Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My wonderful husband babysits for me on Tuesday evenings so I can attend a local women's Bible Study. It's a chance for me to get away for a bit. Often its literally for a bit:  I get a call to return to a frantically crying baby.

In talking with these women every week I see all different perspectives. The women come from a variety of backgrounds, ages and stages of life. A few women are single while there are two women who have been married (to the same person) for over fifty years.  Many times we discuss triumphs and successes. And often struggles come into the discussion.

Tonight our speaker, the pastor's wife, shared a bit about her struggle with her prodigal nephew. Apparently this nephew has left home and really strayed from decent people and a decent lifestyle. In the small group it came up that other people have children who have strayed away from ways that are good.

In parenting it is so hard to know how to guide children to make the right decisions when they grow older. I'm just starting and seeing how easy it is to misguide a child. I want to do everything in my power to correctly guide her in choosing a positive and healthy life.

I hope to gain more and more insight into this as time goes by. My bookshelf is filling up with books with ideas about this. As I read about how to start a 529 plan and raise an infant I also have this larger goal in the back of my head.

How does one properly guide a  child?

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Food is meant to be shared, especially with friends like you."

This is a quotation from Emeril on Emeril's Table. Cooking is an art meant to be shared in groups. Friends, family and even people you barely know all benefit from improving this skill.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seeing the glass as half full, not half empty

I was just reading about Victoria Beckham's life. She is a 37-year-old mom of four who is also a very successful model, dress designer and fashion enthusiast. The article basically stated that she admitted to being very, very tired. She is up in the night with her 7-month old baby Harper as well as up in the night to take international calls about her fashion line. She stated she is very happy with her life despite her exhaustion.

I can relate with her. It is incredibly rewarding to feel like you are part of the world; and a big part of the world is the work world. For her, it is worth the exhaustion that she feels to have all of those rewarding parts of her life fit together.

I first took note of Victoria Beckham when she was pictured as a guest at William and Kate's wedding last April. I had heard of her before but not really noticed her until I realized her baby was due within days of mine. (In fact, I think we had the same due date.) As the wife of soccer-great David Beckham, she lacks no spotlight and could very easily get by without any career at all- I'm sure David brings in a hefty check to support their four kids. But no, she has decided to make way in the world on her own. She has her own career, her own income and her own claim to fame. And for that I give her applause. She is living all aspects of her life to the fullest and, despite her exhaustion, is feeling very rewarded.

I am struggling with my own lot in life at the moment. I have chosen a home life for the first year of my baby's life. I say "chosen" because it was a decision that made sense when I got pregnant. It was more of a sequence of events that led my income to be eclipsed by my husband's. If anyone's income weren't to be missed it would be mine. So it made sense for me to forego a few career committments to take time for our baby. And I'm not sorry. But I do have pangs of longing when I see articles like the one about Victoria Beckham. There are women out there who do it all. And it is very rewarding. Perhaps next fall I'll get a chance to rejoin them in the workplace.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

sprucing up the easiest meal

The crock pot is the greatest invention. Throw in a pot roast or a whole chicken with a little water or broth, add some vegetables and you have a complete meal with very little effort. It is this type of cooking that made me interested in doing more with it. I now want flavor AND convenience in one.

Lucinda Scala Quinn (Mad Hungry) has provided me with solutions. For example, marinade your pot roast in soy sauce with a bit of ginger (1 hour minimum), sear it with a skillet and then add it to the crock pot with a can of beer. It is full of flavor, DELICIOUS! This really isn't much more effort than just putting it straight into the crock pot without the first two steps.

A bit more effort is required for her whole chicken recipe. She dressed it in a herb/butter sauce by smothering it under the skin and then tucking lemons in the inside, under the wings and in other crooks/cranies around the chicken. She also placed whole garlic cloves in the interior.

Cooking seems to be a skill learned in phases. I'm now in the phase where the simple/easy recipes bore me. I need more flavor and more sophistication.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cooking

My favorite activity while I'm home is watching Lucinda Scala Quinn on Mad Hungry. I'm sitting here watching her make minestrone soup right now. Her theme is "Bring back the family meal." I can't tell you how much she has improved the family meals at our house! The quality is not the only thing that has improved: she has enhanced my joy of cooking. Cooking is so much more of an art than it was before for me. I've always liked it. Now I love it.

Lucinda Scala Quinn teaches me about teaching. She has the perfect combination of personality, knowledge , humor and fun to make her show informative and entertaining at the same time.

So much of being a mom is so mundane: washing, cleaning, feeding.....it is so nice to find something artistic in the mundane everyday tasks.