Competitive Me.

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been competitive.

Whether it was who could clean their room quicker, sister vs sister

Winning soccer and softball games.

Getting my name called first to be a helper in school.

Having the best baked cookies.

I don’t “take it easy” when we play board games with kids. I play to win.

Whatever it is- I will race you at it and I sure as heck plan to win.

But how does that work out when you’re a parent? How does that work out as a step parent? Simple: It doesn’t. Competition doesn’t belong within our four walls. Competition should stop there. It shouldn’t be a race to see who can wake the kids up the quickest or in the best manner. Shouldn’t be a game to see who can fold the most clothes or do the most tasks for the kids. Shouldn’t be a contest who the 12 year old will spill his guts to first. Or who 17 will text message first. But for me, it sort of is.

It’s somehow become a game. If Prince Charming walks through the door, I’m the winner if he greets me first. If he hugs 9 before me, I’ve failed. Something is wrong. I’ve told him it bugs me. That if he says I’m first than he needs to show it too. That he is happy to come home to his wife. and that things are different now that we are married. The kids cannot speak over top of me to get their dad’s attention. things are different.

So what do I do? How do I stop?

How do I change the way that it feels when I am aching for attention from my husband who works almost full time and goes to school full time and spends 25 hours in his office studying… and he reaches for the kids first? How do I respond when he misses the kids but I am breathing a breath of relief that I get 2 hours alone with my husband and don’t have children climbing on me asking for their next meal (because they know I can cook now.) How do I not get upset when he wants to spend one on one time with them but doesn’t have time for me? How has this become a competition? Who am I?

I don’t want to outweigh the kids. I don’t want him to not spend time with them. I don’t want him to ignore them. I think I expect him to be superman and it’s disappointing when he can’t be. When he can’t fill 19 roles like I hope he can. Because I have to fill a lot of gaps right now and I think I always expect him to swoop in and say, “No babe, I got this tonight.” So when I overexert myself and try to make everything work out, it’s his call at the end of the day whether the quality time was spent with the littles or spent with his wife. They both like to do different things. One doesn’t like to play board games with the other because of the age gap. One doesn’t like the outdoors and the other wants to be active and live a little bit outside of our own four walls. One I butt heads with and the other can be my best little friend at times. How do we mix ourselves together and act like a regular family who can handle having time away from other members of the family and get quality time when we can?

 

Do you struggle with this? Competition? How do you fight it? How do you win against it?

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Italian Chicken, bread dip, hand pies, mmm.

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So last night was clearly a sappy holiday, so i felt like trying to be a #goodwife and attempting to cook a meal for my dear husband. I also knew i was alone in the house for 2 hours, so i could photograph every step of the way.

I am 100% not a cook. I need step-by-step-by-step instructions. Your “Dash of Basil” does me no good. I need precise measurements. I like baking for that reason. So here we go: This is the part where I teach you how to cook Italian Chicken with bread sauce and hand pies.

First, thaw chicken. We used about 1 pound of meat and probably could have used half of it and had plenty. Prince Charming left this out for me in the morning so I could come home and be ready to go.

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Italian Seasoning consists of:

Parsley- 3 tablespoons
Basil- 3 tablespoons
Garlic powder- 1 tsp
Rosemary-1 tsp
Onion Powder- 1 tsp
Oregano- 2.5 tsp
Thyme-1 tsp
Red pepper- .5 tsp
Black pepper- .25tsp

Or if you did like me and sifted through the entire cabinet only to find there is no thyme or rosemary, you can use pre-made italian seasoning, which i also didn’t know we had.img_0100 img_0102

For best results, lay chicken flat on surface and cover evenly with italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and garlic powder. Flip over and do the same to the other side. For even better results, do this in a bowl with the other items you will be eating, so they all get the same, even flavor.

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This is where I went wrong.
Learning Point #1. Do not put veggies in at the same time as the raw meat. Raw meat will take much longer to cook than veggies, but hyperactive brain does not compute that.
I sprinkled some onion & garlic powder on the asparagus we ate, after cutting off the woody side.. which is the stalk side, so I learned. You can take about 3 inches off. I picked up each piece and just bent it til it snapped- it naturally breaks where it needs to usually. img_0107img_0109img_0110img_0112img_0111

A regular cooking time for this would be 4 hours on low in your crockpot, but we didn’t have all night- so I cranked it up to high and cooked it for about 2.5 hours. Only after realizing that it was on warm for 45 minutes, i think it would naturally only take 2 hours on high to cook properly.

Hand pies:

Cheat. Use the pre-made, store-bought pie crusts. It’s so simple. I bought them on my lunch for $2.99 and let them sit in my car to thaw out until I got home. It’s okay if they don’t fall out of the pan perfectly, you’re going to use a rolling pin on them to flatten them anyway 🙂

Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

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because it was Valentines Day, of course my hand pies were heart shaped. I used a heart cookie cutter that was about 3.5 inches wide. My two pie crusts made 4 hand pies and 4 leftover crust pieces that i brought to my coworker who loves pie crust, but not pie. I hate it all, so this works for me.img_0119

Just like cookies, rip the excess crust away from the cutter and roll back into a ball, then re-roll it and flatten to use again.img_0115

You’re supposed to use JAM for this but we only had jelly. i dont see the difference and PC didn’t mind. Take 1 generous scoop of jelly and put in the center of your heart. spread evenly, but dont get toooo close to the edge or you’ll have a sloppy jelly mess. But i guess that isn’t really a bad thing.

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The fun part: take a second heart and place on top of the jelly covered heart. line them up and press to seal it shut around edges with fingers. (I usually skipped that step). Then grab a fork and add some detail to the edge. This really seals the jelly into place and also adds a fun and cute detail to the edges that makes it look like you spent a LOT of time on…… when really it takes about 1 minute per heart (if that).img_0121img_0123img_0125img_0126img_0127img_0128

To make your hand pies golden brown, do this simple trick.

Use 1 egg Learning point 2: 2 eggs is too many for this small amount of pies, even if they’re the tiny farm eggs. just. use. one.

Use 1 egg and add a tiny bit of water to it. Whisk until it is an even yellow and even consistency. Take this egg mix and cover your pies with it. I used a wadded up paper towel, you can use your hands, you can use a brush, whatever you need- just be sure to cover the entire surface so it is evenly brown.img_0129img_0131

The final touch: Icing.

This is so simple guys. Use about 3 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar (depending on how much icing you like). Stir them together. They start to thicken and form an easy icing. It tastes SO GOOD. I had to try it, but can’t have any milk-based items, so i only got a little bit.img_0132img_0133img_0134img_0135img_0136img_0137

Pop these bad boys into the oven for 20-30 minutes and voila.

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I attempted to make a bread oil, but we aren’t sure about it yet.
Take about 6 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 cup of extra virgin oil
3 tablespoons of basil
2-3 tablespoons of oregano
Parmesan cheese to top it.
Stir- yummy bread oil at your fingertips

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Add some candy hearts as a pretty centerpiece. Complete with your husband’s favorite chocolate. img_0139img_0140

Decorate with the giant bouquet of flowers he got you.img_0141img_0142

EAT.

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(PC was home, I had to sneak final pics with my phone so he didnt think I was weird)

 

and, ok y’all. these are original images and i had a lot of fun taking them. you can use them, but please just give credit where it is due. these are images of my real life home and my real life messy kitchen and the flowers are the ones my husband chose just for me. these things mean something to me, so just take a second and don’t just steal my things 😀

Married People Habits that Unmarried People Just Don’t Get

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This morning, I was sharing with my coworker that I got about 4 hours of sleep and I ruined my husband’s night of sleep, too. I have a terrible back due to a rear end collision a few years ago, plus a drunk driver a couple years later, so sleep isn’t really a comfortable thing for me. We have an extremely soft mattress and have been in agonizing pain sleeping on it since last October. We caved and got a mattress that was squishier than what we need and have paid for it every night since. Thankfully, my fantastic boss gave us a portion of last year’s profits and allowed Prince Charming and I to go mattress shopping last weekend and (hopefully) solve the bad mattress problem.

Anyway.
We ate a lot of junk food last night and I already had back and neck aches, so I knew sleep wasn’t going to come easy. To my surprise, I fell asleep before Charming put down his phone and was out for a few hours. Then 2:30am hits and all hell broke loose. I woke up, stretched, drank water, used the restroom, stretched, laid down. Rolled over. Rolled again. Laid on my back. Pulled the covers, kicked them off, rolled again. Sighed. Rolled. Slept for 3 minutes, woke up to back pains. Rolled, kicked, sighed, etc.

Prince Charming is usually a deep sleeper, I think I could perform surgery on him and he wouldn’t even know he was being touched. Except last night, he felt every twist and turn and heard every sigh, felt every movement. And I felt bad. He tried to snuggle me tightly, almost to keep me in place. But I can’t handle that. I get up again. He sighs and I apologize and get a “I just want to be sleeping!”

I share my silly nights sleep and the way I probably ruined my husband’s day with my coworker and she says, “you don’t have a couch he can just sleep on?” and I said well I do. But he has to sleep by me. We don’t do that.

And she scoffed.

And it made me flash back to a few times I’ve had conversations like this with other newlyweds or married couples.When we had only been married about 6 weeks, I had a church trip I was attending out of state- he couldn’t come. I shared my room with the Associate Pastor’s wife, so we could have a cheaper hotel rate. There were 5 people in our group, so guys shared one room and girls were in the other (2 rooms instead of potentially 4.) AP came to the room every morning and night and hugged her for what seemed like hours. He just missed her. He didn’t like being away from her. I teased them a little bit, but they said I mean, you get it? Prince Charming isn’t here.. you know what it’s like to be away from your spouse. It’s just different. And it was a breath of relief to hear another couple share that they felt the same way. I was feeling like a needy 16 year old girlfriend who hadn’t seen her boyfriend in 5 hours, I missed my husband so badly. And that’s how I think I’d feel if one of us just took to the couch.

Being away from my spouse is not something I will ever choose to do. Sleeping next to him is something that I waited 2 years to do. I value it. My favorite part of the day is when he leans over and hugs and kisses me before we go to sleep and when I wake up with his arm flopped on me somehow. He is there at the very beginning of my day and at the very end. I will never be the wife that sends her husband to the couch because he snores or is too floppy. I would rather endure the crappy night of sleep to be able to remain at his side, than have to sleep in another room away from him.

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My heart honestly breaks for couples who sleep separately. Who are okay with sleeping in other rooms or going to bed separately (there are times when it’s okay, just not all the time, right?). It seems like they miss out on something huge. Going to sleep next to my Prince is a recharge, when things are tough or times are heavy, he is there. If I can’t sleep, he is there. If I am fearful, he is there. If he wakes up panicked, I am there. If his back hurts, I am there to sleepily try to rub it for him. You get the picture. He is there when I need him and I am there when he needs me. And all the times in between.

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I just wonder what your thoughts are on this- am I overly attached to think that if my husband slept on the couch, I would miss him too much? Is it weird to think that my coworker’s scoff at me wanting to share my bed with my husband was almost… offensive?

Top 5 Date Nights with Charming

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Something that I love to hear about and I love to share about is date night. Always. I love date night. I crave date night. I love one on one time with my husband, without tasks to complete, laundry to do… time set aside for just him and I. My favorite thing he does is when he will text me before he gets out of work and ask me if I want to go out somewhere, he usually has a plan.  I love it so much because 1) he’s at work and he’s thinking about me 2) he wants time with just me 3) he initiates it

Now, we are not fancy date-nighters. We’ve probably never dressed up to go anywhere except a wedding, we like the same places, we usually don’t plan nights- they just happen (which I think is better anyway). But we go on dates a lot (perks to not having to find a babysitter any time we want to go somewhere, since we have nights away from the kids). So I thought that maybe some of you would like to share your date stories or  your favorites, or just learn some easy ideas on how to date the one you love. My Top 5 list is compiled of my favorite memories and the simplest, but best, dates.

  1. Our First Date (and now a repeat location of ours):

images There’s a little pizzeria about 25 minutes from our house that I used to go to with a bunch of my friends and I’d told Prince Charming about (he has no recollection of me suggesting this place, but knows he got a good review from a work buddy, so he took me there….right.) Charming picked me up and I was giddy as ever. I asked him what he had planned and he had 8 different things written down and let me choose (someone who took time to plan out dates and alternative dates? dreamy). So we went to eat and then saw a local orchestra perform, it happened to be Valentine’s weekend, so there were a ton of lovey dovey things to do. But this place, this pizzeria, has THE BEST garlic knots I’ve ever had. We got hooked and now this is a favorite (more expensive) date night. Pizza is always the best.

2) Standard Movie Night- We have this movie theater that is just getting blown out of the water, so they’ve made Tuesday nights a $5 date night. We can go and buy two tickets, a large popcorn and a medium pop for $18 or less and we LOVE it. Sometimes we go even if there’s nothing exciting to see, just as something for us to do for a good rate.
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3) My favorite kind of dates are the ones that happen on warm summer nights with the windows down, sitting next to my husband in our car, searching for our future home. We drive around town and look at things we love in houses and things we could never settle for. We listen to music or talk shows and laugh a lot. We have tried to bring the kids to these dates but they HATE it and they don’t understand that we have the ability to change the way that houses are set up (PC is quite the handyman) and that we can and will avoid certain things if we know the kids hate it. I love dreaming with my man. I love looking to our future and setting goals for us. This is the best way to my heart. 100%o-COUPLE-DRIVING-AWAY-IN-A-CAR-570.jpg

4)Antiquing!!! We love old things. We love trinkets too much and we love to restore items, if we have the time. For our anniversary, we spent the day in the biggest Antique store I’ve ever seen and sifted through THREE floors and a basement of old, crazy things! We found old newspaper keys and have them in a newspaper drawer, hanging on our wall. We bought keys that resemble things in our lives and we have plans to make this our anniversary tradition. I can’t wait for more.michigan-s-largest-finest.jpg

5) The best. The easiest. The cheapest. $1.25 pizzas and Netflix. We are all about the Netflix and chill lifestyle. We do actually make this date night-ish though. We make food, I lock the dogs up and we eat in the living room, which is a Cardinal Sin in my house. We find some silly show that I haven’t seen because I was born in a different decade than my husband and he laughs at me when I scrunch my nose at the bad animations or effects. I love this date. Leggings or sweatpants, t-shirts, ponytails- just as we are. We overeat, drink too much soda, usually buy candy or chips, and stay up too late watching silly shows.

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Those are it. My Top 5 dates with Prince Charming.

What are your favorite dates? Do you do any of these things? Give us date ideas!