August 29, 2008

Cooking and Cleaning

As a mother of 3 small children, I find myself spending the majority of my days cooking and cleaning. I've come to the conclusion that if I didn't have to feed my children, I would have a lot more time to do other things! It's the daily grind of meals, snacks, dishes, cleaning up crumbs, wiping off faces and washing hands, laundering bibs and soiled clothing and kitchen towels, putting clean linens away, making weekly menu plans, grocery lists, running to the store, putting food away, preparing food, etc. I think I could safely say that 30% of my awake time during the week is spent doing these things! I told my husband I feel like an oxen plowing a huge field, as I trudge through these tasks.

However, I need to remind myself that it is part of the noble calling of motherhood. I am not just cooking and cleaning. I'm providing healthy meals for my family. I'm ensuring their good nutrition and ability to fight off germs. I'm giving them fuel for their bodies and brains to help them grow and mature as they should. I'm showing them myriads of things by example on how parents should work diligently to provide for their children, so that someday they will do the same for their own. I'm teaching good stewardship of our resources by not being wasteful, and by keeping the home God has given us clean. I could go on and on listing the many values that are being caught and taught with these daily tasks I carry out.

I think that's a pretty good investment of 30% of my day.

August 12, 2008

For Women Only

I just finished reading this excellent resource for wives. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is married, newly or seasoned. Not only is it well-researched and well-presented information, but it's dealing with topics that other marriage resources I've encountered don't cover.

Shaunti Feldhahn has explained with real quotes from real husbands, and with real examples why men are the way they are, what makes them tick, and what they really want their wives to know. She conducted two in-depth surveys of all kinds of married men around the country with the help of a survey expert. The results were a surprise, even to her! Her discoveries presented here give wives the tools they need to understand their husbands, to relate to them in inspiring and encouraging ways, and to how to accept the way their husbands show love to them.

You can see more about her book, and additional resources she recommends at her website, . My husband has read her other book, "For Men Only" and found it highly beneficial as well!

August 02, 2008

The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious

Thanks to a recommendation by a friend, and through discovery in a catalog, I have found three cookbooks which are worth taking a look at if you, like me, have trouble getting someone in your family to eat enough veggies or fruits!

"The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals" by Missy Chase Lapine is the first one. The premise is that you create purees of fruits and/or veggies that you store in your freezer (or fridge for short-term use). Then you add them to things like pizza sauce, macaroni and cheese, baked goods, etc. Her second book, "The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man (in the Kitchen!): Hiding Healthy Foods in Hearty Meals any Guy Will Love" is also worth checking out for adult food ideas. You can visit her website for free recipes to try. I printed them all, and have tried several just this week with the following results:

Doctor's Choice Chili (vegetarian version): everyone loved it!
One & Only Guacamole: a little heavy on the lime. Not my favorite.
Power Pizza: yummy and quick - feels good to serve this "cheese only" pizza to my kids
Mac & Cheese: they had no idea I snuck cauliflower and zucchini puree in it; gobbled up!
Better-for-You Brownies: yummy with wheat germ, pureed spinach and blueberries
Legal Donuts: These were so good I shared with my neighbor!
Granola Bar Fix: oh yeah, very tasty. Mine had dried blueberries in them.
Cold Sesame Noodles: none of us liked this. Too bad, since I made a special trip to get the tahini! Anyone know any good recipes to use up my tahini?

The other book is called "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld. Now the concept is the same, and some of the recipes are suspiciously quite similar. However, from what I read online, Missy Chase Lapine doesn't care, as long as people start eating healthier. My library had this book available, and I tried these this week with the following results:

Quesadillas: all but one daughter loved these
Chocolate Pudding: the avocado puree wasn't masked well enough for myself and my oldest daughter. The other two gobbled it up.

There are oodles of other recipes in the book I hope to try next week!

Here's a tip from me if you end up trying these. When you freeze the purees in ziploc bags, flatten the puree inside the bag to make a thin layer. This makes it quick to thaw when you need it.

Have fun being sneaky and deceptive!

August 01, 2008

Internet vs. Books

I subscribe to World magazine, which I enjoy because it provides a Christian perspective on current events around the world. In the July 26/August 2 issue, there is an article that caught my attention about the internet and it's affect on our minds. It's called "Fleeting Thoughts: How the internet is eating my brain" by Janie Cheaney. Here's the link to the article.

To sum it up, most see a great benefit in the internet being a resource for a wealth of information. However, it may be changing how we read, and how we think. People tend to skim something, click a link and skim something else, and so on, following rabbit trails. I know I do! As she puts it, "five thousand words on a given topic makes the mind go deep; five links makes it go wide. Maybe even to the point of flattening." I certainly want my children to learn to think deeply and critically, not shallowly and aimlessly.

The author's practical recommendation was, "Ideally, children should be kept from the internet until they can comprehend book-length nonfiction in a variety of subjects. Since that seems unlikely, we can at least set aside 30 minutes of focused reading per day."

Sounds like good advice to me. As for myself, I think I better take a break from the internet and go read a book.