One of the things I love about marriage is the giving of gifts, especially at Christmas. It got me thinking about gifts and how crazy we can all get at this time of year. Christmas is certainly not about expensive things and it’s not even about things. The true meaning of Christmas is marveling at the birth of our Lord who was born in order to die for our sins. That was the ultimate gift from God. Also, on a lesser note, there were the wise men and others who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. So I get where the gift thing came from. But gifting has become such an ugly ritual at times when it is disconnected from the true meaning of Christmas. In our gift giving to our spouses, children, family and friends, let us give in love. Let us not overspend. Let us cut back, not out of selfishness or greed, but out of deep respect for our Lord. Let us make and bake. Let us give of our time. Let us give to the poor. Let us give small practical things that people need. Let us enjoy giving things our loved ones want, within reason. And let us feel the warmth in our hearts as we contemplate the son of our God, sleeping in a humble manger in the hay.
#190: Hiding the candy October 28, 2011
One plus of marriage is that you get to have someone who can hide your candy when you ask him to. I’m not talking about me. I’ve just heard that this is done. Some people have food addictions and problems with sweets. Some people buy a container of dark chocolate covered cranberries that has 10 servings in it and want to eat the whole thing in one sitting. And some people ask their husband to hide the container for them so they don’t gobble them all up. However, some husbands don’t hide things very well and put them under the coffee table where hungry, gluttonous, and nosy wives see them. And some wives, while watching their last tv program of the evening, find that container and eat them all up anyway. Like I said, I’ve heard these things from others. I’m just saying.
#189: Generosity October 27, 2011
No one ever says at the end of their life, “If I could do it all over I’d be a lot less generous.” Being married gives me another person to whom I can express my generosity. Because we have shared finances, my money is his money is our money. So being generous doesn’t manifest as material gifts. It’s not about money, but giving. You can give in so many ways: with your time, with your attitude, with your attention, and with your patience. Sometimes the hardest thing to give is your empathy: truly putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. When I get upset with my husband, I need to put myself in his shoes before I jump to conclusions, judge or get angry. Having that kind of generosity of spirit can be truly beneficial to the relationship, and to your self.
I give because I am. Letting myself be filled with love and sharing it with others feels so natural. It is why God put me here. It’s as easy as breathing. I thank God for giving me so much love and making me in His image.
#188: My husband makes me funnier October 26, 2011
I get to be way more funny married to my husband. I feel a bit like a cheater. I share lots of funny things he does or says on my blog, and yet I get credit for it. When people think these things are funny, I feel guilty. He says he’s ok with me taking the credit but I still feel bad. In all fairness to myself, I do write the blog posts, and it was my ears and eyes that captured my husband being funny. My brain remembers his funniness. So I guess there is a lot of me too. Besides, I am reasonably funny. I really like to make people laugh. The other thing about me is that people often think I’m funny when I’m not trying to be funny. Sometimes I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m a bit conflicted. But bottom line, I like to make people laugh so if I unintentionally make people laugh I’m still pleased.
Laughing feels good. That’s why I always laugh at my own jokes. And that’s why I like to make other people laugh. Thank you husband for helping me make people laugh. Being funnier is yet another of the joys of being married!
#187: Making meatloaf for my guys October 25, 2011
Why do men love meat? It follows that men also seem to love meatloaf. I like meatloaf for two reasons: 1) it is comfort food and 2) making meatloaf is like baking a cake – a big old meat cake!
In all my talking about Alton Brown, his faith, and his biscuits, I stumbled upon his recipe for meatloaf. People raved about it. He has a nice recipe so I decided to make it for my husband and son over the weekend. I have another go-to meatloaf recipe that I like and have made a few times. It’s a french meatloaf with hard-boiled eggs in the center and an orange marmalade glaze. It’s pretty yummy. The Alton Brown recipe has spices like cumin, chili powder, cayenne and thyme. It’s also good. What I liked about it:
- it’s got onion, carrot, red bell pepper, and garlic
- you form the loaf in a loaf pan but then turn it out on a cookie sheet before baking – this allows the fat to run off it instead of your loaf baking in the grease; it also allows you to put glaze not just on the top but the sides as well
- the flavors combined well
- we are eating leftovers tonight!
There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it. My husband couldn’t say which recipe he liked more so now I’ve got two great recipes for meatloaf. Two is definitely better than one. Variety is the spice of life. And as Alton Brown says hunger is the best sauce!
#186: Make up your mind, Tiramisu! October 24, 2011
One of the things I love about marriage is celebrating birthdays together. Last Saturday night we went out to dinner to celebrate mine. We went to Buca di Beppo and my husband had never been there. I love how festive and crowded and fun it is. Plus, I love old-fashioned Italian food. I also love the family style servings.
For dessert I ordered Tiramisu. First of all, the big old bowl they brought out could have served 6! Husband didn’t order dessert. I asked him if he liked Tiramisu and he said no. I thought maybe it was because he prefers more simple desserts like apple pie, ice cream or chocolate cake. I asked him “What is it you don’t like about it? Is it the rum?” He said, “The taste.” Then he added, ” And, it’s not sure what it wants to be. Am I pudding? Am I cake?” I just about died laughing. It’s a wonder that I didn’t choke because I was eating at the time. He’s totally right though, it is like half pudding/half cake. That’s not a problem for me though. I like pudding and cake and any combination thereof. I was in sugar and laughter heaven – just where I was meant to be. Happy Birthday to me!
#185: Wake up – the biscuits are ready! October 21, 2011
I tend to be a pushy broad at times. I’m also a bit impatient. So about a year ago when I first baked Alton Brown’s Southern Biscuits, I was in a bit of an urgent tizzy to serve them to my husband. Fortunately for him, he likes biscuits. Unfortunately for him, it was 8 a.m. and he was sound asleep. I like getting up early and there’s nothing better than baking early in the morning when I am fresh and full of energy.
I’ve had a sad history with biscuit baking. The first biscuits I made for my husband were heavy, flat rocks. Skipping stones anyone? He had even walked up to the grocery store to get me buttermilk for the recipe. I think I mixed them too much. Heavy-handedness is clearly not a plus with biscuits. Whatever the reason, they were barely edible. My next batch of biscuits were better, but still not great. I had seen Alton Brown’s recipe in Southern Living magazine and online and was dying to try it. My first clue that these were going to work was that they rose so tall. I tried one and was delighted! I had successfully baked a decent biscuit! Thank you Alton Brown!
Next up, my husband needed to try them. I couldn’t possibly wait until he woke up. They would be cold. Maybe they would even fall or shrink. Psycho chick that I am, I decided that I was going to have to wake him up. So like Little Red Riding Hood (a 6 foot tall Little Red Riding Hood, let’s call her Big Red), I filled up a basket with a cloth napkin, three biscuits, some butter and jam, and hopped up the stairs to the bedroom.
Poor husband was there sleeping, so calm and so peaceful. In a sweet, sing-song voice I whispered “Walter, wake up! I made you biscuits!” He looked up at me like I was absolutely crazy and said “I know you didn’t just wake me up to try your biscuits.” I said, “Yes, I did.” What can I say? I am sort of crazy. I’m sure June Cleaver with her ironed apron and pearls would never have done this.
Needless to say, he liked the biscuits. All’s well that ends well. 🙂