Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Seasonal Depression

Last winter I had a very bad case of seasonal depression. It doesn't help that we live in an old home and so it is very cold inside our house despite our greatest efforts to heat the place. This year I have resolve not gain weight like I did last winter and not let my seasonal depression rule my season!

So I am 1.) taking a daily vitamin D supplement and 2.) working out to get my serotonin levels up even when I feel like curling up on the couch with coffee and a good book. Hopefully these two changes will address the mood swings and winter blues I experienced last year. So far I feel like it is making a real difference!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween. Nutrigrain vs. Fun Dip.

My house is a junk food free house, for the most part. I keep raw sugar and flour on hand to make homemade treats every once and awhile. It's been an adjustment, but it's worth it.Friends and family know that unless I am hosting a large group of people at my house there are not going to be snacks lying around. Okay correction, there will not be processed food around. Because of this change we snack less and when are snacking it is usually on something that does not create a sugar high and crashing headache 30 minutes later.

However, Halloween is the exception to my no-sugar rule (I purchase nothing packaged with over 5g of sugar). On Halloween I don't mind buying sugar and chocolate candy for the local neighborhood kids because it's once a year, and it's fun! Last night we passed out Fun Dip. It was a huge hit. Kids were so excited!

As the night rolled on I noticed kids with something interesting in their bags... Nutrigrain bars. No lie. I was appalled. I'm all for eating healthy and right, but these bars are just as processed and useless as the Fun Dip. When I first got a peak into one of the kids bags and the shiny fruit bar wrapper was staring me in the face I was shocked and irritated.

Fist, Halloween is only once a year, and the attempt to make it "healthy" is a joke. Halloween is a unique holiday to our country. When I lived abroad my Italian friends never had the joy of going door to door and getting FREE candy - and yes Italian children love Candy (and McDonald's too :) ).  Now if you are keeping mini bite size chocolates around your house year round, it probably shows, and their are consequences. A constant strain of sugar is toxic it more ways than one : high levels of sugar feeds off cancer, causes obesity, ADD, and so many other health problems. I agree that this processed candy should ONLY be an occasional, seasonal treat. After the joy ride of candy hunting all night kids intake needs to be monitored and parents should even consider (afterwards) getting rid of most of it.

Looking further into the Nutrigrain situation it turns out that one of the fun dip packets and one Nutrigrain bar have the SAME AMOUNT OF SUGAR! Don't believe me? Here are the Nutritional Charts for Both:

Nutrition Facts for one Nutrigrain Bar


Nutrition Facts for one Fun Dip Stick & Packet of Candy Powder


Not trying to start a riot. I just find the facts very interesting. Guess this house will be sticking to Fun-Dip for Halloween.

Monday, September 13, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup

I recently was on facebook and one of my friends posted an video from YouTube of the new ads PROMOTING high fructose corn-syrup. Cue the laughter. I know it is ludacris, but what's sad is that I am sure some people are totally believing these commercials. Guess the processed food industry is taking a big hit with all the research that is out about all the processed sugar that is put in our food.

As a nation we are addicted to sugar. It starts when we are only a few months old and gets worse as we get older. Almost all children's cereals and breakfast items are PACKED with processed sugar. I'm not talking the good sugars found in fruits. I'm talking white granulated sugar, and all the other sisters to sugar they put in processed food. It's toxic to our bodies and we have become addicted to it. Simply put these commercials are an outrage and a lie. How do you moderate something that is addictive? You don't and you can't, and we have been fooled for a very long time. You have to cut sugar out and enjoy those sugary treats once in a blue moon - not as a regular part of your diet. The tricky part is sugar is put into almost all processed foods - juices, and healthy items at the grocery store even. If it's in a box check the sugar content. Even the bottle that say 100% juice on the label - read the ingredients.

Wonderful stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods actually have juice options that DO NOT have added sugar - the ingredients will simply say "Ingredients: Oranges." The sugar content on the label is what NATURAL sugars are already in the oranges, and your body knows how to do business with these types of sugars.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hair School.

So my last post was on education! And isn't that funny! I have recently started Cosmetology school!

Getting back into the swing of studying and waking up at 6:00am and sitting in a classroom for 6 hours has been hard, but I am loving the challenge and I am learning so much!

My house was a wreck all last week, but that is due to some redecorating and reorganizing I was doing prior to starting school. Now I am just trying to get everything into it's place again so I can have a much more peaceful week than last.

Gotta love Mondays.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Education & Motherhood.

One of the most insulting things about being a housewife, is being told that I waisted my money or time getting a college degree. First I want to say, education is never a waste of time... ever. There a hundreds of non-profit organization around the world that advocate for women's education. Women in Africa, the middle-east, and India are among the benefactors of such organizations. Do these women seek education to become career women and move away from their village? No. Most of them will stay where they were born and raised while some will go on to be a teacher in the community. Seeking a higher education is never a waste of time. A quote from John Dewey puts it perfectly when he said:

"Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself."

In fact any statement that makes an accusation against women that choose to stay at home after earning a degree, is incredibly ignorant. In addition to that I will point out that only 27% of Americans earn a Bachelor's degree and out of that 27% percent few go on to actually work in a field in which they utilize their degree. I find this interesting, because if a person has a degree in history yet ends up working at an IT company nobody in their right mind would tell that person "Wow, you really wasted your time getting your degree" because that would sound absurd. 

Women who chose to stay at home and raise children are in fact choosing to walk a path that is very thankless. Keeping a home well is not easy, in of itself it is a full time job. Raising children is not easy and it is a task we have taken too lightly in our society, meanwhile any sign of a child with behavioral, emotional, or other problems is put on the shoulders of schools, drug companies and media. It's heart breaking. Raising small children isn't just about sleepless nights, putting someone else's needs before your own, while being thrashed up against the world's impossible standards of "doing it all" - it's a long term investment in the heart and soul of a human being. It is about teaching love and grace while also creating an environment that is safe, secure, and allows that child to grow into a person who is confident, eager and kind. This is not an easy task. This is not something to turn our noses up to, to scoff at, or to abandon. 




Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The New Feminism.

Feminism is not a dirty word, but today it implies so many things few of us would want to identify ourselves as "feminist". Here is an excerpt from a recent article in O magazine written by Gail Collins that I found fascinating. Though I don't agree with every point made, I can applaud and concur with her statement about a "Greater Cause". As women we often spend so much time judging and fighting other women instead of standing beside one another and rallying for the greater good of the world in regards to serious issues that we can ALL agree upon.
"... I know there's a theory that young women aren't interested in this sort of thing, but that's absolutely wrong. Many women do have trouble with the word feminism, but that's been true throughout all of American history, except for about two minutes around 1969. People think it means being anti-man or wearing really unattractive shoes. If we could just change feminism's name to Fred, everything would be fine.....

....Our Great Cause could be absolute zero tolerance for violence against women (refusing a marriage proposal shouldn't be grounds for having acid thrown in your face, and, honestly, what part of "restraining order" do people not get?). Or an end to international slave trafficking for the sex trade. Or equal rights to an education for girls in every country around the globe. Not to mention solutions to the nuclear arms race, global warming, genocide, and all the other challenges that are ours because they're everybody's."

- From "What Gail Collins Thinks The World (and Women) Need Now" by Gail Collins
O, The Oprah Magazine | April 26, 2010



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Facebook and other Stalking Mechanisms

My rant for the day: Parent's please monitor your children's facebook, myspace, twitter, whatever accounts! It's getting bad out there. Check what picture's they have posted and the conversations they are having with their friends. Today children and tween's are more susceptible then any other generation to predators.

For more information on the seriousness of this issue please go to: http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meatballs.


Health food isn't always yummy, but let me tell you about this fabulous, delightful, yummy meal that will blow your socks off! Click here for the yummiest Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner. Seriously try it. And then comment once you've cooked it.

Housewife Tip: I substitute the three varieties of meat with 1 lbs ground turkey, and I add 1-2 minced garlic cloves. I also save half of the mixture and make two patties and refrigerate over night. The next night I cook the turkey patties on a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil, and bada-boom bada-bing scrumptious turkey burgers.


Thank You Very Much "O" Magazine.



A recent issue of "O" magazine featured some amazing cakes from some of the most fabulous pastry chef's around the country. In the index of the magazine, readers like myself, were delighted to find the recipes for these cakes. Since I don't subscribe to the magazine, and was just reading it while on the treadmill at the gym I tore out the recipe for a Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, by none other than the Cake Boss himself Buddy Valastro. Well today I had nothing better to do - since being locked inside my house with the A/C pumping because of the 110 degree heat index - so I took this recipe for a spin.

And let me tell you ladies, it is simply divine. Get your hands on this recipe as soon as you can by clicking here. It's worth the calories! I made the recipe into cupcakes instead of a cake so I can take the little cupcakes to a baby shower I am going to tomorrow. Another helpful Housewife tip: if you enjoy baking, go for it! Indulge every now and then, just don't keep the stuff in your house for more than a day or two - give it to a friend or neighbors.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wear Hair.

Be sure to check out my other blog:
http://wearhair.wordpress.com/

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Motivation.

"Gratitude results in Motivation." Wise wise words.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Better Together.

One of the primary purposes of marriage is companionship. Companionship builds intimacy and creates a deeper bond between a husband and wife. According to resources from the Family Life, Weekend to Remember, companionship is built through:

1. Communication: Sharing openly & Listening Carefully
2. Tenderness: Giving creative expressions of affection, showing love through physical affection
3. Spending Time Together: Sharing mutual interest & reviving the lost art of dating

Today I am going to concentrate on #3. Spending time together. Spending time together is experienced through enjoying mutual interest and dating. Sometimes in the busyness of our lives, and living with someone day in and day out we can over look the simple fact that we have not spent actual quality time with that person. Yes, we've seen them in passing, but have we actually broken out of the routine of the day to do something enjoyable together (that doesn't include sitting on the couch and turning on The Office)?

My husband and I have taken up tennis. Neither one of us are great players, but it's something we enjoy together. We also like to take walks together after dinner, and explore our neighborhood. Setting up a weekly date night is also something we have started to do, to ensure that we get that one on one time we need.

If you are thinking "My husband and I don't really enjoy anything together and neither of us our the tennis type" here are some other ideas to get you started;

evening strolls
home projects
cooking
working out (Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred DVD is so fun to do together)
hobbies (model air planes anyone?)
board games (try bananagrams, it's so fun)


Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review: Cooking for Two

One of the best gifts I have ever received was a love for cooking from my "Luli" (Grandmother). When I got married I was more of a baker than a cook, I loved to make muffins, cakes, pies, you name it! My first Thanksgiving as a "Mrs." I was put in charge of all the holiday deserts. I made my first pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie and a key lime pie.

Cooking intimidated me at first because it didn't have all the rules and boundaries like baking. There was only technique, that I didn't have, and it seemed more "feeling" then "knowing". My husband was so natural when he cooked, and loved to use spices where I preferred simple salt and pepper on anything and everything. He encouraged me to be adventurous and at first I bit his head off for it, complaining that he did not like my "simple" cooking. But things soon changed when Cook's Illustrated (also known as America's Test Kitchen) was introduced into my life.


My husband used Cook's Illustrated to register us for all our appliances, and all our cook books are Cook's Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen). Their publications are simply amazing, and after using it it's almost gut wrenching to use any other cook book because it doesn't explain and teach the way ATK does. I have made everything from enchilada's to homemade pasta noodles. The Cooking for Two is a wonderful edition that is just what it says, recipes for two. The other great thing is they test dozens of recipes per recipe, so for example they will make tons of apple pies, taste test them and cook them different ways to see what way is the best way to make apple pie, then they explain how they did it. You learn technique and also why to do something, there is even trouble shooting in the books. One of my most exciting times of my week is meal planning and cooking something new, and it's all thanks to my wonderful husband and these wonderful cookbooks we have. Next week I am trying a slow cooking curried chicken recipe, I am stoked!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"What do you do all day?"



One of the most frequent questions I get asked when I inform someone that I don't "work", and that I am a "stay-at-home" is, "What do you do all day?"

So here is your answer:

8:00 am My husband makes me breakfast in bed
8:30 am I fall back asleep while my husband goes to work
9:30 am My maid comes over, cleans the house and makes me a snack while I watch soaps
11:00 am Lay out by the pool & read Twilight & catch up with my "fren-emies"
2:00 pm Receive my daily pre-lunch full body message & facial
3:30 pm Late Lunch at the spa! Nothing better!
4:30 pm Go on a quick spending spree
7:00 pm Meet my hubby for dinner at an over priced Northern Virginia Restaurant


Sike. This isn't The Real Housewives of D.C. people. Let's be honest running a home takes time, effort and, I would argue to do it well, talent. I don't need to argue my point to much here because houses don't stay clean by themselves, food doesn't get cooked by a witch named Samantha, and children don't take care of themselves. Okay I don't have kids yet, but I am in "training". I will say it again, household management is a lost art. It's funny to me the women who have smirked at this - because they themselves had stay at home Mom's - and I'm not talking Mom's who stayed home because they didn't have a choice but because they loved it!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sorry, I have to wash my hair.

A true "wash and go" hair cut.

I hate washing my hair, I have to confess. It's not the getting it clean part I don't like it's the aftermath of having to blow dry long thick hair that leaves me sweaty and cranky. On top of that it usually takes so long that I blow a fuse! I actually only wash my hair every three to four days, but even when I wash it I literally have to dedicate anywhere between 30 - 45 minutes to dry and style it. It's a hassle. Grant-it I haven't had long hair in over two years and it is just getting to that point of painful dry sessions. I cut my hair off three years ago and I loved it! I had such freedom. I had an adorable pixie cut, and I could wash my hair everyday which was a new thing for me. So in light of this complaining I have already prematurely decided that I am chopping my hair off when I have kids. I refuse to have bad hair when I'm a Mom, and I can't see having 45 minutes to blow dry my hair or much less have the energy to do so! So problem solved. It's going so my sanity will stay! Plus, it's a great cut!

Beauty Product Review: Mascara Picks


Okay ladies so I got two picks for you today! My friends are always asking me what I use on my eyes and what is the best mascara! As much as I love being a Domestic Diva, part of that is getting dressed up and looking my best every day! So I'm gonna be adding some product reviews of beauty products into the blog along with the household product reviews! (Not in the same posts though! One thing at a time!)



My first all-time pic is Dior "Diorshow" Waterproof Mascara. If you have a problem with mascara creeping down your face all day and getting those lovely little dark smudges on your under-eye this will solve your problems. You can opt for the Non-waterproof if you wear contacts but just make sure you wear a really good heavy duty under-eye concealer that will "hold the line" so to speak. The secret to not getting those smudges, and sweating off your eye makeup is "waterproof". Also I am totally obsessed with the big brush applicator it is amazing. The key to big gorgeous eyelashes is application, application, application! Apply this stuff like it's the last time you will ever use mascara. I would estimate that I do at least 4 - 5 coats per eye, it sounds like a lot but it looks great! You can purchase this online at Sephora.com, at your local Macy's or Dillard's counter. This bad ace mascara will run you $24.00 before tax, but I promise you it is worth every penny. It lasts me about 3 months and I use it like crazy!


And the runner up is.... Bad gal Lash by Benefit. Again this mascara has a great applicator and like Dior doesn't leave your eye lashes feeling like you put clay on them. It thickens, lengthens and separates! The down size is that it is NOT waterproof. They do have a waterproof version, but the applicator is not up to par with the original Bad Gal Lash applicator. And like I said it's all about application when it comes to mascara - and that is why the lash brush matters so much! The benefit (ha-ha, no pun intended) with this mascara is you can actually buy it in a smaller size for only $9 at Sephora, it's called "A Little Bit Bad Gal Lash" which is just too adorable. The regular size will only run you $19 vs. the $24 for Dior, so if you are on a budget this is the mascara for you! Again the regular size should last you about 3 months.

Monday, July 5, 2010

You are not alone.

Found this picture on a google search for "housewife".


Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Bless America


Thank you to every man, woman and family that sacrificed so we could be free and
live in a country that's governement is in place to protect our life, liberty & pursuit of happiness.
"GOD BLESS AMERICA! LAND THAT I LOVE !
STAND BESIDE HER! AND GUIDE HER!"


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. - Abraham Lincoln (Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stir things up.

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."
Proverbs 14:1-3

Friday, July 2, 2010

Product Review: Bar Keepers Friend


If you have All-Clad this product is for you. If you have any pots or pains that are not non-stick this product is for you! Bar Keepers Friend is basically a buffer that will restore your pots and pans to that brand new shine they had before you ever used them. With a little water and elbow grease this stuff works wonders. I am not kidding. My husband and I cooked steaks in an All-Clad pan because at the time we didn't have the proper non-stick skillet to sear the steaks in. We thought we had ruined the pan, so we took it into a local Sur La Table and this is the product that was recommended. I haven't looked back since. It is great for cleaning stove tops and grease pans too. Just make sure to use a gentle sponge or even a paper towel when rubbing it in because your pans will scratch.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tacky Tanning.


Tanning is not "in Vogue" anymore ladies. If you are still going to tanning beds you need to stop, as it is now proven to be just as stupid and cancerous as smoking cigarettes. At twenty-three I have had five moles removed in the past two years, one of them was pre-cancerous and it was on my chest. My Mom had a basil cell mole in the same place, both of our moles were from tanning beds.

If you aren't convinced here is an excerpt from a US Today article titled "Tanning beds now listed among top cancer risks" :

"A new analysis of about 20 studies concludes the risk of skin cancer jumps by 75% when people start using tanning beds before age 30. Experts also found that all types of ultraviolet radiation caused worrying mutations in mice, proof the radiation is carcinogenic. Previously, only one type of ultraviolet radiation was thought to be lethal.

The new classification means tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet radiation are definite causes of cancer, alongside tobacco, the hepatitis B virus and chimney sweeping, among others.

The research was published online in the medical journalLancet Oncology on Wednesday, by experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, the cancer arm of theWorld Health Organization."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Let them eat cake."


If you haven't already discovered "The Pioneer Woman" Ree Drummond you have been missing out! My good friend, and stay at home wife, Corrine turned me on to Ree's webpage. She also has several books published and is quite the comedian!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grocery Store Blues.


Going to the grocery store can feel like such an ordeal. I never realized how completely chaotic American supermarkets were until I live in Florence Italy. For a semester I shared a mini fridge with four other girls, thus requiring us to do our grocery shopping on a day to day basis. Our veggies were always fresh and there were plenty of small markets and grocery shops every couple blocks. We'd go to one for our fruits and pasta, one for dairy, cereal and veggies, and another for bread and wine. At first I hated the lack of selection in one central location, and using the currency completely intimidated me, but within a month I was in love. Life was simplified... for a while, until I moved back home. The first time back in an American grocery store I had a panic attack. I walked in and completely forgot what I was there for. Nothing was in a logical place, and when I called my Mom crying and asking why she sent me, she said "Just get hot dogs". So I cautiously walked over to the processed meat section and once again panic covered me like a blanket. There had to be at least twenty different varieties of hot dogs! I just picked up the first one I saw that said "all beef" and got out of there as fast as I could.

My pastor once said, "Part of being from the U.S. is learning how to manage abundance." But learning how to manage the overwhelming variety can feel impossible at times. I see this problem everywhere in the states, and in other big "globalized" cities around the world. This isn't as much as a complaint as an observation. I love America and I love our Capitalist drive, and our nature to compete and try to do it better - this is not a "pro-Europe" rant at all. As much as I loved living abroad there are many many problems that Europe is facing, and if it wasn't for the tourism industry that lives off the glory of their past most of those countries would be in a world of hurt right now. This entry is only an observation about a simple thing like going grocery shopping that can seem to consume half a day.

The American grocery store is a perfect example of why as a nation we are so stressed out because we have too much to choose from. But there is hope! Recently there are some companies that have come out of the woodwork that have worked hard to address his exact problem. Trader Joe's is a God send, I am convinced. It's affordable and offers just enough. It was hard for me to make the switch at first and it did feel like there wasn't enough variety, but now I am hooked. Trader Joe's is as close to Mom and Pop as we're gonna get here in Northern Virginia (without having to pay an arm and a leg). Also local farmer's markets are a wonderful place to go, and often they do have a variety of vendors to pick from. Just make sure you go first thing in the morning to either, specifically when going on a weekend because by around 10 am there are hoards of people crowding isles of Trader Joe's and the streets of farmer's markets. Happy shopping! And one more thing ladies... don't spend your grocery money on shoes!

Monday, June 28, 2010

etiquette lesson 3. don't interrupt! rude!

6 tips to combat rudeness:

1. Don’t take it personally. As much as we hate to give people the benefit of the doubt - try! Most likely the person being rude is having a bad day.


2. On a scale of 1-10 how important is the offense to you? If it's high on the annoyance scale confront it graciously, if not forgive and quickly forget. Ask yourself, is this worth my emotional time?


3. Set a good example, i.e. don't sink to their level. Rudeness begets rudeness, and likewise kindness begets kindness. If you are rude, don’t be surprised if you get the same treatment in return.


4. Relax, and count to ten. As silly as it sounds when you start to feel angry, taking deep breaths lowers your blood pressure, heart rate, and gives you time to think clearly before you blow up.


5. Laugh it off and change the subject.Excuse yourself, if you must, to do any of the above.


6. Set your expectations in line with reality! Don't expect someone who has a history of being rude to be Mrs. or Mr. Manners, you will almost always be disappointed and frustrated. So instead expect them to be rude and when they aren't you will be pleasantly surprised but if they stay true to form it won't get under your skin either.


Derived from Emily Post Etiquette Guide

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sponges.

Clever little tip from yours truly:

To remember what sponge is for the counter and what sponge is for dishes cut a "C" shape crescent into the side of your counter sponge! No more mixing them up! Hooray!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday! I am 23!

Thought for the day: Birthday's should also celebrate Mom's! Seriously! If it wasn't for my Mother going through labor I wouldn't be here! So here's to you Mom! Thanks for giving me life! Love you!

(Dad's can be celebrated 9 months earlier! Go Dads!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Studies in Parenting

My Mother used to say (and still does) "Just wait till you have kids one day", implying my lack of understanding about her role as parent. It is true, I can't understand even a fraction of the love a parent feels for their own child. I don't have kids of my own just yet. I have to be very careful not to make judgments because I haven't walked in the shoes of a parent (except when I played dress up). But I can do one thing; research!

I spend a good amount of my time reading articles about parenting and "interviewing" new parents, especially moms. I am interested in gathering information about pregnancy to raising teenagers. Though I am not a parent, my brothers and sisters use to call me "Jr. Mom" because I was the oldest daughter of six (eight including step-siblings). My youngest sister is eight years younger than I and my youngest brother is ten years younger so I know what it takes to survive with young kids in the house! I know what is like having infants around, what toddlers are like, potty training mishaps, nap times, meal time, what to do when a three year old eats a glass Christmas ornament, and how to install child proof locks on cabinets, toilets and bedroom doors. I know I am ahead of the game for someone without kids, but really I have no idea. That's why I have taken to research!


I can't get over how much time in America we spend on educating ourselves in a certain vocation, yet there is little time dedicated to learning about parenting! I would argue nine months is not sufficient. We have a crisis of the family going on in our country. From divorce rates to pediatric depression. Say what you want, but this is an important issue. And the only way to solve it is to be educated about what parenting is and how to do it well. We can't cry out "I didn't know" anymore because there are so many free resources available to us now. Libraries are full of parenting videos, books, guides, and studies on just about any family topic you can think of. Community centers and churches often have classes and seminars. Not to mention the knew resource of the Internet. There is so much we can learn about family and it is never too late.

I am going to end with two quotes that I believe touch on the heart of this issue. We can sit around and discuss the problems of the world all day but we will never solve them because we are ignoring the heart of our countries problems. The brokenness of the family.We can treat the symptoms all we want but we won't get better unless we treat the cause of the symptoms.

"To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right." - Confucius

"The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest — schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern — will never be enough" - Lyndon Johnson


Thursday, June 17, 2010

"What, no kids?"

One of the most common questions I get asked by people when I tell them I am a housewife is "Oh, are you trying to have kids soon?" As if that is the only reason to be a stay at home wife. Though that is a major reason why most women leave the work force, I find it very interesting and almost expected if you are a stay at home wife.

First off, yes, one day my husband and I want to have children. We love kids, and most of our friends are already starting to add these joyous additions to their families! Second this is not a judgment about women who go from working straight to being a Mom with no break in between.

I think about it this way: I spent FOUR years studying business. FOUR years and thousands of dollars to learn, and prepare and train to go into the business world. FOUR years reading, writing papers, asking questions, interning and working to prepare for "the real world". Turns out I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. So instead I am going back to school. I am training on how to manage a household and learning about what it takes to be a parent before becoming a parent. Learning about myself, things I need to improve on before I bring another human being into the world. I honestly think people should invest more time in this. Being a parent and a spouse is a major, I repeat major, responsibility. I would argue marriage and parenthood are taken far too lightly in the United States. Divorce rates prove it. You can only read so many books and articles to learn about being married and being a good spouse, but it's applying it that counts. Managing a household isn't sitting around eating bon-bons all day. I am learning time management, how to prioritize and also how to invest in things that I enjoy doing now, so that when I do have little tykes running around I am not totally in shock and I know how to make time for the things I enjoy, and I know what those things are.

I have discovered a passion for cooking and I make time for it on a daily basis. I learn more and more each week, and it is one of my greatest joys. I am passionate about getting in better shape and learning new exercise techniques and also on how to cook more healthy. I am readying and studying everyday, trying new things, going out and seeing more of the community I live in. Hosting is one of my greatest pleasures, and I love to have people over for baby showers, bridal showers, and whatever I can find to celebrate. I am learning to be intentional with my time now, so that when I am a Mom I am already in the habit of doing so. To some of you this all might sound very silly, but from having friends who are new Mom's and are dealing with the joys and tribulations of having their first babies I have learned that it is important to have a life before having kids, so that when you have kids they don't become the center of your universe. Kid's aren't a replacement for a job. They are an addition to your life, not what your life should be centered around. I have learned from observation of women of many different ages, that is important to make time for friends, girls night out, socializing with adults, date night, one of one time with your husband and personal pampering and hobbies. Without these things Mom's can be overwhelmed very quickly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Product Review: Mega Shower Foamer


So here is my first product review! I tried this new shower cleaner by Scrubbing Bubbles! We live in an old house and our shower has some nasty mold stains, and we have really bad soap build up. I have tried bleach, and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on the stains but nothing has removed them.

Overall I thought it worked pretty well. It did not remove the mold but within two minutes it did take away ALL the soap scum and nasty grime that I usually have to scrub. Part of the message on the bottle say's "makes scrubbing obsolete". I will admit I had to scrub a little, but I think after using it a couple more uses I won't have to scrub at all. I think I had more build up due to the poor performance of other cleaners. It has a really bad chemical smell so make sure to open a window, and buy two bottles. The first job I used up more than half the can, but again I think after a few uses I will use less.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Costco.

Just returned from a trip to COSTCO. I need a drink and a nap after that experience. I am always surprised by how overwhelmed I feel when I shop there. I always end up getting lost in the isles, because you have to go down almost every single one to find what you need. Plus you always pick up things you think you might need, but really don't. "WOW! Forty frozen chicken breast for only fifteen dollars!" Who needs that many? They'll get freezer burn before you can enjoy them unless your having a big BBQ.

The only good experience I have had when going there was when I woke up and went right when it opened. I was in and out in 30 minutes. But an hour after opening time there seems to be an alternate reality in which the store eats your pocket book and the hours of your day. I always leave wondering, "Did this really save me money?"

Well at least we won't be running out of toilet paper, zip lock bags, paper towels, body wash, or deodorant anytime soon! And by soon I mean in the next three to five months Hooray!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gym meet Mat.

Went to the gym today for the first time in two weeks. Last week I was in Guatemala on a missions trip and the week before that I was sick. Now, according to my trainer I am in the 98 percentile for strength which means I am one strong lady, but today I pushed myself a little to hard.

I went to a total body conditioning class and had to leave half way through. It wasn't that it was too hard, in fact it felt great. But 15 minutes in I thought I was going to loose my breakfast. It was awful, but I had to listen to my body. I could choose to either sit down, stop moving or throw up or worse blackout. I figured the option of bowing out in front of women twice my age was better then passing out in front of women twice my age.

So here is a tip: If you haven't worked out in a week or more take it slow or else you might just embarrase yourself.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pool Baby. Beach Baby.

I once took a one-year-old girl to the pool, when I was nannying for the summer. I only lasted one hour, and when I finally got her in her car seat I sat in the car and cried.


My mother would take four children under the age of eight to the pool, all at once, from memorial weekend through labor day. I don't know how she did it! My sister has this ease with children as well. I think my inner control freak gives me so much anxiety I can barely handle the day of "fun" in the sun. Babies run on the concrete and I see a face plant just waiting to happen. They squirm when you apply sunscreen and they end up getting it in their eye. They run for the water but want to be held even though they will drown if you don't! It is a scary experience.

Over the weekend my Mom assured me it is different with your own ducklings then when watching other's children. But if my worries do not subside by the time I have my own brood I told my sister she would be chaperoning pool trips and beach vacations (i.e. babysitting me and my kids).

So this is for all you Mom's out there! Kudos!

Top 5 Tips for taking kids to the beach or to the pool:

1. Apply sunscreen 30 SPF every thirty minutes and do your first round BEFORE you get in the car (Only if 6 months or older - any younger should NOT wear sunscreen)
2. Sun hats for ages 4 and younger. (The younger you have your baby wear a hat the less likely they will be to take it off as they get older)
3. Make it someones job to watch the children at all times. This works great in shifts, but make sure to communicate this clearly to avoid arguments or a losing a child.
4. Avoid dehydration & heat exhaustion by bringing plenty of water for babies, toddlers and kids to drink.
5. Pack healthy snacks. Avoid overly salty and high sugar foods which will just cause kids to crash and can upset tummies. The temptation in the summer time is to snack on junk all day, or buy fries and burgers at the beach club house. Avoid this by packing lunches and snacks in the morning and having them on hand for your crew. Some good examples include baby carrots, bananas, cut up apples, whole grain crackers, peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread, watermelon, grapes, & berries (kids love strawberries, blackberries & blueberries because they are sweet and the perfect finger food).



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sick as a Dog.

I remember as a kid loving sick days. Even though I felt crummy my Mother was a stay at home Mom and so it meant I had her all to myself! Oh the love and attention! She would set me up on the couch, make me soup or toast, and I could watch endless hours of Disney Movie's and sleep.

Well here I am again, on the couch not feeling so great. It isn't as glamorous as it once was. In fact I HATE getting sick now. I never thought as a kid that sick days were an inconvenience for my parents. My Mother would have to be chained to the house (which I hate as a stay at home Mom, my to-do list and errands really keep me going), and wait on a sick child hand and foot. Once when I broke my collar-bone I couldn't even sit up when I woke up in the morning by myself, I would instead have to bellow for my Mom that I was awake. Talk about stressful.

All in all my days are totally shot when I get sick. I'm sure it won't be as bad when I have children home sick (versus me being the sick one) because I can still do things around the house. But right now I don't have enough energy to clean or cook, and so my hubby comes home to a dirty house and no dinner. He is a prince though, last night he came home and totally took charge by making us a wonderful dinner, and then I went to bed at 9:30. I woke up this morning still feeling under the weather knowing I was going to have to sleep this one off, I tried to clean the kitchen after breakfast but it just wasn't happening. The dizziness, the headache, my body aches! I wish my Mom where here to clean the house for me, pack for the trip we are taking on Saturday, turn on the Sex & the City movie for me, and make me toast!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day



My Mother

She is a willow tree.
She is the summer wind.
She is a mighty oak.
And a river bend.
She is a hidden garden.
A mystery.
She is a humming bird.
She is sweet tea.
She is lip stick.
And bubble gum.
She is a wild thing.
And the wise one.
She is my shoulder.
And my secret keeper.
The comfy couch.
The put to sleeper.
She is the song I hear.
And bedtime prayers.
A whisper in the ear.
A talk on the stairs.
Heart of my heart.
Sweet friend.
The Mother I hope I can be one day.


"Wherever you go. Whatever you do.
I'll always be your Mom and I'll always love you." - j.v.
Happy Mothers Day!



Saturday, May 8, 2010

Good housekeeping = Good dieting?


According to an article published by US today, in 2007, "married and single people in their late teens and early 20s gain a significant amount of weight — an average of 15 to 30 pounds — over five years. But newly married men and women in that age group gain 6 to 9 pounds more than their peers who are single and dating." The center for disease control and prevention state that "32.7 percent of U.S. adults 20 years and older are overweight, 34.3 percent are obese and 5.9 percent are extremely obese." Being overweight or obese is determined by BMI, not by the scale. I have been told "you don't need to loose weight", but according to the BMI index that is a false statement. I have struggled with weight loss since I was 13 years old, and I am not the only one. This is an especially touchy subject for women, since it seems to be harder for us to loose weight then men. It can be maddening and disheartening when you are counting calories, and your husband has a burger and fries and gains nothing, or can loose pounds with a simple 20 minute jog. This is a woman's issue whether you work, or stay at home.

As many rationals as we can come up with, I have grown weary of the excuses I keep giving myself. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired! Being overweight is an illness in so many ways, and I have started to read about the effects of the american diet on the body. Did you know that a majority of healthy problems can be cured with a nutrition makeover and exercise? The food industry in America is primarily a marketing business that has created mindless consumerism. We have bought the lie, yet we wonder why our European friends are skinner, healthier and have lower rates of cancer! It's time to think about the toxins in our diet.

This was an issue I was unwilling to truly confront for quite some time, but as a wife, I am not only responsible for what I put in my body, but for what I am feeding my family. Think about that. I am not talking about crazy starve yourself diets or even putting your kids on diets. I am talking about really being educated about what we are putting in our bodies. We have a major influence on the health of our husbands and our children, and it starts with us having a healthy mindset about food and our bodies. I was a 90's kid, name brand packaged food was everything, and to the mothers of that time it was a god send! It gave quick easy, no-hassle options for feeding your family when schedules were busy and life was simply overwhelming. Now twenty years later the food industry is being exposed for the poisons and additives that are in these "goodies". We have become addicted to sugar, crave carbohydrates, and slowed down our metabolisms. No wonder we're fat. There's that ugly word... there's that ugly truth.

Let's start a revolution on family at a time! It can start in your home today!

Times sure have changed! This was NOT considered skinny back then! She looks healthy to me though!



Friday, May 7, 2010

Dye it.

I have had almost every hair color you can imagine (think Scarlett Johansson - famous for having every color under the sun). This is the first summer I am considering not highlighting my hair. I am a natural strawberry blonde, but since I was 13 I would always add highlights this time of the year to "brighten up my look" (thank you Seventeen Magazine). This year I will dare to see what happens naturally - how much my hair will lighten up on it's own with just the sun and beach water. I'm hesitant because I actually really truly love having super blonde hair, but I also love how healthy my hair feels now.

So the other hairy matter I am wondering about is all the side effects of dying and bleaching your hair. I know when a woman is pregnant she can't dye her hair (no Mom, I am not pregnant), so if you get pregnant during one of your hair coloring "cycles" you could end up with really really scary bad roots. Some of you may be laughing, but if I am having a BAD HAIR DAY it can end up being a BAAAAAD day!!! I guess it's the Southern girl in me?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

etiquette lesson 2. you're invited.

It's always a slight dilemma when planning an event... when should I send out invitations? Well, Emily Post is once again to the rescue. It's nice to have a guide that has already figured out the proper timing for sending out those over-priced, yet gorgeous, pieces of stationary. I will also address the concern and issue of the RSVP, which many people seem to not do and can be a major annoyance to the party planner. Don't assume that the host knows you are coming, or word will get back to him/her. When ever you see RSVP you should think "RSVP ASAP".

Here are the general guidelines for the timing of invites. This isn't set in stone, and I know in Northern Virginia you often have to book a month in advance to get on someone's calendar, so I took that into account.

The EventWhen to Invite (Non-NOVA)
Anniversary party3 to 6 weeks
Bar or Bat Mitzvah1 month
Bon Voyage partyLast minute to 3 weeks
Casual partySame day to 2 weeks
Charity Ball6 weeks to 3 months
Christmas party1 month
Cocktail party1 to 4 weeks
Debutante Ball6 weeks to 3 months
Formal dinner3 to 6 weeks
Graduation party 3 weeks
Housewarming partyA few days to 3 weeks
Informal dinnerA few days to 3 weeks
Lunch or Tea
Thanksgiving dinner
2 weeks to 2 months



The EventWhen to invite (NOVA)
Anniversary party 6 weeks
Bar or Bat Mitzvah1 month
Bon Voyage partyLast minute to 1 month
Casual partySame day to 1 month
Charity Ball6 weeks to 3 months
Christmas party6 weeks
Cocktail party1 month
Debutante Ball6 weeks to 3 months
Formal dinner2 months
Graduation party1 month
Housewarming party1 month
Informal dinner1 month
Lunch or Tea2 weeks to 1 month
Thanksgiving dinner2 weeks to 2 months



In regard to the RSVP Emily Post has some strong words for this. In short you should make it a habit to RSVP ASAP.

"It is inconsiderate, but unfortunately common, for guests to fail to RSVP. Some forget; others procrastinate and then feel guilty, so they delay even longer. To many a host on the non-receiving end of an RSVP, it seems as if an invitee is simply waiting for something “better” to possibly come along. One of the sad parts about the demise of the RSVP is that relationships often suffer due to hosts’ resultant hurt feelings and frustration. It is perfectly polite, however, for hosts to call friends to ask if they plan to attend. Anyone who receives an invitation has an important obligation to reply as soon as possible."

Well I have MUCH to improve on!