Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday to My Baby

My birthday party invitation post gets about 20 hits a day. 

When I was looking at my stats the other day I realized that I never actually posted pictures of the birthday party!

So, here's the Toy Story Cake. It was made by one of my oldest friends

Toy Story Cake

Thanks Amanda!

We played a really fun game of Pin the Tail on Bullseye.

Pin the tail on Bullseye

Archer blew out his candles...

Blowing out the candles.

 And then he opened presents.

Woody! Thanks Aunt Welo

But mostly, the kids just played at the park and enjoyed themselves. It was a great party. Thanks to everyone who came and celebrated with us. 

All of his loot.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is that bad? The things we do (or not) for Our Children

In my previous post about the Brown family, a commenter noted that they had really negatively affected the children by moving to Nevada. (Something that was necessary as they were being investigated in their home state of Utah for polygamy.) My first thought was, do we not all do things that negatively affect our children? Doesn't everything we do either have a positive or a negative outcome, but sometimes you just have to do it anyway?

Well, they don't have to live that lifestyle you could say. True enough. But many of us, by the end of the day skimp out on things that would be more beneficial for our children because we just can't do any more than we're currently doing. There are times when I say, "No book tonight. I'm wiped out." My little guy looks at me with these heartbroken eyes and pouts off to bed. Maybe he needed me to read that book. Maybe he was on a developmental jumping point and I didn't follow through. That's a risk I'm willing to take, because as humans we are selfish creatures. 

I'll even admit to something really bad. My child is currently going to a home daycare with no educational aspects involved simply because it's cheaper (by a long shot) than a school based daycare and because of the other people involved. That's horrible. I know. But when we started I wanted him in a daycare where he would be nurtured and loved, like I would have done had I been able to stay home longer. Now, I'm to a point where I don't want to pay more money to send him to the other daycare, I don't want for our babysitter to have less income because of me, I don't want to take him away from his friends; it's just too complicated at this point. I try and tell myself he will go to school (if he's like me) for the rest of his life, this is his break. I really don't believe that. But because I'm selfish about my money and I care for our babysitter and he has these great relationships with kids his age that I'm choosing to do something that may have an adverse affect on my kid years down the road. We all make decisions that may be the wrong ones, that may be bad, but (I'm going to guess) everyday we do these things that may not be the right thing, and I am choosing not to judge anyone else, because I definitely don't want them judging me.

Really though, my point is no matter the bad decisions we make that affect our lives, or the lives of our children, we are all doing the best we can. Even people who aren't very good parents, who make horrible decisions, who are so selfish that they are truly hurting their children with each mistake they make are doing the best they can. Does that mean maybe we need to learn how to cope a little better? Yes. Should we, as parents, stop being so egocentric and consider our children when we make decisions? Yes. But that doesn't mean that every decision be based on what's best for our children. Sometimes we do have to make decisions that are best for us and try our hardest to make sure that our children come out with something good.

(To the commenter mentioned in the first paragraph, I truly appreciated your comment, it as it gave me an entirely new perspective that I hadn't considered. Please don't think this a response to your direct comment, but a general idea that was sparked after reading your words. Something I always enjoy. The best part about blogging is knowing that our own ideas aren't always perfect and other people always see things in different ways. New perspectives are always learning experiences.)

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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Illusion of...

Twice (that I can remember anyway) I have posted about control; the fact that I personally do not desire or need control because I just don't care

I'm posting about it again because it's everywhere on my mind lately. I was reading a book with a quote about control and I've seen multiple quotes or scripture bits in my newsfeed on Facebook. It's not just on my mind, it's on the minds of others around me. 

I learned a long time ago that we only ever have an illusion of control. You DO NOT ever actually have control of a situation, no matter how upset or stressed you get, you do not have control of anything but yourself. And a lot of times, people who like to think they are in control and so out of control on the inside that they are desperately grasping for control every where else. 

That desperation is the cause of the need for control. Actually, fear is the cause of the need for control. You try to control everything because you're desperately afraid of something. That desperation shows. It puts people off. Instead of making people want to bend to your will, it only makes people want to run screaming in the other direction. 

Consider the last time you persuaded someone to your side of an idea. Did you do it with confidence and charisma or did you do it with desperate fear? I'm assuming not the latter. Desperation does nothing but irritate me, unless it's truly warranted. 

I understand that some people think they need to be in control, but let me just tell you, they're wasting their time. It's not real control. It only causes stress to them and the people around them. 

If you're religious, I'll leave you with this. 

If you're not, well, sorry. Maybe next time?

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sister Wives: Opinion, Hold the Judgement

The TLC reality show Sister Wives is new again tonight. I've watched this show from the beginning. At first, it was a curiosity, the same curiosity that made me watch Jon and Kate; but as I watched I was drawn into the insanity of their lifestyle. The drama and something that just is not an acceptable lifestyle. 

I strive to not be a judgmental person. So it wasn't until my mom mentioned one day that I was being so, that I realized what I was doing. We were discussing the show and I was just going off about their lifestyle. How strange they were, the choices they were making, etc etc. My mom basically said they kids aren't being harmed, there is food, shelter, love, more than basic necessities. The kids are well taken care of; they have so many siblings to play with and love who take care of each other. While they live a lifestyle I don't, and don't necessarily agree with, it's not my place to judge. Even if they have put their lifestyle on television, it's not my place to feel ugly things toward them and think they are bad or wrong. 

So after much thought, here are my raw feelings on the show/family/lifestyle. 

First, my concern is why would you put yourself at risk for felony charges, jail time, loosing jobs etc by going on television? I understand wanting to have your story put out there, teaching others, hoping to gain something for your family and future generations. I know about fighting for what you believe in, but I'm sure that there could have been a better way to start it than by going on television. 

Second, my personal issue. It feels to me (my feminist self) that this situation, these unions, suggest that one woman is not equal to one man. One man needs four wives to be fulfilled. I don't like the implications of that. I don't know any of the religious or faith based ideas that polygamy comes from, so that could be something that I've developed on my own. But it is something I feel and something I am not comfortable with. However, I can accept that many wives live a lifestyle differently from me. I don't accept that I should be obedient to what my husband says. I will be obedient in my marriage and follow the vows that we made. IF he made faith based decisions, I would follow them. But he doesn't, so that's a non issue. So basically, I have made a conscious decision that we all live the way that works for us, and there's nothing I can do with it except live my life the way I want.

Finally, the Browns are currently filing a federal suit against the state of Utah to have the law that bars polygamy overturned. There have been other law suits (one in the state of Texas) in which the Supreme Court stated gay sex was out of the jurisdiction of the law. This law being overturned would positively affect people like the Browns who appear to be living the way they should be. They are just a big happy family. However, and I know there are always exceptions, there are families in which children are just the result of marriages. They aren't valued for anything except the future marriage to someone, most likely an older family member and probably before they are legally of age. If the overturning of this law legally allows families like the latter to continue, I don't think that's a positive thing. I'm not sure how that can be regulated, probably can't, but I don't want to see something that could be positive for those who would use it appropriately be abused by those others who are doing it illegally and treating their families/children negatively now. 

Overall, this show is one that I watch because I'm nosy and curious. I am most definitely not being judgmental about this family any more and I'm not ready to stop watching because I'm appalled at what they're doing. 

So, there is my opinion on Sister Wives. The show and partially the lifestyle. What's yours?

Semi follow up post here.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Heavenly Harvest Pork Roast

A friend posted this recipe a while back and I was holding out for Fall to make it. I'm not usually one to include fruit with savory food, it's not my favorite sort of taste, but this worked out great. It was just savory enough that the fruit just added a great flavor. 

Here's the recipe, that I did not find or create. Just had it suggested to me by a friend. 

Heavenly Harvest Pork Roast

1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pork roast, any type (4-5 lbs)
2 pears, cored, peeled, and sliced thick
1/2 orange with peel, sliced thick

1. Combine pomegranate juice and sugar in small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Pour into slow cooker. 

2. Blend salt, garlic salt, steak seasoning and pepper in small mixing bowl. Rub mixture over roast. Place roast in slow cooker. Turn roast to cover with juice mixture. 

3. Top roast with pear and orange slices. Cover; cook on HIGH 6-8 hours or until tender. Serve with juice and fruit slices. 

I did make a few modifications. First, I used a pomegranate juice with no sugar added. You could do either, I just try to save calories and sugar intake if possible. I used less sugar, only because I didn't have any more than about an 1/8th of a cup. I also used less salt and garlic powder instead of garlic salt. I try to reduce sodium any way I can. I also used a spicy steak seasoning, just because I think the spicier the better. One last change, I didn't peel the pears. That's where all the nutrition is and I just didn't want to do all the extra work of peeling.

When I went to the store to get the supplies for this recipe I found a bag of fruit that was marked down. It had pears, apples, and oranges for only 99 cents. They were badly bruised and I wouldn't have eaten them, so this was a perfect use for them. 

I really liked this recipe and thought I would share it here. Must try for fall.

Sharing at Jam Hands! 

Jam Hands

And A Bowl Full of Lemons

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 and Anxiety

I've talked a little about anxiety before, but I'm going to go there again today. 

As a kid, I knew that people were "anxious" about things, but I never knew it was something you could have long term. Those people were just worriers. 

When I first started my counseling classes and started noticing some of the symptoms of GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) in my husband, I started learning that anxiety was a real thing that affected people on a larger scale than just worrying. 

I thought for a long time that it would make sense for him to have anxiety. There are some other people in his family with diagnoses of mental disorders (bi-polar) so it wouldn't be out of the question for him to be dealing with anxiety. I studied it more in depth and as time passed I realized that he was just under a tremendous amount of stress. 

After that time, as I've posted before, I realized that I had some anxieties. These are of the natural sort, thunderstorms, height, darkness, etc. I've never experienced a real earthquake, but I'm sure if I ever did it would also bring on a full blown panic attack.

This isn't anything I can control, and only relaxation techniques can really help with it. I know that nothing would likely happen, but I can't help the fear that something might. 

I've had those fears my entire life. I can't remember not running for the front door without looking back for fear of what might be behind me. I used to make my grandparents take me to the cellar if there was a severe thunderstorm a county away because I felt safe there. 

Ten years ago, I gained a new fear. Ten years ago, on September 11 2001, I had a fear for my safety and security in my own country. That was something I had never even considered before. I had always felt safe in my country. My family was patriotic, lots of military history. I'd never had a reason to not feel safe.  Since that day I have felt constant worry about another attack, or something worse. It's not fore front in my mind, or something that I can't deal with. Sometimes I have to turn on CNN at night to make sure that something isn't happening. It's just there, in the back of my mind. 

Last night, my anxiety was already a little higher than normal. All of the posts on Facebook just had me a little on edge. A little after midnight, I hear this sound like a gun shot. I get up to look only to hear several more pops and see bright flashes. I run to Archer's room. He's fine, it's still just flashes and sounds, and look out his window just as it's stopping. 

I have no idea what it was, I'm assuming black cats or something. Whatever it was, had me shaking and my blood pressure was through the roof for hours. I, again, went to bed with CNN in, just in case something happened again this morning. 

Anxiety is a funny thing. You just can't control how you feel you just have to deal with it. It's not always a real fear, but it's most definitely a real feeling. 

I challenge you, if you aren't knowledgeable about anxiety, become so. Learn about something that is truly affecting many people around you, and possibly even you. I had anxiety my entire life, and didn't realize it until I learned the true meaning of the word, in a diagnostic sense.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Recipe Link Party!

I'm currently participating in two cooking link parties. If you have a favorite recipe and are looking to increase your blog traffic, you should try linking up too. I have found lots of new recipes and gotten some new followers. Try it out!

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Chicken and Broccoli Cheese Casserole

If you follow me on pinterest (hint, sidebar, hint) chances are you've seen this chicken, broccoli and cheese casserole. 

I really wanted to try it and I was kid free for the night, so I thought, why not. 

The original recipe called for cooked chicken, so I just grabbed a rotisserie chicken at WalMart and cubed it.

I also bought a package of steamable broccoli instead of fresh. It was just easier. :) Then...I remembered that our microwave is broken, so I still had to steam it on the stove top.

The sauce was super easy. Just half a package of cheese, some milk and chicken broth and some butter with a corn starch emulsion. It was really tasty and the most difficult part of the entire recipe, which isn't saying much.

Then, you top with the rest of the cheese and crushed Ritz crackers. Yum.

Recipe (adapted from

1 lb. bag frozen broccoli, steam half package direction time
3 cups cooked chicken breasts, cut or cube (I used a rotisserie chicken)
3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
2 tubes Ritz Crackers
1  stick melted butter
1/4 C. Cornstarch
1/3 C. Chicken Broth
2 Cups Milk
Salt, Pepper, Season to taste

In greased 13×9 pan, layer the broccoli and chicken, then set aside.

In saucepan over medium heat, combine the melted butter, cornstarch dissolved in COLD water, chicken broth, seasonings, and milk. Stir well, and continue stirring until sauce has thickened. Turn heat down to low, and add 1- 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Pour over the chicken and broccoli. Top with 1- 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese.

Melt remaining butter. Crush Ritz crackers in large zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. Don’t crush too small. Add crumbs to the melted butter. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the grated cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until hot & bubbly. 

**Edited to add: Velveeta would be really good with this recipe if you don't like cheddar. My 3 year old wasn't so much a fan of this, and I think the velveeta would have brought him around.**

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