Saturday, March 13, 2010

What's Cooking 3/15-3/21

This is officially my spring break from school!  Yes, no homework for one week!  Finally a chance to procrastinate from procrastination.  Yippee!

Anyhow, even though it is technically a vacation time, my family still prefers to eat.  The last few weeks menu has been so wacky and I haven't made everything so you'll see a repeat here.  Thanks for the patience (Randean).

Monday-Cheesy Chicken and broccoli
Tuesday--Roast and veggies
Wednesday-Spicy Chicken
Thursday-Shredded beef tacos
Friday-Garlic Herb Halibut
Saturday-Easy 1 pan chicken and rice
Sunday--Lime-Chili steak with cilantro-lime rice

Friday, March 12, 2010

Missing Matt

My darling husband is an attorney--part of the 1% that don't give attorneys a bad name.  :)

Anyhow, he's been working like crazy as of late and has been traveling a ton.  I want to be that strong independent woman when he's gone but really, I hate it.  I hate being alone at night and making the bed in the morning.

He left early yesterday morning for Toronto (which means the children and I all got sick).  Therefore, I'm running away to my in-laws house so they can take care of me the kids.

I love my mother and father-in-law but they are no Matt.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Things I Love--Real Simple

Every month I count down the days until I open my mailbox and waiting in there under a pile of junk mail, bank statements, and bills is my delightfully thick Real Simple magazine.

My bestie Kim introduced me to the magazine over nine years ago and I love it.  I love the small quotations on the binding.  I love the crisp fonts, the clever contents, the quirky cover photos ...

When I get my new magazine it become imperative that I find 30 minutes to thumb though it.

I have to read the Your Words section first.  Basically Real Simple asks a silly question every month and people send in their answers.  Somehow many of the responses prove that I have hundreds of kindred spirits around this country!  (And just so you know, Real Simple actually printed one of my responses about two years ago--Tthe question: how do you find motivation to exercise.  The answer: sassy-white Bond girl bikini).


Now to be honest, I get a little irritated with some of the features.  Real Simple is great about having an article titled "Affordable Fashion" that highlights slouchy brown boots for $400 (which might be affordable if you aren't living on one income but even then I'd feel guilty.  Don't they know some people don't make $400 a year!).  There are also too many ads.  However, the new uses for old things sections, the recipes, and the organization tips are totally worth ignoring (or trying to ignore) that J. Crew ad for the heather gray deep V-neck sweater.

Real Simple is the only magazine I subscribe to.  It's my once a month 30 minute escape from snotty noses and "what's for dinners?"  In thirty minutes I've laughed.  I've thought about crying.  I've found a new recipe.  I've mentally taken note of what's in style.  I come away refreshed from my Real Simple and Me time.

1 Real Simple
+
30 minutes
_________
Happy Reagan

If you don't want to subscribe then I highly suggest their website.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What I Think About--Orgasms!

You're probably raising your eyebrows at this post.  Matt thinks it is pretty scandalous because it's a "mom blog."  NEWS FLASH--it's a blog about the roles women play--mom, woman and WIFE.


survey I read the other day said that 30-50% women are upset by how infrequently they have orgasms.

I started to think about this--a lot.  A ton of questions came to mind.

  • Is there some sort of expectation that women aren't supposed to get the same pleasure from sex that men get?  (If 30-50% of men didn't climax on a regular basis I'm pretty sure there would be revolutions).  
  • What does this reveal about the relationship between a woman and her husband?
  • Is it socially not okay for women not to have orgasms "every time?"
  • What affect, if any, does pornography have in all this?

Remember the quote from Outside Providence: "Sex is like a Chinese dinner.  It ain't over until you both get your cookies."?  What happened to THAT mindset?


Freud ruined it.


Freud broke the female orgasm down into two phases: clitoral (pre-pubescent) and vaginal (more mature).    In essence, women who were past puberty and couldn't reach orgasm through penetration considered themselves inadequate.  Thanks for the huge disservice, Mr. Freud because if you aren't self-conscious enough about your body, your boob size, cellulite and your leg hair NOW you can feel bad that you don't have an orgasm the "right" way.  That ought help the mental state in the bedroom.

Fast-forward to the new millennium and pornography is rampant.  Beyond the 50's pin-ups, men now have access to naked women on TV, Ipods, computers ... Sex sells beer and cars and running shorts and dental insurance.  Somehow these air-brushed, fake boob women deceive men into thinking that regular women everywhere are committed to ensuring male pleasure alone.  And I think this can destroy marriages.

In most cultures sex is generally viewed as enjoyment for men.  But I'm gonna be honest here.  I believe that sex was designed by God to be a loving, intimate, and pleasurable experience between a husband and a wife.  I don't think pleasure was intended to be a one-way street.  But that's not how it plays out, is it?  Now sex seems to be about reaching the Big O for yourself--not connecting with your lover.


I think sex has been twisted into a selfish act, not a self-less act.  


Consider 1 Corinthians 7:2-5:


... each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.


This is a deep passage and it is used in a wrong-hearted manner all the time.  Actually, I can visualize some man throwing this verse in a woman's face and demanding sex.  Man, if that is you and you are reading this mom-blog hoping to find a tool to coerce your wife into pleasing you, let me make it clear that this verse does not mean your wife has to submit to your every sexual whim.  If you want to read a verse out of context, I suggest you start with the one about husbands loving their wives like Christ loves the Church


To me, this passage is a celebration of sex.  God is saying--"Hey, I made you husband and wife to submit to one another.  To love one another.  To please one another.  Come together and enjoy.  Drink deeply, O Lovers!"

Husbands and wives are designed to come together sexually to please one another.  Wives please their husbands; husbands please their wives.


So what happens when this doesn't happen?


If the survey is right and 30-50% of women feel like they are duped in the orgasm area, I envision marriages of deep-seated anger and bitterness.  Can't you just see the thoughts that would run through the head of a woman who doesn't feel like her marriage sex life is mutually beneficial: 
  • "great, more sex for your enjoyment," 
  • "sex just isn't a big deal," 
  • "I bet *insert name of actor or guy you work with* is a much better lover than my husband. I bet he could really meet my needs ..."

And when this mindset sets in, sex becomes a weapon.  It's used to manipulate, to control, and to hurt.  What was designed to fulfill,       d  e  s  t  r  o  y  s. 


Is this you?  Have you been there?


If you want to know the truth, this was me.  I've been there.


woman with self-image issues + history of bad relationships + rampant pornography + miscommunication + worldly concept of sex = unfulfilled marriage bed


If you've been there--if you ARE there, take heart because a lack-luster sex life can be transformed with a little help from God.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it worth it?  YES!


The change in sexual enjoyment is a process.  It starts with open communication (yes, this means you have to find a loving way to tell your spouse that you'd like to please one another in the sack more!).  It includes making intentional time together (thus, dating one another on purpose).  It includes talking in bed--what works, what doesn't ...


For me what it really took was God reminding me that I am IT for Matt.  It is my high and holy calling to be the sole female who brings him pleasure (and vice versa).  (Is that how you feel?  Does meeting your husband's sexual needs feel like a divine right or a duty?)  God designed me to be Matt's perfect provision and when I grabbed hold of that truth and burned it on my heart, I was freed of the "I'm not good enoughs" that enslaved me. 


An amazing thing happened, the more Matt and I talked about sex and what we enjoyed, the more we explored one another, the more on fire our sex life became.  I thought he didn't want to please me.  He thought I didn't trust him to please me.  What we've figured out is we both desire to please and be pleased by one another.


If you are broken over your sex life, there is hope.  If you are being held back by past mistakes or pornography or cellulite, there is help.  If you want it and your husband doesn't it, you're not alone.


There are resources and people who will help!


Our favorite resource:
A Celebration of Sex 


Some other sources you might like:
Every Man's Battle 
Every Heart Restored
The Sex-Starved Wife (there are also sex-starved husband and marriage books)
Passionate Marriage (not Christian)


So what do I think about orgasms?  They are created for husbands AND wives to regularly enjoy because they are pleasurable, fulfilling, increase intimacy in marriage, and they knit a man together with his wife.


Here's to celebrating the gift of sex and orgasms with our husbands.  

Kim's 1 Pan Chicken and Rice

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 box of Uncle Ben's Original Recipe Wild Rice
  • Water
  • Shredded Provolone cheese (or swiss)


Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350'
  • In a 9x13 baking dish combine the rice, water (as called for in box directions), and seasonings.
  • Top with chicken breasts.
  • Cover.
  • Bake 45-60 minutes until juices run clear and rice is finished.
  • Uncover and top with a bit of cheese.  Bake until cheese melts.


Alternatives:

  • You can cut down the water to 1 cup and use a can of Golden Mushroom soup or Cream of Mushroom to make this a creamier dish.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Too Clean Tuesday--Microwave!

I really like the idea of a clean microwave but at my house, no one--myself included--remembers to cover plates before they get cooked.  Ergo, there is a random mix of crusty pasta sauce, splattered Cream of Wheat, and something else I haven't quite identified.

Shocking.  I know.

When I need to clean the microwave, I let microwave work for me--sort of like a self-cleaning oven.

Here's what to do:

Get a microwave safe bowl and fill it with equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water.
Put it in the microwave and get it cookin' to a rolling boil.
Wipe it out with a clean cloth.

You'll be amazed at the way crusty stuff gets loosened and odors disappear.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Home Made Baby Food?

Nutritious, delicious and a real money saver, homemade baby food is definitely the way to go.  I know you think it sounds overwhelming but you can actually whip up a batch of food pretty quickly.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables (think quality here--I totally suggest organic!)
  • a couple of sauce pans
  • a food processor
  • mesh strainer (like you would use for a tea or coffee press)
  • some breast milk/formula
  • ice cube trays (each little cube is 1 oz)
  • spatulas
  • quart sized freezer Ziploc bags (pay the price for the good kind!)
  • plastic wrap
What to do:

  1. Wash your fruits and veggies VERY well.  Remember that there may be pesticides on them so really give them a good scrub.  If your food has peels on it, this is a good time to remove them.  
  2. Chop veggies/fruit to smaller size.
  3. Get water boiling in a sauce pan.  Add fruit or veggies (one type at a type) and boil until mushy.  (You can steam if you desire).  (Remember, not all foods will need to be steamed/boiled.  Foods like kiwi, bananas, and avocado can be mushed without being cooked).
  4. Put the fruit/veggie in a food processor and puree.  For new eaters this should be a thin, creamy consistency with no lumps.  If you need to add liquid you can use breast milk or formula (some people mix the formula with the water the food was cooked in since it will have vitamins in it).
  5. If you made a food with a peel that couldn't be peeled (peas, blueberries) or that has seeds (blackberries, strawberries), strain the food now to remove the seeds/peels.
  6. When the food is cool enough (put in fridge or in an ice bath in the sink to speed this process), use a spatula to scrape it into one of the ziploc bags.  Cut a whole in the one of the bag's corners and fill up the ice cube trays.
  7. Cover the trays with plastic wrap and freeze.  When frozen, pop the baby food out of the tray and into labeled quart sized bags. Freeze.
To prepare:
  • Put frozen squares into a bowl and microwave.  Test to make sure it isn't too hot!
Good foods to start with:
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • plums
  • apples
  • pears
  • peaches
  • peas
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • avocado
  • squash (acorn or butternut)
Alternatives:
  • You can use frozen fruits and veggies if you so desire but I'd stay away from canned goods.
  • You can add some flavor to baby food but try to keep salt and additives to a minimum and definitely stay away from seasonings with MSG in them.
  • Be adventurous with grains--whole grain pastas, wild rice, quinoa, cous cous, etc., are great as baby food too (and baby is never to young to eat healthy gourmet!)
  • Remember that baby can eat what you're eating as long as the texture/thickness is developmentally appropriate. If you don't want to make/freeze food then consider purchasing a good food mill.
  • Don't be afraid to add protein.  Cook and puree lean cuts of beef, chicken, beans, etc.
WARNING:
  • If baby is a new eater, only introduce one food every three-four days and watch for allergic reactions.
  • Make sure food is not lumpy for new eaters.  As your baby gets used to eating, you can add more lumps.
  • Be aware of nitrates.  Nitrates are chemicals in water and soil that "stick" to fruits and veggies and get ickier with time.  Therefore, use frozen OR prepare your foods ASAP after purchasing.  Be advised that there are certain foods with high nitrates (carrots, spinach, etc.) so you'll need to be careful when making those foods.  And here is where I plug NOT buying baby carrots.  Get big ones for baby food.  Peel, chop, and cook.
Resources:
There are a lot of baby food making resources out there by my favorite is Once a Month Mom.  This blog offers how to's, recipes, and even menus.  Check it out!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Days of Play--Floaters and Sinkers Part II

So we accidentally came across this game last Saturday.

In the original floaters and sinkers, children guessed what items would sink in a tub of water and which would float.

This game follows the same idea but with air!

Here's what to do.

1.  Get a helium filled balloon with a long tail.
2.  Randomly grab little things that can be tied to the balloon (spoon, feather, sponge, pennies, whisk ...).
3.  Show your child how some objects cause the ballon to sink while others float with the balloon.
4.  For each item, have your child guess if it will cause the balloon to sink or float.
5.  Test your hypothesis!

To make this easier for younger kids:

Omit the guessing and just play with the balloon.

To make this harder for older kids:

Talk about mass and density.  Need a refresher?  Look here , among other places.  Talk about why the balloon floats.

No Meal Plan this Week

Matt was gone for half of last week and will be gone for half of this week.  Therefore, we'll be finishing up last week's meal plan this week.

Check back for a new meal plan!