What Is A Balebusta?

September 2019

When I was going through the blog, preparing to update it in the hopes of starting to write again, I came back to this page to read exactly what it is you see, if you happen to be interested in the meaning behind Itsy Bitsy Balebusta.

Honestly, I felt like a visitor to my own page. It was as if I was reading about an old friend I had lost touch with. It really struck me how much has changed.

When I started this blog in December of 2011, it was my way of coping with my grandmother’s illness. She had a very large role in raising me. I spent every day after school with her right through high school (and even moved in for most of my time in University), every summer break, and so many spontaneous sleepovers and other opportunities in between. When she fell ill, I turned to one of our shared hobbies and began to translate her recipes. With her help, I deciphered the different ingredients and steps. Shortly after she passed away, my meals all included one of her dishes. I worked endlessly on getting my loaves of bread to taste like hers, bringing them to my Mom on Sundays and watching her expression to see how far or close I had come to accurately replicating it. I made her stews and cakes, her side dishes and pastries. To this day, six and a half years later, I can’t smell cinnamon without thinking of her and feeling like I’m right back in her kitchen, watching her lovingly prepare my favourite meals.

While that was what initially inspired me to start this, it has become about so much more. It’s my tiny little corner of the internet, where I’ve not only shared recipes and reviews, but my real life too. It’s where I first opened up about my experience with IUGR and what that meant for my son and am now beginning to share our journey with ASD. It is also the place where I realized just how small the world is - when people we had met through our hospital or therapy experiences, came across posts and reached out to me. It’s been a haven and a place that is invaluable for me, where I can share and be open, seek and find community, and not only share my experiences, but learn from those of others.

The word, balebusta itself is yiddish and, roughly translated, is used as an expression describing "a good homemaker." But what does being a balebusta, mean to me? What feels like many lifetimes ago, it was what I had written below (something I’ll keep here to remind me who and where I was, when this adventure started). 7 years later, it’s definition has evolved from what I first shared. Today being a balebusta is comprised of so much more. It means being a wife and mother and all that those two words encompass. These days it’s less about, “tak(ing) the time to whip up a fresh treat to wait beneath the cake dome when the kids get home from school,” and more about advocating to make sure that they are receiving all of the services and supports they need to thrive, while at school. It’s about making our home their haven, their safe space, where they can walk in after a long day of learning or intensive therapies, and take a deep breath. It’s about making our home their base and foundation, where they are surrounded and enveloped in love, encouragement, support and the knowledge that milestones and grades aren’t the most important markers of success. That the people they are becoming - the kind, empathetic and hilarious little personalities, have everything they need to develop. Today, a balebusta to me is someone who tries her best to get the weekly menu planned, but acknowledges that some nights breakfast for dinner is just going to have to make the cut. Someone who makes sure the kids always have fresh clothes ready for them, even if that sometimes means taking them from the clean, unfolded pile of laundry. It means chasing around kids and putting away toys a thousand times a day in a futile attempt to keep everything neat and tidy at all times. It’s advocating every single day, through emails, meetings, phone calls and notes, reminding everyone that you’re not going anywhere and you only accept and expect the very best for your child. A balebusta is someone who gets up everyday, regardless of how many (or few) hours of sleep she had the night before and gets things done. The tidying and the lunches, the meltdowns and the laughter, the endless snack requests, the weekend outings, grocery lists and date nights. It’s trying to have a conversation with your husband while holding a baby who has been teething for what feels like forever, responding to a preschooler who’s looking for a Hot Wheels car he lost two years ago and a five-year-old who is only just learning to communicate, trying to ask you to fix his water bottle. It’s about doing your best, for your husband and children, even when you go to bed every night with so much left on your to do list, you start to wonder how you can better your best and get more done. It’s about giving your absolute all and sifting through photos of your kids at night in bed and reveling in their expressions and growth, smiles and craziness, on that phone display - the same kids you begged to just put on pjs and go to sleep and promised if they could just do that in the next five minutes, you’d read them three stories tomorrow and they can play with the Play-Doh. It’s about giving everything you can to your marriage and recognizing that your partner gives his absolute all too and is the one person in the world who understands your day-to-day better than anyone ever will. The one who stands with you on the front lines advocating, listens to you cry, complain, and vent and gives you the strength to get up again. The one who makes you laugh, despite the craziness around you, and who has been by your side for your very best and worst times.

In my previous explanation, I mentioned the epic women in my life, but my focus was food-oriented, celebrating the meals and recipes they shared that brought our family together. Today my awe, equally as great, resides in how they were able to work so hard, move to Canada and start all over again, and manage to work, raise kids and, in my eyes, succeed and reach levels I still aspire to. I’m still an itsy bitsy balebusta, making my way and doing my best. I hope to not only be able to successfully replicate their recipes one day, but even more so, make my home a place where my children happily gather, long after the days of legos everywhere and playgroups have come and gone - as we did, first at my grandparents’ houses weekly, and now at that of my own parents. Where the memories they make, they cherish, and look back on lovingly, and want to share and recreate with their own families or in their own ways.

Today, that’s what being a balebusta means to me and I hope you’ll come along on our journey and share in our adventures!

Questions or Comments? I'd love to hear from you!

December 2011

A balebusta is a homemaker, someone who not only fills the house with the scent of fresh treats but also with sheer devotion to the smallest of acts. Someone, who despite the tasks of the day, takes the time to whip up a fresh treat to wait beneath the cake dome when the kids get home from school. Someone who always has a dollar in their pocket for when the ice cream truck comes by and then an ear to listen to whatever’s on your mind as you sit on the veranda letting that chocolate vanilla twist drip to the ground. The house may not always be perfectly tidy, but the mixing bowls and recipe books scattered about only solidify the homemakers standing. It isn’t only about keeping a neat and tidy house it’s about keeping a happy home, a cohesive home, one where everyone is welcome despite beliefs, positions or their past. A home where when Sunday at 5:30pm rolls around, all differences, chaos and hassle stay at the door while everyone takes their seat for the weekly family dinner. A balebusta keeps the kitchen, home and family running.

I come from a family of epic women – women who have been given challenges and always come out as an example to the world of how to handle life with courage, grace, and strength. I am the oldest daughter and granddaughter in my family and so incredibly proud to continue on the example set before me, into the third generation. I may not be able to knit like my mom or grandmother and my grace is still in training, but if there’s one thing I've tried my hand at and love it's being in the kitchen.

I am by no means an expert. I’m pretty sure I’ve thrown out and cried over more batches of ruined cakes or cupcakes than had cause to celebrate but it’s not the product that interests me when it comes to baking. When I was in elementary school I used to go to my grandparent’s house every day after school. I’d stand by the counter and watch my grandmother finish up making dinner while I was eating a piece of cake she had just made and placed under the classic glass dome. Very little compares to the scent of coconut cake with chocolate frosting when you come in the door only to see the condensation on the inside of the dome confirming the cake is still warm and fresh. I’d stand by the counter trying to figure out how she could so easily throw ingredients into a pot and create a meal. Trying to make dinners in my own kitchen now, my awe only continues to grow.

This blog is more than simply stating the number of cups or teaspoons necessary to whip up a classic dessert. It’s also far from being any sort of authority on how to do so expertly. This blog is a testament and celebration of the recipes, traditions and lessons these incredible women have passed down to me. Next to them, I’m still an itsy bitsy balebusta, learning what it takes to make a home and how to take the batches life gives us with a grain of salt (and a lot of chocolate too!).


  1. I am a Christian woman in Toms River,N.J. and i love the Kosher cooking recipes on this blog. Keep them coming,they are great and very healthy.

  2. I love your apron! Where did u find it?


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