Posts Categorized: Family

Surviving Sixteen Years and Six Kids

I recently celebrated my 16th wedding anniversary to Daddy-o. When I say “celebrated,” I actually just mean that we both “remembered.” It has been a busy sixteen years and I’d be lying if I said we’ve actually remembered all of our anniversaries. Usually we are reminded of this special occasion when his mother calls to offer congratulations.

People have asked how we’ve survived 16 years and six kids. I could say all the usual healthy relationship tips: don’t go to bed angry, appreciate each other, say “I love you”, make time for each other, communicate honestly and often, blah, blah, blah. All this marriage advice is useful and we probably do them for the most part.

A little pre-wedding croquet!

What I really think has been useful is some of the advice that was given to me.

Before we were married, Daddy-o’s mother sat us down and said this: “Just so you know, there are not going to be hard days, hard weeks and hard months – there are going to be hard YEARS. If you can just work through them it will all be worth it.”

I also remember what my brother says: “If the grass is looking greener on the other side, try taking better care of your lawn.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually think people should be miserable with their spouse for years, and certainly some people take very good care of their lawns and still can’t avoid those poisonous weeds. Ending a marriage can sometimes be the very best thing for a family. Only those in the marriage are qualified to make that call and decide how to fix a relationship. But, I think these messages have been good reminders to me that relationships were never meant to be easy all the time and that part of my responsibility is to work on it.

One thing I do know is that the guy who posted his dissatisfaction with his married sex life online last week should have kept this dissatisfaction to himself. I doubt it helped his marriage and I’m certain it won’t lead to him getting more action in the bedroom. So if nothing else, my relationship advice is DON’T DO WHAT THIS IDIOT DID.

You’re welcome. You can thank me for saving your marriages henceforth.

What keeps your marriage/relationship going strong? Did you get any good dating advice that has helped your partnership?

Sick of chicken? Try cooking lentils!

Protein packed lentils are one of the most ancient crops known to have been cultivated even as much as 8500 years ago! Loads of varieties are available and they are cheap and easily found at any grocery store.  They are one of the few beans that don’t require soaking or any other preparation which makes them perfect for making healthy meals at a low cost.

Getting your family to include lentil nutrition as part of an enjoyable, healthy meal may take some work but the effort is well worth it.  Studies abound on the benefits of lentils, which include the ability to reduce blood pressure and reverse heart disease.  Break the kids in early with mashed lentils as a first food.

Some of the more common varieties include:

Puy Lentils-these small blackish green, lower starch lentils are great for creamy side dishes

Green Lentils-firm, larger pods are ideal for cold salads

Red Lentils- these are actually the hulled inside of other lentils, and are perfect for soups as they disintegrate when cooked.

All lentils rank very highly on the protein scale and when paired with cheese and/or nuts make a complete protein just as effective at building muscle as animal protein. They are also one of the best forms of fibre. A one cup serving meets the requirements for just over half of your day’s needs. Just remember when cooking any lentils, pulses or beans not to add any acid like lemon or vinegar until the very end. Doing so stops the breakdown of the fibre so that they will not cook fully. Well this can be a good thing to prevent them from becoming too mushy at the end of cooking add it at the beginning and you’ll be crunching on pebbles! Here is one of my healthy lentil recipes for delicious homemade soup.

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

Preparation time: 25 minutes                                      Servings: 4                 

You can feed a family of four for under $2.00 with a soup of high-protein lentils, nutrition-packed sweet potatoes and onions. Cheese is optional and will cost a bit extra. I know it seems weird not to peel the sweet potatoes but the skins are full of nutrients and are just as delicious as white potato skins.  Just give them a good scrub and chop!

1 tsp                butter

1                      onion, chopped

1 cup               red lentils

1                      small sweet potato, scrubbed and cubed, skin on

4 cups              chicken or vegetable broth

1 tbsp              dried basil

½ tsp               black pepper

pinch               dried red chili peppers

1 tbsp              molasses

8 tbsp              grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Warm a large pot over medium-high heat and melt butter. Add onions and sweet potato; stir. Add broth and water; then lentils. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cover. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in basil, chili peppers, pepper and molasses. Grate cheese if using and serve at the table.

About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

School’s Out For The Summer!

A big bag of lost and found items!


I know it’s officially summer when my son arrives home from school with a huge garbage bag filled to the top with his locker contents and all of his items that were fished out of the Lost and Found.

This year the haul included 3 thermoses, 3 winter hats, 2 baseball hats, 2 hoodies, a winter coat and a baseball glove (along with lots of crumpled up paper, old tests and some school supplies).  Yikes!  I long for the day that my son is more organized, but until then I’m glad we’ve got Mabel’s Labels on everything so that his stuff makes it back home…eventually!

Along with the warm weather, family vacations, and more relaxed schedules, I’m practically giddy about not making lunches every day. The fact that everyone’s wearing sandals and flip flops is a bonus too, because it means I won’t need to keep the sock basket filled.  Our family sock strategy consists of a basket near the front door filled with single socks. There’s no point in pairing them up because my kids just un-match them anyway. Rebels!

We’re looking forward to some fun outdoor activities and games, including afternoons by Grandma’s pool, backyard BBQ’s and evenings at our local Drive-In Theatre. Watching a drive in movie under the stars is so much fun and is a favourite summer tradition for us. There’s nothing cuter than seeing lots of little ones in their pajamas, swinging on the swing set and playing Frisbee while waiting for the first feature to start. Later they’ll be sleepy and cozy as their parents carry them straight from the car to their beds. Somewhere along the line I stopped wearing my PJ’s to the drive-in, but I think this may be the summer to revive that tradition. I’m not sure I’ll get carried in from the car, but it’s worth a try.

In addition to all the family fun times that summer brings, I love the quiet early mornings all to myself in the garden. It’s full of promise at this time of year, with lots of different vegetables and greens. This year we’ve got tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, bok choy, kale, collard greens, romaine and red lettuce. I’m hoping that when our kids are hungry, they’ll grab some cherry tomatoes off the vine instead of reaching for cookies (a mom can always dream!).

Garden Veggies!

What do YOU love most about summertime?  Any fun ideas to share? What are some of your favourite family vacations and summer activities for kids?

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

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