Sunday, January 31, 2016

Coupon Code for your next "Fun Day!"

I wanted to let you all know about the newest "must do" activity in Northern Israel, and share my exclusive coupon code with you! Read on to find out more (there's Hebrew below, so you can share this with all your Hebrew speaking friends as well!)

It is the year 1172, and we find ourselves in Cairo, working together with the famous scholar and doctor, Maimonides. Being the personal doctor to Saladin in Egypt is a great honor for Maimonides –but the prestigious position carries great responsibility as well. Today, Maimonides needs your help. A member of the royal family is sick and is in need of a particularly rare medicinal herb. Maimonides has located a source for the herb, but it is locked away in a secure box. Only you can access the correct key.

This is the setting of the Maimonides Puzzle Room, where teamwork and creativity will lead you to success. During this adventure, groups must search for clues, solve puzzles, and stay calm while attempting to complete the challenge before time runs out.

Escape rooms are one of the hottest new trends in entertainment, and this new Maimonides Puzzle Room will complete your trip to Tiberias.

Located in the The Maimonides Heritage Center in Tiberias, the Maimonides Puzzle Room is perfect for your family or group. Call 053-530-3018 or email to reserve your time slot today! 

Mention "" 
when you reserve for 10% off!
must book by March 15, 2016

השנה היא שנת תתקל"ב, אנחנו עובדים בקהיר ליד החכם והרופא המפורסם ,הרמב"ם. הוא משמש כרופא החצר של הסולטאן המצרי "צלח –א-דין". תפקיד מכובד מאד, אך גם אחריות כבדה ביותר. היום הרמב"ם זקוק לעזרתם. אחד מבני המשפחה של המלך חלה ומצבו הולך ומחמיר. הוא זקוק לצמח מרפא מיוחד ,שהוא נדיר מאד. הרמב"ם מצא דרך לאתר את הצמח ,אולם הוא נעול בתוך קופסת אוצר, רק אתם יכולים למצוא את המפתח לפתיחת הקופסה.
זהו הרקע עליו מושתת "חדר החידות," בו יצירתיות ועבודת-צוות יובילו אתכם להצלחה. במהלך ההרפתקה, הקבוצות יצטרכו לחפש רמזים, לפתור חידות, ולהשאר רגועים כשהם מנסים להשלים את המשימה לפני שהזמן אוזל.
"חדר חידות" ("Escape Room") הוא הדבר הגדול הבא במשחקי החברה המציאותיים. בואו להשלים את ביקורכם בטבריה ב"חדר החידות" של הרמב"ם.
המקום נמצא במרכז מורשת הרמב"ם בטבריה. זוהי חוויה מושלמת למשפחה או לקבוצת חברים. לתיאום מראש התקשרו לטל': 053-530-3018 או שלחו מייל לכתובת:

כדי לחסוך 10% על הביקור, תזכירו
למזמינים עד 15.03.2016

Product Recall (Vitamult)

CTS announced a recall of the liquid vitamin supplement "Vitamult" today, due to a discrepency between the product labeling and the actual vitamin content of the supplement.

The discrepancies are in the Vitamin A and Vitamin D content. The products are labeled as containing 294 mcg of Vitamin A per 5 ml, when in reality they contains 150 mcg; and the label states that the product contains 5 mcg of Vitamin D per 5 ml dose, when in reality they contains 3.75 mcg.

The recall affects the following products: Vitamult, 110 ml bottle, batch 057140 (use by date 04 2016) and batch 057141 (use by date 02 2017).

Consumers with these products can return them to the pharmacy where purchased for a refund or replacement.

In case of any questions, call CTS customer service at 1-700-500-220

Please share this post with your friends and family who may have purchased this product.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Shabbat Menu

Quick! It's late Friday morning and I need to figure out my Shabbat menu!

Here's what I've figured out so far:

Dessert: Chocolate Chip Squares

Spelt/Oat Challot: From the freezer

Black Bean Cholent with Vegetarian Kishke (the kishke is from the freezer) (for Shabbat Lunch)

Random Side Dishes From the Freezer

Roast Chicken over Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Vegetable Soup (for Friday Night)

Salad: Lettuce with honey-cinnamon oranges, Israeli Salad

For seudah shlishit we'll have random things, like egg salad and crackers and fruit

Ok, looks manageable, I think! Now I'm off to get the cooking underway and get the house ready for Shabbat!

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Printable Coupon! (Israel)

This is not a valid coupon. You need one with a barcode
Today's coupon is for the cheese eaters out there.

Save 20% when you buy pre-packaged Noam cheese!

Coupon valid thru April 30, 2016

Click here to get the coupon! (this link takes you to the Tara website so you can get the official coupon)

 Friends help friends save money! Share this post with your friends today!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Water Prices Are Going Down!

Today, the government approved the reduction of water rates by an amount equal to the VAT (17%), as part of the effort to reduce the cost of basic necessities in Israel.

The reduction will apply to the amount of water that is considered "basic" - the first 3.5 cubes per person. Amounts used above that will be subject to higher rates.

Make sure your water bill reflects the correct number of people in your household. If it lists fewer people than it should, make sure to fix that right away.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Dessert When I've Run out of Time!

Sometimes, especially on short Fridays, I discover it's 20 minutes till Shabbat and I haven't made dessert!

Ok, it's not the end of the world, there's always fruit.

BUT if I can make the whole family happy and pull something together very quickly, why not?

Here's what I need to do this:

2 bars of chocolate
1/2 cup peanut butter (optional)
1.5 cups crisp rice cereal (like rice krispies or B&D pitzputzei orez)
sea salt (optional)

First, melt 2 bars of chocolate (I use  double boiler but you can carefully use a microwave, if you prefer).
Then mix in 1/2 peanut butter. Stir with a wooden spoon till smooth. 
Add in 1.5 cups crispy rice cereal . Mix, then spread out in a large pan. 
Sprinkle sea salt over the top if you like. cool (in fridge or freezer) then cut into squares.

THAT'S IT! You're done, and dessert took no time at all!
My family is always happy with this simple treat!

(You can use crushed pretzel or corn flakes instead of the rice cereal, or combined with the rice cereal for an interesting and delicious twist!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Imported Eggs: Possibly Contaminated with Salmonella

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about eggs from the Ukraine that were contaminated with salmonella.
This time, I am going to tell you about eggs from Spain.

The Ministry of Health suspects that eggs that were imported from Spain may contain, you guessed it, salmonella - and is conducting further testing.

In the meantime, the MoH has asked the public to be sure to only eat eggs that have been thouroughly cooked, in order to minimize the risk of food poisoning.

(Food poisoning is something to avoid, really, at all costs. It's awful. If you've never had it, you'll just have to trust me on that one, because I'm not going into the details here!)

You can check if the eggs you have are from Spain - they will have code ES stamped onto them.

Here is a list of countries that we currently import eggs from, and their corresponding codes. You will see one of these codes on the eggs you buy if they are imported (eggs produced locally do not have letter codes stamped on them):

Spain = ES
Holland = NL
Italy = IT
Ukraine = UA
Turkey = TR

Now that we know how to identify imported eggs, we will be more educated consumers. Personally, I'd rather get local eggs! How about you?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Menu for the week

Ok, I guess I should admit that I only get around to planning my menu for the week on Sunday night. AFTER I've had to scrounge around for something to feed the family for supper! One day I will learn to move the planning time up a bit...

We're still fighting off colds here, it seems to be cycling through the whole family...

So here's the plan, and it's really got to be low-intensity cooking this week. I'm already under the weather and just need to get some rest (and my morale was just destroyed by the latest horrific terrorist attack, I just can't stop thinking about it):

Sunday night: Vegetable soup and Pasta

Monday night: Split Pea Soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, cut vegetables

Tuesday night: Vegetable Soup, Rice, Scrambled eggs, ??

Wednesday night: Minestrone Soup, garlic bread

Thursday night: Whatever is left

Lunches? who knows. Maybe the kids won't be hungry? Somehow, I'm sure we'll figure it out. They can always boil up some pasta...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

NEW "Ma'anak Avodah" Info (formerly Negative Income Tax)

--- Retrieved from ---

NEW: You can now apply for the Maanak Avodah ONLINE. Currently, the online system is available only for people who have applied in the past. But this is a HUGE step forward! CLICK HERE to go to the online application

UPDATE: The deadline has been extended! You have until December 28, 2016 to apply!

AND, GET THIS: right now you can apply for either 2014 or 2015 grants online. So for those of you who missed the 2014 deadline, you can still apply! If you have never applied for this grant before, you can call Mas Hachnasa and request an extension - call *4954 and ask to apply for the ma'anak avodah late -- "liftoach pniyah l'maanak avodah b'ichur". You may be able to get them to let you apply late.

The Following information is based upon the 2014 publications: 

Who can apply for this grant?

You can apply for this grant if:
1. You were employed or self employed
2. You were 23 years of age or older, with minor children, or 55 years of age or above, without minor children
3. You did not own more than 50% of a property or rights to a property in the 2014 tax year, other than your primary residence
4. If you have one or two children, or are age 55+ without children, and your average monthly income falls between 2,070 and 6,057 you may be eligible for this grant.

5. If you have 3 or more children, and your average monthly income falls between 2,070 NIS and 6,766 NIS, you may be eligible for this grant.

How do you apply?
In order to apply, all you have to do is go to the post office and answer a few questions. BE SURE to bring your teudat zehut (ID card) and either your checkbook or an "ishur" from your bank that you have an account with them. Please keep any paperwork you receive at the post office and/or in the mail.
If you have questions after you've applied, or to check the status of your application, you can call *4954 or 1-222-4954 or 02-565-6400 to speak with the Tax Authority.
How much can you expect to receive?
The amount you receive will vary depending on your circumstances, and if you qualify, will vary from 20 shekels/month to 720 shekels/month (240 shekels yearly to 8,640 shekels yearly).
Your spouse's income may affect your eligibility.
I hope this helps some of you out there! It's worth it to check if you are eligible. (If you're not eligible, that's not a bad thing, really. I know some of you complained to me last year that you were not eligible, but that means you are earning more money than the people this program is supposed to help.)

Please share this information with your friends and family who may benefit from it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Calling Overseas/Free US Phone Numbers (Money Saving Tip)

Over the years, I've tried out several ways of keeping in touch with my family and friends in the USA. When I first came to Israel in the early 90s I bought those ridiculous Telecards with 1000 or more yechidot on them! Later I bought prepaid minutes that I accessed via a code and PIN number, that I used from my phone line in my apartment. But life is different now, and we all have celphones, most of us have smartphones. Some plans even include unlimited overseas calls (my latest one does)! But the One Thing I've avoided doing is buying a 100 shekel a month phone plan that includes a US number! Instead, I've always looked for other, lower cost, options.

I've tried out various video chat software, as well as VOIP services.

So here's what I know about calling the US and getting a FREE U.S. phone number for people to call me on:

MagicApp - I use this one a lot. For about $20 a year, you get your own permanent US phone # (it works on Android and iPhone/iPad as long as you have internet service). We also have one on a device that is the "free App" - we pay nothing for it. This free version of the app can call phones in the US and Canada for free, and each person we call will get a different number that displays for them on their caller ID. BUT they can call us back using that number (it is my dedicated number that works ONLY from that specific line) anytime they want, from that phone line! And for them, it's a local number, so they don't have to pay anything extra to call me! It's a bit annoying not to be able to give out a specific number, but rather to have to call first and have each person save a different number into their phone, but it works!

Another service I've heard a lot about is Talkatone. Apparently, you get a free US phone number and a limited number of free outgoing minutes per month. Incoming calls are always free. It sounds like it's worth checking out!

You can also easily go the The Play Store (or if you have an iPhone, the Apple Store - iPhones are way out of my price range, though!) and check for apps that provide this service and give some of them a try. There are a whole bunch to check out and see which works well for you! A quick search for "free us phone number" on my phone showed these results (and many more):

Let me know if you have a favorite one - I'd love to know which.
I hope this helps some of you out there. I know my family in America is really happy to be able to call a local number to talk to us. I'm sure yours will be too!

P.S. Yes, I finally got a smartphone. But I got a no-name one like this for about $60. It usually does what it should do and I didn't have to spend a fortune on it!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Menu for the week

I'm a little late posting my weekly menu, and I debated whether I should bother posting it at all... I decided to go ahead, and while I'm at it, I figured I will explain my menu planning!

I find it really helpful to me to know in advance what I'll be cooking each day. Otherwise, 5 or 6 o'clock hits and I have no idea what to make! Then we run into ISSUES. So these few minutes of planning really help our household run more smoothly. ALSO, meal planning helps me make sure that I use the foods that are in my house already. I take a glance at my fridge, freezer, and pantry before I start my meal planning, so I can plan to use the things I've already paid for. In addition, a weekly check of what we have helps me keep track of things we might be running out of, so I can add it to my shopping list. Some things go on the list earlier on, because I'll want to look out for a sale; other things I buy as needed, because the price rarely changes.

This week we are all still recovering from a bad virus that has got most of us coughing and wheezing (ugh, not a great thing AT ALL). So we are going to be eating lots and lots of soup. Right now I wish I had one of those huge stock pots (but I don't)!

Here's the supper plan (lunches will be sandwiches and leftovers and soups):

Sunday: Spicy Red and Black Lentils, Oven-Fries, Cucumbers

Monday: Embellished Shabbat Leftovers

Tuesday: Split Pea Soup, Rice with stir -fried veggies and lentil patties/tofu

Wednesday: Green Vegetable Soup, Baked Ziti, carrot sticks

Thursday: Anything leftover from the week, or I will make scrambled eggs and pancakes.

What's your plan for the week?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Shabbat Menu

Time to cook for Shabbat! Are you ready? It's very cold and rainy here, I hope everyone can stay warm and dry!

This week, I've got:

Challah from the freezer, 

Vegetable Soup

Oven-Fried Chicken (from the freezer), 

Potato Kugel (made it fresh!)

Brown Rice with Roasted Garlic

Stir Fried Vegetables (bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi...)

Baked Tofu for the vegetarian 

If we have a salad it will be made of lettuce and whatever other random veggies are left, I'm not going to be able to pick up fresh vegetables tomorrow!


Black Bean Cholent for lunch (maybe with vegetarian kishke!)
(and whatever is left from Friday night)

For Dessert: Brownies and Caramel Popcorn

Looking forward to another great, restful shabbat!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Egg Recall Info!

The Ministry of Health has ordered the removal from store shelves of all eggs recently imported from the Ukraine (who knew we imported eggs from the Ukraine?!?).

Tests show these eggs may be contaminated with salmonella.

They have already been removed from store shelves, but some were sold before the recall was put into place. Please check your eggs for a stamp that says "UA" on them. If you have eggs with a "UA" on them, they originated in the Ukraine and are part of this recall. Please return them to the store where purchased.

Consumers are also warned not to buy eggs from unauthorized sellers, like those who sell from the back of a truck at the side of the road. Sometimes recalled eggs have been sold illegally in this manner in the past.

January Savings at iHerb - Limited Time Offer

Free Shipping from iHerb is back!

Here's the current deal for Israeli customers! (perhaps for all international customers)

Extra 10% off - plus free Airmail shipping on all orders over $40.00 USD!

This offer ends Monday, January 18th

CLICK HERE to shop now. If you're new to iHerb, this link will load a $5 discount into your shopping cart!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Post-Aliyah Survival

I'm writing this post to all of you out there who just made aliyah, are thinking of making aliyah, or will soon be making aliyah.

We've been here a little over 5 years (this time around), and I cannot lie. It's hard. It's not ALWAYS hard. But overall, there are so many adjustments to make when you pick up and move from a Western country to Israel, so I won't lie and say that it's easy.

But it's important to remember why you're here. Each of us has our own reasons for picking up and making this move, so it's important to keep that in mind, especially on the hard days.

Remembering why you came will help you get through the hard times. 

Here are a few other things I think can help:

Find support. I cannot stress enough just how important it is to have someone to talk to when things aren't going your way. Someone who will understand you, won't judge you, and hopefully, maybe, will help you see your way back to feeling better. If you don't have support, some days it will seem like it's just too much for you to handle! (This can be a supportive friend, family member, or a therapist. It all depends on what works for you.)

Have an emergency fund. I know it's not easy to save money, but try to scrimp and save and set some aside. Because one day you're going to need that emergency fund. Maybe your landlord lied to you and your new place is not livable and you need to move - you'll need a way to pay for it. Or maybe your roof in your new house is leaky - and you'll need to find a way to fix it. (Trust me, I speak from experience. My roof has sprung a leak. Again.)

Live smaller than you are used to. It isn't easy, but if your emergency funds are low, this is the only way to build it up. Live small, and save any extra shekels. Are you used to ordering pizza on a regular basis? Maybe that's the 50 shekels a week you can set aside. Make a simple supper at home (nothing wrong with eating sandwiches for supper sometimes!) instead of ordering pizza, and use that money to build up your emergency fund! Or maybe you don't even order pizza ever. There is probably something you can cut back on. I have rarely met a new "oleh" in this country who doesn't spend extra somewhere.

Learn Hebrew. I know, it's hard. It really is. But when you don't understand the language it's easy to feel lost. So if you are eligible for a subsidized Ulpan, I recommend you MAKE IT HAPPEN. Too many olim I've spoken to don't bother to do ulpan, or drop out after a short time. It's not worth it! Speaking Hebrew will help you survive for the decades ahead.

Check your credit card statements. I have heard the (rare) story of horrendous mistakes. You can log in to your account (where exactly depends who issued your card) and keep track. If there is a mistake, make sure you track down the source (did your barber charge you 5000 shekels instead of 50, like the story I heard recently?) and get it fixed. You can also call the credit card company for help with that. 

Check your bills. Does your water bill list the correct number of people in your household? Did you know that if you have a larger family than what they think, you are missing out on your rate reduction? Get it straightened out, right away. Most water companies won't do much about retroactive reductions, but at least you'll have a lower bill from now on.

Find Discounts. Keep track of things like income tax refund programs, and arnona discounts you may be eligible for. Apply early - too many people push it off and miss out.

Give yourself a break. Making aliyah is stressful. If you don't relax and de-stress, it's going to wear you out. Pick an hour a week when you have down-time. This doesn't actually have to cost you anything. It can be as simple as turning off your phone and going for a walk to a nearby scenic overlook. Or sit and talk with a friend (in person or on the phone), or watch a movie or TV show with your spouse or significant other, or anything else that may relax you. As long as you see this as "my break-time", it can go a long way in recharging your batteries and helping you de-stress.

I'd love to hear all of your survival tactics, too. Please leave yours in the comments section below!

Let's also remember that sometimes a smile and a helping hand to someone who's new here and having a tough time can REALLY go a long way!

Aliyah may be stressful, but I know you can do it. I'm rooting for you!