Sunday, December 9, 2012

Celebrating Chanukah, Taking on Soccer Moms for Bamboletta Dolls and Inappropriate Elves

Ohmypantslanta- we are sufficiently into the month of December and 
I have a cornucopia of holiday delight including:
Celebrating Chanukah as someone who typically celebrates Christmas
Bamboletta Dolls and my Gift List for my hypothetical children 
(aka things I still want as a grown-up)
Why Josh Peck ruined "Red Dawn"
Inappropriate Elf

Hey ladies and gents, this is another doozy of a blog post.
I just like to write :X

This year I decided that I wanted to celebrate Chanukah/Hanukkah in addition to celebrating Christmas.  As a follower of Christ, this may sound odd to people.  Actually I know it sounds odd because I caught a lot of slack (in a joking manner) from many of my Christian friends and received a lot of support from my Jewish friends.  To be honest, I was getting a little annoyed with many of my friends because they saw it more as a joke and I legitimately want to celebrate this holiday.  I chose to celebrate Chanukah because I've celebrated different aspects of the holiday season in the past and it's something that I want to incorporate as part of our holiday season in the future.  Chanukah is a completely different celebration than Christmas and should be recognized as that.  Nevertheless there are overlapping values and I think it's a great way to celebrate the entirety of the holiday season.  I also want these traditions to be established, so that future Baby Erskines (all hypothetical at the moment) will grow up with traditions that our entire family enjoys and so that I don't have another situation where I get asked what "challah" happens to be.  So I bought a menorah, technically a Hanukkiyah.  The difference is that what people typically call a "menorah" is actually an eight branch Hanukkiyah with a center spot for an additional candle (so technically nine places).
It started Saturday night, the 8th, after sunset. When lighting the Hanukkiyah, you want to place it on the left side of the house facing a window.  It's symbolic of making a proclamation of the lighting and it's also the Festival of Lights, so it's a beautiful element to the lighting ceremony that is performed every night.  My Hanukkiyah is on our breakfast bar, unfortunately, because I'm worried Holly's tail would completely destroy the candles if they were on the coffee or end tables.  
When lighting, it starts with the furthest candle right (and that's for the first night only).  You will use the center candle, called the shamash, to light.  For Chanukah, you're going to need 40+ candles because you complete the lighting ceremony every night for eight days and replace the melted candles.  The shamash is always lit first and not considered to "count" as one of the eight candles.  Light the candles from left to right- the opposite of how they were placed on your Hanukkiyah.  For the first night, you have the furthest right candle and then the shamash (center candle) burning for a half hour.  The number of candles, not including the shamash, should match the day of Chanukah that you are currently on. There are also prayers that accompany the lighting of the candles.

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.
Blessed are You, O Lord Our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, she’asah nisim l’avoteinu, b’yamim haheim bazman hazeh.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who made miracles for our forefathers in those days at this time.

I'm also learning how to make food for the holiday and tonight was my first time ever making a brisket and it was pretty good.  I used a crockpot, selected a brisket from our local commissary (military grocery store) and added beef stock, onions and spices.  I let that cook on high for like five hours.  However, with briskets my research says that they're best done low and slow.  Like I said, I'm a rookie with the brisket.  I also have challah (egg bread) dough chilling in the refrigerator for tomorrow.  I underestimated the amount of time I should dedicate in making the dough so the braiding will simply have to wait. Click on the link above for the recipe.
best challah

I unfortunately don't have a dreidel or chocolate gold coins.  I could not find a dreidel that I liked or the chocolate coins- kind of felt like there was an overwhelming presence of Christmas in all local stores.  If anyone has recommendations, I would love to hear them.
I'm all about keeping an open mind and trying things are new for me and something I could learn from.
Chanukah also has a wonderful tradition of passing out gifts every night of the celebrations.  I chose not to partake in this aspect of it yet because I feel like in the future, this will become our days of service for the community or some service aspect.  However, if I had children, I definitely have a few things that I would love to get them to celebrate Christmas or Chanukah.

One of my absolute favorite companies for natural toy products is Bamboletta.
I am mildly obsessed and I'm a college graduate.
Bamboletta is a company that makes cloth dolls out of natural fibers.
They are absolutely beautiful dolls and the craftsmanship is outstanding.
I've had my eye on these Waldorf-style dolls for over a year.
A Waldorf doll is a doll used in Waldorf education and is made using traditional European styles.
It's made out of cotton and wool and according to the Wikipedia definition, its appearances are made to be simple so that a child's imagination will not be limited.
So you get the idea- they're really adorable, all-natural cloth dolls that happen to be very pricey.
My bourgeois hippy-self definitely was interested, especially at the sound of handmade.
I'm a lady who could spend hours on Etsy, especially clicking the heart icon on shops that will cater to my hypothetical children.   
Sorry I'm not sorry that this post is blatantly dedicated to my non-existent babies.

Bamboletta Blog logo
Bamboletta is an amazing small business out of Vancouver, Canada. 
It was created in 2003 by its shop owner, Christina, and she employs over 35 women to create these dolls.  It's quite the process, from sewing to stuffing and including all of the details.  
One of my favorite aspects is their mission statement:

“Bamboletta creates outstanding dolls and doll accessories handcrafted with skill, care and a lot of love. Bamboletta delivers an amazing customer experience and treats each customer as a friend. We are honored to be making dolls and that we are playing a role in the childhood of kids around the world. Our dolls protect childhood and do not propel little ones into adulthood. Bamboletta is committed to provide a supportive, ethical, fulfilling, and creative environment for women to work in.”

Christina, the shop owner :)
They also ensure that their dolls are pretty darn close to perfect, 
which is good because they come at a pretty penny.  

Well my birthday is coming up (this week!) and I don't know exactly what happened but I had this feeling on Thursday night that I should out the Bamboletta blog and their Facebook page.  Christina and the Bamboletta team are always telling the parents on her pages that getting a doll has to be at the right moment and right time because things just work out.  I know it sounds strange to be talking about toys in that kind of light, but she's not kidding.  Bamboletta dolls are insanely popular- like 11,460 FB fans.  Not impressed?  Try purchasing a doll on Upload Fridays.  Thursday nights, the Bamboletta team uploads onto Flickr the next day's doll uploads for purchase.  The teams makes 80+ dolls every week.  Say whaaat?  That's impressive on its own but checking out is the fun part.  It's hella cut throat and I'm not kidding.  Christina posted a picture on Instagram of a conversation she was having with her shop site, Big Cartel.  They coined the phrase, "doll squatting" in reference to people who place several of the week's dolls in their cart in order to have time to purchase just one doll.  These are all individually made, so no two are alike.  Soccer moms of the world get enraged when someone steals a "Fern" or "Amber" from them.   
 So during my lunch break on Friday, I go to the Bamboletta page and I get all kinds of amped up.  Like Black-Friday-shopping-about-to-dominate-some-sales type of nonsense.  
But fo realz  
cuz I know y'all thought I was joking
I started to get a little competitive.  I even scoped out the Flickr page a third time to have a mental list of which Bambolettas I really wanted.  I picked out like five to be on the safe side.
Then all of a sudden, rays of light and the angels sang as the dolls were finally uploaded.

Sh*t Got Serious
I'm not even remotely joking.
Here I was scrolling through the page, trying to identify which ones I liked and to see their prices and they started dropping like flies.  My reaction was something like a Kevin Hart comedy act.  Watch this, you'll laugh hysterically and appreciate this all the more.

All of a sudden some of the dolls I wanted were unavailable.  Now technically "unavailable" is when they are in someone's cart.  If you haven't checked out in the five minute window, AWW HELL NO you're out of luck.  The doll is up for grabs once again.
It was on like donkey kong.  I started clicking like a mad woman.
Finally I came across Keisha, one of the dolls in my top five.
I got hyphy.

Urban Dictionary Definition:
1 : dangerous and irrational: CRAZY;
2 : amusingly eccentric; without inhibition: GOOFY

I'm sure you can tell how this was going.
But you know what?
This was my first time attempting to get a doll and I got a Bamboletta! 
Holy cheese balls it was exciting stuff!
I'm also easily entertained so you gotta cheer with me folks.
However, to give you some perspective on how awesome this is, some mamas wait two years with unsuccessful Friday uploads until they get a doll.  
That could be anywhere from 52 to 104 attempts.
I got this on my first try.
*insert smug grin*

I can only imagine how I'll get when I have actually existing children but boy howdy was that fun taking on the mamas and papas of the world.  
I am legitimately excited about this because this is something that I would love to pass on to my children and to purchase more of them in the future.  They are truly heirloom toys and something to be cherished.  Because let's face it, it's more of a collector item for me but to a child, a Bamboletta doll is something to make memories with.

Images were taken from the Bamboletta site post-purchase
The "Keisha" doll stands at 15" and her fun blue hair reminds me of so many imaginative stories and games I would make up with my cousins growing up.  I'm really excited to have something handmade with such quality.  I had Samantha from the American Girls collection while growing up and I played with that doll everyday.  At the time I could not appreciate to the full extent what my family members invested in with that type of product but the memories I made during playtime are priceless.

You can follow the adventures of Bamboletta on their Facebook page and Instagram.  

Well in my normal, adult life, I saw Red Dawn with my roommate.  Now I saw the original, earlier this year, and it is hella cheesy.  The premise is essentially what it might look like if American enemies overtook the United States and you're given the perspective of what a small town experienced.  Pretty story but the original had weird special effects and the brothers were Charlie Sheen and Patrick Schwayze.  Now this Red Dawn was definitely for our generation.  I loved how the effects and storyline worked together, however, Josh Peck did a horrendous job acting.  I cannot let that go because I'm sure the movie got bad reviews on his performance alone.  He was over-emotional and I don't want to rip on the dude but it was just bad.  The other actors, I thought did a great job.  Chris Helmsworth played the older brother and I was really surprised that Liam didn't play his younger brother.  I think it would have been great to see that dynamic. 

Speaking of the things that are horrible, but this time in a delightfully fun way, you have got to check out the blog Baby Rabies and their posts on the Inappropriate Elf.
For your viewing pleasure:

So Elf on the Shelf is part of many family traditions where a small elf is a representative for the North Pole for your family.  It's basically to frighten the bageezus out of your wee ones at the thought of someone is literally watching them all of the time. 
Well now you can't exclude me out of the childhood merriment and creative ideas-processing.
I have one and his name is Blisterz.
It's an awesome name, I know.
My roommate is terrified of him so I haven't completed any Pinterest worthy pranks, however, I think this is absolutely hilarious and she is still accepting submissions until the 18th.  
I definitely want in on this.
One of my other favorites is an Elf reading 50 Shades of Grey. Yesss!!

I hope you are thoroughly enjoying the merriment of the holiday season, no matter where you are make sure you check out some of the links on the page :) Tomorrow, I'm sure I'll have more rants and raves for the week.



  1. New follower here! Just wanted to leave a note and say hi!

    1. Welcome! Thank you for stopping and feel free to leave comments whenever. I try to post 1-2 times a week, so hopefully I'll be seeing more comments on future posts :)

  2. Hey! Lovely post. I especially enjoy that you're looking to create your own traditions and explore other holidays. Latkes and Sufganyiot are the other really big foods for the Chanukah. It's all about food cooked in oil. ;) Traditional latkes are made with shredded potato, matzo meal (just a bisl) onion, egg and some salt/parsley. You can jazz them up with beets or sweet potatoes if you want. My husband makes them with tater tots and they are delicious. Sufganyiot are Israeli jelly donuts. Chanukah is not so good for your cholesterol. :) Gifts aren't a necessity and are really more an american tradition. I love your idea for service/charity activities. I hope you continue to enjoy the holiday!

    1. Thank you so much for the comment! Making latkes with tater tots sounds so delicious and I knew about jelly donuts but not how to go about them, so maybe I'll swing by a store sometime this week. I absolutely love seeing good works during the holiday season and I hope you're enjoying this time of year :)