Sunday, September 28, 2014

It really does work

So, tonight we tried the method of shucking corn that I did not believe was real, but it is. You just cook the corn in its husk in the microwave (two ears for five minutes), take the corn out of the microwave and cut about an inch off of the stem end (the end that does not have the silk hanging out), then from the silk end just push and slide the ear right out of the husk. It comes out almost completely clean. Who knew? I wonder if this would work with other cooking methods?

I am adding this to our newly discovered method of marking our water glasses. Each family member has picked out their own color of silly band and that band goes on their water cup and stays there for the entire day. NO more multiple cups of water all over the house because people cannot remember which one is their cup. I hear that soon the silly bands will be replaced with rainbow loom markers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Captain Underpants, what the heck?

I was just reading about Captain Underpants topping the "list of most frequently challenged books." What the heck?!

I credit Captain Underpants with getting my oldest child interested in reading. He started reading Captain Underpants in first grade. He loved Captain Underpants, as well as The Magic Tree House series, and then he moved on. Second grade was the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Third grade was the How to Train Your Dragon series. Fourth grade was the Percy Jackson series. Fifth grade he started to read the Hitchhiker's Guide series.

He does not want or like to read, unless it is something that captures his attention. And, each year he has found something to capture his attention. And, his reading skills are top notch.  He is thoughtful, empathetic, committed to his causes and, yes, sometimes stubborn. But, that doesn't come from Captain Underpants. Our youngest is now reading Captain Underpants. I will say that he and his brother do like to play chess on a lazy Saturday wearing only underwear. Perhaps, there is a connection on that front. I could think of worse things.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

We all have something

I was thinking today about how we have so many different friends, from all over the world, with different education levels, religions, orientations, ethnicities, shapes, sizes, conditions, situations and on and on. And, you know, it occurred to me, we all have something. We all have something that makes us unique, different, special, maybe even insecure from time-to-time. But, we really shouldn't be insecure. Because, really, we all have something. And, I would bet, that those we don't think have "something," do. And, if they don't believe that they do, then simply the pressure of having to keep up the appearance of perfection, in and of itself, is something. We all have something.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

That is a whole lot of produce

Oh man, that's a whole lot of produce. So, I spent the $106 for the large box of produce. It is locally sourced, organic, 9-11 different types, in-season, more veggies than fruit and I pick it up at the local drop-off point. Turns out the large box is actually two medium boxes, so I got double of everything essentially. At first when I saw this I thought, "oh shit, how will I use this all." But, really, the lettuce we use for wraps and salads, the fruit goes no problem, some of the veggies can be used to make noodles with the Spiralizer - the tri-blade vegetable spiral slicer (hey, an excuse to make yet another Amazon order), and the rest easily goes with husband's 9 - 10 servings of produce/day. This may just work. I will say the boys loved my veggie intense meals these last few nights. We will see. . .

Monday, September 15, 2014

Speaking of food. . .

Since my last post, I thought I should throw myself equally under the bus. . .

I grew up eating Swanson's Turkey TV dinners, Spaghettios, a lot of red meat and unlimited supplies of Coca-Cola. To say I was a Coca-Cola addict would be a huge understatement. I hated milk, I hated water, it was pretty much Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper and juice.   Oh yes, and my favorite thing to do driving home from high school was to stop at the local 7 11 and get a Coca-Cola filled to the top with ice and a bag of M&Ms. Such a healthy girl, wasn't I? Yet, weight wasn't an issue for me until college - go figure.

I am a short woman, very short in fact. For many years now, I've been telling my boys that I was so short because I ate so horribly and drank Coca-Cola instead of milk while I was growing and I would be damned (well darned to them) if I let them make the same mistake. Only, the problem here is that genetically speaking, no matter what I would have done, being short was in my cards. Maybe, I could have eked out a couple more inches, maybe, but shortness is who I am and nothing wrong with that. I've been realizing that I need to tweak my message to the boys as the youngest one keeps asking why he is the shortest boy in 2nd grade when he always tries to make healthy choices. He is pretty good about it really. Oh no, what have I done.

So, we talked about exactly this topic. That genetically speaking, they are going to be short and they are beautiful, smart, kind, giving people and height is just a part of who they are physically and means nothing else than that. That eating right and getting lots of good sleep will help them grow to their fullest potential, and that is the goal for a healthy life on all fronts, to make choices to reach our fullest potential in all ways. That is a more accurate message, a more healthy message and one I wish I would have thought about much sooner. And, so it goes.

All about that logic

Since we arrived at our new home, I've been trying to keep on top of the grocery list and resulting bill. I could not understand how we were spending so much and how we could possibly be eating so much food. Well, I did understand, but it didn't seem logical. And, of course, I'm all about that logic.

If you know my husband, then you know that for YEARS he has been a fitness fanatic, including protein shakes and TONS of protein-rich foods. In years past, it was a copious amount of protein shakes. Over the years, while struggling to help our oldest child with his weight and making healthy choices (especially as he is the only vegetarian in the family and someone who seems to crave starches), I've come to the mindset that natural foods are best. The less processed food we put into our bodies the better. So, I've been encouraging this lifestyle with the entire family, including the additional idea that healthy fats (seeds, nuts, eggs, cheese, lean meats, etc. . .) are not bad, but rather limiting starches is the better path. Carbs are not bad (fruits, veggies, etc.), it is the starches that get us (potatoes, corn, sugar, rice, pasta, flour, etc.). Starches should be consumed in moderation, making up the smallest portion of our food choices, trying to choose the healthiest, least processed, versions when we do eat them. It is not about being skinny, it is about being healthy. Period. Yeah, we are not perfect by a long shot. But, the awareness helps. And, really, it just makes sense to me. And, of course, I'm all about that logic.

Well, wouldn't you know, my husband took this all to heart, bless him, and has made the switch off of protein powders and has started ensuring that he gets his daily portion of fruits and vegetables. Only, he had incorrectly calculated servings sizes to be two times more than what they were supposed to be for the fruits and vegetables and three times that for proteins. I couldn't keep up. I would go buy 30 eggs/week (mostly using only the whites), pounds of fruit and veggies (with specific kinds requested) and the fruit and veggies would just be gone in two days, not to mention the amount of other proteins "needed." We have two refrigerators and not enough room to buy a week's worth of food. And, with the nightly mess of him making so much food for the next day; I was almost starting to miss protein shakes. So, we sat down and figured this all out using reputable websites. Now my husband's three lunches/day are based on proper serving sizes, not the two to three times more that he thought was a serving. Now, it makes sense. Now, it is all about that logic.

In addition, we figured out that requesting specific types of fruits and veggies was not realistic, not logical. As, sometimes those requested were not in-season and very expensive. Our grocery bill has been astronomical!!! We need to stick with those fruits and vegetables that are in-season. To that end, I found a service that will put together a large box of fruits and veggies, from local farms, all in-season for me to buy each week. I am excited to give this a try and see if it helps our family maintain the fresh fruit and veggie consumption, but in a more logical way. Because, of course, I am all about that logic. And, yes, I do like the song "All about that bass." :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

How the hell do you do it all?

I'm just putting this out there for conversation and curiosity. Does anyone know of a couple where both spouses are full-throttle with their careers, their children, their family as a whole and each other? Or, does it seem that only one spouse at a time can take the career front-seat, so to speak? And, if they are both full-throttle for all, how the hell do they do it and not die of exhaustion?

Not in the career world yet, still just focusing on my school. Just wondering, how the hell do you do it all???? And, really, is it worth it? Of course, I want to find something I love to do, that is fulfilling beyond being a mom and wife. I do need it! However, how to draw the line, where to draw the line? Frankly, to me a part-time gig that is fulfilling seems the ideal solution. Yes, that means I am accepting that my career will not be the one getting top billing.

Clearly, my husband makes far more money than I could possibly make having been out of the career world for SO LONG. And, given the fact that I have limited time with my kiddos before they are off to college (better damn well go to college), I want to balance it all, maximize our resources and enjoy a fulfilling life as a mom, a wife and as an individual beyond those roles. I want the same for my husband and for my children too. I guess if I had the answer on  how to do all that, I would have a best-selling book, wouldn't I? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Moms, Husbands, Kids and Chores, Oh My!

Growing up, my brother and I had chores and we did not get paid for them. The whole family pitched in every Sunday to clean the house and each day we took turns setting the table, clearing the table, and unloading the dishwasher. My dad had a rule, whoever cooked dinner that night, the other people would clean it up after. I liked that rule and it probably had a bit to do with why I liked to cook. My brother was in charge of vacuuming and taking out the garbage. I was in charge of cleaning bathrooms and dusting. We actually fought over who got to mop - I know, weird, right? My parents split up the rest of the chores. It worked.

It was different for my husband, who did not have chores. His mom enjoyed and insisted on taking care of the home, the boys, the projects, the cleaning, etc. . .That was what she considered her employment and she took and still takes great pride in this work. She is also a fantastic baker and father-in-law is an absolutely stunning chef. But, for my husband, doing chores, cleaning and cooking were not really something expected of him growing up. In fact, he wasn't really allowed to do these things. So, he never really learned how to do them.

Now, this is not to say my husband has never done anything around our home. He unloads the dishwasher on his days off and does a good share of laundry too.  He, also, loves to try on his chef hat from time-to-time, even if he is not so much into cleaning up the mess afterward. In our house, it would seem the motto is "no matter who cooks, Mom cleans."

Ok, I'm not pulling any punches here, I hate the job of cleaning - HATE IT. I do not find it cathartic or pleasant or any of that, though more power to those of you who do! And, yet, I am also the type who does something right or not at all, I know I only shoot myself in the foot with that attitude. Still, it is hard to break. I might have a tad bit of OCD about germs and disinfecting, maybe, maybe just a little.

When living overseas, we were able to have someone help us with this stuff, which was wonderful. When my husband was in Iraq last year and I was "home" with the boys working on my MBA, I hired someone to come in once per week to help me out too. But, now we are at our new posting in the US, without Iraq pay, and hiring help just doesn't seem likely. I decided it was time for the family to "help." Again, this is hard for me in a way because I do like things done a certain way. But, I also know I need the help. My husband's lack of doing chores growing up became quite apparent during this "help." I made a list of chores, and let him choose those he wanted to do. He actually chose bathrooms (wow). But, of course, his idea and my idea of how this should be done were different. I don't really think he has ever cleaned a bathroom before. He is learning (after 20 years of marriage). Before he started, I told him to make sure any paper towel used to clean the toilet should not be used on anything else. He stated "that makes sense, wouldn't have thought of that." Ok, good thing I clarified ahead. After cleaning the bathroom, I said "thank you so much for cleaning the bathrooms, can I just show you two things, you must clean the fixtures of the sink too and when cleaning the toilet it is not just the seat area, but the whole toilet." Trying to let go, but I wanted him to know for next time. Oh, that pesky line of appreciating, not discouraging, but making sure the "help" is actually help.

And, so, more than ever, I know I want our boys to know how to do these things without having to be taught as adults. Sometimes I do believe that not seeing or knowing all the effort that goes into cleaning something, makes it much easier to be careless about keeping it clean. If they are responsible for helping keep it clean, perhaps they would try a little harder to not get things so messy in the first place. Perhaps take more care to aim at the toilet properly. Perhaps, when preparing something in the kitchen, taking a little more care to not be sloppy about it. Still, I see all the homework my 11 year old has and must admit, I totally understand why a mom would not want to further burden her child with more work. What to do, what to do, what to do????