Friday, October 29, 2010

Gnuts for Gnocchi

I made gnocchi for dinner tonight, and it was so simple and quick that I just had to share! I used a prepared gnocchi, which takes only a few minutes to cook, and but if you have a recipe for the real thing, that would be even better. I had major resistance from my preschooler--she doesn't like tomatoes--but after I coaxed her into trying it, even she like it. The addition of fresh parsley really brings a sparkle to the sauce, and the sour cream brings a decadent creaminess. I meant to make it with ground beef for a heartier sauce, but supper was so late tonight that I just skipped it. However, I think adding shrimp or pan-seared chicken tenders would be divine! I also think this would be a great vehicle to get some zucchini or spinach (or both!) into your diet! This recipe is going into my regular rotation, for sure!

Super-Simple Gnocchi Supper

1 box Delallo Gnocchi
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic, onions, and basil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablspoons chopped fresh parlsey
2 heaping tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
Fresh Parmesan, for garnish

Heat a medium saucepan of med-low heat. Add butter. When butter is melted, add minced garlic and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and heat until it simmers. Add sour cream and parsley. 

Meanwhile, cook gnocchi to package instructions. Drain and add to sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

I dressed it up with a Pocoyo bowl. Fancy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Trip to the Farm

I took the kiddos to a local farm for their annual Apple Butter Day, where they make apple butter the old-fashioned way: in a copper kettle over an open fire! It was truly a great day. While we were there, we took a hayride and saw one of the surrounding family farms. We watched cows, sheep, and horses grazing lazily in the fields, turkeys actually running around and puffing up trying to impress the ladies, and chickens pecking at bugs and trying to find some shade (it has been unseasonably warm this year). When they realized we weren't bringing food, they soon lost interest in us and went back to scratching. In the afternoon, we ate dinner, complete with butter so yellow it looked like margarine. Except that it wasn't. It was the real thing. Not like those white sticks you buy at the grocery store, oh no! I'm talking real butter. Spread on home-made bread, it was just about the best thing I've ever eaten in my life.

It was so wonderful to be able to see where my food, the food that I feed my kids, comes from. Every time I hear of a salmonella or e.Coli outbreak, I can rest easy: I know where my food came from. And if I needed to, I could probably track down the cow from my plate back to it's birth, and everyone who handled it in between. I pay good money for good food, but the piece of mind is priceless.

I developed a hypothesis about food when I was in college. At that time, I knew very little about actual nutrition, I basically starved myself to be thin, and, not coincidentally, I was sick, sick, sick all of the time. But oddly enough, I still have my little hypothesis, and the more I learn about nutrition and real food, the more I think I was right on the mark. Basically, I believe that if God made a food, our bodies can process it and use it. And if man made a food, it's poison and will kill you very slowly, painfully, and most likely, expensively.

Here are a few pictures. It was really one of the best days.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life Without Kids....

So, the kids were with their dad for a week, and I got a lot of projects accomplished. Nothing to crow about, just marked things off the "to-do" list. I got to knit, watch a movie, see a play, catch up on the laundry, clean out closets, clean in general, go shopping, get my nails done, catch up with old friends, catch up on sleep, and go out to eat, just to name a few things. I finally got to have some "me" time and really tried to pamper myself. And what I can tell you is: living your life for yourself is for the birds, because life without kids is BORING!!!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It Ain't My Job

This picture always cracks me up.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Perfection Infection and the Mess I Made of Things

This morning, I read this excellent post about the "perfection infection" that plagues our society. "Perfection" is a world view that does not, has not, and will not make anyone happy. No exceptions. Where my view differs from the rest of the world, is that our willingness to buy into this view stems from our own arrogance, and not from anyone else. Even a low self-esteem is fueled by a preoccupation with ones' self, and stems from arrogance.

I know how the world looks at me: like I washed up after I had so much promise. Everything comes easy to me, yet I've failed at everything I've ever tried. I'm twenty-six, divorced with three kids four and under. I never finished college. I live with my parents. I was going back to school, but I stopped that, too.  How pathetic. But you know what? It doesn't matter. If it were someone else, I'd be saying the same thing. But for the first time in my life, I've got it together and got my priorities in line.

The truth is, I married a man I never really loved because I thought he was safe. I was devastated by things that went on in my parents' marriage, and I thought, "He'll never do that to me. We'll have a good life together." I was dazzled by his potential. I was blinded by the desire to be married and plan a wedding and play homemaker. I made him up to be something he was not, and refused to acknowledge the doubts I had because he was going to "get me out of Arkansas." He had these big dreams, and I thought, "that's the kind of life I want." That's all I focused on instead of, you know, the way he treated me. I saw how smart and talented he was, but I ignored how he wasted it. I glossed over the fact that we didn't match up in our spiritual views. I discounted the fact that we grew up with two different views of marriage. I built him up into Prince Charming, and then was stupid enough to be shocked when the armor came off. Yes, I was that stupid girl. And then I wasn't strong enough to make it work. I wasn't strong enough to stick it out and just live with my mistakes. I loved his family, really more than I loved him, and I wanted to be a part of it because I so desperately craved that stability after it was broken in my own family. I have a deep confession to make: I knew by month two of our marriage that I had made a horrible mistake. But I was also so ashamed to be that girl who ran away after six weeks of marriage that I just kept pretending to love him. And then I was pregnant and I felt I had to stick it out for the baby. I thought, "I'm stuck now, so I might as well make the best of it and put my whole self into this marriage." So that's what I did. I failed him by not being honest with him from the start. I thought only about what a fool I would look if I broke up with him. I never thought about him, and how he thought he was marrying someone who was crazy about him. I never thought about how I was derailing his life, too. He deserved better than that. And then I was ready to step up and make it work, but he wasn't. And that's when he failed me. I was standing there, going, "Let's do this. We've got kids, we can make it work. We can still have a good life together." But he was off playing video games instead. And it got to the point where I just couldn't keep pretending anymore. I was crazy about my kids and being a mom. I thought, "This is what I'm on this earth to do. Everything else was just killing time until I got here." I begged him to jump in and experience it, too. I begged him to go the park with us. I got answers like, "I've already played with her today." "I just don't feel like going anywhere today" "Alright, but I don't want to be there more than 20 minutes." "Maybe next weekend." And what was he doing instead of being with his family? Playing video games. Watching movies. Surfing the internet. Oh, he was working, too, but he was off every weekend, and he didn't spend it with us, although we were home together. The point of this? We were both idiots. We both wrecked our marriage. My family needs to realize that I made horrible mistakes and it wasn't all his fault, and his family needs to know that he failed miserably as a husband. If I wanted to be treated better, then I should have married someone else. If he didn't want to treat me better, then he should have married someone who didn't expect to be treated better. We were both stupid. And now our kids have got to pay for it. That's the real tragedy. And that's why I'm living with my parents and pushing off school until they're older. Because they deserve to have a magical childhood, no matter how stupid their parents are. They deserve to have a mother who's there to see every magical moment, who bakes cookies with them and takes them to the zoo. They deserve a mother who can read them the same story ten times in a row because it's their favorite, who lets them finger paint, make a mess (as long as they clean it up!), and thinks that a tea party with Mr. Jumbo is the social event of the season. They deserve a mother who'll dress up in gossamer wings and a tutu and dance around the backyard singing while looking for fairies, even though the neighbors just shake their heads turn the other way. A mother who is an expert in the art of giant bubbles. Who'll dance around the living room with abandon even though she's a terrible dancer. They deserve a mother who can get along with their father, and move on no matter what happens. A mother who will shut her mouth no matter how much she wants to bust his balls (because she's not perfect, either). Who will welcome every visit from their dad, because they are his children, too, and she can't ever change that. They deserve a mother who will take on every tantrum and never let it slide because she's too tired or has to be at work. They deserve to have a mother who can out sit them at the dinner table until they eat their vegetables. Because it's for their own good.

I could never give them that if I were on my own. They would be in day care, one of fifty kids supervised by two workers who would rather be somewhere else. Bullied and ignored, or worse, they would be the bully because their mom is always too tired and overworked for them, and they are desperate for attention. And for what? For some superficial show of independence that is worthless in the grand scheme of things.

My parents understand that. They know that what my kids need more than anything else after what they have been through is their mother. And that's why they are taking care of us: not so I don't have to pay for my mistakes, but so my kids don't have to pay for my mistakes. We're blessed that they are in a position that they can do that. They are the real heroes here. They are better than I deserve.

I blew it. I know it. I pretty much have no chance at a loving marriage now- I have no illusions about that. I'm looking at being single for the rest of my life, and that's okay. I can still be happy. Because I made the mistakes, but God provided the answers. I am the luckiest woman in the world because I can advance the Plan of God without fear of persecution for what I believe. I have a comfortable life in a free country. I won't lie, there are times when I think it would be a relief to go back to school. To only be responsible for myself! There are days when I am so close to losing it I have to go scream into a pillow. Or worse, I do lose it a scream at my children. I'm always so ashamed of myself when that happens. It happens less and less because I'm stretching and growing, but I'm far from perfect. If I went back to school, got a degree, got a job, got my own place, maybe got married again, the world would look at me and say, "Finally, she's got it together!" But I would be remiss, because my orders are, "raise three children to the best of your ability."  Not "go out and do something for you and raise your kids in your spare time." It isn't about me anymore. It hasn't been since the strip first turned pink. And it doesn't matter if the world thinks I'm the biggest loser in the world. God gave me three children to raise, and I'm going to do it to the best of my ability. I'm going to give them everything I have, till there's nothing left of me but some water and a few minerals. And when that job is done and I get new orders, I'll give everything to those, too, until God takes me home. No one has to know what I'm doing: God knows. And that's enough.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Life: 10-1 (and 2)-10

Wow, can if possibly be July since I've posted anything? I thought that was like last week! Okay, so that's an exaggeration, but it has been crazy around here!

First of all: WE MOVED! This is my 7th move in 5 years---certainly not as many times as an army wife, but a fair amount just the same. Hopefully, this will be my last move for a long time, as I hate to move! I am craving some stability after all the drama of the last few years. However, we are in a really great place, and we're all excited to be here, so that makes it a better move than some of the others.

Then, Pumpkin is crawling everywhere! He cannot be left alone for a second, especially now as there are boxes everywhere. Also, at ten months old, he has finally decided that he likes solid food. First, he hated it and cried and cried whenever we went near the high chair. Then when he was old enough for finger foods, he thought meal time was fun, but he didn't care about eating the food as much as he liked squishing it between his fingers and throwing it on the floor. But now, he has decided that he really does like food, and could he have more, please? He is still nursing, and I am convinced that he will be a long-term nurser. My mom disagrees. She says he's not going to want to sit still to nurse as he gets older, but he is Mama's boy and I think that as independent as he is becoming, he is not ready to give up his special time with me.

Darling and Doodlebug continue to blossom every day. It is truly a joy to watch. I'm always amazed at how imaginative they are. We really had the best week this week!

*yawn* too tired to write more, but I have ideas for lots of posts, so hopefully there will be more updates soon.