Buying Lulav and Etrog

My favorite thing about Sukkot is buying lulav and etrog. I love looking over the many etrogim and seeing all the beautiful features. I have been purchasing lulav for the holiday for the last 12 years and every year is such a different experience. I still love purchasing lulav in the Lower East Side from the many vendors that are there.

The last couple years, I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to head to New York and had to purchase our lulav and etrog from the Judaica store. When it was crowded, I was lucky if I got any help finding anything. If it wasn’t crowded, I would be asked where my husband was.

This year we are so fortunate to be back in New York and to have several different places to go choose from. I of course chose to go to the Lower East Side.

I took my lunch break a littler earlier and began my trip. I started with going to McDonalds to find an ATM. Doesn’t really sound like the first place to go, but that’s where the nearest ATM for my Maryland Bank Account was. The person in front of me was an orthodox man with payis and tzitzit. I then headed to the train. On my way there, I was grabbed by a random man, who held onto my shoulder and then let go and went walking. Got to love New York.

I took the subway to East Broadway and got off to the famous Canal and Essex Street. It was drizzling and there were not many vendors out. I am so used to crowds of people and lots of vendors. It’s the Friday before yontif and raining, so it wasn’t surprising that there weren’t many people out. I luckily found beautiful etrogim from Israel. It was wonderful to go and have so many to choose from and not have to pay $70+ to get a beautiful etrog. Once I decided which vendor to go to, my purchase was pretty quick, since I seemed to be the only one purchasing lulav and etrog.

Before I left, I decided to get a few lower east side treats. I purchased a black and white cookie and rugelah for Shabbat. And stopped by The Pickle Guys to get Full Sours, Garlic Pickles, and Pickled Tomatoes.

Next up, is building the sukkah.

Pre-orders on Disney Movies

Do you love Disney Movies?

The Cinderella Move is available for pre-order right now for the DVD/Blu-Ray Combo for 22.99. It comes out October 2.
Cinderella (Two-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)

Another Disney Movie coming out on November 13 is Brave for 5 disc combo for 34.96.
Brave (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy)

Note that both of these movies has an Amazon Price-Order Guarantee. So if the price goes down between now and the time it is released you’ll receive the lowest price. This might not be the cheapest if you do store coupons or rebates, but it’s the cheapest now.

Planning Menus

The hardest thing I have always found about planning menus is taking all the ingredients I have and planning a menu based upon the ingredients in the pantry.  My goal this summer was to try to reuse the items we already owned and limit our shopping trips to once every two weeks. It means trying to plan more efficiently ahead of time and then trying to actually use the items we have in our pantry.

Tools I used:
Google Calendar. I have set up a separate Google calendar for Dinner, where I list what we are planning for meals over the next two weeks and then it syncs with mine and my husband’s blackberries. I put in the notes a link to the recipe if it is online or a note of where I can find the recipe.

I also use SuperCook. It’s probably one of the best tools out there. I list all of the items I have in my pantry and then I put them in. I then list things I don’t want to use. So Ham, Pork, Bacon, etc. is on the exclusions list since I keep kosher. The website is great if you are part of a CSA (community supported agriculture). I really had no clue how to cook chard or kale the last few years ago.

Inflatable Bath Tubs

A friend of ours had an inflatable bath tub for their little one in the shape of a duck. I kept it in the back of our mind prior to having kids. So when the time came to purchase an inflatable tub, we purchased the duck as well. It was great for traveling with the kids before we were ready to shower them and before they could sit in the bath. Our duck has now gone through my two children and my nephew. It has been awesome.

If you have girls, you might be interested in the Disney Princess inflatable bath tub. It’s on sale for $12.50.

Disney Inflatable Bathtub, Princess

or you could always go with the adorable duck:

Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Duck Tub

Once they grow out of the duck, I would suggest moving into just using a laundry basket.