Thursday, November 28, 2013

Save Big - Kosher Casual Promo Code

Looking for some new clothing?

Kosher Casual has a great Black Friday sale - use coupon code CYBERIFIC13 to get 15% off your entire order, including already discounted and clearance items!

Code valid thru Tuesday!

Kosher Casual Big box

Negative Income Tax Update

Update: the deadline for applying for Negative income tax (for the 2012 tax year) has been extended again!
The new deadline is Dec 27, 2013.
If you haven't yet applied for it and think you qualify, please take a few moments to get this taken care of!
I'm reposting my original post about this below, so you can find all the  information you need!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Negative Income Tax (Israel)

Just a friendly reminder about the negative income tax for 2012. This is basically a tax refund for working families. There are various qualifications to meet - basically someone who works and is age 23+ with children under the age of 18, or age 55+, even without children. The deadline to file based upon your 2012 earnings is September 30, 2013.

--- Retrieved from ---

It's easy. Just go into the post office (not all post offices do all tasks, please verify which branch to use), with your Teudat Zehut and your bank account information (take a check, everything they need is on there, or get a letter from your bank, the banker will have a form to fill out and stamp if you don't have a check. Just knowing your account # and branch # isn't enough, it needs to be "official".). Let the clerk know that you want to apply for "mas shleelee". Answer a few questions, and then go home. Your approval may take a few weeks, and you'll be given instructions for checking the status online.

This program is open to people who earned, on average, no less than 2041 shekels per month and no more than 6645 shekels per month (the exact amount that will qualify you depends upon various factors). Even if some months you earned more, if you were unemployed or under-employed for part of the time, you may qualify. In some cases, people who are (legally) self-employed qualify as well... If you were employed by a relative, you are not allowed to claim this benefit.

If you have questions about this program, please call the tax authority at *4954.

Check it out and see if you qualify! Some people will get a nice big "refund" and others will just get a token amount. Still many others will not qualify, because they are decently employed.


UPDATE: The deadline for the 2012 tax year has been extended to November 30, 2013!

If you found this post informative/useful/important, etc, please follow this blog (links on the right!) and find us on Facebook  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Sale!

Shop the Better World Books Black Friday Sale and save big on used books!

Use Code BLACKFRIDAY13 to get 15% off your order of 5 or more used books!


Starting today!

Don't miss out!

And of course, there's always free worldwide shipping! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Price Controlled Foods Update

I just wanted to make sure that all of you know that as of the end of last week, the price of conventional eggs has been changed.

The new price for a dozen large eggs is 12.50 (old price was 12.90), a dozen medium eggs is 11.50, and a dozen extra large eggs is 13.60.

Below you can find the list of price controlled foods. There was some talk of adding whipping cream and cottage cheese to this list, but those products have not been added to any official lists yet.

The price listed is the MAXIMUM price for the specified item - if a store is selling price controlled items for a higher price, they are in violation of the law. You can (and should) report these violations.

Here are the items that are supervised, and their maximum price to consumers:

I'm showing prices for the entire country, excluding Eilat, by the way. Eilat is exempt from Ma'am, so prices there will be lower.

Lechem Achid  - 750g loaf, 5.11
White bread, 750g loaf, 5.11
Challah or yeast cake, 500g, 5.58 (don't ask me what kind of yeast cake this is referring to, I have no idea!)
Lechem Achid, sliced and packaged, 750g, 7.67
White bread, sliced and packaged, 500g, 6.82
Regular Kitchen Salt, Fine Kitchen Salt, Fine Table Salt, and Coarse Table salt, 1 kg, 2.09
3% milk, 1 liter, bag, 5.28
1% milk, 1 liter, bag, 4.95
3% milk, 1 liter, carton, 6.54
1% milk, 1 liter, carton, 6.11
Eshel, 4.5% fat, 200ml, 1.66
Gil, 3% fat, 200ml,  1.52
Sour Cream, 15% fat, 200ml, 2.47
Butter, regular, 100g, 4.08
Emek Cheese (at the cheese counter),per kg, 45.96
Gilboa Cheese (at the cheese counter), per kg, 43.72
XL eggs, regular, 1 dozen, 13.60
L eggs, regular, 1 dozen, 12.50  
M eggs, regular, 1 dozen, 11.50

If you found this post informative/useful/important, etc, please follow this blog (links on the right!) and find us on Facebook! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Unilever Soap Recall

Unilever has announced a recall of a variety of soaps  - a small quantity of products with production dates between 1.9.13 - 9.9.13 and the following codes are being recalled due to an unpleasant smell:

The line is called "Pinuk", and the affected products are varieties of  "Tachliv Rachtzah":

Sea Breeze, code 251-13
Tropical Coconut, codes 252-13, 246-13
Violets, codes 252-13, 251-13
Lavender-Vanilla, codes 246-13, 247-13, 251-13

Please check the bottom of your soap bottles to find the codes!

If you have any of these products, be assured they are safe to use, even if they have an unpleasant smell. 

Unilever is asking customers to call their customer service hotline at 1-800-780-780 to arrange for a replacement.

Unilever apologized for the inconvenience.

Please share this information with your friends, and be sure to find me on Facebook! 

Recall - Bottled Water

Tempo Beverage Co. has announced a recall of 1.5 L bottles of San Benedetto natural mineral water.

The affected bottles have an unusual smell, and are stamped with code 06LA3268S and are dated 27/03/2015.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled bottles are asked NOT to use them, and to call Tempo's customer service hotline at 1-800-300-370 to arrange for a refund or exchange.

 Please share this information with your friends, and be sure to find me on Facebook! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

World Prematurity Day 2013

The years have gone by since I became the mother of a premature baby a little over 11 years ago. You'd think that now my little boy (who's not really so little anymore) would seem to be like all the other children.

Yet, I look at him, now a still-little "big" boy of 11 years, with a mischievous smile and his insatiable curiosity, and sometimes I still just see that tiny baby. Born at 30 weeks gestational age, he weighed just 3 lbs and 4/10ths of an ounce at birth (1375g). He was the tiniest baby I had ever laid my eyes upon, let alone held. He was so incredibly small in my arms, especially when compared with his older brother, who was born at 41 weeks, weighing 7 lbs, 9 oz.

Lucky for us both, he was healthy enough at birth for me to hold him for about 30 seconds before the neonatal team whisked him away in a warmer to the NICU.

30 seconds doesn't seem like much, but those 30 seconds were so precious to me. And a few days later, when they let me hold him outside of his isolette for all of TEN minutes - what a gift that was.

All those other hours I watched him, attached to tubes and monitors... I think I may have been in some sort of state of shock. All those other mothers around me went home after 2 days, or some 5 days, holding their babies and sharing their smiles. And there I was, discharged from the hospital 2 days after giving birth, holding a polaroid snapshot in my arms of my little baby who had to stay in the hospital, even as I had to leave, and there were no smiles, just holding back the tears. Of course, I came back daily. It was difficult. Figuring out rides. Figuring out life with our family in different places.

Eventually, I managed to borrow an apartment from a couple who had gone to Israel for the summer, who had a place about a mile from the hospital. I stayed there until my little one was almost 34 weeks GA, and then they came home from their trip, so I stayed at the home of another family who lived close to the hospital for the last week of my baby's NICU stay.

It was a roller coaster of a summer. My emotions ranged from fear and sadness, guilt and self blame, to joy and happiness. On the one hand, after weeks of feeling awful while pregnant, I felt SO much better after giving birth. But that meant my baby was born too soon and I'd have to trust strangers to care for him around the clock. I was helpless to do most of the things new mothers do - he was too small to be held, too small to nurse, too small to come home...

Thank G-d, our little boy stayed healthy while he was in the NICU. Besides his billirubin levels rising too high, he never had any complications. And we managed to bring him home (at my insistence) at 35 weeks GA, when he weighed just 4 lbs.

And now, he's much larger than 4 lbs. Back then, he kept me up nights caring for him, nursing him around the clock. I was determined to let him grow. Now I don't have to wake up in the night to take care of him anymore, but I do still find myself seeing glimpses of the tiny baby in the big boy he is today.  It's one of those things - it seems I may just never "get over" the experience and emotions of a premature birth... it has become a part of who I am.

If you'd like to read more about my prematurity story, please check out my posts from 2011 and 2012, as well, and please go ahead and read my mother's account of giving birth to her premature baby (me), 40 years ago. Also please read Jamie's prematurity story, her baby recently came home from the NICU.

We are just so grateful for all of the miracles Hashem has shown us. The miracle of life is not one to take for granted.

If you have a prematurity story to share, please feel free to leave a comment with your link or your story!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Groceries for a month

I've kept very careful records of my food expenses this month - I wanted to get an idea of how much of my money was going to different categories of food. I know this fluctuates depending upon the season and the sales, and even my mood when shopping and planning meals. But this is where you'll see what happened this particular month.

I need to explain that I began this month with a well stocked pantry, freezer, and fridge, and a cart full of potatoes and onions. I ended the month with less food in the fridge and fewer potatoes and onions than I began with, but with more in my freezer (mostly extra chicken, but also some already cooked foods), and  a little less in the pantry. I think it does somehow even out over the course of a year, and I'm REALLY hoping that produce prices start to come down soon, so we can go back to having more variety. 

One other thing I want to make note of: studies I've read (I'll try to track down the links) say that Israelis throw out a HUGE amount of food - 40% or so. I've been trying to minimize our food waste, so I'd rather buy fewer fruits and vegetables, which are highly perishable, than over-buy. We can always run out and buy a few more if need be, but once food is rotten, you can't turn back time. So I try hard to only buy what we'll actually be able to eat.

We actually spent a bit more on spontaneous "junk" purchases than usual, for a number of reasons... I'm going to have to reign that in from now on, and try to get back to "normal".

And here is the breakdown:

3.94 kg red peppers 21.65
4.43 kg cucumbers 14.14
4.72 kg carrots 16.70
2.23 kg butternut squash 8.96
1.88kg onions 5.72
1 cabbage 2.36
3 kg potatoes 9.00
1 kg tomatoes 4.00
3 kg kishuim 18.10
1.4 kg beets 2.82
celery 4.99
cherry tomatoes 15.00
Total Vegetables: 123.40

9.47 kg bananas 54.45
8.25 kg apples 36.15
3.1 kg avocados 15.35
4 kg oranges 10.00
2.2 kg "sug bet" (reduced price) apples and pears 4.40
kiwis 12.00 
Total fruits: 132.35

3 kg round brown rice 23.70
4 kg whole oats 32.53
1 kg buckwheat 9.98
 8 whole wheat flour 36.72
Total Grains: 102.93

Legumes - I had a really great stock of split peas, lentils, chick peas, etc going into this month, and I used a good deal of that up
1.1 kg black beans 13.05
1 kg red lentils 9.99 
Total legumes: 23.04

Dry Goods
3 boxes boring cereal 42.42
1 bag rice cereal 13.99
2 boxes special cereal 43.80(organic)
2 bags sweetened shabbat cereal 19.60 (first time we did this in YEARS)
500g sunflower seeds (hulled, raw) 10.35
12 bags whole wheat pasta 78.66
5 shkidei marak (mini soup croutons) 32.00 (we still have 3 left. there was a sale and shkidei marak help my kids eat soup so we get them from time to time)
4 bags pretzels 24.00 (for emergencies)
tea bags 12.99
2 kg crackers 54.00 (actually this is a really out of the ordinary purchase. long story)
Total Dry Goods: 331.80

Chicken - now we have a lot of chicken in the freezer
1.25 kg boneless skinless chicken breast 33.95
2 whole chickens + 2kg bottoms 121.00
chicken breast (with bone) 77.41
chicken bottoms 56.00
2 whole chickens 33.25 
Total chicken: 321.60

Dairy and fish - started off the month with 8 bags of milk in the fridge, and ended with just one, so we bought fewer milk bags than usual; we'll make up for it soon, I'm sure!
28 bags milk 133.58
shredded Noam cheese  84.36
sliced Noam cheese 86.16
2 kg fish fillets 40.94 (decided to serve fish on Shabbat one week, as we had guests who eat fish but not chicken)
2 lactose free milk 11.98
2 soy milk 17.80
2 tofu 20.71 (I spent way more on tofu than I normally would. It is so much cheaper at iherb, but the day I bought this I couldn't wait for an overseas order to come!)
240g Bulgarit cheese 9.48
400g salted butter 17.46
prepared chumus 800g 9.99 (need to have some emergency food for the teenager!)
eggs (1 doz) 18.00 - missed the cheap egg order because I was away for pickup day. Next month we're back to getting 30 organic eggs for 30 shekels
4 sour cream 9.72
2 pints of ice cream (Ben & Jerry's) - free
Total Dairy and Fish: 460.20

2 bags granulated garlic 8.38
3 bottles wine 48.90
1.5 liter bottle grape juice 18.00
14 bagels 21.00
40 pitot 40.00  - this is what happens when I'm too tired to bake bread!
3 baguettes 12.06
unrefined sea salt 19.90
24 seltzer 62.17
200g instant coffee 16.99 (this is a once-in-a-while purchase - I drink "real" coffee most days!)
2 large cans tomato paste 13.12
900g tomato paste in small packs 9.90- can't wait till I can get some cheap tomatoes to make my own tomato puree again!
6 pack "Shandy" 30.00
2 pkgs frozen bourekas (for emergencies - think teenage boy who likes bourekas) 30.00
chocolate 15.00
4 boxes granola bars 30.00 (again, a really out of the ordinary purchase. These were on sale and were purchased 'specially for my mother in law while she visits here
Total Misc: 375.50

Junk/purchases while out

One pizza night - 100.00

Total Food Spending for the month: about 2170 shekels.

So... what do you think?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Yotvata Flavored Milk Recall

Yotvata announced that some single serve bottles of flavored milk (250ml, 300ml, and 350ml), with expiration dates from 9/11/2013 - 17/11/2013 are being recalled due to early spoilage. They maintain that products that do not have an "off" flavor or texture are safe to drink.

The recall affects the following products (single serve milk drinks):

"Shoko" (Chocolate Milk) 250ml - Mehadrin - barcode 7290003029433

"Shoko" (Chocolate Milk) 6pack of 250ml bottles - Mehadrin - barcode 7290011438395
Iced Coffee 350ml - Mehadrin - barcode 7290011438142
Banana  250ml - Mehadrin - barcode 7290003029389
Latte 250ml - barcode 7290105362353
Punch Banana  250ml - Mehadrin - barcode 7290105368959
Cappuccino 250ml - barcode  7290104729041
"Shoko" (Chocolate Milk) 350ml - Mehadrin - barcode  7290011438128
Latte Zero 250ml - barcode 7290105368942

"Shoko" Diet 250ml - Mehadrin - barcode 7290003029525

Chocolate Milkshake with Chocolate flavored Syrup 300ml - barcode 7290011438470
Vanilla Milkshake with Chocolate flavored Syrup 300ml - barcode 7290011438487 
Customers who would like to arrange a refund or replacement should speak to Yotvata's customer service  team at 1-800-291-291
Please share this information with your friends, and be sure to find me on Facebook! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tara Milk Cartons Spoiling Too Soon

Tara Dairies announced a consumer update that certain 1-liter cartons of their 3% milk are spoiling before their sell by date.

If you have a carton of Tara milk that is dated 13.11.2013, it may spoil too soon.

The cartons have been removed from store shelves.

Customers can get a replacement for spoiled milk by calling Tara at 1-800-777-333

Please share this information with your friends, and be sure to find me on Facebook!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Food Recall - Shamir Salads (Israel)

Please check your salads if you've bought any this week! A routine inspection of Shamir Salads showed that a number of Shamir Salads are contaminated with listeria.

The affected salads are Egg Salad, Avocado Salad with Eggs, and Roasted Eggplant in Techina, and they should NOT be eaten.

Egg Salad: 250g containers with expiration date 7.11.13
Avocado Salad with Eggs: 250g containers with expiration date 20.11.13
Roasted Eggplant in Techina (no preservatives): expiration date 31.11.13 - although that date doesn't exist. I have no idea how that happened, but that's what was in the press release!

Consumers who have purchased these products should call Shamir Salads at 03-9067744 and speak with a customer service representative.

The products are being removed from store shelves.

Other Shamir Salads that are not included in this recall are safe to eat.