Archive for February, 2008

V-Day Aftermath: Love Day!

In the aftermath of Valentines’ Day, I am wondering how many people are glad it is over.

I spoke with a few people yesterday who expressed that. Either they were sick of the media hype, hated how the holiday was portrayed as for women only, or just had no one to spend it with. All of those are valid reasons to not enjoy Valentines’.

It can be frustrating to try to pick the perfect gift. In the weeks before the 14th, ads showcasing jewelry, candy, and teddy bears are all over the television. Oh, and roses. Flowers are purchased by the millions for V-day alone. Personally, I think that buying a rose bush to plant in a pot or outside the home is a better, more eco-friendly idea.

You have men rushing to buy their wives or girlfriends presents, just not to be glared at or thought of as an ogre. Then you have women who are looking at the gift their man gave them with distaste. What a vicious cycle. The men are not sure what to buy, the women think the men should know, and in the end, everyone ends up with hurt feelings.

And then we have those who do not have a Valentine. What greater tragedy on Valentines’ Day? To be alone, with no one to cuddle or to give one of those gifts to, then be given a dirty look?

Bleh. I am sick of the hype as much as anyone else. So, I declare Feb. 15th to be Love Day.

What? Yes, I have just made a new holiday. Everyone in the world can share in it. For today, don’t go out buying gifts or cards, don’t take your Love out to dinner, and definitely do not buy them roses. A rose bush would be nice, though, just be sure to plant and water it.

Today, give all the love you have in your heart to everyone around you. Forgive arguments. Forget about missed holidays. Spend some quality time with your family, and call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a very long time.

Just give some love, it doesn’t cost a dime.

Posted in Uncategorized, Holidays | No Comments »

Is There Room Here for a WAHM-to-Be? *Waves*

I don’t know anything about parenting. Yet.

So what am I doing as a guest blogger on a families and parenting blog? That’s easy. Just five weeks ago, I got some information that told me I had better learn—quickly!

The very same day I found out I was pregnant, Julie Fletcher invited me to be a guest blogger on Family Resource. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn more about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting—and pass my knowledge on to Family Resource’s faithful readers.

Lest you think I’m some bachelorette noob who knows nothing about running a household, parties every weekend and lives on pizza (you’d be right about the last part), I’ve been married for five years. My husband and I have been living successfully as a couple (and raising four cats) for the past decade. For almost exactly a year, I’ve been a full-time, work-at-home freelance writer or, as Julie calls me, a Future WAHM.

Stacey Graham left some big shoes to fill as a guest blogger. But I’d like to think, over the past decade or so, I’ve accumulated some advice and knowledge to share on the topics of cleaning; cooking quick, healthy meals; organizing a home office; green living; saving money; and of course, most recently, conception and pregnancy.

Who knows? I may even post some interviews with real-live Moms here in this space.

Right now, I’d like to share a few of my favorite places on the Internet for moms-to-be.

Babies Online – This is one of my first stops when I want to track the stages of my pregnancy, find out odd facts or research the latest myth. Today, I discovered that, at 5 weeks into the pregnancy, the baby’s major organs are starting to develop, but the little one is only the size of a grain of rice! That’s simply mind-boggling to me, that something so small can have a heart, lungs, and even a little-bitty hand!

FitPregnancy – This sleek Web site, companion to the print publication, features great breaking news articles. Planning a move and wondering what the best city is to have a baby? Portland, Oregon, ranks number one on FitPregnancy’s list. Click here to find out why.

ePregnancy.com – I know a number of freelance writers who got their start here, so, of course, I had to check it out when we first started trying to conceive. The articles are well-researched and fun-to-read, and the site features a lot of great videos, too. If you’re pregnant and debating between a hospital, home birth or midwife in a birthing center, check out this video.

I’m still surfing around for smaller, personal pregnancy blogs. Feel free to share the links if you know of any good blogs written by pregnant women, who are letting us share their journey.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, Guest Blogger | 2 Comments »

Introducing The Next Guest Blogger

Hi all!

We are going to have a new Guest Blogger this month. Stacey Graham has left us lonely, so to help fill in the gaping hole her absence will bring, I have searched far and wide to bring you another very talented writer.

This month’s blogger is Dawn Allcot. She will be a wonderful addition to the FR family and I cannot wait to see what she shares with us. Dawn also has some great news about herself, maybe we can convince her to share!

We have one more scheduled blogger coming in March, but if you are a parent and would like to blog for Family Resource, email me! Samples of your writing are required and all posts on Family Resource should relate to family in some manner.

Write Guest Blogger in the subject of your email and tell me why you would be a perfect guest blogger!

Familyresourceblogger [at] gmail [dot] com

Posted in Uncategorized, Guest Blogger | No Comments »

Once A Month Cooking and Oatmeal Bars

YummyBars.jpg

In the essence of keeping to our healthy resolutions, hubby and I have been moving our diet to a more plant based one. We have cut out all red meat and pork, leaving only seafood and fowl. We feel better and have found that our grocery bill is lower, giving us extra money to spend on the other items we enjoy to eat.

One of my favorite bloggers (and a great person to know), Marye Audet at Baking Delights posted a really comprehensive How-to on Once a Month Cooking. This is probably the best guide with a realistic approach I have found. I’m not saying that just because I like her, it’s really that good.

Since we can buy more, we can put away more. Freezing and dehydrating are two of the best ways to keeping food fresh longer, though I have not tried dehydrating a whole meal yet. That will come eventually! As a work at home professional, it is essential for me to be able to throw together a meal quickly. Healthy meals and fast healthy meals are exactly what we need! I need something quick for the mornings, one child off to school and the two others small enough to be starving to death before their sister is out the door.

Our children do like to eat some sweets and my mother in law would bring the kids doughnuts occasionally for a morning treat. Even once in a while is too much when the doughnuts in question are covered in chocolate glaze and stuffed with whatever can fit inside.

So, I experimented with a sweet but healthy breakfast treat. Pre-packaged oatmeal squares and other types of breakfast ‘bites’ are available. I tend to avoid these because of the preservatives and other unnatural ingredients. So, this morning we had home-made oatmeal breakfast bars with fruit. So tasty and very filling!

I can post what went in, but not the exact amounts, because when I experiment, I throw caution to the wind! You can experiment with the ingredients on your own, I will try to estimate the amounts to give you a better chance of duplicating my results. These bars took about half an hour to bake up, your time may vary. You can place these in the fridge and keep for up to a week without freezing. Make a double batch and freeze a whole pan!

Super Oatmeal-Fruit Breakfast Fuel

2 cups Oat meal, plain (the kind in the big cylinder)
¾ cup flour (all purpose)
1 ½ cup low fat granola (I just used some from a cereal box with almonds and raisins)
½ cup raisins
2 bananas, sliced thin
2 eggs
1 cup milk (more or less)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Mix everything in a large bowl. It will be slightly ‘goopy’. The milk will not completely absorb, but try to get all of the flour mixed into the liquid. If the mix is too dry, add a little more milk. Once it is all completely mixed, pour into a pan that has been lined or oiled well.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check at 20 minutes for browning. The top of the bars should be dry with spotty golden brown areas. Remove from oven, cool until you can cut and handle the bars without being burned. Serve warm!

Posted in Uncategorized, Cooking, Healthy Living | 2 Comments »

Guest blogger, signing off!

I’d like to thank Julie for the opportunity to write for this great blog!  The past few weeks have brought some interesting challenges to Family Resources; I’m happy to see that Julie will only allow intelligent and creative dialog into the blog arena giving people a chance to discuss real family issues.

I hope my bit of fun brought some relief in a busy day, catch me at Hippie Sounds - my home base on the web!

Best wishes,
Stacey
http://hippiesounds.com
http://staceyigraham.com

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Hey kid, get off my lawn!

When the heck did I get so old?  Why is it when “Jump” by Van Halen comes on the radio I’m freaked out by the thought of a balding man in spandex, when 20 years ago I thought he was a rock god?  Have you LISTENED to those lyrics?  I admit I had some vague delusions of being Madonna at one point but I turned away from the rubber bracelets and bullet bras by last year and am embracing my inner Hannah Montana.

My tween daughter is begging me for leggings to wear under her skirts.  Am I wrong to own twenty pair of black lace leggings or am I ahead of the trend instead?  I’d better hold on to my scrunchies just in case.  I see big things in ugly rubber bands coming around the bend next year.  Hey, has anyone seen my zippered leather jacket?

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I Apologize

Sometimes things do not go the way you would like.

Lately, I have had some interesting setbacks which have prevented me from posting as much as I would like. The sickies have gone around the house, landing me in bed a few times or causing the children to need constant attention. Ah, the joys of motherhood. Ahem, and of being a wife. Not long ago another blogger on Seven Babes had mentioned how men (or boys) become babies when they are sick. I think I know why . . .

Men need to feel loved and cared for from their wives. It is something deeply ingrained, but man, I can tell you that when I am feeling under the weather, I would like some of that love and attention. My husband becomes an invalid when sick, like most other husbands, but I can say that when I needed surgery, he really came through.

But, if it is just a fever of 103 degrees, eh, I’m still not feeling as bad as he is. ;-)

That is not the best part, however. My son and youngest daughter decided that Mommy’s keyboard needed to stay hydrated, so a new one needed to be found. Amazing how most of the stores were out of USB keyboards and my computer will only take one of those. I had no idea! I thought all computers would take a standard and a USB. Learned two lessons:

1.Keep posting ahead.
2. Have 5 or so extra keyboards on hand.

For those of you that have an ALDI store near you, check out the electronics by the register. For the past few months all of the stores here have had roll-up, flat, water and dustproof keyboards for $7.99! Get two!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Bad Valentine’s Day Gifts

This year, when your husband hands you a gift that you would rather not have, restrain yourself from giving him the look of death. I know, I know, many women will wonder why they should not tell him to take that emergency car survival kit and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.

“Julie, don’t you watch television? Look at all of the diamonds! Chocolate! Roses! Shouldn’t he know better??

The straight answer is, “Yes, he does.?

Now, before you get all smug and think that I agree with the media’s over exposure of candy and flowers, I do not. Men know better than to fall prey to the marketing campaigns. At least, in their minds. You see, will a few flowers or chocolates keep you warm if your car breaks down in a freak winter storm? Can a diamond jumpstart your battery? God forbid you need to change a tire! What man in their right man would leave the woman he loves without a safety net?

Men think differently than we do. Often, when a man buys a gift, he has practical thoughts. ‘Can she use this?’ is probably the top question in his mind when looking for a gift. Your husband (or boyfriend) is really not trying to insult you. He wants to give you something that he found himself, something that you will use for a long time and maybe, just maybe think of him when you do.

Chocolates and roses will be eaten and die. Heck, you might leave those chocolates in the kitchen and forget about them, especially if he buys a huge box. A diamond, while beautiful, might just be left in a jewelry box to gather dust. If you have children, often this is exactly what will happen to any jewelry that mothers receive. I do not know how often my friends with small children have told me they loved the gift their husband or boyfriend purchased, but could not wear it.

So, in a mans mind, what is the point?

This Valentine’s Day, take a deeper look into that gift that you normally would scorn. Think of the motivation behind it, smile, hug your man, and tell him how thankful you are to have a husband thinks of you.

Posted in Uncategorized, Relationships, Holidays | No Comments »

Recipe: Applesauce

Mmmmm, there’s nothing better than fresh homemade applesauce.  Families are so used to buying jarred prepared applesauce that most of us have no idea how easy it is to make lovely chunky sauce ourselves with only a few ingredients.  This recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, you can bet the store-bought version would make your dentist cringe.  Try it today for your little ones on top of fluffy pancakes or hot as a great side dish.

4 McIntosh apples, chunked
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups all natural apple juice or fresh cider
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, a few pinches
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated or a few pinches ground

Place chunked apples, brown sugar, juice or cider, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium pot over medium-high heat and let cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and reducing heat to medium when mixture comes to a boil.  Stir hot, chunky applesauce to break up cooked apples and remove from heat.
Source: Rachael Ray and the Food Network.  Would Rachael ever lead you astray?

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is a wonderful thing. From ancient times, chocolate has been used in medicine and relaxation. Nearly everyone knows about Montezuma and his desire for, well…desire. His legendary consumption of chocolate drinks supposedly gave him the stamina he needed to keep up with a huge harem.

In recent times, chocolate has become the indulgence of choice for women. A guilty pleasure, sometimes hidden and eaten in times of stress or depression. But, chocolate does not need to be a guilty indulgence. This food is power packed with antioxidants and is actually very good for you.

When you buy chocolate for eating, remember that the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you. Americans are used to the sweeter milk chocolate, but as we age our tastes begin to mature. Dark chocolate has a stronger, slightly bitter taste. Because of many cultures tendency to enjoy sweets, they have forgotten that the taste buds are geared to detect and enjoy slightly bitter items.

You can find different strengths of dark chocolate by reading the percentages on the wrapper or package. The higher the percentage, the stronger the bitter taste. Once you have become accustomed to the darker chocolates, your heart will thank you. Why? Because dark chocolate has those antioxidants mentioned earlier and helps protect the heart.

Hey, why not go grab a bar right now?

Posted in Uncategorized, Healthy Eating | No Comments »

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