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Ellie’s Surprise Birthday

 

This past Thursday we got a call from our groomer (the goddess who mediated Ellie’s adoption) wishing Ellie a Happy Birthday. Wait, what? It turns out that Ellie just turned five years old this week, and we now know her exact birthday, so of course celebration ensued (I still plan to celebrate her Gotcha Day in July, but two birthday parties won’t hurt anyone).

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“A birthday party means food, right Mommy?”

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“Where’s my party?”

 

We were already in celebration mode, what with my own birthday, and Thanksgiving, and Chanukah coming up, and, oh yeah, the publication of my novel Yeshiva Girl (!!!!!!!!!!).

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My first thought for the celebration was cookie decorating, given the season. I found a Chanukah House kit at our local drug store (yes, there are quite a few Jews in my neighborhood), right next to the Gingerbread house kits. My cookie decorating skills lack a certain precision, so, a lot of the house making materials ended up on the floor, where the dogs enjoyed them thoroughly. It turns out you need a lot of royal icing to hold a house made of sugar cookies in place, and then you need to cover the whole thing with much more sugar than you could ever have imagined. Mom had a steadier hand with the roof tiles, but I just played for hours, tossing sprinkles and candy every which way.

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It turned out that that was not enough cookie decorating for us (um, me). So I made a batch of sugar cookie dough and used every cookie cutter I own, from tiny leaves, to giant Butterflies, with teddy bears and hearts and giraffes in between. I colored way outside the lines (as always, I actually failed coloring in kindergarten), and made sure to let the dogs share in the joy whenever possible. And then, to balance out their diet, I used our new treat launcher to spray chicken-flavored treats around the room and set the girls off on a scavenger hunt to make sure not one bite was lost.

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iced cookies

Celebration accomplished!

I’ve been overwhelmed this week with the support for my novel and I want to thank everyone who ordered a copy of Yeshiva Girl from Amazon, and everyone who offered encouragement on the blog as well. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the book!

If you haven’t seen it yet, please check out my Amazon page and consider ordering the Kindle or Paperback version (or both!) of Yeshiva Girl. And if anyone feels called to write a review of the book on Amazon, I’d be honored.

yeshiva girl with dogs

The girls are trying to read the book too, in their own way.

 

Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish girl on Long Island named Izzy (short for Isabel). Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes that it’s true. Izzy’s father decides to send her to an Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, as if she’s the one who needs to be fixed. Izzy, in pain, smart, funny, and looking for people she can trust, finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment.

 

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

106 responses »

  1. theseniorclaycrafter

    Wishing you and Ellie a very Happy Birthday and a very Happy Chanukah to you and your family. I love the Chanukah House. Very Creative! 😊

    Reply
  2. Happy birthday, Ellie!! and again, congratulations to you, Rachel on your book. Your mom’s cover is beautiful.

    Reply
  3. You guys are pros with the cookie decorations. I am so impressed–you wouldn’t want to see what mine would look like. My birthday is next week–we are all Sagittarius?! How great is it that you know Ellie’s real birthday! Happy Birthday to you and to Ellie!

    Reply
  4. Happy Birthday, Ellie! And Rachel, your book sounds great, and I wish you every success!

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  5. Happy Birthday! Happy Chanukah and Mazel Tov on the publication of your book!

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  6. Dogs enjoy reading in their own way. Happy Birthday to Ellie. Is your book on Amazon?

    Reply
  7. Wow! You really know how to throw a dog party!! Happy birthday Ellie!

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  8. Wow, congratulations and congratulations and congratulations! A happy Hanukkah indeed!

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  9. Sounds like you are all having so much fun. I’m enjoying the book so far and will leave a review. Happy Birthday Ellie!😊💗

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  10. Really….. I can believe it, my mother has a english bulldog wich is a pain in the ass and after I get mad with her she makes me laugh.

    Straight to the point, pets are overated.

    Reply
      • Who? would be the question with more explantion marks….that was a good one.
        Yes your mother worked with the Mossad with me, long time ago. And I have a pet, doggie TINA, as in Tina Turner, my mother loves her music so she figured out to put the name to the dog, apart that everytime I go to their house I realise that after mother and father ate their food they leave a bit on the plate and give it to the dog….for me is just weird, what kind of example are these two humans giving the dog?

        She is cute the dog, she still loves me after a through her out the second floor window..……

  11. Forgot.
    And she si Jewish, probably works for the Mossad on her day off

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  12. Congratulations on the book! Heading to Amazon right now to order because I’ve been hoping for this day for as long as I’ve followed you and I am so excited right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, Happy Birthday, Ellie! And also, too, where did you get a treat launcher? Maverick needs one!

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  13. Happy birthday Ellie. Such colorful cookies Rachel. I would try to look for your book here.

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  14. Dear Rachel,

    I do hope that you both had a very happy birthday and that both you and Izzy got exactly what you wanted in the present line. Chicken flavoured treats sound nice.

    Purrs,

    The Cat

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  15. Awww Happy Birthday Ellie 💕

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  16. Those cookie decorations look amazing. Congratulations on the book release.

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  17. Happy birthday Ellie

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  18. Happy Birthday to Ellie.
    I have my copy of your book, but just have to get around to reading it. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  19. Great post and congratulations on your book!

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  20. Happy birthday Ellie! One can never have enough cookies. Yours are beautiful- I love the bright colors and swirls. I have started reading Yeshiva Girl and am liking it very much. You’re a wonderful writer Rachel. Have a great week 😊

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  21. I love the Chanukah House. Terrific idea! May the God our creator multiply your blessings and always light your way. Enjoy your cookies! they look delicious. I tell everyone that cookies are my chocolate – they are indeed my weakness! 😉

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  22. Happy Birthday to you and Ellie! I’m so glad you published your book. I have to get my copy 🙂

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  23. Congratulations on the publication of your book! That is exciting news!
    And of course Happy Birthday to Ellie 🎊

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  24. Happy Birthday Ellie! I love that we share the same name. :-). Great news on the book! I can’t wait to get my copy and leave a review. I enjoy your blog so I look forward to the book!

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  25. Happy Birthday, Ellie! Five is a great age. I am trying to not eat sugar, but now I want to throw open the cupboards and go crazy making cookies (with lots and lots icing). Your Mom to a beautiful job on the roof of the house, too.
    I haven’t had a lot of time to read, but I have gotten through 9 chapters of Yeshiva girl and am loving it. It’s so real, and your writing is even better than your blog posts, which is already extremely good. I’ll be sure to leave an Amazon review when I get done. 🙂

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  26. Happy birthday Ellie!! Love your artful baking too!

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  27. Happy Birthday a day late, Ellie! Gosh, she looks so much like my Buttercup!

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  28. Happy birthday Ellie! 🤗🎈💕

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  29. I’ve never seen a Chanukah House before but I did find a baking kit to make a Christmas Microbrewery and I look forward to working on that next week! btw, I finished Yeshiva Girl, enjoyed it mightily although it was very foreign to me in many ways, and I’ll drop a review on Amazon soon.

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  30. I’ll be heading over to Amazon later to buy your book. Added to my list. ❤

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  31. Charlee: “Happy birthday, Ellie!”
    Chaplin: “Many happy returns!”

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  32. wishing you all the success for your book and Ellie a very ” happy 5th birthday”

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  33. Happy Birthday to all of you! I hope stellar book sales are your present this year. : – )

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  34. LOTS of reasons to celebrate 🙂

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  35. Love those cookies. Happy Chanukah

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  36. I’m impressed with your frosting-it’s so shiny and smooth! Well done. ♪ღ♪Happy★Birthday, to Miss Ellie. ♪ღ♪*

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  37. Happy birthday and Happy Chanukah, and a big congratulations on your book!!!

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  38. I LOVE THE CHANUKAH HOUSE! That is so cool! And speaking of dog birthdays…I’ve seen some great dog birthday stuff on Etsy! I can post a link if you’d like.

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  39. Happy belated birthday to you both! Congratulations on your book. 😀 The cookies are pretty!!

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  40. Those cookies are looking good. Happy birthday to Ellie and a blessed Hanukkah to you all!

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  41. I am enjoying Yeshiva Girl–good writing!
    Michael

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  42. Wow, Rachel. I haven’t been good about reading blogs lately and so am late to so much going on with you. Happy birthday to Ellie! Happy belated birthday to you! Congratulations on publishing your novel! So much celebratory news!!!

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  43. Congratulations on stepping out there with your book and self-publishing. It’s a huge step. Indeed, it’s the culmination of numerous huge steps. Happy Birthday to Ellie. I’ve never heard of Chanukah House kits before, although the gingerbread house ones have bee around for a couple of years thanks to Aldi.
    Hope you have a great weekend.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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  44. Happy Birthday to Ellie and Happy Hannukkah! And those cookies are amazing. 🙂

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  45. That is awesome! Can’t wait to read your book!

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  46. Happy belated birthday, Ellie! It sounds like everyone had lots of fun and sugar to celebrate. And congratulations, Rachel, on your book! That is great that you self-published!

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  47. Happy Hanukkah, Congratulations on your book! I will order and read. Now to Ellie Happy Barkday Sweetie! The house and cookies look yummy. Here I am with nothing sweet in the house lol

    Reply
  48. wonderful holiday
    cookies & book
    snacks, thanks 🙂

    Reply

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