Saturday, March 31, 2018

Silk-dyed Easter Eggs -- Easy, Impressive Results!

A few weeks ago, I saw a video posted on Facebook that demonstrated a method for dyeing Easter eggs that looked impossibly simple: wrapping eggs in colorful silk square, securing it with a twist tie, covering that with a cotton square, securing it again, and then putting the bundles into a pot of water with 1/4 cup of vinegar.  Bring to a boil, wait 20 minutes, then remove the wrapped-egg bundles to cool.  When you unwrap them, the patterns from the silk will have--allegedly--transferred to the eggs, creating beautiful patterns with minimal effort.

Here's a link to the video:

Impossible!  This has all the makings of an epic craft fail--but my daughters and I decided to give it a shot anyway.  The result: a resounding success!!

Although you can certainly track down silk material inexpensively at thrift stores (old ties and other silk clothing), I did a quick search on Etsy and found a store that sold the squares already cut, recycled from old saris. You can find the shop here:

The "how-to" couldn't be simpler: you wrap raw eggs in squares of pure silk fabric, securing them at the top with a twist tie or rubber band. Try to allow the fabric to lay as flat as possible against the egg, to transfer as much of the pattern as possible. Then wrap the silk bundles in plain cotton squares, securing with another rubber band (I cut up an old bed sheet for this purpose).

Once all the bundles are wrapped, immerse them in cold water in a large stockpot, and add 1/4 cup of vinegar.  Bring to a boil, and allow to boil for 20 minutes.  Then, remove from the water to cool and drain, then unwrap the bundles to reveal the patterns.

I cannot believe how great these turned out--super easy, gorgeous eggs with minimal effort. We'll definitely be making these every year!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Answering The Call to Do Good Works

I follow several different accounts on Instagram, but one that I consistently enjoy is's Daily Dose of Jewish Wisdom.  As someone who does a lot of volunteer week--I have trouble saying no, especially when it's a good cause--from time to time things get overwhelming, and you can end up asking yourself, "Why am I doing this? I'm exhausted, and I'm not even sure if all of this effort is worth it."  I suppose I've been overextending myself lately, because this thought has been creeping in.

And then I saw this image, and these powerful words, and realized the answer:

Even the wisest amongst us has no wings to escape himself.

Even when a man stands upright on the tallest mountain and perceives all there is to perceive, comprehends all there is to comprehend, achieves the ultimate realization of the Oneness that lies behind all things, and the nothingness of his own self—

In the end, he is still stuck on the ground where his feet have brought him. His eyes have not seen beyond his own eyeballs; his mind has grasped only that which a mind can grasp and touched that which it can reach. He has remained within his own self.

And the proof:
he has remained with a G‑d who is above 
and an earth which is below, and the two cannot meet.

His only liberation, and the only liberation of the entire world, is when the One Above reaches down and tells us, “Do this. With this deed you are betrothed to Me.” And then there is no above and below.
Then there is only One.

Here's the link to the original post from's Instagram Account:

Friday, March 16, 2018

HP Instant Ink: a happy customer service experience

After the recent Customer Service nightmare that I had when trying to order from, it was going to take an outstanding experience to restore my faith in the system.

Well, I can report that miracles DO happen, thanks to HP customer service.

On Thursday, my not-that-old HP printer broke, and needed to be replaced. What made matters worse was that I had JUST replaced the black ink with an expensive XL cartridge, and none of the replacement models use that size. (I ended up giving it to a friend, and in hindsight, I think that mitzvah resulted in the good fortune that was to follow.)

I looked online and scoped out another all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/copier model, and it was listed on Staples at a sale price of $79.99 (down from $99.99).  I considered ordering it right away and arranging pick up at my local store, but decided to go down and have a look at it in person first.

Smart move #1.

My new acquisition: an HP 3830 All-in-One Printer
When I got there, a sales clerk asked me what I was looking for, and said, "Oh, I think that model is on sale today, actually." The printer ended up being on special for only $49.99, despite what the website price said, and it included 2 months free of Instant Ink subscription.  The printer itself also came with 3 months free of Instant Ink, so I went ahead and purchased it. 

When I got home and started setting everything up, I had difficulty getting the enrollment card to "take" during registration, so I decided to contact the online "live chat" customer service rep.

Smart move #2.

Long story short: the rep identified the problem quickly, walked me through the online set up process, and without my even asking for anything, offered me an additional coupon code for 2 more months free, for a total of 7 months' worth of a free Instant Ink subscription. That, combined with the steal of a deal I got on the printer itself, made for a great customer experience. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

T-I-M-B-E-R! Trees down!!

Just as I feared: the heavy snowfall yesterday proved to be too much for some of our backyard trees to bear, and several of them came crashing down on our back deck yesterday. 

We were lucky--no one was hurt, and the deck appears to be mostly undamaged. There are lots of trees and power lines down all across the county, so it'll be at least a month before we can get a professional tree service out here to remove them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Nor'easter in Progress

Wet, heavy snow coming down--pretty, but with lots of potential to do some serious damage. I'm not worried about losing power--we installed a whole-house generator after a hurricane knocked out our power for 10 days a few years ago--but I'm concerned about our trees.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Alyssa's Law: speeding up police notification during life-threatening emergencies

Alyssa Alhadeff
At long last, I'm able to share what I've been working on in the wake of the shooting in Parkland, Florida.   There's a bill in New Jersey, A-764, that calls for the installation of emergency lights and panic alarms in all schools, to be used in the event of a life-threatening emergency in order to ensure rapid notification of law enforcement, and hopefully, a timely response.

The bill was filed 5 years ago, and has passed the NJ Legislature 3 times already with strong bi-partisan support, but was subject to a veto by (now former) Governor Chris Christie each time.  After reviewing the bill, and seeing its obvious merits, I reached out to the Alhadeff family about it. After discussing the bill with them and confirming their support, I put them in contact with Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, a former teacher and the bill's prime sponsor. The result is that he has agreed to designate the bill "Alyssa's Law" in honor of Alyssa Alhadeff.

Fore more info, you can visit the website for my non-profit charity, the Keep NJ Safe Foundation, which advocates for crime victims and common sense safety legislation:   Please feel free to follow the bill's progress as it makes its way through the legislature. I intend to take an active role in advocating for its passage, and will be posting updates on Keep NJ Safe.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Oscars 2018

I will be watching the Oscars tonight, but I'm not even sure why.  I realized after filling out my Oscar prediction ballot that I have only seen 2 of the movies nominated this year: Beauty & the Beast (live action) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 

I need to get out more.

Friday, March 2, 2018

The School Shooting in Parkland Hits Home

I am still reeling from the awful shooting that occurred on February 14th at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The senseless massacre of 17 innocent people was absolutely horrifying, and then I learned that one of the victims used to live in my town in NJ.  Her name was Alyssa Alhadeff, and she was gunned down in her English class.  She was 14 years old, and had attended the local public school with my youngest daughter when she lived in NJ.  They rode the bus together every day.

Like many people across the country, I am fed up with the lack of common sense gun laws.  I support the Second Amendment, and the right for private citizens to own firearms, but there is no reason for the average American to own an assault rifle or semi-automatic weapon like the one that was used in the Parkland shooting.  

One of the mottos I live by is "Be the Change You Want to See in the World," wise words attributed to Mahatma Gandi.  I decided to join my local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and have taken other steps to help Alyssa's family that I hope to share in a few days. 

Last night, I attended a Community meeting that was hosted by Moms Demand Action, and Alyssa's mother Lori joined us via Skype.  Hearing her recount those terrifying hours after the shooting was heart wrenching. She struggled for over nine hours to get confirmation of what had happened to her daughter, even though she somehow knew in her heart that Alyssa was dead.  Her daughter was shot multiple times, with catastrophic injuries (bullets pierced her head, heart, and hit her femoral artery in her leg).  She was not allowed to see Alyssa's body, and was only shown a photograph of her face to identify her.  

We must do more to stop this type of tragedy from happening.  No parent should have to endure what Lori is going through.  Enough is enough.