as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

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