Sunday, August 26, 2012

Top 10 Marriage Tips

In honor of our anniversary week, I thought it would be appropriate to make a list of the best marital advice that we've been given or discovered for ourselves over the years.



WARNING: The following tips have not been censored or "sugar-coated" to make the reader feel "comfortable."


1. Sleep naked

2. Pray together

3. Find time to date- especially if you have children

4. Never let a day go by without exchanging a kiss and an "I love you"

5. Fight naked

6. Focus on fixing YOUR flaws, not your spouses

7. Have sex daily

8. Try new things together

9. Ladies: Let him watch his ESPN. In fact, watch it with him

10: Gentlemen: Just tell her. Whether you're thinking that you love her laugh or that she looks hot in those jeans, let her know. She needs it.


Here's the deal. I could make a list of 100 things; not because we're perfect, but because we're human. We've had the most amazing moments together, but we've also had the worst. The best thing you can do is not look at the damage caused from the hard times, but how you can grow from those situations and make yourself a better spouse.

And to tackle the big elephant in the room... Yes. There is a theme of being naked. Why? Because you can't "hide" behind anything. You are completely vulnerable and transparent. Again, these aren't things to make you feel comfortable, but to bring you closer together. I'm just telling you, the hardest thing to do is strip down and be completely naked when you are pissed off. Not because taking off your clothes is a hard task, but because you will no longer feel "protected" and "defended." It really puts a damper on "fight mode." 
Let me put it this way... 
How can you be "one" with him/her if you can't stand before them completely exposed and in a state of humility?


P.S. If you're looking for a good book on marriage, there's this one called the Bible. Pretty good stuff. Just sayin.. 


Friday, August 24, 2012

Living with Morning Sickness

There is no denying it. Aside from fatigue, morning sickness (or 24/7 sickness in my case) is the worst part of pregnancy. I unfortunately have had it now with all four pregnancies. With my first pregnancy, it lasted for 7 months. With the middle two, it was gone after the first trimester. I'm reaching the end of my first trimester with this pregnancy and am praying it will go away, but we shall see!!!! So, needless to say, I have tried almost every remedy out there. Some have worked, some haven't, and I've found some of my own. Hope some of these help y'all!!!!


1. Snacks- I have tried everything in the book from plain saltines to fruits. But I always find myself snacking on crackers. My two favorites are the Mini Multi-Grain Club crackers and good ol' Goldfish. I read you should keep them by your bed so if you wake up in the night you can eat a few to keep something on your stomach so it isn't as severe in the morning. I tried that a couple of times and didn't really see a difference. Maybe you would?






2. Hard Candy- It has really helped me maintain my nausea by having hard candy handy. Anything from peppermints to Jolly Ranchers work, but my favorites are the Preggie Pop Drops & Country Lemonade Hard Candies (which I've only seen at Costco). Between these two, card rides are a LOT easier!


3. Breakfast- In my experience with morning sickness, it hasn't just been the morning, it is all day, but the mornings have been the worst! You know that you need to eat something, but nothing sounds good. The breakfast options I've turned to are toast with cinnamon sugar & light butter, oatmeal, and the best.. Maple & Brown Sugar Malt-O-Meal with a little bit of half-and-half and honey. Not sure why, but this is the one thing I can count on staying down. 



4. Drinks- The golden rule of pregnancy is to drink more water than you've ever consumed. Well, I don't like water. I know, sounds weird, but I have never cared to drink a lot of it.  That makes it really difficult when you don't feel good. So, for those times where I need a little more "flavor," these are my go-to's: Ginger Ale, MetroMint water and Tazo Decaf Chai tea with some honey. The MetroMint water  has been my bestfriend since I don't care for water. It adds just a splash of mint to help soothe my stomach and tastes better than regular water to me! I would say, if you try these, make sure you take a couple of drinks before you judge. It's not the kind of thing you can sip on and love. The only down side is I have only seen them at King Soopers in the refrigerated aisle. 








5. Chicken Noodle Soup- Pretty self explanatory. When nothing sounds good, chicken soup always does the trick. There is just something about that broth... 


If you have severe nausea, don't hesitate to tell your doctor. They do have medicine to help manage the sickness. But don't forget, this is just a season! It stinks, but this too shall pass!!!! 



We're Expecting!

Yes, it's true. We are expecting our fourth child. Next year we will officially have 4 children under the age of 4 for a few months!!! Are we crazy? Crazy excited!!! 



To put any rumors or thoughts to rest, no, this was not unexpected. We hit a point at the beginning of the summer that we both knew we would not have peace if we stopped after Cobi. We always wanted 4 pretty close in age and it just felt "right." So, we "pulled the goalie" and the rest is history. 


We are so ecstatic for this new chapter in our lives. We're no fools- it's not going to be rainbows and daisies all the time. In fact, there may be a season where I completely lose my mind...!!! But we do know that we'd gladly take on those tough times knowing that they are followed by a million smiles, memories and giggles. 


Nothing beats the blessing of a child..



Friday, August 10, 2012

The "Balanced" Meal

My perfect meal is:

  • Cheap- No explanation needed. We have a budget and I need to fit that. 
  • Quick-  I never know when my husband will be home so I have to be able to cook in 30mins once he calls & says he is leaving the office.
  • Healthy-  I'm not a nutritionist so don't count on the "healthy" aspect to be super healthy... Its more of being cognizant of the balance of carbs, veggies, protein, & fruit. I don't count calories, sugars, carbs.. none of that. We really eat based on the "everything in moderation" mentality.
  • Toddler Approved- I don't have just one, but two kiddos I am having to please. They are pretty good eaters & not too picky, but still get weirded out by different textures or new flavors.
  • Delicious- I have had numerous styles & flavors of meals. I wouldn't say I have a "broad palate" for food so it needs to be something I would cook again & eat the leftovers! 
It's hard to find meals that incorporate all of those traits without having to go on a "special eating plan" which I personally don't have any desire to do! So over the last few weeks I started documenting our meals and have picked a few of our favorites that I think cover all the above.


Note: On most of our meals, I will separate the ingredients for the kids. 
They tend to eat it better when it's not all mixed together!!!


GREEK SALAD

Ingredients:

1 pkg Romain Salad
1 lb bef stir-fry strips (can use frozen)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp Greek seasoning
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 thinly sliced cucumber
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup bottled Greek salad dressing (I use Panera Bread's)

Cut any large pieces of beef into bite-size. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef & Greek seasoning. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until desired doneness. (If using frozen strips, cook according to package directions & add Greek seasoning once cooked to desired doneness)  Divide salad among plates & top with the cucumbers, tomatoes, beef & feta. Drizzle on the dressing. 

Serving Suggestion:  Serve with pita chips & hummus! 







PEPPER & PESTO SKEWERS

Ingredients:

1 3/4 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
1 tsp kosher salt
8 ounces dried fettuccine
1/3 cup prepared pesto (I like Classico)
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Thread beef & peppers onto skewers. Brush with 2 Tbsp of the oil. Season with salt. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium-high heat & cook kabobs, turning frequently until meat is done (7-9 minutes for medium). Remove from grill & coat generously with pesto. Toss drained pasta with Parmesan, remaining oil and the pepper. Serve with kabobs.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with in-season berries!




SUMMER PASTA SALAD

Ingredients:

1 pkg (16 ounces) bow-tie pasta
1 large boneless, skinless, chicken breast.. or 1-2 cups of already cooked diced chicken
1 tsp EVOO
1 cucumber, peeled & diced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can (15 ounces) Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain & rinse with cold water. Dice the chicken breasts & saute in small skillet for 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are no longer pink in the middle. In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta with the chicken, diced cucumbers, cheese, diced tomatoes and dressing.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with watermelon and/or foccacia bread for the kiddos.




TACO RICE SALAD

Ingredients:

1 lb ground round
1 minced garlic clove
3 cups cooked yellow rice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pkg Romain Salad
3 cups of chopped tomato
1 cup of corn (frozen or canned.. I like Green Giant's Canned Mexicorn)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed & drained
1 diced avocado
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar or Mexican style)

Dressing:

2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
2/3 cup picante sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef and garlic, cook 9 minutes or until browned. Drain; return beef mixture to pan. Stir in rice & next 4 ingredients. Cool slightly. Combine lettuce & next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine. To prepare dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl & stir with whisk. Spoon dressing over lettuce mixture; toss to coat. Place lettuce mixture on plates. Top with rice mixture & cheese.

Serving Suggestion: Light baked tortilla chips, cantaloupe, and/or kiwi.




I LOVE feedback so let me know if you tried these, have some suggestions for meals like these, and/or just your thoughts!!!! Happy Eating! 



Saturday, August 4, 2012

finding peace in the storm.

It's simple. My life right now is like a hurricane. Things are in a constant state of change and uncontrollable, but in the midst of it all is my peace... my constant: God. 

If I'm being honest I haven't always been able to see that peace right away. There have been times where I have been so stretched to the point of falling on my face before God, wondering when I'll see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've been blessed on a couple occasions to see a miraculous change in my circumstances to the point of total peace. But at others, I've had to endure the fire and storms in order for my faith to be refined and/or for me to get to the place where God needed me to be. Is it something I like to go through? My flesh would say "no," but I have to remind myself of the truth...

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything... Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." -James 1:2-4, 12

Life seems like it sucks sometimes. There is no sugar coating it.. But friend, stay strong and be encouraged..

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

"... Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" - Psalm 30:5