Wine: Because Kids

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Dark, dry, and decadent. Or Dry, light, and decadent.

It’s how I like my wine. Don’t offer me a moscato or something fruity. Give me something with spice. Give me something with a hint of pepper, oak, or even vanilla. Give me a Malbec or a Sangiovese. Give me a Grenache or a Petite Syrah.

Oh, who am I kidding? Give me anything.

I like my wine dry, but I also love it for my good health. The doctor does say that a glass of red wine a night is good for you. I think it has something to do with heart health, but I won’t lie: I heard “Drinking red wine at night is good for you,” and didn’t hear much else. I’ve always been a delightful student, so it wasn’t difficult for me to get started on that homework assignment each night – with extra credit.

I love my red wine, and I love that it’s good for my health. Of course, it’s only good (for you) in moderation. While we might all agree it’s really good in excess, we can also agree that feeling only lasts a few hours before the part about hating life and never drinking red wine again comes to light.

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Moderation, medically defined, is something like one glass of red wine per night for women. No, not a glass large enough to fit the entire bottle of wine into. That’s new math…new math I could definitely get into.

Excuse me while I throw in a few of the boring medically related facts here. I promise I’ll be quick. “Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart,” and “Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to the blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots,” is what Mayoclinic.org has to say. They also say some other profound things about red wine and all its heart healthy glory. See? I’m not just making this stuff up.

More importantly, red wine is good for your heart health in another manner – a lesser known manner. It makes moms better and keeps kids from being locked in rooms under the stairs for extended games of “Stay there until an owl brings you an acceptance letter into Hogwarts, honey. And mommy and daddy will be VERY disappointed if you get into any house but Gryffindor,” in many homes (Joking…please don’t call CPS on any HP lovers with kids).

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How, precisely, does red wine make moms better? I thought you might ask.

It Gives Us Something to Look Forward To

I’m not saying we don’t have plenty to look forward to, such as dates nights and vacation, and school, and the day they turn 18 and go to college. I’m saying that moms need something each and every day to look forward to, and the moment you drop them off at school at 8 am is too early for the good times to peak. A glass of red wine is a well-deserved treat at the end of the day when the kids are in bed and sleeping, the house is clean, and it’s time to relax.

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It’s Motivational

Red wine motivates me like nothing else. It motivates me to work hard, since I like the expensive stuff. It motivates me and my husband to get the kids to bed on time each night and the house straightened up so we can sit down and pour a glass. It also motivates me to take my 33-year-old rear to the gym every single day, since I know I’m at an age where my good genes and magic metabolism could quit on me at any point. Red wine also motivates me from losing my ever-loving mind on my kids when they are delightful assholes on occasion – there’s no wine in prison, people (and orange isn’t my color).

It Keeps Marriages Healthy

Y’all probably don’t need to hear the TMI of our marriage, but it’s good. My husband is sexy…that’s all. But, he’s even sexier when I’ve had a glass of red wine. We laugh more. We spend more quality time together. We commiserate more. We have more fun. We go to bed earlier. All I’m saying is red wine is an encourager of good, healthy marriages and all the calories a good, healthy marriage can burn.

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It Keeps Me Sane

Every night we put the kids to bed, straighten up, shower, and sit down with a couple glasses of red. We binge watch Netflix or we sit on our deck or lanai and just chill. It’s good. Whatever we do, it’s our every-night routine and I love it. The day is all-consumed with kids and their needs and wants, and it’s nice for us to have that time at the end of the night to sit, relax, and enjoy. Sure, we could do it without wine, but that’s boring.

Do you prefer to spend your evenings wine-ing down with your spouse or girlfriends? What’s your vino of choice or if you don’t drink wine, what’s your poison favorite thirst quencher?

(Disclaimer: Alcohol is not for those under 21, those pregnant, recovering alcoholics, or anyone driving, operating heavy machinery, or doing anything else dangerous. It’s meant to be consumed in moderation at all times. I am in no way encouraging excessive drinking or unhealthy use of wine or any other type of alcoholic beverage.)

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Quick, Healthy Pasta Anyone Can Cook (Even Me)

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A domestic goddess I am not. The kitchen and I, well, we have a love/hate relationship. We love one another when it comes to me baking something decadent and amazing. We hate one another when it comes to me cooking. Things happen. Fire alarms go off. There’s smoke. The kids want to know why daddy isn’t cooking (he’s more than just a pretty face…he’s a superb cook) and I’m left wondering how exactly I’m supposed to handle cooking everything else if that’s what happens when I’ve done nothing but try to boil water for pasta.

It’s ugly.

I’m not a cook. Ask me to bake, and I’m amazing. But we don’t eat a lot of baked goods and we don’t have much of a sweet tooth most of the time, so there’s little baking to do. On occasion, however, I do like to cook. It might be too much Pioneer Woman on Food Network, but I start feeling the itch to put on my pretty aprons, pour a glass of wine, and chop things.

Okay. I like to cook on occasion because it goes well with a glass of sauvignon blanc.

When I do have to cook, there’s one dish I can make well. I’d say I make it very well, and people do seem to love it. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s healthy when you have a half hour to make something that fills you up and everyone enjoys. I thought I’d share it with you, because I know how hard it is to find time to make healthy meals that are still delicious and don’t take much time.

What You Need

1 box whole grain pasta (any kind, but I love linguine)

Half a lemon

2 cloves fresh garlic

1 bottle capers

Extra virgin olive oil

1 package boneless, skinless chicken cutlets

¼ stick of unsalted butter

Place your chicken in a large pan lightly coated with a thin layer of EVOO, and throw some salt and pepper on top. I cook mine on medium heat, allow both sides to brown beautifully, and then I cut the chicken into small squares and throw it back in the pan. This allows it to cook through while also browning on all sides.

I also use very thin chicken that’s precut in the package into strips so it cooks quickly. While it’s cooking, I preheat water for my pasta. Once I cut up the chicken and throw it back into the pan, I put the pasta in the water and cook it according to the al dente instructions on the box.

When the chicken is cooking before the pasta is on, I cut the lemon in half, put the other half away and cut the half I’m using into three or four small slices. I also cut and my garlic into small pieces. Once the pasta is on, I toss the butter, capers, garlic and lemon into the pan with the chicken and mix it up. I let it simmer together until the sauce is creamy and rich. This takes about as long as the pasta.

I pour my chicken and sauce over the top of my pasta, top it with fresh parmesan, and we dig in. Everyone loves it, and it’s that little bit of butter that makes it so decadent without taking away all the nutrition.

Tip – Exchange whole wheat pasta for vegetable pasta and it’s just as delicious.

To make sure your dinner is even more spectacular, you’re going to want to pour a glass of wine. I have this thing for cooking with white wine (in my hand, not my food). I prefer it dry, so a gorgeous sauvignon blanc is always my choice for this particular meal.

Next time you have a few minutes and you’re not afraid of the smoke alarms in your house, I’d recommend trying this meal. Your family will love it, and I’ll become a staple. If my family can eat it (and request it), you know it’s good. I can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you, and I’m always open to learning new recipes I can pass along to my husband so share them below in the comment section!

Home Office Sneak-Peek

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“You’re crazy,” is what I hear most when I tell people my husband and I both work from home, share an office, and spend 24-hours a day together. I get it, really. The idea of spending this much time with the person you’re married to might sound a bit insane to many people, but it works really well for us. For one, we’ve always been very ‘together’ in terms of our marriage and relationship.

You know that feeling you have when you first meet someone special, and you’re falling in love? You can’t seem to get enough of one another, and you want to spend every waking moment together? We met more than 15 years ago on a blind date, and we still feel that way. It’s never gone away. When I think of the person I have the most fun with, it’s Craig. We have serious fun together. We laugh – a lot. And we just never rarely tire of one another.

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Working in the same office from home all day long doesn’t bother us – too much. Why? It’s simple; work requires our time and attention. We don’t do the same thing. I’m a writer with my own business. He’s an IT-genius who is always on the phone with his customers helping them through techy-stuff I can’t even pretend to understand. I’m always on my computer responding to emails, writing dozens of articles every day, and now I’m running my blog.

Sure, sometimes he talks to himself when he works, and his desk isn’t neat, and sometimes he doesn’t put enough half and half in the coffee he brings to me without me asking out of the goodness of my heart. Unforgivable. It works for us, and we like to work together from home. It’s been great for me, but a definite adjustment for both of us. His schedule is different now, mine is different now, and he kind of came in and messed up 8 years of pretty awesome weekday scheduling, but we adjusted and we’re good….most days!

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Here’s a sneak peek of our office in the works. We’ve been rearranging, trying new furniture and new layouts, decorating, undecorating, and redecorating. We’re nowhere near finished, but we are certainly thankful we chose a house with a dedicated home office we can use without interruption.

You’ll notice there’s a floral theme. I’m obsessed with fresh flowers. I have to have them at all times (it began as a desire to have fresh flowers on the kitchen island and somehow spun out of control into flowers on every available surface in every room). This is a room we keep things that are important to us, like fun DIY artwork from a church party and our kid’s Kindle chargers (because they go through those things like most people do coffee). It’s our space. It’s a work in progress. It’s where we spend the bulk of our time.

If you work from home, what’s the one thing you can’t live without? Fresh flowers and coffee are my must-have office obsessions! Drop a comment and let me know what you need to get through the day.

 

2017 Goals

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Resolution: A firm decision to do or not to do something

  • The Dictionary

Goal: The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result

  • The Dictionary

I’m not a fan of resolutions in the New Year, but bring on the goals. Resolutions seem so stiff and unwavering, whereas goals are more fluid and attainable in my own opinion. Goals are definite, but the path is more enjoyable (in my opinion).

2017 is here, and it’s going to be an amazing year. We say that every year, and every year we are correct. 2016 was a year with so many beautiful moments, amazing memories, and unforgettable changes in our lives. It was a good year, but it was also one of our more challenging years in terms of family. There was death, there was illness, and our twins turned two in March.

If those three things don’t scream “awful,” nothing does.

We’re happy to say that the year brought with it so many lovely things, too. Illnesses were overcome, surgeries were successful, and lots of baby news came for those closest to us (not us!!!). My husband was offered the job of his dreams, and he left the career he had for 15 years to pursue his dreams, which meant going from working in an office 45-minutes away to working from home full-time (which, in turn, made him appreciate me and the fact that I’ve been working from home for 8 years even more than he already did!). We know 2017 is going to be amazing, because we’ve made some serious goals (and the twins turn 3 and will start school).

That said, I like a goal. I like making goals in the New Year because it’s fresh. It’s a new beginning, and it’s so easy to make new goals. We close out a business year, which means we get to see how we did in the current year so we can make changes for the following year. We enter into a new year filled with upcoming birthdays and holidays, vacations, and change; and we love it.

2017 is a year of personal and business growth in our family, and my husband and I sat down before the year ended to make a list of goals for our family in the New Year so we can be better than ever. I thought I’d share those with you, to help you see where we come from, how we work, and to let you into our personal lives just a little.

Goal Number One: Slow Down

We are busy. We have a competitive cheerleader, two little gymnasts, and 2-year-old twins. I have a business that allows me to travel often, we have a super close group of friends with whom we travel and enjoy many traditions every year. We have family in several states we love to visit each year on top of that, and we are Disney annual passholders with four kids who love Magic Kingdom a lot. We are never home.

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We are tired. We are tired of being busy every weekend, every night, and every day. We are tired of living in our dream house, only to not feel we have any time to enjoy it. We want to slow down, to spend more time doing meaningful things instead of rushing from point A to point B every time we turn around. We want more time at home, more time to just relax, and more time to make spontaneous decisions rather than looking ahead six to eight weeks in our calendars to schedule a day to stay home and relax. This leads me into…

…Goal Number Two: Be More Health-Conscious

We eat well, I hit the gym 5 to 6 days a week every single week, and we are active. We take care of ourselves in terms of getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy, and spending time outside, but we don’t spend enough time resting. I don’t get sick. In 2016, I was sick so often that I thought there might be something seriously wrong with me. I was diagnosed with conjunctivitis several times (ew), double ear infections, head colds, stomach viruses, and the common cold. I had everything you could imagine, and my doctor told me I have to slow down because I’m run down. I know I am; I can feel it. There’s so much to do, so many little humans who need us, and so few hours in the day. I don’t know how to slow down, but I do know that we have to try this year because our health is affected by our lack of rest. This year, we slow down and we rest when our bodies tell us it’s time.

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Goal Three: Spend More Meaningful Time with the Kids

With four kids and a busy schedule, meaningful time isn’t always possible. This year, my husband and I made it a goal to spend more meaningful time with the kids. We travel a lot with them, and we take them to Disney a few times a month, and we attend weekend events all the time. However, they’re geared more towards letting the kids play together while the adults spend time together, and we don’t really interact with our kids much during those outings. We miss them, and we want more meaningful time together. Our goal is to spend at three nights per week doing something fun with the big girls when the twins go to bed. So far we’ve had board game fun, a movie night, and we took them to see Sing (super cute, by the way). We want to take them outside and ride bikes with them, take them on the golf cart around the neighborhood more often, and play ball in the yard. Simple, but meaningful.

Goals Four: Do More Home Improvements

When the twins were born, we needed a new house. We needed more space, more bedrooms to accommodate our family of 6, and more bathrooms – and a bigger garage for a much larger car! It’s kind of a long story, so I’ll shorten it up. We wanted more than we could fit on the lot we purchased on which to build. Easements, restrictions, and property lines were giving us a run for our money, and each time we came up with a blueprint it had to be changed. As we were upset, struggling with how to make what we wanted work without sacrificing everything we loved most, my husband found our dream house in our dream neighborhood for sale – in our price range.

It was a foreclosure, listed at less than half the value of the home. We jumped on it, put in an offer that day, and we moved in six weeks later. The house isn’t old by any means, but it’s been vacant for years. Our corner lot is over an acre, but it was so overgrown and it was never properly cleared, so you couldn’t even see our house from either street. The bank painted the walls a lovely color, but it’s matte (which, if you know anything about paint, means anything that touches it stays forever and cannot be cleaned off – bad news with humans living in a house). Everything was taken from the house, so the bank traveled back in time to 1970 and found new cabinets, countertops, toilets, and other details to replace everything. Y’all, some of our kitchen cabinets were stained with two coats and some with only one. It was so bad.

We had all the big stuff done immediately – lot cleared, granite installed in all the bathrooms and the kitchen, painted, and replaced light fixtures and door handles – except the front door handle, which barely opens…but we never use that door so we always forget! We’ve since tackled painting our kitchen and bathroom cabinets white, but we have a huge deck and pergola that needs minor repairs and it needs to be stained and cleaned, we need to repaint upstairs, and we need to do several other things around the house to get it to the point it’s perfect. This year, we will make time to do those things.

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Goal Five: Grow in Grace

Grace is something I need more of. I’m married to a man who is so patient and kind, he might just be a saint (ask anyone who knows him). I, on the other hand, have no patients, a slight temper, and no sympathy for people who make poor decisions or cause their own issues. I would like to work on growing in grace this year. I want to focus less on trying to make everything perfect all the time, and I’d like to offer myself more grace and more patience.

This year is something I’m so excited about. My blog is up and running, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for myself for so long but never found the time for, and so many lovely things are happening in our lives. Our twins turn three in March, and that’s something I cannot wait for. They start school soon, so they’re going to grow and change, and we’re going to have more focused time to work so we can focus more on the kids when we’re done. I’m excited, and I hope you are as excited for the New Year as I! I’d love to hear your goals, resolutions, or plans for 2017. Leave a comment below…I hope to be inspired by your goals to create more of my own!