Of Interest · Uncategorized

Of Interest – August

Remember how excited I was that all my kids were in camp? And my assumption that I would be able to do the All The Things with all the free time that stretched out expansively before me?


I seem to have underestimated how much time taking care of four children and a house in a new (old) city requires. Especially when my really adorable, wonderful, delicious baby essentially stopped sleeping for more than three or four hours at a time. Teething, j’accuse!!

That’s right, it’s been a lot of survival mode, and the energy I do have has been dedicated to keeping my house from sliding into entropy, to making sure I have actual dinners to feed my family (more or less. I do count noodles and cheese as a completely valid dinner option), to treading water with the laundry situation, and to enjoying and relaxing with my children as they play in the yard after an enjoyable day at camp.

It’s been really great, actually. I get a lot of satisfaction out of domestic work, which is something I plan to write about when my time is not entirely consumed by domestic work. Whether there’s legitimately no time for creative ventures or I’m just not prioritizing it is up for debate, but I’m fairly certain that until my sleep deprivation situation gets a little less extreme, my priorities are solid. Especially since it took me from early morning until mid-afternoon to make this post.

If I’m soooo busy with my life stuff, what has brought me to all of you today? Besides missing you, OBVIOUSLY.


I received an innovative, adorable, and quality multi-function changing pad, the Joey Pad, in early July, and promised I would review it by late July. As I watched the last few days of July slip by without me having time to sit and craft a post worthy of this excellent product, I vowed (well, I vowed bli neder guys, don’t worry) to sit down and keep my word to Angie and Lilian, sister-in-laws and owners of the Etsy shop KangaGoo.

This changing pad has a sweet origin story, created by Angie as a baby present for Lilian’s second baby. I know I would have enjoyed a thoughtful and personal gift like that! Hand-made, you guys. Hand. Made.

Lilian loved and used this pad, but also saw ways it could be made even better. Like me, she doesn’t have a free-standing changing table and the crib became the changing space (we also use our bed, couch, and, mainly, the floor). She started using the changing pad as an organizer for all the paraphernalia that comes with changing diapers.

When Angie saw how Lilian had hung the pad/organizer from the crib, she was inspired to create a pad that could hold diapering supplies while hanging on the side of a changing table or crib, then quickly be removed and folded up small enough to fit in an average sized diaper bag.

And so they did. And here it is:

Joey Pad!!
Joey Pad!!

There are five really cute different patterns. I chose the yellow bumblebee pattern with a green backing. I love how soft and cozy the flannel cotton fabric is. We have another changing pad which is a plastic laminate kind of material. It’s great for wiping down, but my kids always hated being put down on that cold surface. Sometimes I would have to lay a towel or shirt down under their back so it wasn’t so unpleasant for them. When I lay my baby down on the Joey pad to change him, I know he’s comfortable, and I love that!


My baby marked his territory on the pad almost the first time I used it, so I was able to see right away how nicely it washes, and how the fabric got even softer and more absorbent. The backing is water resistant, so my floor didn’t get wet when he got the pad wet, and if I had to lay him down somewhere wet (I’m thinking picnic, or splash park), he’ll stay dry. This is a really well-thought out design.

I also love how it can hang from a crib or changing table and be used as an organizer. Like so:


We do most of our diaper changing on the main floor of our house, so I don’t really use that clever hanging feature. We keep our baby supplies in a large green cloth bin, and I used to have to rummage around in there for diapers, wipes, cream, etc. This was not so fun when I was holding a baby with a blowout, as you can imagine. Now, I can just grab the Joey pad and everything I need is right there. I really, really appreciate that.


And did you notice how the wipes pocket has a window so I never have to take the wipes packet out of the changing pad?How clever is that?! Very clever. Very, very clever. I use the right pocket for diapers and an outfit change, and the slim middle pocket is where I stash Purell and cream if I need it.


The Joey pad could totally fit in a standard diaper bag. I don’t use a diaper bag anymore, but it does fit in my purse, over the stroller handlebars, or as a sort of Mommy wristlet, if you will.

onthego wristlet

And guess what? It’s giveaway time!!! Yep. Angie and Lilian are going to give one of you one of their Joey pads. Use it yourself, or gift it as a baby present.

To enter, just leave a comment below with your most epic diaper blow-out story. The giveaway will end next Sunday, August 9th, at midnight. Be sure to leave a valid email where I can reach you if you win (don’t worry, it won’t be published or shared or anything like that). I’ll post the winner on my Facebook page and in next week’s blog post.

(only for US and Canada guys. So sorry to everyone else)

Also this!

look how pretty!
look how pretty!

Another item I received for review is the Adina My Design Sketchbook by the talented Yocheved Nadell. I remember seeing buzz for this product when it came out, and thought it was such a great idea. It allows girls to create and illustrate their own fashions, but all the tutorials and templates are modest styles. It gives young girls a kosher outlet for style, a way to see how individuality and expression can exist within the parameters of tznius. I think it’s an excellent idea, and when my daughter gets a little older, I will absolutely get one for her.

When I was contacted to review it, I immediately thought that my three nieces between the ages of eight and eleven would enjoy it. And they totally did!

The sketchbook is a compact size and I enjoyed flipping through the pages. I thought it was cute how the different styles were given different names, and how attractive the illustrations were.

I don’t have any pictures of my nieces’ work in the sketchbook, but they thoroughly enjoyed it! Their only criticism, if you can even call it that, is that they wished there were more stickers in the book (there are over 60 stickers, but I guess when you split it three ways, they go fast!).

You can get it over at Amazon.

Poetry plus music? Right here.


Remember when I told you about how Rachel Kann was putting together an album? The Upward Spiral? It’s done it’s done! Well, it’s been done for a little while, but the Three Weeks started shortly after I received it, and I don’t listen to music during the Three Weeks, so I wasn’t able to really spend time with it.

Just reading Rachel’s poetry is an experience I relish, and when I found videos of Rachel reciting her poetry, it was an enhancement of the pleasure of reading her poems. But now, to hear her read her poems and to hear what came out of the collaboration between her and DJ Jaz1, well, it’s fascinating.

You know I’m all about the power of music, and how altering the music behind a film or lyrics can alter the entire mood (remember that short video I did way back when to illustrate that point?).

Listening to the Upward Spiral, I’m hearing the evocative words read by Rachel, hearing which words she chooses to emphasize, where she chooses to pause, and then hearing a diverse range of styles of music providing a backdrop to the Jewishly-infused lines.

It begs for attention, more than I can usually give, honestly. It’s more engaging than a simple album of songs, where the lyrics are generally less complex, less epic, less sophisticated. I want to be able to focus, to let the melding of musical art and written art wash over me to pay attention to how they come together and how they assert their individuality.

Jaz1 created an atmosphere that reminds me of music I heard at  dance clubs I danced at back when that was my scene. Some of the tracks feel very bare bones, with a simple, constant beat and scant other sounds except accents that remind me of hip-hop. Other tracks feature dreamy, rambling guitar. The music feels like backdrops for the poetry, and as a musician, I enjoyed seeing how Jaz1 would build and create layers in certain tracks, while letting Rachel’s voice be in the forefront on other tracks.

You can listen to the track Gracenote here for an idea of what the album is like. You can get it here (Hevria), here (iTunes)here (Amazon), or here (CDBaby).

Be a Supporter of Art

Hevria is running an IdieGogo campaign to expand their awesomeness. For example:

  • The Hevria Sessions – Our Jewish take on “MTV Unplugged” highlighting up-and-coming Jewish musicians under the direction of the incredible Saul Sudin.  Video is expensive and so every cent we have can help us make initiatives like this really have some steam.
  • Hevria Mini Documentaries – Ever seen a VICE documentary?  That’s what we want to do.  Original, high quality, beautiful documentaries that bring a spiritual, authentic light into the world.  Imagine an up-close-and-personal view of what it means to be an Israeli settler or investigative reports into topics like whether anti-semitism is truly rising.  These are just the beginnings of what we’re planning to do.
  • The Hevria Academy – We are in the beginning stages of launching an online school (featuring such incredible teachers as Rabbi Eliyahu Fink, Rachel Kann, and Stephanie Levine), which is part of our plan to make ourselves self-sustaining.  With your funds we can make this happen, bring on more great teachers, and create even more unique courses you haven’t seen anywhere else on the web.
  • Live Shows – Imagine poetry slams, concerts, conferences, writing workshops, art classes.  All of these things are possible, and the more we raise, the more likely they become.

Finally, some linkies

He’s an Arab. He’s a Christian. He’s an Israeli Diplomat. Where else in the Middle East can you find such a multi-faceted identity?

Trying to understand the link between addiction and the human need for connection and bonding in this, what some call the age of loneliness.

On the importance of boundaries, especially when doing chesed, good deeds, for others.

If you don’t want to be mad at me for suggesting that less screen time for kids is probably a better choice, then don’t read this.

Why some Civil War soldiers glowed in the dark.

Aziz Ansari’s excellent interview on the Freakonomics podcast. His views on minimizing all the social media stuff really resonated with me. There is some mild profanity, fyi. Here’s an excerpt:

“When you look on your Facebook feed and you see these pictures it’s like, none of that…really matters. You just want to see a new thing on there and it just gives you something to do. I’ve sat at my computer. I still do it. And I go on like Facebook or whatever and I’m like, what am I doing? I’m going on a loop with these same four sites for no reason. I’m not genuinely interested. Like, here’s a test, OK. Take, like, your nightly or morning browse of the Internet, right? Your Facebook feed, Instagram feed, Twitter, whatever. OK if someone every morning was like, I’m gonna print this and give you a bound copy of all this stuff you read so you don’t have to use the Internet. You can just get a bound copy of it. Would you read that book? No! You’d be like, this book sucks. There’s a link to some article about a horse that found its owner somehow. It’s not that interesting.”

The OU has been picking up and republishing some of my articles. WHICH IS SO COOL.

I’ve been doing some serious navel gazing on my Instagram account, posting a lot of pics of food and fashion. #Mommystyle.

ps Elul is coming

16 thoughts on “Of Interest – August

  1. I always love your “of interest” posts, because they include so many cute and innovative things for mommies – especially the Joey Pad. So cool. Great pictures that you posted! Thanks for including my piece on boundaries in one of the linkies! Glad you’re having a great summer.

  2. The worst blow out I experienced want when with my kid! I was babysitting another girl and she and my daughter were both napping (in different rooms). The girl woke up with poop every where! And of course the only changing table was in the room with my sleeping daughter. I took the girl into the bathroom (unfortunately connected to my daughter’s room) and laid her on the cold floor to change her. No other option but really could have used one if these changing pads then! She of course screamed bloody murder, woke up my daughter and got poop all over the bathroom too. Not a fun day!

  3. don’t enter me in the contest because Baruch HaShem I don’t need the Joey pad anymore (but where was this when my twins were babies??) but I do need to share my fave blowout story—- I was working at home and the babysitter was with the twins. One twin painted the other with the contents of her diaper (don’t ask me how that happened while the sitter was right there- maybe she took a bathroom break?)—- she didn’t want to deal with an emergency baath/laundry situation so guess who didn’t work for the next 20 minutes– lol. Ahhh the memories!

  4. Don’t enter me either, but I have a pretty funny blow-out story. I was working from home right after coming back to work post-partum. We had a two-hour team meeting and while I was out, the team started doing them as video conferences. I took the opportunity to introduce everyone to Yoel and they all thought he was really cute. Until the audible explosion occurred. You know the type. Where the entire one-sie turns yellow on the back? Feeling oh-so-close to my team mates, I flipped him around to explain why I had to walk away from the camera for a minute…You would have thought that no one had seen an explosive poop before! Sheesh!

  5. I don’t need the giveaway any more, either (thank G’d) (looks cute, though!), but I’d like to say that I love a.) the linked text about addiction. I think the spiritual aspect of addiction isn’t recognized enough, by far. b.) your Instagram-picture from four days ago, with the headscarf and sunglasses. Great colours! Such an intriguing combination with your eyecolour.

    And I’ll keep reading the blow-out stories. :-D

  6. Worst blowout story: I was changing my baby’s diaper when he started pooping before I could get his new diaper on! Luckily he didn’t get me but the changing table was a mess!

  7. I’ve been out of diapers for 6 months and luckily don’t remember a specific extreme situation. There were many blow outs and blow ups in random places and on random people. My apologies to my brother in law who got the brunt of one! Would love a new changing pad for the future little one.

  8. Hi Rivki! Love the idea of the Joey pad! Always looking for ways to decrease the clutter, especially wiTh all of the awesome paraphernalia a new baby comes with! It seems as though everytime I change the baby’s diaper, she manages to pee or poop during the second she is in between diapers. Once the poop shot and splattered all the way across the room 😝

  9. Oh do I have what to say about diaper blow outs – -with 5 kids, there were way tooo many of them. The best was on a flight – I cleaned my daughter all up and when I opened the bag to pull out her change, I only had my sons bright blue undershirt there :( She wore that proudly, and got lots of ‘oh how adorable he is’ compliments. Poor girl!

  10. I’m so honored and thrilled to be mentioned on this wonderful list on your amazing blog!! Thank you!’

  11. The worst was probably when we were at shul, I think it was the first day of sukkot. I am very bad about bringing extra outfits with me in general, and this was when my first was only three/four months old, so I was still figuring out this Mommy thing anyway. Well, I was nursing him, and realized that poop had come half way up his back. I had to go home to get clothes and enough wipes to change him, and was just praying I could make it back to shul before davening ended, because of course I couldn’t tell my husband what was going on…

  12. The first story that comes to mind goes back to my first baby – She hadn’t had a dirty diaper in weeks and I was a little worried (the doctor wasn’t by the way)…anyway, I was about to run out of the house for an appointment and I was just waiting for my mother-in-law to arrive to babysit. I decided that it would be nice to put a fresh diaper on my baby before leaving her, and then, at the very moment my MIL walked in, I opened my baby’s diaper and she sprayed #2 all over the place (missing me)! And all I could say was, “Sorry, gotta run!!!”

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