Banana Peel

It’s what’s inside that matters…

Because they’re just so darn cute August 21, 2009

the cutest family on the block

I couldn’t resist!

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Date NightIN July 27, 2009

Filed under: marriage and family,Recipes — Jess @ 5:30 pm

When you have two little people in your life (especially one who is nursing) it is very difficult to go out with your spouse (and only your spouse). Extremely difficult to go out when it’s dark and romantic and all that (you know–like–at night). My kids seem to have “mommy is gone” radar. They just know somehow that I have left. Every time we have tried to go out we return to a tear-soaked miserable baby who has been inconsolable for the past hour (or two). Which causes me to feel awful about myself and my mothering skills for approximately two weeks (give or take a few hours).  The best time for us to go out is in the early morning (before noon) or in the late afternoon (like between 3 and 5), which is hard to find babysitters for. Especially when your husbands day off is Monday. So in our current state of young children we don’t really ever go out without our children.

Because of this I decided that I still wanted to have a date with my husband. So we did. We just didn’t go anywhere. And you know what? It was wonderful and romantic and probably the best date we’ve ever had. Ever. Seriously.

It was so simple too. Maybe that’s why it was so nice. Dinner. Candles. The love of my life sitting across from me. Peaceful. No rude waiters or loud diners. Just me and him at the kitchen table. And quiet, oh so wonderfully quiet. It was lovely. The best part: I didn’t have to worry about my kids at all (The Blue-Eyed Boy did interupt us a few times, but that was okay it didn’t detract from the specialness).

Date nightIN. It should be the new sloagan (you know like the Staycation craze we’re in right now).  Try it out, I promise it is well worth your while. And just to help you out a little here’s my recipe’s for a fantasticly romantic dinner!

The Menu

Red-Wine Steak

Inside-out Baked potatos

Fresh salad with lemon dressing

Bread and olive oil dip

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The Recipes

Inside-Out Baked Potatoes

2 Russet baking potatoes scrubbed

1 package thick sliced bacon

Preheat oven to 375. Meanwhile wrap the potatoes in the bacon (two per potato). Wrap in aluminum foil and poke a few times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a fork easily presses through.

I diced up the rest of the bacon and fried it up real quick. I sprinkled some on the salad and we also sprinkled some on our steaks. It was delish (wow I sound like a teeny bopper). The rest I put in a bag and we’ll use it throughout the rest of the week on salads (WAY better than Bacon Bits!).

Red-Wine Steak

Two steaks, whatever kind you like. I got some nice round steaks.

about half a red onion chopped

1 carrot chopped

Red wine of your choice: I used a lovely local Michigan wine by Leelenau Cellars (buy local!!)

Salt and pepper both sides of the steaks. Put the onion and carrot in a ziploc bag and mix. Place steaks in bag. Cover with the red wine (like a 1/3 of the bottle depending on the size of your steaks, and the size of your wine). Let marinate for 1 hour or more.

Once done marinating. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot add about a tablespoon of butter to the skillet letting it melt all over. Place the steak in the skillet and cook on each side for 6 minutes (for medium).

Fresh Salad with Lemon Dressing

Make a salad how you like it. Here’s how to make the dressing:

lemon juice (or a lemon)

Extra Virgin Olive oil

parsley

salt and pepper

Mix equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, add in some parsley (like a tablespoon). Sprinkle over salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Bread and Olive Oil Dip

I got some little loaves of a multi-grain french bread on the clearance rack (wooo hooo 69 cents is a steal). So pair this with whatever crusty thick bread you love.

Extra-Vigrin Olive oil

Parmesean cheese

salt and pepper

parsley

In a small dipping bowl (a cereal bowl works too!) add some olive oil (1/2 cup or so) add a bunch of parmesean cheese, about a half tablespoon parsley and some salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all up. Yummy.

It’s pretty simple. And SUPER yummy. It doesn’t take too long. Pop the potatoes in and while those are cooking you can marrinate the steaks. Make the salad and dressing and the bread dip while that is doing it’s thing. Set the table (make it special with a few candles), relax for a few minutes, and slice the bread. Then cook the steaks just before the potatoes are done, plate it up real nice (pretend you’re on the food network) pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy yourself.

Date nightIN. Try it.

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Jessica’s Crafty Corner February 7, 2009

Filed under: Crafts,marriage and family — Jess @ 1:46 pm
Tags:

Wedding Wall Hanging

The Hunk and I’s good friend got married over the summer. It was a lovely wedding. Next week we are having them over for dinner, finally. It will be the first time we’ve seen them since the wedding. We don’t really know his girl very well, but Kirk is one of our best friends. He was actually best man at our wedding.

I wanted to do something really nice for them for a wedding gift. And once I saw their wedding invitation I knew I wanted to do something with that. It is absolutely the prettiest wedding invitation I’ve ever seen.

So, here’s what I came up with…….a wall hanging. (and I hope that he doesn’t read my blog!!! I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but I wanted to share!)

The Front

The Back

The note I put on the back

I think it turned out really well. As you can see I still have one side of the binding left to stitch, and to attach the hangy-do, but I couldn’t wait to show you all. And I know the green on the back totally doesn’t match the green in the binding I used. BUT the green on the back matches their original wedding invitation perfectly. I took that to the store when I bought that fabric. For some reason (because it’s a peice of something) when I scanned the invite into my computer to print it on the fabric, it turned the green darker. I still wanted to use the green in the thing, so I used it on the back. I was planning on doing a white binding. I changed my mind, however, because it was going to take the focus off their beautiful invitation. It was too late to change the back. So, oh well. It has character. At least that’s what I’ll continue to tell myself! And at least it’s the back!

The “Remain in me” is a verse from John 15, it was the verse of their wedding.

I sure hope they like it.

But if not, at least I had fun making it!

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When does "Politically Correct" go to far? September 16, 2008

Filed under: marriage and family — Jess @ 2:04 am

Traditional marriage…i.e. Bride and Groom, or Husband and Wife have been banned in California. You can read about it here.

 

Don’t Forget You’re Married July 24, 2008

Filed under: marriage and family,Parents Univerity — Jess @ 1:17 pm

It’s time for another installment of Parent’s University. I know it’s been a long while. But I did have a baby recently, and Parent’s University kind of went on hold for a while there it seems. But it is back (yay!) and I am ready to write another thrilling, amazing and wonderful post on parenting! (I know you all have been missing these.) This weeks topic is (drum roll please!!) “Don’t Forget You’re Married”. To read some other people’s insights on this please visit The Secret Life of Kat.

It’s interesting that this would be the first topic after I just had my beautiful little gal. Folks, it’s very, very easy to forget you’re married with a newborn and a toddler in the house. It takes a conscious effort on my part to remember that I have a husband and he needs me too. His needs are not dependent on his survival however (like a newborn or toddler’s are) so it’s easy to put him on the back-burner so-to-speak. But his needs are no less important. So, what’s a girl to do? I have a few suggestions. But first maybe we should decide–what does a man need from his wife? Now it would probably be prudent of me to let my husband do a guest post or something and write this part, but I am going to do my best (He can write later and let ya’ll know if I was way off base or not!).

The top four things a man needs from his wife (as observed by me about my own husband, but I think they’re pretty universal):

1. Sex (okay my blog just went from G to X –I wonder what kind of weird searches I’ll get now?). This is a real need for men, which is hard for women to understand because it’s not a need for us. But it is. And we as wives need to recognize this and get over ourselves.

2. Respect (R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me–sorry I was overtaken by Aretha for a second there). Men need to feel and know that we respect them for who they are, what they believe and in what decisions they make.

3. Appreciation. A man needs to know that what he does for his family is appreciated. That he as a person is appreciated.

4. Love. Men need to feel loved. They need to know they are loved. I think this goes hand in hand with the other three.

Okay now we know what they need but what are some ways to meet these needs??? I have a few suggestions:

1. TALK. a. lot. I mean all the time. Small talk, deep talk, medium talk…whatever, just communicate with each other. You can’t meet the needs of your husband if you don’t know what they are! And he can’t meet your needs if you don’t tell him what they are!

That was just a basic-duh..you have to do this to keep your marriage going- tip for you all. Now we’ll talk some more tips that are specific to the needs mentioned above.

1. Make time for sex. And don’t withhold sex just because he hasn’t met your needs first (umm…can we say selfish?). Let your love-making be unconditional. And let it be just that…..making love. Yes you’re tired. Maybe you’re not interested. So what–just do it. I promise the more you do it, the more you’ll want to! (I can’t believe I even wrote that…okay getting back to G…)

2. You are not always right. Just remember that. Respect your husbands opinion, even if you don’t agree. You can respectfully disagree with him. And never ever speak negatively of your husband to other people, even your girlfriends. If you have a problem with your husband–talk to him about it! I think this is one of the greatest ways to show your husband respect. So, the next time all your girlfriends are complaining about their husbands, show yours some respect and refrain from jumping in.

3. Tell your husband you appreciate him. But I think your actions will speak louder to him than any words you can speak. When he comes home from work, stop what you’re doing and give him a hug and a kiss (I’m bad at this sometimes honey–I know!). Let him know you’re happy he is home. When he does something for you–thank him!

4. Show your husband you love him. Stop nagging. Quit complaining. Don’t criticize. Just love him for who he is. After all that’s why you married him!

Now I’m not going to tell you any of this is easy (I fail miserably all the time…just ask my husband). It’s not. It’s actually very hard to do! Especially when you are exhausted from your small children. It’s easy to put your children first because they do need you so much, but your husband should always have that number one spot. After all he was there first, and without him you wouldn’t have those beautiful babies! So, don’t forget about him in the busyness of everyday parenting.

You are married–don’t forget!

And don’t forget to read the other posts on this topic!

 

The Best Things in Life July 23, 2008

Filed under: marriage and family — Jess @ 3:06 pm

I was reading The Mom-tionary yesterday and this post got me thinking. (Thanks a lot Kristina! *wink*). More specifically her closing paragraph:

“That’s what’s part of being a mom, or any parent. Exhaustion comes with the territory. Yes, I’m tired and am looking forward to just conking out for the night, but I’ve been worse. And yes, tomorrow, I will get up and do it all again, except trading some chores for others. And yet, I wouldn’t trade my Monkey Boys or all the work that goes with being their mommy.”

There is a famous saying, “The best things in life are free”. I don’t believe this is true. The best things may not cost any money, but they are certainly not free.

The things I treasure the most–have cost me the most.

My Husband: To commit yourself to one person takes a lot. It’s a sacrifice. I must put myself aside and put him ahead of me. Sometimes this means I must do something I don’t necessarily want to. Sometimes it’s hard to not be selfish.

My Children: These dear sweet little people have cost me a lot. I’m not just talking about pregnancy, labor and birth and the toll having these children have cost my body. But I’ve had to sacrifice myself sometimes to put them first. Some days are so long and exhausting I wonder how I can go on. Some nights have so little sleep that I wonder why I bother at all. I’ve put aside some of my own dreams and aspirations to raise these children into productive, loving people.

I’m not complaining here. And I hope I don’t sound like I am. I am just trying to point out that good things come with hard work. It takes work to make a marriage work. You don’t just say “I do” and live happily ever after. You work towards that happily ever-after; every. single. day. Kids take work. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you are so tired you don’t know how you’ll go on–you have to. You keep going because you love them.

When I can look back on the last four years without a hint of regret or discontent, or look into my husbands eyes and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loves me, no matter what–I know all the work we put into our marriage was worth it. When my little boy says “please” and “thank-you” all on his own or crawls into my lap and says “I love you, ma-ma”–I know my sacrifices were worth it. When my little girl smiles at the sight of me or lays sweetly sleeping in my arms–I know every sleepless night was worth it just to have her in my life.

When I look at my life I don’t see the day-to-day struggles of being a wife and mother. I don’t notice the hard work it took to get here. I see blessings. I feel contentment. I know love.

The best things in life may not be free. But they are worth it (oh yes they are)! And I wouldn’t trade one minute, one second, for anything.

 

Culverized June 19, 2008

Filed under: marriage and family — Jess @ 3:16 pm

As many of you know my last name is Culver. Well, when my handsome hunk and I were engaged I started saying I was going to be “Culverized”. I even told Pastor Greg this while I was signing the marriage license– before I walked down the isle. So, during our ceremony, Pastor Greg said that I was now Culverized, instead of the whole….I now pronounce you husband and wife, bit.

The other night I was watching T.V. (the Bachelorette–silly show I know, but I watched the beginning during my recovery and now I have to see who she picks!) and a commercial for Culver’s-the restaurant-came on. Guess what their little saying was?

“Get Culverized”

Guess what their website is??

http://www.getculverized.com.

You can imagine my dismay. I think I sat there with my mouth wide open for a full five minutes.

They stole my saying, folks. Plain and simple. They must’ve had secret agents at my wedding.

I guess I should have copyright-ed it.

So, just for clarification (because I am the creator of this saying) I would like to share the true definition of the word:

Culverized: (cul-ver-i-zed) 1. to become a Culver 2. to enter into the Culver family by way of marriage 3. the wife of a Culver male.

So, there you have it folks, the true meaning of the word. You cannot be Culverized by eating or obtaining a ButterBurger! (No matter how delicious they may be)

True Culverization is an honor reserved for a select few.
It requires a lifetime commitment.
It’s not for the fickle.
or the hungry.

So, don’t let this commercial fool you, not just anyone can “get Culverized”.

As a woman who has been Culverized for four wonderful, amazingly fantastic years, I have learned that being and becoming Culverized is not for the faint-hearted.

It takes work. commitment. patience. and most of all love.

I’m sorry about your luck folks, but we can’t all be Culver’s. If we were the world would just be too perfect, and life would definitely get boring.

Go ahead and get your ButterBurger with fries. Eat it to your hearts content folks, but I’m sorry…..you have definitely not. been. Culverized.