Saturday, August 10, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Us! And my thoughts on happy marriages.

Happy Anniversary to Us!!!! 4 Years!

That's a picture of us having FUN at Canyon Lake last weekend. Hair is down, big smiles, sun-tanned.....having a good time! This school that Ryan has been in has been a little on the intense side, and this is the first time in about a month that we've really gone out and "let our hair down". We went with another couple, rented canoes, brought a cooler of beer, tied our canoes together, and wasted the afternoon away. It was glorious.

Actually, we didn't "tie" the canoes together. Our men, being the manly men they are, fashioned ropes out of the life jackets and McGuever'ed a way to strap the 2 canoes together. It actually worked out well, because the force of the 2 made it impossible for them to tip over!

Anyways, back to Anniversary. Instead of making this into a post where I profess my unconditional, heart-filled love for Ryan (which does persist strongly) -- I'm going to take about what I feel are the important ingredients to a good team.

You know, because we are pretty much old and wise by this point. We are experts on marriage, in fact. With all 4 years of the vows under our belt! (*insert sarcastic and cute smile here*)

  1. Never lose "the look". See that picture above? That was our "First Look" from our wedding day. Don't lose that.
  2. There are going to be times where one partner is on top of the world (ie career, family life, personal goals) and the other person maybe isn't the most happy about their career, personal goals, ect. Learn to accept that, and be happy and supportive for each other. Remember, when you're married you're a team and one person cannot be successful in their career/life without the other
  3. On that note, be their #1 fan. There may be long Saturday afternoons he studies and I read @ coffee shop with a smile on my face (when really I want to be on the beach in Corpus 2 hours away). But I know my support plays a large role in his success!
  4. It is impossible to be 100% happy 24/7 with each other. There are going to be rougher times. Don't dwell on it
    • Example: When Ryan got back from his last school, and we had been living in different states for about 4-5 months - it was not all rainbows & sunshine his 1st week back. It was not as blissful as we envisioned it. We had to re-adjust to living among each other again, in addition to it being a stressful time. It took a few days to figure out our rhythm of life again. And by day Day 4, we were back! The moment I accepted that "hey, this is an adjustment, it is temporary" -- the transition was so easy!
  5. Have your own individual hobbies. Relish that personal time. It's important for your growth.
  6. It is impossible to live with someone for so many years, and not change. Know you are both going to change - but learn to change together.
  7. Be silly. Carefree laughter in each others company is survival tactics, especially in a stressful life.
  8. Operate like a business. You are a team. Establish your roles. Make schedules. Pencil in time for productivity (housework, yardwork). Schedule time for 1:1 dates. Schedule time to talk finances. It's okay to have a "VP of Finances" in a marriage -- especially if that is their strong quality.
  9. Don't forget to tell that person you love them, and that you think their beautiful and wonderful and smart. Humans innately need to hear positive feedback - it makes us feel good. Love yourself, love your partner, and speak it.
  10. Learn to make where-ever you may be "home". So far....We have moved away from our family and friends twice now, we have lived in a house we love, we have lived in a dark depressing hotel room, we have lived in separate states where Ryan couldn't call/text. Wherever we have been, I'm still happy to come home at the day's end. Not because of the physical place - but because Home = Us.
"If I get married, I want to be very married." -Audrey Hepburn 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Challenges of hotel-room cooking

After visiting 4 different grocery stores in search for the Lady Fingers for Ryan's birthday Tiramissu....I posted a panic message on facebook. I had secretive hopes that maybe someone would have a wise last minute suggestion. I also was venting to the world about Texas grocery stores' lack of lady fingers. What does Texas have against Tiramissu?

Yes, I continue to the thrive on being bitter towards Texas. Especially when today it's supposed to be a dangerous Heat Index of 105 -- and even the morning sucks because of the humidity. And our gym is just as hot, because apparently they don't believe in air conditioners or fans. I'm not sure, but it's horrendous. Even running on the tredmill is nearly out of the question!

Anyways, back to ladyfingers. One of my facebook friends came on with an ingenius suggestion, "Here's the recipe for how to make lady fingers. It's really easy!"

I could do nothing but smirk. Yes, Maybe I can put a paperbag over our hotplate I bought at walmart to create a heat chamber and bake them on that! Or mabye I will just put them in a box, and sit them out in the parking lot for an hour. That's sure to bake the lady fingers.

Not having a stove or oven sure does make me appreciate the luxury of just having a kitchen.

I also love that someone suggested I try amazon. (You know, because I was making the recipe that day. Which was my bad. Procrastinating never wins) I'm sorry, but there will never be a day I resort to ordering food online. I know a lot of people do it -- but something about that trend makes me feel like the people that order jewelry and blenders off HSN. It's not my style.

Luckily, a frantic google search helped me to stumble upon the idea to give World Market a try. And sure enough, they never seem to fail me! They had lady fingers. I've now decided if there is any ingredient that I just cannot seem to find -- I will fall upon World Market. That store is the bee's knees.

Here are a few things that make hotel cooking a challenge and a true labor of love....

  • Having very limited space (remember this hotel's kitchen pantry is my clothes closet) means limited resources in the kitchen. In other words, my "large mixing bowl" = gladware container and my "medium mixing bowl" = plastic cereal bowl.   
  • "Blend with electric mixer until egg whites form stiff peaks" = Use fork in cereal bowl of egg whites, and beat, turn, stir, stir, stir until your arm cramps up and eventually the eggs form stiff peaks!
  • 2 Tbsp = eyeball what you think a tablespoon looked like when you actually had measuring devices in your kitchen. This is very risky in baking, but I was for the espresso in my Tiramissu. A little extra shot of joe won't hurt!
  • When making a meal, you have to really decide how badly do you want that grain (i.e. rice or penne) to go along with the base. We have 1 burner. "Choose wisely, young grasshopper," is what I tell my husband. For example, last weekend I was making chicken sausage and peppers, and we were going to serve it over penne. But was it really worth it to start all over again on my one burner?! So pepper sandwhiches it was!
  • The Garbage Disposal is THE single most vital appliance (or whatever it shall be considered) in the kitchen. I now have made The Garbage Disposal a proper noun, as that is the respect It deserves. Nothing makes me gag like when you finish the dishes, and there's those food particles in the bottom of the.....*gag*...I can't finish describing this travesty.
  • And, as a disclaimer, I am aware these are "First World Country" problems or "Child of the 90's" problems, and I expect no one to feel sorry for me.
  • Now on a serious note, How did people make green smoothies before blenders were invented or before electricity? Did they just swallow the leaves of spinach whole with their almond milk and vanilla protein powder?
So that sums up some of the challenges that stand out most profoundly. I will say that tiramissu turned out excellent! And it probably stands as the best birthday treat I've made for Ryan.

Have you ever had "kitchen challenges"? What's your most prized luxury/modern-day-convenience of your household?